I actually started watching anime quite late. At the moment, it’s a bit more than three years ago since I started with my first fansubbed series, .Hack//Sign, when compared to most people. That’s why I’ve got a huge list of anime that I still need to catch up to. Anyway, another series I tried around that time, perhaps a bit later, was Now and Then, Here and There. It looked all-right, and I saw some good reviews of it.
I didn’t even last half an episode.
The way this anime seemed to start was like a bad shounen-title. We’ve got a brat for a main character, who happens to practice Kendo. He’s got a rival who is always better than him, and of course a girl he has a crush on. All signs pointed to the fact that the guy would grow, beat his rival and get the girl, and that lady luck would smile at him all the way.
Boy, was I wrong.
If I had only watched till the second episode, I would have realized that this anime is something very special. For starters, we never see the rival and crush again after the first episode, and already with the second episode, things are done to that boy you just couldn’t imagine. A lot of taboos in anime are scarily brought to the surface, and the first half has to contain some of the saddest hours of anime.
I’m SO glad that I decided to give this anime a second chance, as it really is something unique. It’s one of these anime that isn’t afraid to pull its protagonists through hell, and it actually succeeds in making this avoid the pits of cheesiness by developing a cast of excellent characters. The graphics may not seem to suggest it, but this is one of the darkest shounen-titles I’ve seen. And especially one of the most realistic ones. The music also comes with a perfect score to accompany this.
Still, all good things must come to an end. The problem with this series is that the second half of the series just doesn’t live up to the first half. Oh, it’s by no means bad, it’s got about half a dozen of awesome moments, but the entire thing is nowhere near as intense and unique as the first half, and at a number of points, it gets a formulaic and a bit unrealistic.
Still, you just have to see this series for its first half. It’s been a long time since I last awarded a rating of 90/100 and above, and this series deserves it. Like Eureka7, it’s a great example of how wrong first impressions can be.