I’m probably one of a few handful of people who still cares about Da Crapo, although I’m admitting that this bishoujo thing is slowly starting to wear out on me. And yet the series may still matter, after all, it was a remarkable anime that put bishoujo games into the anime map. One thing that ticks me off in ALL the anime counterparts of Da Capo (and even Da Capo II) is that the best girls always gets the worst parts. That girl is the lovely lovely Kotori Shirakawa (and her descendant Nanaka). While Kotori had a decent arc in the first season, the second season was of failed promises. I thought that she will be the main character in that season because Nemu and Sakura were gone. Alas, the two returned anyway, while Aisia stole the entire show not too long after. And so the prospect of having this D.C.if OVA almost 3 years after the last Da Capo anime gives me the giggles. It’s Kotori, and it’s Da Capo all over again!
“Da Capo if” seems to be an “imaginary future” anime that ignores whatever happened in Da Capo Second Season and dares to continue down a certain Kotori-goodness path. We see the still-lead character Junichi idling around while Kotori cooks him food and probably does some household chores too. I guess he’s REALLY worthless with Nemu not around. Imagine that, the girlfriend visits him “nightly” into the house to be a maid. Yoshiyuki will not be impressed. Anyway let’s just go with the flow. One day he realizes that he needs to move on, and so his first mission was to clean up Nemu’s room. Aah, so he enlists four of the Da Capo girls to help him clear the room out of its Nemu-ness. Then Kotori goes emo and runs away. Junichi follows and tries to confess his feelings, but Kotori… dumped him (YOU ARE WIN KOTORI-CHAN!). Then she goes totally emo and runs to the already-withered sakura tree crying… in a scene that rivals the cheesiness of Otome when she cried “OTOUTO-KUUUUUUN!” in Da Capo II Second Season.
See? I told you.
I should say… “if” this were released shortly after any of the earlier Da Capo animes I would have forgiven it for being so campy. Sadly, it’s 2009, and my taste for anime has grown a bit more mature. Two different things matter to me now in an anime… characters and story. Give me either one and we’re fine, heck give me both and you’re awesome. D.C.if has neither character nor story, and the only thing that kept me going watching this are the fond memories of the animes and games. Sure, the characters are still lovely, but do I really need to see Mako going tsundere, Moe going nabe, and Miharu going bananas all the time? They’re mere shadows of their formal selves, Kotori included, and there’s nothing interesting about them in this anime anymore aside from their classic bishoujo archetype.
The only scene that intrigued me is when Junichi visited a grave… I mean, “WHOSE GRAVE IS THIS? NEMU? IS SHE DEAD! HURRAH KOTORI FANS, SISCON IS DEAD!” Nah, I’m really not sure if it’s Nemu, so who the hell is that on the grave? Can anyone decipher this kanji?
Also, the first scene in the anime has her with some wedding preparations… somehow that doesn’t make me happy, especially if it’s gonna be a loser like Junichi.
Okay, this is worse than I thought. The whole episode was spent with both Kotori and Junichi in deep thought about their relationship. They were somewhat avoiding each other. Then everyone else in Da Capo world tries to pitch in their say, the major ones are from Kotori’s sister and someone else who is “awesome” enough to not mention her yet. Then all of a sudden both young lovers got enlightened, Kotori sang on the withered sakura tree again, Junichi came and confessed again… then the wedding! With an unbelievable miracle in the end!
Need I elaborate more? Mako is still tsundere, and Moe still cares about her nabe. At least Miharu isn’t fussing about her bananas, but that means she does nothing else. I like though how Kotori’s best friends try to support her. Tomo-chan and Mik-kun’s limited airtime struck a chord at me wanting sidestories of them. So, as Kotori is wavering around, her sister Koyomi enters the fray, and says magic words like “If you really love someone, it will resonate soon enough”. Okay, now we enlightened Kotori. On Junichi’s side, he still needed a bashing from Suginami on why he cleaned up Nemu’s room. As he himself wonders why, an awesome character appeared out of the blue…
…it’s Sakura!!! So, Sakura served as the enlightener for Junichi by saying that he’s an idiot for being too indecisive, too kind and worrying too much about other people. This sort-of cameo just took me by surprise, and is the best scene of the whole episode, by mere Da Capo nostalgia. Sakura’s just too wonderful.
Then we see Kotori go back to the withered sakura tree, saying how she met Junichi there, how she loved him, blah blah, and then she sang. Then by complete non-twist of fate Junichi is there, apologized for a lot of things, and confessed again. This time, Kotori accepted. Yay.
The wedding! DCSS ending all over again, except with the better girl. Seems like the reception is at school, them cheapos. So, what was the unbelievable miracle? Look closely, there’s cherry blossoms in the background! In an instant, all those green trees turned pink for Kotori! The entire town of Hatsunejima has sakura again. And to top it off, Kotori exclaimed, “Nemu-san”. Oh gawd, even the original Da Capo wasn’t this cheesy. No, please Kotori, Nemu isn’t in the heaven’s weather control room. Can’t they just be surprised how green trees can turn pink in a matter of seconds? Bah, I give up.
Despite its shortcomings, I think I should give props to the animators for this, because at least they bothered to revisit the Da Capo universe once again. It is still a looker, with nice animation and art. I loved how the opening song is from the original Da Capo game, while the ending song is none other than CooRie’s “Sonzai”, still the one of the best sentimental anisongs out there. Also, Hocchan returns in this OVA voicing Kotori, so fans will definitely enjoy this. For Episode 2, there’s a new image song by Kotori and it’s quite good, although I would argue that if she sang Soyokaze no Harmony it would be have more impact for me. The ending song is… whoa, Sakura Saku Mirai Koi Yume, the first Da Capo anime OP.
All in all, a disposable, but decent watch. Hopefully there’s a Nanaka special too someday. Moving on.