It’s hard to review true tears, and as I write this, I can’t seem to find the words. The topic in front of me is a genuine example of a great anime, featuring some of the best animation, music, art, and characters, with an intriguing story that may still be in the memories of many up to this day. I was there during the initial broadcast, and I have read many bloggers and forumers arguing and discussing this series rather extensively. They paid attention to detail, and also had chosen their sides. It was like an epic battle, with everyone trying to convince everyone else that this-or-that girl will get the guy for sure. Of course, the ending showed a very decisive conclusion, and while some may not like whatever the results had been, I think we are all in agreement that this anime entertained, and affected us, sometimes to the point of having true tears in our eyes.
I seem to have overdone it, such grand introduction to an otherwise well-produced show about that feeling called love. Yup, true tears is a mere slice-of-life romantic drama anime, there’s nothing out-worldly about the series at all, but as a member of its respective genre, it’s quite fresh in itself. We follow the pursuits of Shinichiro Nakagami, a high school student which, unlike so many other male leads, isn’t much of a wussie. He has reasonable artistic prowess and a proper stature in life. This is one anime where I can believe a girl can really fall in love with him because he has actual good points about him. So let’s meet the contenders then? First would be the childhood friend archetype Hiromi Yuasa. She is living in the Nakagami household so she also has the homecourt advantage. Not to mention she is a varsity basketball player at that. Next would be the weird-girl archetype Noe Isurugi. While on the surface she is quite odd, talking to chickens and reportedly giving curses to people, she is a very honest girl. When Noe met Shinichiro, he instantly became her replacement for the chicken who just died. The concept of “true tears” begins when we see Noe being unable to cry, and that she is trying to get her tears back. And so these three characters, along with others, get involved in events full of feelings, misunderstandings, bets, incestual tendencies, chicken storytellings, dances, separations and reunions.
Hmm, that sounded quite a handful to digest. Indeed it’s been a long run, that even with the low episode count of 13, there’s so much going on in this anime. It has incredibly relentless pacing, and is very unlike other animes whose stories just stop for an episode or two trying to flesh out a character at a time. This anime’s story moves along with its character development as if it’s paired together. It also helps that the characters themselves are realistically imperfect. Shinichiro is quite indecisive, but not in a typical harem male lead kind of indecisive. He is just trying to figure out things as they progress. Hiromi acts and lies a lot in favor of hiding her deep feelings and secrets. Noe, while seeming to have an incredible ability to read people’s feelings, it ended up being her double-edged sword. Even the minor characters (the parents, a best-friend, a girl-next-door, and a cool-looking guy) have levels of intrigue affecting the story. It’s quite hard to reveal more without spoiling too much, because from the very first episode the plot just moves like it has no brakes. Just trust me and many others who watch this anime that you definitely won’t be disappointed with the experience. Everything is well thought out, from the definition of tears, the way the picture book mirrors the situation, symbolisms of snow and dance, even chickens flying was meant to signify something. Everytime a plot twist comes, I get totally surprised even if the hints were already there in previous episodes. It just means that the overall coherence of the anime is very engaging.
I stated quite a while ago that I was on the Noe side. Noe was an awesome girl, and for my first viewing of the anime, I was rooting for her all the time. I liked her cheerful and light outward personality, as opposed to the emo wreck that was Hiromi. Yup, I did think of Hiromi as a dark and moody girl who keeps secrets and lies so many times throughout the series. That said though, the ending was totally not in our favor, prompting much argument and dorama over this series. Surprising though, that in my repeat viewing of true tears, I was able to emphatize and understand Hiromi’s position more. After a major misunderstanding had been solved in the latter half of the series, I had seen her as the brighter and more forward-looking girl. Noe had her role reversed, now she was the dark and confused one as she starts to understand the real situation. I guess I was blinded by my Noe love during my first viewing, and is a lesson learned for me. That’s not to say though that I’m on the Hiromi camp already. Well, whatever side I’m leaning on isn’t important right now. It just means that I have grasped more understanding of the anime this time than in my first runthrough, and it just made my viewing experience much better.
This is the first full anime offering of the P.A. Works animation studio, and from what I’ve seen in true tears and their newer series Canaan, they’re definitely going places. The animation is superb, there is absolutely no loss in quality nor consistency in any episode, and they paid attention to much detail. One aspect I particularly liked for true tears was that the facial expressions of the characters were animated so well, sometimes it actually speaks wonders for the scene even if no dialogue was heard. They clearly ain’t cutting corners too, having many animation frames and character close-ups. For a mere slice-of-life with no fictional special effects needed, it’s amazing to have this level of production values. Blu-ray version please. Also, rarely would I care about background music, but this anime has a couple of choice instrumental tracks that I absolutely love (this and this). These and all other BGMs fit perfectly in every scene. The opening and ending themes are nice as well, especially Reflectia done by Eufonius, which is great considering I don’t like their style in some of their other anime music works.
Right now I’m already starting yet another rewatch of true tears, which means it has just cemented its way to being one of my favorite all-time animes. It certainly deserves the praise, and even the rants and loathing. Definitely one of the best romance animes ever. How many more sentence cliches should I have? I still can’t seem to find the words. True tears is not just a highly recommended watch, it is a must-watch. There you have it.