Oota Mashiko and Aoshima Takashi. If these names don’t sound familiar to you, this duo director and screenwriter have worked together many times in the past to bring you Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na: Crescent Love, Minami-ke (season 1), Mitsudomoe, and Yuruyuri. Naturally, I had to watch it to see what kind of humor the team would bring this time around, and boy did I enjoy this first episode.
I was caught off guard because this episode started off with such intensity and drama that I thought it was a totally different approach. The montage of scenes from birth to early elementary were really sweet moments, but I didn’t expect it to shift suddenly into depressing, dark scenes. Being shunned by her schoolmates and faculty was one thing, but getting the same treatment from her parents was worse. Hearing “I should never have given birth to you” by your own mother is such a brutal thing to hear. To a girl who loved her parents very much, this obviously devastated her and broke her inside. The scenes went by really quickly, but it wasn’t really a bother as it was getting straight to the main points.
For about a good 10 minutes, we are thrown into Haruka’s world and what she went through all her life. Then, out of nowhere, a curveball was thrown at us. Haruka transferred to a new school and with her the whole show just transferred into the main comedy show it was promoted to be. Well freaking played. I had to laugh at the sheer genius of what I had just saw. I love how the dark gloomy color of the show literally shattered and brought things back to bright, warm colors.
Haruka’s issue is still factored into the show, and we know her parents are still there (we at least know her mother will be, judging from the OP) and it does have its serious moments, but it is well balanced with the comedy delivered by the male protagonist Manabe. I actually really like Manabe. Even though Haruka is the main focus, Manabe is a great lead and foil to Haruka’s character. He doesn’t give off the blandness of most male leads and comes off as natural and competent. Of course, he does have his goofy side, which I found hilarious when he used dirty thoughts to push Haruka’s buttons.
Haruka herself doesn’t have much going for her. Her gentleness and friendliness are completely gone now, replaced by disinterest and remorseless. I can understand why she’s this way now, but did no one stop to think and tell this child that there are just some things you shouldn’t be revealing? Did her parents not teach her the concept of keeping a secret? Maybe she was too young to know any better, but still, it’s kind of irritating. For the first time, her ESP performed a good deed when Haruka saved Manabe from getting run over by a truck. I wonder if this kind of thing will happen again, or if her ESP is ever explained. Overall, a fantastic start that shouldn’t be missed this season.