Okay, this series doesn’t really have a proper anime (yet?), but it is a long-running manga by Seo Kouji. He does a lot of other manga, like Suzuka (which got adapted into an anime), Loveplus Rinko Days, and Princess Lucia. Kimi no Iru Machi is his longest-running current series however, and it’s been slated to be adapted into a two part OVA series. The first one came out recently, and I’m here to review that.
Kimi no iru Machi is animated by Tatsunoko Productions… who I honestly know for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, the Wii fightin game, but they do a lot of pretty neat series, like Yozakura Quartet, Sket Dance, and Casshern, among other things. Also, it seems that Tatsunoko is actually a really old production studio, so I guess that gives them an edge in terms of experience in the field. And.. Well, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter for something like Kimi no Iru Machi. But let’s go through it a bit more methodically.
Now, for all parts of this review I’ll be approaching it from my own position. While that sounds obvious, in this case it means I’ll constantly be comparing things to the manga, the source material, as this OVA is mostly made for fans of the manga. As such, there is a lot of exposition they kinda sorta skip, though you could probably fill in the blanks yourself without reading the manga.
Anyway, starting with the plot. Well, the plot for the OVA (at least the first part) is non-cannon. The way events occur make it impossible to occur during the actual manga. Still, the story it does tell is interesting in its own right. Kimi no Iru Machi is romance/comedy/drama series, and the OVA expresses all elements of that pretty well. The setting we’re started off with is that of a long distance relationship between Kirishima Haruto and Yuzuki Eba. While the OVA doesn’t explicitly explain how exactly the two of them ended up or what circumstances found them in their current situation, it does a good job of explaining the current situation.
Haruto is taking a class field trip with schoolmates to Tokyo from Hiroshima prefecture, and is quite anxious to see Eba. So he sets up a meeting with her, and due to several misunderstandings, is unable to meet with her. He’s then dragged into a situation where he’s playing the role of Nanami Kanzaki’s boyfriend, and through a rather clever use of flashbacks juxtaposed with current-day lies, a story unravels about how Kanzaki and Haruto were an item, but broke up because he loved Eba.
And at the end of the episode we’re left with a cliffhanger as Eba finally manages to meet up with Haruto, and sees him holding hands with Kanzaki in a fairly familiar matter. Of course, for anyone over the age of five this wouldn’t really be an issue, but drama’s gotta come somewhere? So it looks as if Eba might want to break up with Haruto, but we’ll have to wait until the second part of the OVA.
Okay, now for the characters. For a romance/drama/comedy series, the characters are pretty weak, honestly. Let’s start with the main character, Kirishima Haruto. I’ve read the series since not too long after it started, and honestly the only unique thing i can tell you about the guy is that he likes cooking. That’s it. He’s simply not that interesting, or unique, or anything. Still, I suppose if he had TOO much personality, he’d be shifted to being a side character.
Unfortunately, the same can be said of the main female lead, Yuzuki Eba. The only thing I can tell you about her is that she teaches kids, and that’s only within the past couple of chapters, so I really don’t know much about her. Sadly, both main characters are totally uninteresting. I will say that sometimes their interactions can be kind of cute and funny, but… Well, give a room of monkeys typewriters and eventually they’ll get you Shakespeare, too.
Still, that’s what the side characters are for, right? And I think a lot of them are pretty interesting. His two school friends, Yura Takashi and Kaga Akari are both interesting characters. Takashi and Akari bring a lot of life to the series, be it through comedy or just a different point of view from the usual stupidity and idiocy that the leads of a romance series will often have. Love does make you dumb, after all.
Going down the line, however, you get the best character in the series, Yuzuki Rin. Rin is Eba’s sister, but she’s not an idiot and actually has a fun and funny personality. She more or less enjoys teasing Eba and Haruto endlessly, which makes for some of the better chapters. Unfortunately, her appearance in the OVA is just a few scant lines and it’s more or less impossible to derive her personality from them. Trust me though, she’s the best.
Moving on to the art… This is where I really have a bone to pick. Okay, I’ll be honest. The art for the OVA isn’t bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. But there’s such a stark contrast, stylistically, between the manga and OVA’s art that I got really annoyed. I enjoy Seo Kouji’s art, and that’s one of the few reasons I enjoy Kimi no Iru Machi.
But in comparing the two, they’re just different. I guess there’s nothing super wrong with that, but I expected one thing and got something pretty different, and it was a bit jarring. Here’s a shot from the anime of the same character, and see if you can tell what I mean.
Okay, as for animation, well. Tatsunoko is a good production company, and they put out some quality work. Kimi no Iru Machi doesn’t really need it, but the animation is smooth and nice. I liked how the flashbacks were handled, particularly. This is really the only segment I can’t compare to the manga, for obvious reasons. However, I think that unlike the art, the animation and style of animating kind of brings to life my vision of what the manga would be if it were animated, so I think there was a good job done here.
Kimi no Iru Machi is only a short OVA, so there isn’t too much music to speak of. And most importantly, because it’s just a short OVA, it can’t really use repetition over the course of many episodes to drive home a particular theme or something, so nothing was all that noteworthy to me. There was a vocal ending theme at the end, though I for the life of me can’t remember what it was or who it was by, which doesn’t bode well. I would like to take this section to discuss something else that I don’t often mention though, and that’s voice acting.
One thing I really liked about Kimi no Iru Machi (though I’m sure it’s something actual Japanese people would find mundane or even worse quite annoying) is the accents. Since Haruto and his friends are from essentially the middle of nowhere, they have these interesting country accents. I don’t know much Japanese, but it’s fun to try and figure out why the accents do certain things to certain words. Obviously this wouldn’t appeal to everyone though, so it doesn’t have any affect on my rating, but I thought it was really cool. On a side note, one of the Nisemonogatari characters also spoke with a really weird accent that I thought was pretty cool.