Risa Hanakago is a middle-schooler who has never been in love, until one day, popular, sporty Touga Yuugure comes into her life. For these two, suddenly, the world has become a very sparkly place.
Ahh, young love is so very sparkly.
Generally, promotional OAVs tend to make me wish one of two things: either that the work would be replaced by something longer and more well-developed, or that the creators would go die in a fire. Nagareboshi Lens is, thankfully, one of the former, and in a good way; though there's literally nothing impressive about its production values and the story and characters are very conventional, it's a relaxing and relatively harmless way to spend eighteen minutes of your time.
We'll get the bad news out of the way right quick: the animation is extremely simplistic for the most part. Part of the problem is the very stylized (practically cat-eyed!) character design and art; shoujo is often notorious for not animating particularly well and unfortunately Lens is no exception. The most action and most detailed animation you'll see here is a window accidentally breaking, with the flying glass quite literally presaging our couple meeting for the first time. There's also a lot of walking down school corridors, which are, strangely, rendered in 3D, which must have taken something like half the animation budget - the other half, of course, being all those sparkles we see flying everywhere.
The romance itself is also very, very conventional: with eighteen minutes, there's really not a whole lot of time to work with, so we hardly even get to see their first date, really, but to the creators' credit, the progression of the romance feels pretty realistic as far as how far a couple of romantically minded middle-schoolers will go in the first couple of days. It's all very melodramatic and a bit twee, but then that's exactly what kids that age are feeling what will all those hormones and all. Thankfully, given that these kids are young teens, we go with the sparkles and music route with Risa and Touga, rather than the other sort of content that shoujo manga can be rather sketchy about. It helps a lot that even with the limited screen time, the voice actors make Risa (an unusually emotive and unironic Kana Hanazawa - Kuroneko from Oreimo) and Touga (Shintaro Asanuma - Yoshiyuki Sakurai from Da Capo II) feel rather likable, even if essentially they're the eternal cliche of mousy nobody girl (who cleans up nicely) and handsome popular kid with a mild rebellious streak (check out those earrings, man!). Even the music is rather nice, and never over-obtrusive or distracting.
What it boils down to is that we get to watch these two very nice kids fall into their very first love, which is cute and adorable, and that's pretty much it. That being said, though, given that this is merely a promotional OAV, you can do a lot worse than warm fuzzies, and, in a rare subversion of the usual result of reviewing this genre, it's actually made me interested in at least giving the manga a try - something all such anime intend, but very rarely actually succeed in doing.
It's also very sparkly.
Shallow and insubstantial, but pleasant and very sparkly,this promotional OAV serves as little more than a teaser for an undoubtedly more fully-realized manga series. If you are allergic to shoujo melodrama or excessive sparkliness, you have no reason to pursue this. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: A window breaks accidentally and nearly injures our main female lead. There's one scene of implied threat of violence that comes to nothing and there's no sexual content to speak of. This should be fine for most audiences, though the romantic themes are probably best for young teens and above.
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Nagareboshi Lens © 2012 Mayu Murata / Shueisha
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