Shinichiro is your average "sensitive" anime male (he writes and draws children's stories). One day he is befriended by a strange girl named Noe, and somehow this precipitates a quadrangle between himself, Noe, Hiromi (a young woman who lives in his household) and Aiko, the latter of whom is supposedly Shinichiro's best friend's girl.
I watched Suzuka a while back and got a very different feeling for that show than the THEM reviewer had; in fact I rather liked it. Sure there were the usual cliches (the male hero lives and works in a ladies' bathhouse, and where have we seen THAT before?), but I found the characters fairly likable; I didn't even find Suzuka herself without redeeming qualities. And of more importance, a female acquaintance of mine who watched part of Suzuka with me went on a bit of a rant about part of it, not because she found the show bad, but because part of it hit too close to home. In fact, she's STILL worked up about that, and that was MONTHS ago. You gotta give points for relevance.
Despite the fact that it's in the same genre, True Tears is a different story...
True Tears kind of reminded me of my experience with Clannad, namely that there was almost nobody in the show I liked. Let's see:
First there was Hiromi, the daughter-of-family-friends who's living with Shinichiro. She projects the image of a quiet, innocent girl, but Shinichiro's mother, who loathes Hiromi (mom is arguably the most immature person in the cast, by the way) sort of has a point about Hiromi's manner being a bit of an "act". Hiromi comes across as a schemer and manipulator who frequently carries a chip on her shoulder.
Then there's Mom, whose one-note verbally abusive treatment of Hiromi gets old real fast. It's based on a certain belief she has about Hiromi, and while she later tries to say that she never really believed that, that confession has to be a lie- NOTHING else she has done up to that point, from her actions toward the girl, to her treatment of the family photos, makes sense unless she believed this thing with every fiber of her being.
Shinchiro? Like most "sensitive" artistic guys in anime, he's nevertheless pretty clueless about the feelings of women. And it gets worse: Noe, who early on latches on to Shinichiro, has a brother named Jun; and later, Jun encourages Shinichiro to go out with Noe. Shinichiro, however, ups the ante by trying to encourage Jun to go out with Hiromi. I admit that later on there is a reason (or seems to be one) why Shinichiro might want Jun to go out with Hiromi (it would mirror Jun's reasons about Noe, which, when revealed, don't speak very well of Jun by the way), but at the time Shinichiro proposes this that "reason" didn't yet exist. This thing about trading females close to you like baseball cards rather distressed me.
Then there's Aiko, who's cultivated a relationship with Miyokichi, Shinichiro's best friend, just to get at Shinichiro. Miyokichi is one of the two characters in this show who's actually pretty innocent (Noe is the other), and this show seems determined to "dump" on its innocents. I did find Miyokichi interesting in another way- he actually began to catch on to his "girlfriend"'s lack of sincerity before she formally revealed it; and I also found it interesting that Aiko began to have second thoughts about her actions. Most members of the cast of this show should have plenty of reasons to feel guilty, but for some reason few of them do, and that includes some of the leads.
The show's gimmicks- Noe's "I gave my tears away", Shinichiro's various daydreams and the whole thing with the damned chickens- FELT like gimmicks, not things that illuminated any issues or even really fit with the stuff that was going on.
Was there anything I liked? Well, later in the show Hiromi decides to move out and live alone, and that seems to improve her character 100%. This I found utterly believable; it really often IS good therapy for someone to move out of a dysfunctional household.
But on the whole, I was rather disappointed here, and after all, when you've got two principal males and three principal females, you can pretty much guess that we're one musical-chair short when everybody finally gets to sit down. And I can't help feeling sorry for the odd one out.
Chickens can't fly, and alas, neither can this show. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: There's some mild fan service, mostly involving Hiromi dressing and undressing. A certain taboo lies behind much of what goes on here (or more precisely, behind what people are trying to avoid doing), and that will present a strong ickiness factor to some. Older teens and up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Partial (13/24)
True Tears © 2008 tt Project
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