Da Capo III
Plotting revenge on the unofficial newspaper club, the official newspaper club's president, Ricca Morizono, decides to run with the topic of "magic". They visit an old legendary cherry blossom tree, where they all proceed to receive text messages from 1951.
I don't even remember why I started watching this. It must have been one hell of a slump, because I don't really remember having heard much good about the show, and I'm certainly not going to abuse that notion.
Both Enoch and Jennifer wrote about the first season, and for what it's worth, that's probably where most of the accolades towards this franchise should be directed. Not that Jen was all that impressed with it -- or Enoch, for that matter, though he could at least stomach it -- but I'm pretty sure it would have to be better than this.
Even after having finished this damn show, I had no real desire to review it. Da Capo III is simply too much of a frustrating experience to have to deal with, yet here I find myself short of anything else to write about and caught between nearly as annoying shows that I haven't finished yet. I guess this is what it must feel like to arrive at the edge of a cliff after running away from a forest fire. Do I jump and risk almost-certain death, or do I wait for the flames to consume me? Can you see my dilemma here?
That this show was made in 2013 amazes me even more, because it feels a lot older by build and by concept. The original Da Capo came out in 2003, so it's not like the franchise itself is very old, but it's got this feel about it as if it was made much earlier than that; in an era where anime moved away from the hyperfeminized doormat ideal to the more spritely kind of girl, full of energy.
All that is well and good, but that still leaves the problem of most of the cast in the show being idiots, and the plot not being a whole lot better. Da Capo III also has a male lead, though calling him a character would be a bit of a stretch. He's merely there to be someone for the girls to play off on, or come on to. He has a best friend who's a bit of a pervert, because we can't leave that tiresome character type out either, I guess, and whose sole role is to point out what kind of characters each of the girls are, and be annoyed about the fact that all the girls seem to flock around Mr. Boring for no particular reason. He's a character self-insert. He has no hobbies whatsoever, or interests. Even his videogaming sessions -- which are briefly mentioned in the first episode -- are seemingly done at the behest of one of the girls. The show does occasionally have him whip out some sarcastic remarks towards other people, but around the main female roster, he's as meek as a lamb.
He also lives together with Charles, one of the girls in the newspaper troupe. She's half-Japanese, because in shows like this, that's a character trait. Most of the comedy centered around her is her less than subtle come-ons towards the male lead. I'd comment on her chest size, but honestly, most of the girls in this show have huge boobs, and the camera will focus on that stuff a lot. Everything bounces here. Boobs. Hair. Ribbons. Skirts. You name it, it probably bounces at some point. It's not like the character designs are outright terrible either. It's a little flighty, but animation is generally done fairly well, though mostly during scenes of fanservice. The show is, at least, not awful to look at.
Unfortunately, the dialogue is just so boring. Da Capo III wants to be sweet, but also funny. It succeeds with neither. The idiocy of the girls aside, the comedy seems to be squarely centered around the girls taking an interest in the male lead... and that's about it. It does extend to them bossing him around, or him humoring them beyond all reason or cause, and the whole thing starts to sounds very much like a heavy case of stockholm syndrome. Ricca is a particularly bad example, because she's convinced she was a mage of sorts in another time, and while I was all ready to chalk that up to delusion on her part, the show then proceeded to prove her right. The girls continuously demand things from him, and if he doesn't get in line, stat, he'd have to face their synchronized glares. Outside of that, there's the usually idiotic behavior centered around the male lead being flustered about getting an eyeful of any of the girls' private parts. I suspect that might be one of the reasons the show was made to appear like it was twenty years old already, because that was totally new back then, yo. One of the most eye-rolling jokes among the lot in this show has to be when the male lead brings Sakura to an indoor pool. There, the other girls show up and harangue the guy for not immediately bringing them as well, and then get upset because he didn't get an erection when he saw them in their swimsuits. Seriously, this is what they say: "Nii-san, did you think that we didn't know? I can't believe that you tried to come to the pool with Sakura-chan without telling us! You have a lot of guts, don't you?" Yes, boy! There is no escape, and the mistresses are angry. You thought you had any right to privacy or making choices for yourself? You will step in line, and you will like it, boy!
You think I'm overreacting? There is fear in his voice when he frantically apologizes about not involving the girls in every single minute detail of his life. And this is a guy that can give sarcastic retorts to others who annoy him.
The whole "text message from 1951" sounds neat if you don't think too hard about it, but it doesn't really have a lot of things to do with the show. Nor does Ricca's supposed past as a mage. One of the later episodes does go into it, but not in a way that explains anything. The only thing that actually does get closure (that isn't the male lead's idiotic escapades with the girls) is the inclusion of Sakura Yoshino. She's a holdover from the earlier Da Capo series, and she adds what probably counts for this show's supernatural elements. Going by what little research I could gleam, she is tied to the tree, and is kind of an immortal. It's a bit ironic that Enoch considered her the most annoying part of the first series, because it's clearly the opposite here. Sure, she's loud and kind of childish (she IS a child... well, technically), but she's not demanding or judgemental, so that's one thing she has over the others. Her segment in the third episode is the closest this show has gotten to being heartfelt. Or funny. (Sakura has an active imagination and makes some... odd choices... in the kind of games she likes to play.)
It's this... noncommitment that really hurts this show. Clearly, it could set a mood if it felt like it, but Da Capo III is far more interested in exploring the idiotic tendencies of the female members of the newspaper club to the detriment of almost everything else. And while Sakura herself doesn't cause any grief towards the male lead directly, the other girls are more than happy to pester him about it, including accusing him of being a lolicon. You know, all that fun stuff.
And it goes on and on and on. The show lasts 13 episodes, which is more than enough time for it to explore all of its little story arcs, but only Sakura gets any proper closure at all. The magical school thing is visited, but abandoned eventually. Which is more than the two newspaper clubs' little duels are concerned; they start that up, but is quickly forgotten about. And the text messages? They were received, and... that's it. They don't really have anything in particular to do with anything else.
The third episode was marginally enjoyable, mostly because it was the one vacation the male lead got from his insane possé. But it can do little to save this tedious, horrifying mess of a show. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Loads of fanservice, though nothing too outrageous. It's just the frequency of it. Though honestly, most of the gags centered around the fanservice scenes are pretty lame. A show made in 2013 really should know better.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Da Capo III © 2013 Kazami Gakuen Kōshiki Dōga-bu, Lantis, Pony Canyon, DCIII Production Committee.
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