A Town Where You Live
Haruto Kirishima wants to know why Yuzuki Eba, after confessing to him, abandoned him. Will they get back together? (And how many lives will he have to ruin in order to make that happen?...)
I'm starting this review as a kind of dialogue (with SOME shouting) between what seems to be going on in Haruto's stream of consciousness (in italics), and my own take on his story (in parentheses and bolded.) So, let's start with HIS version:
OK, there's this girl, and she comes to spend the summer at my house outside Hiroshima, and she's just so TOTALLY inept at all the things I can do effortlessly that I just HAD to mock her, y'know? But she IS cute, and she finally confesses to me, and I thought, Wow! You must be the love of my life! (Yes, this is the way it usually goes in manga by Kouji Seo, author of SUZUKA, and, as is never surprising in his stories, our male hero seems to find more than one of these, but we'll get there later.)
But then she returned to Tokyo, and I couldn't get in touch with her- she wouldn't return my messages or calls. So I had to go find out how she could abandon a guy like me. So I moved in with my sister who has an apartment in Tokyo, so I could find her and get an answer. The neighbor girl called me a stalker. Can you imagine that? (Shocking!)
So I finally do get a meeting arranged with Yuzuki- that's her name, Yuzuki Eba- and she tells me it's over, she's seeing someone else, Gomen, Sayonara. Now if I were some total wimp, I might have told her that I was still interested if she changed her mind, and offered to keep her sister Rin updated with my contact information (Rin was apparently serving as a go-between here- and will be serving as BAIT in time) and wished her all the happiness in the world, but I'm made of stronger stuff than that! I probed a little deeper and found out the truth (You give yourself too much credit, Haruto. The truth literally stumbled in on you, in one of those incredible coincidences that only happen in bad fiction. The truth is that someone is playing a guilt/sympathy card on Yuzuki. It's a plotline that Seo would re-use (with the genders reversed) in Fuuka.) I can't stand by and let that happen! (And you have every right to point out to her- PRIVATELY- why you feel she's being exploited. But if you do so and she still ASKS YOU TO LEAVE THINGS ALONE (which she did), then there's nothing else you can do if you love and respect her as someone who's entitled to make her own decisions. Honestly, you now KNOW that if you made that same "wimpy" offer mentioned earlier, your chances of getting her to yourself before long are not bad at all, but NOOOOOO!!!!! Since you are male, you think you know what is best for her better than she does, and so you barge in and declare war where everyone is seeking peace, and bring strife where everyone is seeking resolution, and treat this girl as a prize to be won rather than as a human being with feelings, and make YOURSELF the center of concern where it's supposed to be SOMEONE ELSE!) Hey, man, I was just trying to clear the air and do what's best for her! (It looked to ME like what you did was almost entirely self-serving, Haruto. And did she appreciate what you did? DID SHE?) Well...that's ancient history now. Now I've taken up with my neighbor, Asuka Mishima (This is the girl who called him a "stalker" earlier, by the way) and I'm TOTALLY committed to her...though for some reason Yuzuki and Rin have started popping up in my life again, so I TOTALLY love YOU, Asuka, but could I just spend a day with Rin? It's JUST Rin... (How swell of him to ask his girlfriend's permission to see other women. And he's so worthy of trust...)
OK, I think I'm done for giving a showcase to Haruto's stream of consciousness, not just because I don't want to spoil the ending- for those willing to put up with Haruto's emotional sadism to get there- but also because the guy is SO oblivious to his own failings and, even more, to the feelings of others. He's walking, talking Male Privilege, and while I DID stick with this to the end, I don't recommend the journey to any but the most insensitive souls. If this was some dumb harem show- well, I'd be just as harsh, but at least it would just be some dumb harem show. The fact that this has pretentions of being a serious romantic drama just makes Haruto one of the least likeable leads I've ever seen. You know those sinking feelings you can get when you KNOW how things are going to go, and you know they're not going to go well for people who ARE worth caring about? THIS show makes you keep thinking that you've sunk as a far as you can go, and then a way is found to make you sink even farther; maybe being thrown into a dungeon in Atlantis feels like this.
There are a couple of things I noted in passing, that didn't fit into my main rant:
-The show has a strange obsession with close-ups of lips. Mostly the lips are just talking, or looking pensive, or whatever, though.
-Suzuka is actually visually referenced, and so help me, for all that show's flaws, I wished I had watched it instead.
Did I like ANYTHING about the show? It's a visually attractive show. Gonzo did a good job of it. It's a shame that its lead is such an insensitive, faithless jerk. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: There's nudity (Haruto's sis in shower), and attempted foreplay. There are ways to be morally offensive besides sex and violence, though, y'know; this show's Exhibit A.
Version(s) Viewed: Blu-Ray disc
Review Status: Full (12/12)
A Town Where You Live © 2013 Gonzo
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