The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: True Tears

Utopia: A reflection on the Tari Tari x True Tears x Hanasaku Iroha crossover

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” —Amy Poehler

This post is not a joke, and its contents are genuine: Utopia is a song that was featured in a short specially created for the True Tears x Hanasaku Iroha x Tari Tari Joint Festival Live Blu-ray, a recording of the musical performance featuring the voice actors from the three series. To celebrate this festival, P.A. Works produced a video that sets this song to scenes with the main characters from each anime, having a good old time. The video is only a minute and forty seconds in length, and was released on February 26, 2014. Back on April 13, 2013, eufonius, nano.RIPE, Sphere, AiRI and a few other artists participated in a joint concert at Maihama Amphitheater; tickets to the event cost 8000 Yen (roughly 83.20 CAD, or roughly 3.17 times the cost of a ticket to the Beakerhead performance of the Giant Walkthrough Brain). If memory serves, April 13 was the Saturday after I had finished my honours thesis defense; the post-defense euphoria meant I forgot there was such an event, and even after a year had passed, my thought strayed far from the joint festival concert, but recently, I learned that a special album was compiled, featuring choral and string versions of their respective series’ music, and with it, the minute-and-forty second long crossover video.

  • Hanasaku Iroha takes place in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, and the short opens at a train station here. Like my previous post on short films, there are a disproportionate number of screenshots relative to the feature’s length, but that is because there is a lot of fantastic artwork that went into making it; each moment is different and worth sharing. Here, fifteen images provide a good idea of what the short is like.

  • As far as I’m aware (and I did a thorough search before making this claim), I have what appears to be the internet’s largest collection of screenshots from Utopia. For the most part, the short is reasonably straightforwards to access, although on YouTube, only the short trailers exist. The song in this short, Nano.RIPE’s “Utopia”, is the final song in their “Namida no Ochiru Sokudo” album, which was released in January 2014, and is a love song of sorts, about the uncertainty of the future.

  • Aiko Andou serves Imagawayaki at her family’s shop, a pastry that is filled with red bean paste, to Noe, Sawa and Nako while Hiromi and Minko help out. For the duration of this post, I’ve decided to feature images that show everyone together, although owing to constraints, I haven’t bothered stitching any images together with photoshop, and as such, some of the moments will not depict everyone.

  • While Ohana and Nako look on, Noe, Konatsu, Sawa and Aiko have a pillow fight; Yuina, Hiromi and Wakana are content to enjoy a drink by the balcony. The short, despite its length, manages to capture everyone’s spirits as they appeared in their respective anime, and it was a thrill to see everyone again.

  • Minko samples one of the dishes she’s made, much to Noe, Konatsu and Yuina’s disappointment; for the viewer, this moment winds up being simultaneously adorable and amusing. While such short scenes do not really permit for much discussion, beyond how watching this short made me recall the immensely enjoyable journey I experienced while watching each of True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari.

  • At Hanasaki Iroha‘s end, the Kissuiso was set to be closed after Sui decides that doing so would allow everyone to pursue their own dreams. This announcement motivated much of the conflict as the anime drew to a close, but ultimately, its staff consented to the decision. Hanasaku Iroha‘s main strength lay in making full use of its twenty-six episodes to flesh out all of the characters before introducing the main conflict in the series. With plenty of time to work with, the anime developed a solid story.

  • While Nako teaches Noe and Minko some swimming techniques, Aiko and Konatsu explore the beach, and in the foreground, readers may enjoy the view behind Hiromi as she plays beach volleyball with Ohana(not visible) Sawa, Yuina and Wakana. I timed this moment such that it was just before Wakana serves the ball to Hiromi. Back during my time on the yearbook committee, one of the tips I was provided was to capture images of dynamic moments; this is one such instance.

  • Remember how Taichi and Wien waved around badminton racquets during their final performance in Tari Tari? Careful inspection of this image finds them making another appearance, doing the very same move in the background. This crossover did not feature any of the male characters from True Tears or Hanasaku Iroha show up in Utopia, but Taichi and Wien’s presence, however minimal, is quite welcomed in a short dominated by their respective series’ female leads.

  • Here is a shot of the three characters who are quite similar, and yet, very different. Each made their respective series significantly more enjoyable to watch. There are two other shorts that I’ve discussed in the past, both of which are from Makoto Shinkai: Someone’s Gaze and Cross Road. With a running time of six minutes and two minutes, respectively, the posts had twenty and ten images. Someone’s Gaze would thus average around one screenshot every eighteen seconds, while Cross Road averages one image every twelve seconds. With fifteen screenshots over a hundred seconds, I’m averaging around a screenshot per 6.67 seconds, making Utopia one of the films I took the most screenshots of relative to its running time.

  • Each character from the featured anime seem to find themselves getting along remarkably well during their time on Enoshima’s beaches. While subtle, Utopia shows the girls with similar personalities getting along with one another and hanging out more together. I would love to see a full-length feature with everyone, although that probably won’t be a reality for the foreseeable future.

  • I don’t reserve enough memory to recall last names, but because of the sort of impact that each of True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari had, I can recall all of the characters by name now. Starting from Wakana (at twelve o’clock position), and moving clockwise, we have Hiromi, Nako, Aiko, Yuina, Noe, Sawa, Ohana, Konatsu and Minko. I vaguely recall saying that learning anime names takes me forever because I’m intrinsically bad with names, so the fact that I can remember everyone here is an achievement in and of itself.

  • I imagine that fans of P.A. Works will greatly enjoy seeing Nako, Wakana, Sawa and Ohana in kimono during the same winter festival depicted in True Tears. An anime strictly about the complexity pertaining to that most complex of all human emotions, love, True Tears demonstrates that as far as relationships go, sometimes, it takes dating someone else other than one’s “person just for them” for them to realise where their true feelings lie.

  • Hanasaku Iroha‘s Bonbori festival also makes a welcome return. Today was the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, although given that forecasts (correctly) predicted snowfall, we celebrated during the weekend: there was moon cake and Blue Mountain coffee on Saturday while the skies were still clear, and yesterday, dinner included roast pigeon and lobster. Owing to the clouds’ thickness, the moon was not visible tonight, and I am glad to have seen the mid-autumn moon before the weather went south.

  • The Joint Festival album, released a few months ago, is a two-disk album that features choral and string arrangements of the major theme songs in each of True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. It’s quite an enjoyable listen, and I especially enjoyed the choral version of “Reflectia”, as well as the string version of “Melody of the Heart”.

  • As is convention, I’ll conclude the post by noting that today was the first day of my graduate studies, and I spent most of it doing literature review; there was only one class I had to attend, and owing to some unusual cold front action, some five centimeters of snow was dumped on the city. Tomorrow, I will attend a TA meeting to become familiarised with the grade entry software. Seeing all of the P.A. Works characters together revived a memory about why I enjoyed Tari Tari to the extent that I did, and appropriately, my next two posts will be about Tari Tari.

Discussion on Utopia is limited, as are the screenshots. This is the part where I step up to the plate, and although there’s only a hundred seconds of footage (rather than the ninety people are claiming), there is nonetheless something to talk about. The first thing about Utopia that comes to mind is just how well the characters seem to fit together: scenes of everyone enjoying imagawayaki at Aiko’s shop, staying at the Kissuiso Inn or hanging out on Enoshima’s beaches illustrate a group of high school girls unfettered by their doubts and worries from their respective anime series, each of which had a unique story and characters that made them remarkable. Despite its short length, Utopia captures the sense of fun everyone is having, and regardless of the locale, everyone appears to be getting along quite nicely. The fact that the character designs are similar over each of the series probably helped facilitate such a crossover, and this short’s only shortcoming is its short length. While it’s unlikely, I would definitely enjoy a crossover that featured everyone from True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. With this in mind, there does seem to be an extension to Tari Tari that will be included with the Blu-Ray Disk box when it releases on December 17. This seven-minute feature will feature a new song from the Shirahamazaka High School Choir Club, and the entire box set is projected to cost 28000 yen (290 CAD).

True Tears

Shinichiro is a student living in what would be a dream come true for most high school boys, but for him is mostly a frustration. A well liked girl in school named Hiromi has lived in his house for a year along with his family. Her father was a close friend of the family, and when he died they immediately took her in. She is popular and well liked, always smiles, is talented in sports- but Shinichiro knows there must be tears inside her. Having an artistic tendency, he makes watercolours of her and thinks about wishing to ease her tears. Yet he cannot bring up the nerve to talk to her even in his own home. She, too, is quiet and withdrawn in their house, quite unlike at school. Shinichiro is also distracted by teasing from his friend Nobuse for watching Hiromi from afar, a curse of bad luck from a strange girl named Noe, and being forced to perform Muhiga dancing. By helping Noe he hopes to ease his own problems, yet he seems to have difficulty helping himself.

This is the synopsis for True Tears, an anime that began airing around five years ago. Five years ago, I was completely engrossed in Gundam 00 and my anime tastes were still very narrow at that point. Thus, I passed over this excellent series when it was first released. My interest in this anime was piqued by the fact that Tari Tari, also made by PA Works, utilises this anime’s opening song as one of the songs the school choirs sing. Recently, I was able to acquire an HD copy for my own viewing.

While at home, Shin’ichirou Nakagami laments how he cannot express his feelings for Hiromi Yuasa. He notes that when he knew her before he always treasured her smile, but now she acts coldly at home, and Shin’ichirou regrets not being able to see her tears or any form of significant emotion. At school, Shin’ichirō sees a girl named Noe Isurugi, and after criticizing her for interacting with chickens, is cursed by her. Shin’ichirou is quickly beset by bad luck for the rest of the day, and even sees Hiromi undressing to take a bath. To atone for what he said to Noe, he crafts a chicken out of a tissue box for her. The next day he gives the box to her, but she is saddened because one of the chickens, Raigoumaru, has been killed. As Shin’ichirou notes that she did not cry, she tells him she has given her tears away.

  • The series’ protagonist, Shin’ichirou is a male high school student who enjoys drawing, and even starts working on a picture book. He lives with his mother, father, and childhood friend Hiromi Yuasa. She used to smile around him, though does not anymore when at home. Shin’ichirou longs to see her smile again which he loved so much as a kid. He is living a relatively normal life until he meets a strange girl named Noe Isurugi who curses him with misfortune after he teases her a bit, though he reconciles with her soon after.

  • Noe Isurugi is an odd girl at Shin’ichirou’s school. He first meets her up in a tree where she is picking silver berries for a chicken she named Raigomaru in a coop on a campus. Shin’ichirou ends up having to catch her as she jumps from the tree since she was stuck and could not get down on her own.

  • The art in True Tears is clean and minimalistic, contrasting the high detail, near-HDR environments I’ve come to find in almost every other anime in my library. In True Tears, blushes are scribbles on the character’s faces, a style choice that brings to mind the appearance of blushes in Peanuts.

  • Aiko is a girl one year older than Shin’ichirou who attends a different school than he does and ehlps out at her family’s imagawayaki shop, which serves the pastry-like confection with Coca Cola. She is going out with his friend Miyokichi Nobuse, but instead has feelings for Shin’ichirou.

  • True Tears owns on the virtue that all fanservice is more or less minimal; the story is driven by conundrums and predicaments the characters find themselves in owing to miscommunication rather than cruder means, making this anime more worthwhile from what I’ve seen thus far.

  • Hiromi is a girl Shin’ichirou’s age and goes to the same high school as him. After her father died, she came to live with Shin’ichirou’s family and has already been living with them for a year when the story begins. She has been in the same class as Shin’ichiro since elementary school, though despite being cheerful back then, she now acts a bit cold when living at his home. In contrast, she normally smiles and is popular at school.

  • That letter basically can be approximated as follows. Its contents are strikingly familiar.

Unfortunately, you were not successful this time around

  • “Catch me, Banagher.” On an aside, True Tears has an excellent soundtrack, a trend that will be seen once more in Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. I’ve noted earlier that the series’ opening song, Reflectica, is presented in choral form in the first episode of Tari Tari. The original is even more heartfelt.

  • Noe is known to have a frank personality and speaks honestly to other people. She seems to be able to judge people’s feelings to a certain extent.

  • Raigomaru’s death will set the table for the future episodes: for the present, it seems that Shin’ichirou will act as his ‘replacement’ for the present. The theme of tears is a recurring one, as well; it will be curious to see what prompts this particular notion in upcoming episodes. It’s time to stop blogging and watch more episodes, seeing as all of them are ready to roll 🙂

True Tears distinctly feels different compared to the rest of my anime, featuring animation with a water colour-like composition. The first episode of an anime usually makes or breaks whether I will give the show a chance; typically, the deciding factor in the quality of the exposition is determined primarily by how well the characters and settings are established. Thus, Noe’s appearance sets the stage for the remainder of the series, and with her yet-to-be-explained motive of “collecting tears”, I foresee an interesting romance-drama series that seems to be organised similar to CLANNAD and Kanon sans the supernatural elements.