Archive for the 'to heart' Category

To Heart starts

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

In truth, this run was planned very long time ago as a part of familiarization with the harem genre. To Heart is a founding title together with Love Hina. But of course, Lucky Star helped.

The first imression is rather positive.

Immediately, I was rather surprised to see 7 or 8 women in the OP, which seems a bit much. There’s no way for all of them to get decent exposure, or is there?

Hiroyuki is played with his trademark stolid demeanor, which is to be expected, I suppose.

Animation seems rather typical for a solid 90-s TV production. Often the bodies and clothing is basic, but hands and heads are detailed, which was the conventional wisdom in the celluloid era.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Japanese archery

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Girls of archery is something commonly seen in anime. They are not as abundant as mikos, the shrine maidens, but the type is well established. But with all my years of anime I noticed something odd just now. Look where the string of Lemmy’s bow is.

It can be seen plainly (with the help of slow-motion) that after the arrow is released, the string continues to move, circles around the left hand and comes to rest on the outside of the left wrist of the shooter. I can only presume that the bow turns almost a full turn in the grip. Not being an archer myself, I have no idea what purpose this technique serves, but since it’s painstakingly reproduced in anime I have to assume that it’s real.

UPDATE: Reader Refugee wrote to inform that the technique is called “yugaeri” (弓返り — literally “bow return”) and provided a link.

In the shooting form, the yugaeri allows the archer to return to correct toriyumi no shisei (bow holding posture). This is the beginning and ending shooting posture where the bow and arrows are held at one’s side. If the yugaeri is incomplete the bow must be readjusted after shooting in order to return to the correct posture, and that action takes away the fluidity of the shooting procedure.

Refugee also asked, “Why do Edo-era and older farm buildings have large rocks on their roofs? Lack of nails?” I automatically assumed that to be the case, although I do not know.


Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

I opened my Hanaukyo Maid Tai today, and it turned out to contain several pencil boards. Unfortunately, the plastic seems noticeably thinner than usual and they probably won’t last as long as normal ones. Also, no Konoe, but Yashima is there. V.odd.

On DVD 3 of To Heart, I accidentially found a couple of omakes with real animation (in contrast to ADV’s outtakes in Abenobashi, which were just goofy soundtracks over clips from the show — I could do those myself).

Now I regret that I missed the first two of them, and DVDs are gone home to Netflix now.


Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I think the creators might be sending a welcome message here; any girls watching the show should be paying attention.

To Heart: Akari

Shingu: Nayuta

Jokes aside, To Heart and Shingu leave the same sort of warm impression although their genesis, plot, and other attributes are drastically different. In one case it’s all about shagging your classmates, and in the other case it’s about the fate of the world, and yet…

To Heart Omake 6

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The last DVD of R1 To Heart includes an omake which outperforms just about everything I’ve seen of the kind. The Azumanga VSM holds an edge because its production values are significantly upgraded respectively the animation of the main show. However, when both Omake 6 and VSM set out to retell the show with a twist, Omake 6 covers more ground. The VSM cannot really capture the deeply moving spirit of Azumanga due to its short length, so it has to concentrate on the comedy and thus it falls behind.

The retelling is done in a shape of a stage play, with the audience sitting in for the TV viewers, so they get to support their favourites (e.g. girls squeal when Masaishi makes his entrance).

Girls get to execute a personality recap, some of them helped me to understand them better. In other words, it wasn’t at all clear to me that Remmi was a fanservice vehicle (perhaps in the game it was more explicit). These caricatures were very life-like and spot on, with the exception of Kotone, whose personality was far more outgoing than in the main show.

Like other To Heart omakes, Omake 6’s characters are chibified, and I mean really chibified, not just a little bit like characters of Manabi. This probably is meant to indicate the humorous nature of the episode.

I think that on the whole the creators came very dangerously to the zone of “you only need to see Omake 6 to know everything you need to know about To Heart”.

To Heart ends

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

When this show started, I was more than a little concerned just how they would wrap it up after a long chain of “girl of the week” episodes. In the end, Shiho (CV: Chieko Higuchi) delivered an outstanding performance, which was a fitting crown for the series. So, there was really no contest for the One Screencap selection.

The rest is just details.

Sometimes when you watch an eroge adaptation, you cannot really tell (like in Yoakena/Crescent). To Heart is the opposide: it tells “eroge, eroge, eroge” every other scene. To start with, there’s a lot of women, and each of them is presented as a potential love interest. Sometimes it’s rather blatant, too (e.g. Rio, the second osananajimi). Their stories do not intertwine, so it’s not like a show with big cast, such as Naruto. Instead, each episode we get to know one haremette, and then move on to the next branch of the game.

Some of the stories raise questions. For example, what is Aoi’s (葵) pennance if she loses to Ms. Sakashita? There’s none! She did not even promise to return to her old dojo. Also, the point of Multi’s return is lost on me (it allows her to attend the final party in plot terms, but is this justified?)

The animation quality is rather good. It is cell based (with digital steam), and is often simplified, but the corners are cut in an inoffensive way. Only ep.12 is overloaded with still images enough to irritate.

Language is rather tough, surpisingly. Especially I flounder when characters lead me into the uncharted waters of casual conditionals: 私行っちゃいけないです (said by Kotone in ep.7). The insiduous use of casual and capping it with formal copula is something I am starting to handle, but the “cha” is still tough. Anyway, students are advised to watch Lucky Star.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Maybe for Shiho.

P.S. Reading the above I see that I should note, Shiho is not my “favourite”. I cannot stand girls with show business inclinations. It’s a nasty, dog eat dog environment. Which one then? All girls are sympathetic in To Heart, but if I had to select which branch to play first based on the anime, I would probably explore Kotone. But hopefuly the game makes it difficult, you know?

UPDATE: Linkage: Suguru — likes the animation, ignores all the stills and pans.

To Heart video legend

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Anyone who has seen To Heart knows that video looks somewhat bleak. Fans also may know about the massive restoration effort. The nearest to the official story that I was able to find is located at the official website (100% flash — but the important catalog is available in PDF). Reprinted from Right Stuf Catalog – Fall 2006, there’s a article by Judy DeFrieze, Assistant Producer.

Judy writes that original masters were destroyed. She is careful not to mention what was the master for the restoration (I presume it was a tape, perhaps Beta), but the effort itself dealt with problems of the film: jitter due to improperly glued segments, giant white blobs of glue, natural degradation of film, and build-up of dirt. Judy also calls the process “frame-by-frame” and “manual”. The article is accompained by a thumbnail-sized illustration.

All this was fascinating enough to grab a DVD of R2 To Heart yesterday. I watched it but I cannot tell if it uses the video which TRSI cleaned or an independent production. It seems to have some of the film defects, but I do not remember if they were present in the R1 version. Screenshots that I do have on the blog are identical to the R2 DVD.

Although the show itself seems the same, the Omake 6 looks much brighter in R2.

That was a surprise. Worth the money in any case.

To Heart omake 6 in the thinpack

Friday, September 19th, 2008

I wasn’t going to unwrap the thinpack that I just bought for a while, but Omo reminded me to re-check the omake 6. Turned out, it uses the same bleak video that original American release and not the cleaned-up version from my Japanese DVDs.

It’s still great though and I suggest people to heed Omo, although I have no idea what Drifters is. I like to watch how there’s a lot of background movement, e.g. when Multi takes her seat.

Omo on To Heart

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Omo takes a historical perspective and reminds us just how groundbreaking To Heart was. I wasn’t intimately connected with anime at the time of To Heart’s impact, and, seeing much later, took it as yet another show to be seen, graded, pigeonholed, and dutifuly blogged. And it was good. It stood the test of time.

J.P.Meyer on To Heart

Friday, November 7th, 2008

J.P. tells us what makes To Heart different (with spoilers, but hey, how old is this show?):

I can’t quit put my finger on it, but To Heart has a certain something, a je ne sais quoi if you will, the prevents me from automatically hating it in the way that I generally automatically hate bishojo game conversion anime. []

My gut instinct is that the show never really feels exploitative or pandering in the way that shitty bishojo game anime are. []

Which is not to say that To Heart doesn’t try to pull on the heartstrings. It does, but it does so in a warm, organic way rather than by the calculated combination of specific fetishes. Similarly, I felt bad for Shiho at the end when she realizes that she’ll never be able to beat Akari for Hiroyuki’s affection. It feels like it’s because the show actually makes them act like childhood friends, rather than “childhood friend” being some kind of signifier which really just means that she’ll randomly show up inthe morning to wake him up, slap him because he has morning wood, give him a bento, and then walk with him to school. It’s the use of that kind of lazy signification that’s one of my major beefs with most titles in this genre.

I don’t quite agree with all J.P. wrote there (in particular, in praising the Multi storyline he forgets or ignores the way Multi returns to the school to stay, which is a notable weakness of the story — unsurprisingly caused by pandering (to good-enders)). Still, he gets major points for explaining why Shiho’s arc was so outstanding. It’s the blogger’s duty that I failed. To Heart is the only series other than Azumanga for which I have both Japanese and American DVDs, and I never explained why.