Anime: Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Natsu no Sora ~

After watching through all of the episodes in this anime, it leaves me to think about how well crafted the whole series has been from start to finish so much so that I couldn’t just move on without writing my thoughts and impression on the whole series.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na koto ~ Natsu no Sora ~ is a continuation of the Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto (Someday’s Dreamers) series and while it doesn’t have any direct connection to the original , they both contain the same style narrative which isn’t at all a bad thing.

The Story follows Sora Suzuki, a Mahou Tsukai or magic user who travels to Tokyo to undergo training to become a Mage. The narrative is told through the everyday life of Sora and her companions as they face life’s ups and downs through their interaction with their clients who send requests to the magic council for service. Along the way, Sora learns about the reality of life, how important it is and the repercussions of being a magic user. The narrative starts off slow but eventually picks up as you get used to the style and contains a number of plot twists here and there. The fact is, that it is very well crafted with many important themes and ideas which allow the characters to develop essentially generating a bond with audience. This becomes increasingly so with Sora and Gota whom both have difficult pasts which anyone can relate to. Though surprising, the anime is very down to earth even given the magic nature of the story, to the extent where you could possibly switch that out for something else and it’ll still work. The only downside is the last couple of episodes which though is still well delivered through setup for the climax is abit disappointing but is crafted in a way that it tries to reduce the impact from it by presenting it from other characters perspective giving an optimistic look for the future.

Visually, this anime looks stunning. The production quality really shines through CG backgrounds which appear practically photo realistic and at times you’d probably mistake it for an actual photo. The only downside is that it does however give off an uncanny aspect where, for example, a field that looks real should have long flowing grass from the wind instead seems static and lifeless like as if time stopped. There are also times where they break the flow by showing these backgrounds while characters are speaking giving the impression that the video has lagged as they seem like slideshows, but this is only one small aspect that is easily overlooked by the great story and character development. The character designs themselves though more simplistic than other anime are still able to convey emotion and it’s simple nature further highlights the “slice of life” nature of it’s narrative.

The Audio is great with a nice warm theme song “Fly Away” by Thyme whom I’ve come to love and even have their albums. There is also quite a number of original songs played on guitar in certain episodes that adds to the unique style of the narrative. The voices for each character are also well delivered especially Kuroda and Asagi both whom has a hostility tone but you can sense a kindness to them. Sora is especially well portrayed with an innocent and optimistic tone yet still has a lot to look forward to in life. Gota who is hard to like at first eventually grows and matures in character.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Natsu no Sora ~ has been a great watch and while most will probably be shrugged off by it’s slow pacing and animation style, those willing to devote their time into looking deeper beyond the surface will find a much rewarding experience.

Overall – 8.5/10

– I know this post needs pictures…will update later.

Anime: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This time I decided to do a review on something completely different from what i usually do.

The Girl who leapt Through Time is spiritual sequal to a Novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui in 1965. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda and produced by Madhouse in 2006, the film brings together a lively tale of a young girl who gains the power to time travel, though, this isn’t anything new that hasn’t been used in film literature before. Of course, along the journey there are various pitfalls and realizations she goes through and soon enough does she start to realise about her actions effect her and those around her. But does the film bring a refreshing take on a tried and used formula or does it end up back in time?.

The film tells the tale of Makoto Konno, a girl attending High School in a district of Tokyo who, after enduring a horrible day ends up with the ability to travel back and forth through time. Upon realization of this new founded ability, she goes to her Aunt who happens to be the lead in the original novel. At first the ability proves to be a useful ability to correct her horrible day and easy way to fix things but no sooner does she realise that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Further complications arise when she realise the effects of the power on others around her and especially on her close friend Chiaki Mamiya. The story is light hearted and compelling at times and the conclusion really brings the idea of self awareness and maturity. On my first watch however, I said that story felt too contrived and pointless as there wasn’t a clear cut resolution to the story but on the second watch I am reminded of what I originally enjoyed about the movie. The film isn’t action packed and it’s not meant to be, it simply tells a tale of a girl who learns from her mistakes taking her new ability for granted and learning from those mistakes. the whole theme of “Time stops for nobody” in combination to some of the more intense moments serves the flow perfectly. At first you’ll feel the simple youthfulness of the story then you’ll really feel the emotions of Motoko and feel attached and the major plot twist near the conclusion will really surprise viewers. It really shows how much character development there is to her character. Overall the plot really delivers a satisfying feel good storyline with well developed characters.

Visually the film doesn’t break any new boundaries, but it helps the overall aesthetics of the film which is more focused on telling a good story.In this sense the washed out visuals add to the youthfulness of the film. You won’t see much in line of obvious and overused CG except for the time travel sequences but this is probably a good thing as it would break the nature of the film and any connection to the audience it may have.

The Seiyuus each do a wonderful job. Riisa Naka plays the big role of the young and naive Makoto and plays the part well, never feeling too disconnected with the character. The music used is both light and cheerful and becomes more dramatic to the end. It fits with the narrative well and never feels out of place.

Overall, The Girl Who leapt through time is a wonderful lighthearted tale of a girl learning one of life’s lessons and though it definitely won’t appeal to someone looking for alot of action, it still is a very good film and still recommended to anyone who likes anime and those wanting an excellent feel good movie.

Story: 9.5
Video: 7.5
Audio: 9.0
Overall: 9.0