Hanasakeru Seishonen Review

hanasakeru_seishounen_ostStory:
Kajika has lived a rather unusual life, growing up the daughter of a rich business man with ties to the oil industry, she lived for most of her life on an isolated island with only a family friend and tiger as company. When she leaves that safety for Japan, she never expected her introduction to “normal life” to be so short as her father soon involves her in a “game” to find her future husband…

Violence:
There’s a small amount of this over the nearly 40 episode run as political intrigue and civil war are large arcs. The blood is rarely seen and when you do see it, the amount isn’t over-the-top and the focus doesn’t linger.

Language:
Nothing extreme here. In fact, d-mn might be the only common one, but even then entire episodes can go by without an issue so it’s pretty light over the entire series.

Nudity:
This is where my YA rating comes in. We are spared actual nudity for much of the show, with the only straight offenders being still “art” scenes where a character is nude and curled up so no details are shown. However, there is a plot arc of two characters obviously having sex. We don’t see anything, but it’s pretty obvious what they did. The show handles this arc in a very tasteful manner, but it might be an uncomfortable topic for younger viewers to face if you don’t see it coming first.

Theology/mythology:
This is a strange one as the lead has ideas about reincarnation that she talks about quite a bit. A main arc of the show also deals with a country that views their rulers as god(s) and have an entire religious system built around that. If these kinds of topics make you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this one as this topic comes up pretty regularly.

Personal impression:
This is one of those shows I wanted to like far more than I actually did. And I can truly say it’s a real shame and a half.
If you’re new, I love a solid plot containing political intrigue. And this is something we don’t get much of in the shoujo genre. But this title had a LOT of it. Which should have made me happy, right? Well, the issues, as usual with shoujo works, were entirely due to the characters. And the sickest part was that the lead should have been an exception to the usual “listless/powerless girl everyone loves” stereotype. But… she wasn’t? For while she seemed to have a lot of agency and power, all of her actions centered on the male leads and no one else. It didn’t help that she was also the enraging “naive girl” type on top of that. She would occasionally display moments of wisdom and such but only when the plot called for it and it became less and less common as the show progressed. Her actions are incredibly selfish at all times and she never learns better by the end of the show. In fact, the show seems to push the message of “follow your heart” BS to the end. Which, I’m not entirely against, but when it’s a message not balanced with the idea of considering others and safety and basic common sense? Not a fan.
In the end, I think the lead’s many issues come from the faulty idea that a “strong” character means a pushy or bossy one that simply bullies her way through everything. The fact that she was interchangeably smart and insanely stupid for the plot’s convenience doesn’t help at all.
And yes the male leads are cliche. At this point I expect nothing else from this genre so there ya go.
As for art and music, both were reasonably stable, though mediocre throughout. The opening and ending were forgettable and while I liked the political stuff going on in the last part of this show, the drama caused by the lead’s stupidity made it far less enjoyable than it could have been. But, hey, the romance actually gets a conclusion, another rare thing for this genre. So… woowho?

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 39
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Romance, drama, action
Company: NHK
Production: Pierrot Co ltd
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

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Natsuyuki Rendezvous Review

Natsuyuki RendezvousStory:
Rokka’s husband died young, leaving her his flowershop and numerous sad memories of promises left unfulfilled. When a young man joins her staff and falls in love with her, she has to reevaluate if she wants to try love again or remain a widow… Having her dead husband’s ghost hovering around her all the time, unbeknownst to her, isn’t helping things for her new love interest either. He can see the ghost. And the ghost isn’t pleased with his wife being hit on.

Violence:
Pretty much non-existent. However, death is a big element of this story so keep that in mind.

Language:
Another section that isn’t too bad. A few d-mns and a rare b-word but overall gentle on the language.

Nudity:
This is where the rating comes in. Although full on nudity doesn’t really happen, it’s super obvious that two characters have sex at one point and one character even straight up asks another for sex. It’s not done in a gross manor, but this show is definitely not shy about this topic and thus I feel it’s really best suited for older audiences.

Theology/mythology:
Ok, we can’t get around the ghost thing. Rokka’s dead husband shows up immediately and the idea of being possessed and such plays a huge role in the plot. If themes like death and ghosts and spirits make you uncomfortable in any way, skip this.

Personal impression:
This is a slow but very sweet show. And I don’t mean sweet like My Love Story or Snow White with the Red Hair. I mean sweet as in gentle and soft. The romance takes time and, because it’s between two adults, one of whom has quite a bit of baggage, it’s rather mature. Commitment for the long haul is a huge aspect of this romance, rather than the usual focus simply on feelings alone.
My big negative on this show falls under the typical romance stuff: male characters who feel like forcing themselves physically on a female is sweet or “decisive” and get frustrated when the female doesn’t “just choose already.” Yeah. Not cute. But something I’ve sadly come to understand isn’t going to end in this genre any day soon soooo yeah. These scenes don’t last long but they’re obnoxious.
The art and music are solid fits for the tone of this show, soft and mostly cheerful, though surprisingly somber when needed.
Overall I think this is a solid romance title. While the supernatural aspect of it made the drama a biiiit thick at times, considering how hard it is to cover grief over lost loves accurately, I feel like this show did a decent job of it. If you want a more mature romance and/or some adult leads for once, this show might be a good one for you. Just remember that action is not to be found in this one. At all.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 11
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Romance, drama
Company: Dogakobo
Production: Fuji Creative Corporation/Sentai Filmworks
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

La Corda D’Oro -Blue Sky- Review

Kiniro-No-Corda-Blue-Sky-la-corda-doro-36990533-880-609Story:
A bunch of guys and one girl are entering a huge musical competition for little actual reward beyond saying “we won this huge thing.” Supposedly love ensues as well, but not really and, well, it’s pretty obvious this was a cash grab by this franchise to make more off the well known game La Corda D’Oro. REALLY obvious.

Violence:
There is an episode that shows some typical anime bullying and such, but we don’t see much actual violence, just implied through dialog and tone.

Language:
Nothing much here besides some sh-ts. Tame overall.

Nudity:
Another clear area. Some characters make a few very vague innuendos, but it’s tame enough that you can miss it pretty easily.

Theology/mythology:
You know how the original anime adaption had the whole fairy and magical violin thing? Well, toss that right out the window because we only see that fairy at the very end (we’re talking the last two minutes of the entire series) and it plays no role whatsoever in the plot. So if you’re super sensitive, maybe skip this, but for everyone else this really shouldn’t be an issue.

Personal impression:
This is another show I’d play while reviewing my kanji compounds and doing chores. Again this shows you exactly how riveting, or lack thereof, this was to watch.
Even if shoujo trash is your thing, this show is incredibly boring. The “romance” is a joke as it really doesn’t occur at all. And normally I’d actually be chill with that except there’s not much else going on either. The lead is already super talented, though she lacks a bit of confidence. In fact, the only growth she had was her looking someone in the eye and saying “no.” Eeeexcept she wasn’t super crippled by her ever so slightly lower confidence to begin with. So the change is so small, if you blink, you miss it.
And the male characters are even worse. Otome games are known for their bland stereotype male leads, but this show was so flat it hurt. The only interesting dynamic was perhaps between two male violinists and how one looked up to the other to the point of doubting his own skill set, but the show somehow managed to water even that down.
Then there’s the “drama.” Which is a joke. Truly. The first anime of this franchise showed some cheesy visuals of what people would imagine while music was being played and, yeah, it was cliched, but this spin off left “cheesy” lightyears behind. The musical finals near the end show visions of a solar eclipse. A giant solar eclipse. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. There was a solar eclipse as the lead “villain,” complete with cape, bemoaned how he had to survive for years with a “humiliation worse than death.” Spoiler alert: the heroine pitied him once.
…People got paid for this….
Anyway, I suppose if you, like me, enjoy having some background noise on while doing chores or homework, this is a clean show and pretty toothless (thus the All Ages rating). But otherwise… pass on this (even the pretty boys aren’t that pretty. Just sayin’)

Personal rating: All Ages

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Drama, fantasy, otome/romance
Company: TYO animations
Production: NTV/Sentai Filmworks
Official streaming: Crunchyroll