Thanks to feal87‘s occasional recommendation (and being a fellow romance fan myself) it was only a matter of time until I finally got around to watching this series. I’ve heard many a tale of its near realistic plot feats, but I took it with a grain of salt – seeing as it also sports the oh-so-dreaded, forbidden, and angst-bound ratio of 3:2. Plus, it made rooting for the eventual “losing” girl to be all the more heart-wrenching.
Suffice to say, I still made that mistake – to the credit of the twisty-turny roller coaster ride of a love story that is True Tears.
Genre/s: Romance, Drama
True Tears is a relatively distant off-shoot adaptation of a PC visual novel of the same name. Incidentally, the name is about all that links the VN to the anime, which is a little unusual I think – but, the name is the game, and credits are given to the studio-collabo, La’cryma (fun fact: lacrima is latin for tear). Retracting all that I think it would be better to say that this series was inspired by the VN, rather than being an adaptation (unless there are elements from the VN that had been implemented in the anime, to which I’m not entirely sure). The series itself spans thirteen episodes, and aired back in the Winter season of ’08 as the first TV anime series produced by the P.A. Works.
The title is a fair give away to both the plot, as well as the overall feel of the story. There will be tears (on what side of the screen they come from is beyond me). The perpetrator behind these lachrymations is none other than the number one guy himself, Nakagami Shinichirou. A high school student, as well as a talented artist, at the springtime of his youth – who also happens to live together with his childhood friend, and of course love interest, Yuasa Hiromi. That being the case, the young lad has yet to get her to respond to his feelings – much less any other girl. That all changes with the arrival of the series’ heroine (well, they’re all “heroines” but yeah) Isurugi Noe.
With Noe being the catalyst of it all, True Tears presents itself as a very character-driven romance that just thrives on the emotions of young teens. I’d suggest thinking along the lines of “ef – a tale of memories” for something uncannily similar, mainly because both titles went and established itself as a non-harem cast (or at least, the main guy actually struggles as to who he really wants to end up with), and even manages to make those ending up together a canon thing. That could be just a pet peeve of mine, but I like closure in these kinds of stories.
I said earlier that the girl I was rooting for didn’t end up with our guy here, and I’m sure a lot of people thought the same (or am I just a sucker for them eccentric girls). That said, the series has it’s fair share of both unpredictable and not-so-unpredictable plot twists that it becomes almost hard to keep track of who’s “winning”. I mean, there’s also a third girl and a second guy in all of this mess – making for the aforementioned ratio that ends up leaving at least one character with the shorter end of the romance stick. However, all things considered, everyone, and I mean everyone, got something out of it. Hence, closure; and very well done I might add.
Aside from the story, what stood out most from True Tears was its visuals. I like the attention to detail that P.A. Works gives to their shows; both the characters as well as their immediate surroundings. Granted, you (or at least me, lol) couldn’t really tell that P.A. Works was responsible for this one when you compare it to their works as of late (like say, Hanasaku Iroha or Another). I do think that’s sort-of good, as it stands out more than those shows I mentioned – plus the fact that P.A.’s works as of late kinda share too much of a similarity with one another. But again, that may just be me. One thing I would like to point in the visuals department though was the frequent use of, like, these bird’s eye view shots with cel-shaded animation (the ones that look like they came from a video game). I dunno, those just felt a bit out of place. Nothing big really.
All in all, I believe that True Tears definitely deserves a spot among the great romances out there. A true testament against the common misconceptions, that shows that a series doesn’t really have to be tagged shoujo for it to have a good romance story. Give it a try if you haven’t yet – I’m sure eufonius’ OP should draw you in nicely.