New surprises and more terrific entertainment galore!
Jonathon Turner | Highland Park, NJ USA | 09/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Given that the first volume of HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES was such a treat (considering that it's made by angst-ridden Hideaki Anno and GAINAX), it would probably be a little unrealistic to expect the follow-up to contain all the wacky, off-beat fun and tangible emotions which made the opening six episodes so enjoyable. I needn't have doubted; Volume 2 continues to pull punches in the forms of new storyline elements, character development, and roller-coaster style visuals. Even better, it improves upon the entertainment value of the first volume.The trials and tribulations of High School students Yukino Miyazawa and Souichiro Arima continue as the (need I say it) happy young couple decides to forget about their "perfect" status and enjoy each other's company. Unfortunately, this causes a negative impact upon their High School grades -- Yukino is shocked to discover that she is now at 13th place (while Arima's only at #3). Both are brought before strict principal Mr. Kawashima, and the matter is soon taken to their parents. How the two come to terms with their feelings for each other, their grades, and the resolution to the conflict is both funny and moving.Matters become further complicated when a jealous school snob, Maho, convinces Yukino's classmates to give her the cold shoulder, forcing Miyazawa to realize the consequences of her earlier attempts to "put on a show" for the class rather than revealing her true self. Adding to the list of temperamental, envious, bitchy females Hideaki Anno seems to be unfortunately infamous for creating is newcomer Tsubasa Shibahime, a cute little girl from Hell(tm), who apparently knew Arima from childhood and becomes Yukino's rival for Arima's affections. Scenarios involving selfishness and jealousy are not my hottest topics, but the introduction of Tsubasa is both howlingly funny and effective. It's hard to sympathize with the nasty tricks that Shibahime pulls on Yukino and Arima, yet it builds up to an outrageously hilarious demonic version of Yukino chasing the little brat through the school halls. It's easy to look down upon Tsubasa as a spoiled, whiny wench, but we're quickly given reasons to feel sorry for her. After all, how painful can it be to have suffered a terrible accident on skateboards, studied hard to get into your childhood sweetheart's school, only to discover that he's not the one for you?One of the most delightful sequences on this volume is the last episode where Yukino spends her summer vacation with her first true school friends since Arima. Seeing them doing karaoke, sharing their stories at a restaurant, or pulling innocent pranks on Shibahime are so nostalgic it brings back memories of when I was in High School. To a more unfortunate degree, the scenes involving Arima's friend, Hideaki Asaba, a rather perverted hunk who delights in being a ladies' man and showing off his body, is enough to recall dreadful recollections of being in Health class with a bunch of teenagers making a big deal out of sexual content (in similarly nasty perverted ways). These kind of feelings, in addition to watching the interactions between Yukino and her friends, are what make HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES feel as authentic as real life, even if the multi-faceted artwork (literally!) sometimes reduces the feel to a cartoonish, silly comedy. But I find this to be the only real heart and soul behind the whole thing. I also must say that this wackiness works better than the filler episodes on NADIA did. The filler episodes' stupidities and forced comic gags (not to mention plotting irrelevant to the story) hampered NADIA because it did not suit the show. This problem does not apply to HIS AND HERS, because the silliness and offbeat nature has more of a consistent feel, never reducing one to annoyance when the animation style changes from badly-drawn Saturday Morning cartoon blurbs to the typical Anime characters we're used to seeing in Japanese animated productions.It also feels somewhat like NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, in that there are a lot of elements to recall the occasional surrealness of that title, including shots of busy city streets, flowers, and monologues spoken over abstract images. This, too, felt a bit out of place in EVANGELION when it was trying to be a serious drama, but I feel that adding this kind of surrealness to the show is just like extra icing on the cake. The DVD features the same qualities of the first volume in terms of video, audio, subtitles, and liner notes. I should also say that I'm really liking the dub more and more. The biggest surprise for me was hearing Alexander J. Rose's voice as Mr. Kawashima. He's credited as Leicester Tunks, but I remembered how deep, resonant, and impressive his voice was in RECORD OF LODOSS WAR (as the Narrator). It was a great voice, and I am absolutely delighted to hear him again. Even better, Angora Deb (Leaf from LODOSS WAR's follow-up, CHRONICLES OF THE HEROIC KNIGHT) plays one of the new co-stars, using her Leaf voice to make her recognizable, and she's as great as ever. However, Lisa Ortiz's delivery as Tsubasa Shibahime really threw me for a loop. I didn't recognize her one bit. Given that I remember best as Deedlit from LODOSS WAR, I had no idea that she could voice a bratty yet sympathetic little girl so impeccably. Well, she sure did prove me wrong. The more I hear the other cast members, which include Christopher Nicholas (Arima), Liam O'Brien (Asaba), and especially Veronica Taylor (Yukino) the more I find myself liking their characters even better than the first time around.In short, the second volume of HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES delivers more of the goodies that made the first edition a delight, while improving upon it. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this show unfolds, even if there are only three more volumes to go.(Be sure to check the last episode for an absolutely adorable reference to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO!)"
It's all good -
Donna Hutt Stapfer Bell | Torrance, CA USA | 12/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Music, story, character development - it all keeps getting better with this second volume.The animation is nothing to write home over, unless you like experimental/limited techniques - which are used to their best effect here. But still - if you were expecting Ghibli, this ain't it. The stories are situational, introspective and so real-to-life, you find yourself thinking of similar situations in your own experience...comparing and contrasting. And it rings true - without any silliness, sappiness or insincerity.You want anime for something that you can't find anywhere else - here it is. Real stories, about real people..."
Hey, it got better!
Gateau Mocha | Massachusetts | 09/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll be honest--all the lovey-dovey, angsty melodrama from the first volume had me yelling at the television, "This is so LAME!" on several occasions. I was about to give up on the series all together, but I'm glad my curiosity got me to purchase this volume.This volume was GREAT!It was the addition of a bunch of new characters that really intrigued me. Having the focus shift from Arima and Miyazawa was refreshing, to say the least. Asaba continues to be one of the cutest little yaoi-boys EVER, and his antics never fail to make me smile. And FINALLY, there are some COOL female characters in this show! Tsubaki is a total tomboy and flirt, and an awesome and welcome addition. Maho, a rival of Miyazawa's, added some much-needed "non-relationship" drama to the show when she got all the girls in school against Miyazawa. Then there's Tsubasa, a girl who was like Arima's "little sister" when the two of them were in middle school, who returns to high school only to go wild with rage when she discovers Arima's gotten a girlfriend.The additional plot twists that accompany these new characters really made the series a whole lot of fun to watch. So, even if volume one didn't thrill you, you should give this one a try."
paper_ramen | Pennsylvania, US | 01/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So the second installment of Kare Kano arrives after about six months of waiting. Seriously, Right Stuf Inc. took too long to release the second volume. The date just kept being pushed back again and again. But they did release it, so I can't be too angry. And the wait was worth it.The second volume picks up with Arima and Miyazawa in trouble over their grades. Japanese culture lesson time! The teachers actually tell Arima and Miyazawa to stop seeing each other so that they can get back to their studies. And we complain about school over here, sheesh. There's an episode that really stands out in this one, which goes into Arima's past, showing his emotional state before he was with Miyazawa. The voice actor really shows his chops in this episode, and it's just a moving piece altogether. The humor returns of course, with little Shibahime! Many new characters pile into the series in this volume, but they're all quite likeable. My favorite side character, Asapin, shines in his scenes. His dialogue is sharp and hilarious, it's definitely not to be missed.Overall, if you liked the first volume, you're gonna like this volume. I just hope I don't have to wait a year for volume 3!"