For the Team – Free! & My Swim Story | OWLS “Team”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” As part of the OWLS blog tour’s  sixth monthly topic, “Team,” I decided to incorporate what would have been a “Cafe Talk” about my high school swimming experience, along with my thoughts on the anime Free! into one big post over sticking with a team to the end.

While the prompt was more intended as dedication to “Pride Month” and all of those who support the LGBT & Queer communities both in real life and in anime, the generosity and flexibility, as well as the promoted creativity that OWLS is known for, allows me to bend this topic back to its home nature: companionship found in teamwork. Thanks Lyn for the prompt!

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A brief discussion on the 12-episode summer 2013 anime “Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club,” and its 13-episode summer 2014 sequel “Free! – Eternal Summer,” both produced by Kyoto Animation, directed by Hiroko Utsumi, based on the original story by Kouji Ooji.

“After High School, You’re Ordinary”

This was what Haruka Nanase was told long ago and, nearing the end of his own high school experience, Haru is still unsure of what to make of his future. Swimming as early as elementary school and winning races and a tournament with his childhood relay mates—all boys with very much girlish names—Makoto, Nagisa, and Rin, Haru has always loved the water. When they all went their separate ways for middle school, Haru dropped swimming entirely. Now he’s about to enter the real world, all dried up for a life of normalcy.

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That is—until the boys reunite in high school. Only desiring to race Haru after all these years, however, Rin could care less about the old team being together—he only wants to find out that HE is indeed the better, faster, stronger swimmer.

Without Rin, the three boys form a new Iwatobi High School Swim Team, and it turns out that their first challenge is not training and practicing hard, but actually recruiting a fourth member so that their relay can face off against Rin’s team later in the season! Eventually, these boys, bound by friendship, the spirit of competition, and the love of the sport, will discover what swimming in a relay means to each of them!

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And Just Like That, We’re Off the Blocks! 

Free!, like a well-trained athlete, balances episodes of training and technique with bits of fun, slice-of-life ventures and some emotional turmoil inbound. By using races and competitions as peaks of interest (and a way to execute the boys’ hard work), everything flows smoothly and as such makes time fly by. By the end of the two seasons, all relationships and story developments feel comfortably resolved—and that’s all I can ask of most adapted works these days!

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If it’s not apparent to you yet, the boys of Free! are very beloved by its fans in the community, and for good reasons, too. They all have such great . . . chemistry, and truly, they’re more than just friends—they’re family, the kind that look out for each other before themselves, as well as value each others’ strengths and weaknesses alike. Each so unique and diverse, they all have their own personal demons, but rather than facing them alone, they fight each battle as a team, causing their bonds to develop even further. I’d dare say that Free!’s characters form one of the most heartwarming squads out there; if not the best, they’re at least favorites of mine!

Name a Better-Looking Sports Anime. I Dare You.

Looking back, Free! was the first Kyoto Animation show to leave its signature mark on my viewing experience, and boy is it delicious. Not the muscles, well, maybe the muscles. I’m talking about the water—to quote Haru, it’s as if it’s ~alive~. Their attention to how water actually flows in real life is incredible. You could almost call it “liquid smooth.” KyoAni has a splendid color palette, which is bright, airy, and cheerful, not to mention that their eye for the cool, modern aesthetic is top-notch. Color and tone values help to distinguish between scenes of comedy and rivalry. I almost feel as if I’m cleansed when I watch this show, if that makes any sense at all.

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But the boys, oh yes, they are youthful, breathtaking creatures with beautiful physiques. I said it. No regrets.

The seaside OST also provides a flowing atmosphere from scene to scene, specifically those “go out and do something wonderful” tracks like “Rhythm of Port Town” and “Revelry of Student.” What the show’s probably known for music-wise is its energetic openings “Rage On” and “Dried Up Youthful Fame” by the wild OLDCODEX. And then there’s that ending “SPLASH FREE” by STYLE FIVE, a group composed of the five lead seiyuus (loudly sings 50% OFF ver).

For the Team: My High School Swim Club Story

My 8th grade summer ushered in a whole new set of problems: high school was right around the corner, and I was a) waaaay out of shape and b) wanted to fit in. So I was just like anyone else, right?

That’s when I told myself to do a sport—my first one ever—that no matter what happened or how bad I looked, I’d do it just for the sake of doing it. I was considering track for pole-vaulting since a close guy friend of mine did it. Then I looked at tennis.

Tennis couldn’t be that bad, right?

Then summer got real hot. Like, sure, it was 90+ degrees each day, but, early on during my anime experience when I was unfamiliar with simulcasts, I ran into a 30 sec trailer for something hot.

Really hot.

It was other peoples’ phrasing, not mine!

But there was NO WAY I’d “wear a speedo.” Heck, I didn’t even know if my high school had a boys swim team. So I rummaged the yearbooks and did a little online looking and sure enough, there it was.

As the summer drummed on, Free! kept calling be back to YouTube each week where someone would upload the episodes. Not the best streaming service, but I didn’t mind. Anyway, the way their club started off so small and so closely knit, and then the fact that they were STUNNING to look at—I had to do swimming, I just had to.

Season one ended leaving me in high spirits and hopeful that whatever came that coming winter (cause that’s when swim season was here), I’d be more than ready.

Flash forward, the school announcements read off an early interest meeting for the sport. I was overly nervous, of course, but I showed up, and just like a lost freshman EVERYONE knew each other already. Like 20 guys that all were buds with each other. I was already lost, and ready to give up.

Then the first practice came, oh god, the first practice. I received swimming lessons from a countryside town growing up, and so I thought I was a champ at it. But in fact I sucked. Really bad, hahaha!

The next practice came and five or so of the team didn’t show up.

They quit. Each with their own excuses.

Wat.

There were so few members on the team that we were all considered “varsity” swimmers, so at least that was neat. Little ol’ me was varsity as a freshman!

I somehow finished that year improving times meet after meet with the other first years. But my eyes never stopped wandering off to our lane four relay. Coincidentally, or perhaps by fate, there were four of them: one for each of the strokes, one for each of the boys in Free!

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I wanted to be like them. So I worked my ass off at morning practices and afternoon practices day after day after day.

I was even awarded the “Most-Improved” on the team! Still got the medal displayed in my room.

Then they all graduated. Except for one, since he was a junior, but yeah, they all had left me. They left the team, leaderless.

My sophomore and junior years ushered in new issues. New coaches, new members joining then quickly dropping for all the same things, but the core members of the team never left, and now they’re some of my greatest “upperclassmen” friends. Facing the facts, the others just couldn’t take the heat of practice.

But I could, and I did.

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Senior year came. Three other seniors joined me, but then those same three quit the very next day. By the end we were eight strong, but became eight of the closest guys you could ever imagine. We were all swimming Free!.

But there was this one freshman in particular. He was good. Very good. Like crazy good enough to make State qualification times in our first meet.

*gulp*

Then there was me, who had actually peaked his junior year and suffered all season with a young hot-headed coach who didn’t even know what “mercy” meant.

I suddenly felt unqualified. Alone, if you will. Days grew longer, my body grew more tired, and yet my times never improved.

I even remember crying myself to sleep one night, swearing to myself that I’d quit at practice the next day. “Who even needed to say they swam for four years during high school?? It’s not like I’d remember any of it a decade later!!”

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But then I thought about me—myself, that scared little guy who, during his freshman year, witnessed several of his upperclassmen leave the lanes for good. If it weren’t for those four boys, our A-Team relay, I probably would have—

I WOULD HAVE QUIT A LONG TIME AGO.

That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t staying there for me anymore. Heck, I didn’t need swimming, or an in-shape body anymore—it’s senior year.

But what kind of message would that have sent to them, their families, this community, that a team of only freshmen and sophomores were left senior-less after they all quit??

Nope. I was there for them. For the team that never left me when I was a first year.

For the team. 

So I whipped myself back into shape, my psyche ready for any challenges that came my way, because I wasn’t swimming for my own times anymore—it was for the relay, for the team!

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This past spring, we finished seven strong with one of our guys leaving us due to his parents moving away. But we never forgot him, and we never forgot about us.

And it was that fleeting member who got us to compete at State. Relay times are generally left permanently for the team, which is why, when he left, we met consideration time. It was just a few aching days after that we found out that our qualifying time got us in.

We stayed overnight in a fancy hotel, exploring the town together with our coaches, shopping, laughing, making those kinds of memories.

The kinds you’ll never forget.

And then we swam at state. That one really good freshman OF COURSE placed in the top ten. Our relay . . .

We didn’t make it to the second day, hahaha! But we were lucky enough to even be there in the first place, right?

When our splits (individual times) were captured by our coaches and the timing mats, my own time came in:

I swam a 24-some-second 50-yard freestyle in our relay. That is, to date, the fastest I had ever swam, and I nearly cried. We were all yelling and screaming and cheering so loud that we nearly lost our voices, but we didn’t care at that point, cause we all for the most part had swam our best when it mattered most, and ya know,

That means the world to a Team Captain.

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Like Free! tries to tell us, you can be the best swimmer or the worst swimmer, but if you don’t work together as a team, you’ll never win what truly matters: friendship, companionship, brotherhood—they’re all synonymous at this point.

We go about our lives thinking and acting like we have to carry our own weight, and to an extent, that’s true. But like a relay, everything we do is ultimately for the team, for some group, tangible or not, that is bonded together through incredible triumphs, pitfalls, or just good memories.

And if you find yourself losing passion with something, or are stuck with a team that frankly isn’t filled with the most wonderful of people, then BE that wonderful person for the team. Do what I did and work your butt off, sweat your tears away, and devote everything you’ve got just to say that YOU never left them when it mattered most.

Cause ultimately, you, too, are part of a team, their team, and you should do things just like that:

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 This was a very long post (laughs) and I apologize, but there’s a lot to be said about Takuto here. A lot indeed. And if you read it all, from beginning until now, I can’t honestly thank you enough! Free! may be male fanservice to everyone’s eye, but to me, it’s a beautiful and inspirational coming-of-age story filled with compassion and teamwork that inspired me to take on a seemingly impossible journey—impossible alone, that is. It’s about growing up and finding out who you really want to be; about dedication, self-motivation, and life after graduation. Through Free! I made friends and fell in love with a sport, but more that I made memories to last a lifetime, and that’s irreplaceable.

As such, both seasons of Free! are awarded solid “Caffe Mochas” ratings, and should be watched on Crunchyroll or Funimation’s sites for FREE (hah) at one’s earliest convenience. That is, only if you’re craving something really hot.

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This concludes my June 5th (now 6th, apologies) entry in the OWLS “Team” blog tour. Being the first one to kick off a tour of this magnitude is quite a heavy weight, but hopefully I did a decent job, and now we can carry that together, right? Please tune in to Remy Fool (The Lily Garden) as he discusses the poor perception of male crossdressers in Japanese media this Monday, June 12th.

To all the guys I swam with throughout my four years, from the team that inspired me to the one that I, myself, hopefully inspired, thank you for all of the laughs and the memories—this one’s for you. Stay silly my guys. 

And to you, my favorite readers, an even greater thanks! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, once a team captain, now just another blogger

Rei

 

“W” Does Not Stand for “Wonder” in Dimension W

A brief, spoiler-free review of the 12-episode winter 2016 anime “Dimension W,” produced by Studio 3Hz, based on the manga by Yuji Iwahara.

Enter the near future – 2071 to be exact – and you’d find a world transformed and reinvented by “coils,” battery-like bolts which tap into the fourth dimension to channel unlimited energy. Though New Tesla energy company’s coils can be bought off shelves, secretive bootleggers would rather sell illegal coils to earn a living in this seemingly Utopian era.

Not if they are stopped by Collectors, though. These individuals hunt down private companies and illegal coils for a bounty, often living reckless and dangerous lives lit by the night sky. Dimension W enlarges the life of Kyouma Mabuchi, a Collector with a pretty scarred past that caused him to detest coils—He refuses to use them for anything, be it powering his car or a gun. On one particular spree, Kyouma runs into Mira, a robot girl who runs on coils like we rely on blood. As Kyouma grudgingly extends his rough hands for a partnership in the biz, the two uncover the truth of this elusive fourth dimension and how its entire foundation might actually stem from Kyouma’s long-lost past.

Looks are deceiving. Much as how Mira (despite being a robot) is surprisingly more humane than Kyouma, Dimension W has the solid setting to create an unimaginable sci-fi story, yet falls short in nearly every department. Namely, it fails to further explain what exactly a “coil” is. We know what they can power (and what happens when they are disrupted), but we don’t know how they work. And for a science fiction series, breaking down what futuristic concept is being introduced should be the first priority. Now, we did get a half-assed reasoning in the last episode, only to find out it was based on a faulty concept all along. Pretty sure that’s not how energy works . . .

Where this anime does shine is in its characters. Specifically, the leads, Kyouma and Mira. The dynamic between them is great, the vintage Kyouma always muttering “piece of junk” rather than the android’s name as if he defies the idea that coils can produce something so human in nature. In fact, he’s like an old man resisting an iPhone because he knows how unprotected technology leaves folks these days. Kyouma’s veteran past may have left him stubborn and grim, but Mira, for some odd reason, is able to break through his wall and find a beating heart under that worn, red happi coat of his. I mean, Mira is adorable as f***, so it makes sense. Over the course of the series, Kyouma will grow to accept and respect this lime-haired heroine, and that development in itself is a huge driving factor for the show.

The actual plot lacks a cohesive run. Dimension W’s first five episodes are an incredible mix of mystery, high-energy action, and wonder (I even thought for a while there the title’s “W” stood as such), but after an intense two-episode story midway, the setting is shifted towards a location rooted in memories of the past – Easter Island – and the plot becomes unraveling the events which took place back during Kyouma’s Grendel days. We seem to have ditched building on the futuristic setting and the ‘wonder’ surrounding the coils for a lame survival battle with a crap ton of new characters with zero background. Like, what? I thought the show was about Mira and Kyouma and their suspenseful jobs as Collectors fighting off the enigmatic masked cyborg “Loser.” This could’ve been the next Psycho-Pass, but instead we got yet another sci-fi with an unmemorable plot! All was especially disappointing considering FUNimation Entertainment’s first-ever assistance/partnership with the show’s production. I was really hoping for a bang!

At least the technical execution was pretty faithful. Very little has come from Studio 3Hz, but the team managed to pull off a halfway decent-looking anime. While watching Kyouma throw his skewers all over the place was amusing, there were quite a few noticeable shortcuts made. One is that on occasion, characters will be zoomed up during dialogue with solid-colored backgrounds behind them. Another was the lazy animation in the last couple of fights, particularly that of with the show’s lame antagonist. Again, I really enjoyed the character designs and the first few episodes. After that, not so much.

What really got me was Yoshiaki Fujisawa’s epic music. You may recognize his soundtracks in Gate, Love Live!, Yuri Yuri, and others. Watching FUNimation’s Production Diaries on YouTube, we got insight into his inspiration for writing not only DW’s music, but soundtracks in general. Really interesting stuff for a music buff like myself.

By now it should be no surprise to you that I was pretty disappointed with this anime, especially after seeing many behind-the-scenes clips and knowing the work that went into the project. When it comes down to it, the plot is the one at fault. Dimension W had great potential, starting off with strong leads and an impressive premise. Once the ball got rolling, all I kept doing was looking back at the previous episodes (well, that and the clock to see how much more time I had to wade through), and I felt the show itself was doing the exact same thing. The conclusion was also pretty lousy, given that I came in wanting to exploit the coil system rather than the scientists who made it. Fantastic start, but a hard flop to the finish.

“I think things that remain even after time passes are wonderful. It’s proof that the people who made them and used them were alive. By holding them dear, I think it makes the present shine even more.” – Kyouma’s wife, Miyabi Azumaya

Enough about being trapped in the past! What did you think of Dimension W? Did you make it all the way through? I know several decided to drop the show, and while I wish I was able to do that, I’m the kind of guy that needs to see things through ‘till the end. My report: Dimension W will be recognized as a “Coffee” here at the café! Not bad, just a bit too bitter for my taste. I’m still catching up on comments from the last review, but let’s talk more about the show down below! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

 

 

We All Have Dreams (Infinity Dreams Award)

Hi all, how’s your summer so far? Mine is lazy and hot, but I manage to squeeze a lot of fun outta it! A week ago (I know, I apologize for being so behind >.<), I received a wonderful little WordPress notification from Lovely of “Words & Wisdom” which included a nomination for the Infinity Dreams Award (that’s a lot of W’s). She blogs about her life with passion and writes reflective reviews of drama, anime, movies and books. She’s incredibly sweet and coincidently, “lovely!” Thank you so much Lovely for the nomination, and all of you should go follow her if you haven’t already (click here).

She gave me a little run down of the rules and such, so for my nommies I have written up a little rubric. Hope this helps:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their site

– Write seven of your biggest dreams and talk about them as you see fit

– Nominate other bloggers you think should receive the award

Alright! Seven dreams, here we go!

1. To be socially rich.

Not like hanging out with rich snobs or having money spilling out of my awfully-dry pockets (though that could help!), what I mean is to have surplus of people to be friends with. I want so many friends in life that I’ll appreciate quite time alone as a sweet little award every now and then rather than going out be my treat!!

2. To be a well-known blogger/writer.

This is a dream that both Lovely and I happen to share, and hopefully we both make it (fingers crossed)! While she is determined that blogging is what she was born to do, I’m still waiting in the long line of future decisions and goals. I don’t know what I want to pursue career-wise, but one thing I know is true: I will not take a boring and tedious office job if I can strike it famous blogging. Then again, who wouldn’t? I still juggle the idea of starting a YouTube channel to review anime and such, but I always hesitate on taking it up because “what if I’m boring and/or am super slow with content??” Scary ~

3. To travel places.

Another dream we have in common. Now with this, I can confirm that I was meant to scour the whole wide world, and if I could, space travel would be amazing too! Where I live, life and landscape is so flat – can I at least get some city life? More local coffee shops or a better mall? Sheesh. C’mon, let’s go travel! To quote Kaori Makishima from Oreimo (Saori’s older sister), “My home is my base of operations for adventuring throughout the world” or something like that.

4. To always love anime as a hobby.

People always tend to swap between hobbies when they see more interesting things or are sick of the old hobby. I don’t blame them, it’s just a human thing. But I always want to love anime! I hope I continue to support it and it continues to support me with memorable stories and relatable characters. Such a fascinating media that I have made a home out of, to bad not everyone can appreciate it, but there are also those who try – that makes me happy, too 🙂

5. To be financially supportive of myself, my hobbies, and future individuals/family.

This one’s kinda a “no duh” dream, but it is something that rings in the back of my brain. What if the job I stick with doesn’t pay much, but I am happy? Is that good enough? It can be a terrifying thought, which is why it is a dream of mine.

6. To be happy with my future and any career I take up.

Going hand-in-hand with the last one, I want to earn money AND be happy with going to work. Last thing I want is that office job . . . oh God no. It’s a continuous yet true gag I chuckle about. With my job, I want to be creative, unique, and feel needed/satisfied with myself, and that can usually only stem from an enjoyable occupation.

7. To have Esper powers like teleporting and controlling electricity.

(inner Railgun child resonate!!)

7. To be successful and memorable.

As necessary as failure is to develop other skills, I do mostly want to be successful. I want to leave behind treasures for others when I’m gone, whether it’s a novel, a business, a family, art, a song, heck, even my own anime (TRUE BIGGEST DREAM RIGHT HERE FOLKS)! The last thing I want besides that office job is to fade away without a trace. That’s just sad and ultimately a waste and a disappointment in my eyes. Go out with a bang, and leave behind the greatest gifts, ya know!?!

Now to my nommies . . . by the blogger power invested in me, “I am the bone of my sword,” and by Kyubey’s supervision, I wish to rewrite the laws of the universe, becoming Takukami in the process, and award the Infinity Dreams Award to . . .

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY FOLLOWERS! Café-goers, rise up and realize your potential as a member of the Survey Corp and let us awaken Eva Unit-01 Together!! We all have dreams, and if you’re following me, I hope your dreams come true, too. But remember, you are the only one who can make your dreams come true, so work hard! Thanks to Lovely one last time, and be sure to send me a link to your nominations, as I would love to read them! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

50 Followers Q&A Responses

HELLO EVERYONE! After one week of waiting, I have returned with a clear head, ready to answer your questions!

From mirrorpurple:

“Who ye waifu?”

Haha, ok, so I realize that you can pretty much only have one, and cheating on her would be considered very disrespectful, but at this moment in time, I have two: Saber (Fate/Zero) and Sinon (SAO II). In terms of respect, it’s definitely Saber – I bow down, trust me. But if I were to chill with another girl, I think Sinon’s pretty awesome.

From Lovely:

“What’s your favorite anime of all time? Any places you want to go someday?”

Hontou ni?? Of all time? I could never pick, as it depends on my mood. Buuuuut, Steins;Gate does tend to gravitate towards my top five every time . . . that and Railgun, and Fate/Zero . . . Kill la Kill‘s pretty rad, and I’m an Eva-boy . . . >.<

As for places, Japan of course! But that’s with every anime fan. I think it’d be neat to visit an Irish castle or go shopping in China. I’ve always liked castles and such, and China just seems like a cool place.

From LitaKino:

“What was a funny thing that happened of when you were younger? What do you aim to be in your life work wise? Whats your favorite food?”

I guess this one’s kinda anime-related, but whatever: When I was younger, my mom would always take us to our Dillons food store, because back then, they had a movie-rental area where we’d rent stuff all the time. Probably my first anime (besides like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh), she rented a random DVD of Ranma 1/2 for us. For those who don’t know, Ranma is full of straight-up boob flashes, so when the first one was revealed on our TV, my siblings and I just cried laughing, while my mom was just giggling and blushing! Sadly the rental section went out of business, but when they closed they let us buy the DVD for like a dollar. It currently sits on my sister’s shelf with the Dillons casing and everything, a memento of childhood. 🙂

Work-wise, I’m not quite sure yet – it’s been the big question since I started my anime hobby. I do great academically, and am talented in the arts, but yeah, still not sure . . .

Favorite food? Anything with rice. Seriously, anything!

From The Otaku Judge:

“Which anime has the most disappointing ending?”

Ah man, I can’t choose the most disappointing, but I do have one in mind. Also, I’m going to interpret this question as “most un-fullfilling” ending instead. My award for a very “disappointing ending” goes to Black Bullet (check out my review!). I fell in love with it, hoping it would be a new fav, but instead it deteriorated like a creaky, rusty gate. Not good.

And I guess that’s all! Yup! Thanks for asking your questions and of course thanks for following, liking, and supporting my lil’ blog. Become a cafe-goer today buy clickin’ the follow button on the right! Now, I’m shooting for 100 followers! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

In Search of the Lost Future Review

Also known by its French name, À la recherche du futur perdu, I’m a fan of every word in this anime title. This show is an adaptation of the original Japanese adult visual novel developed by Trumple, and unfortunately does not include the spicier eroge scenes. Yeah I know – that’s horrible! But let’s continue reading, shall we?

Public school Uchihama Academy is growing too large in student population to support itself and thus requires a new building to be built. In honor of its last standing year, a General Club Festival will be held in the old building. As the many excited clubs begin to prepare for their festival, rumored sightings of ghosts spread quickly, and the student executive committee asks the astronomy club to return order amongst the student body. While cleaning out their club room’s second floor, dedicated member Sou Akiyama discovers something that would change his future forever – or rather, someone – as lying unconscious before him is a naked/wet girl named Yui Furukawa, and guys, she ain’t on the roster.

Besides that promising episode one, the first half of the anime is spent on trivial filler, such as skipping class “for fun,” going on dates at the bowling alley and of course, working hard for the astronomy club’s participation in the festival.

But all of that is helpless character development. If the show really wanted to build quick attachments to characters before sh*t got real, then the writers shouldn’t have opened up with the same old stereotypical hogwash. Those first five episodes are sheer boredom and ultimately pointless to the plot. I was gonna drop this series . . .

Until the last few came, then I was semi-glad I didn’t pitch this show along with TRINITY SEVEN. Time travel, artificial intelligence, quantum turing and wait, Schrödinger’s Cat? From like episode 7 and on, a dash of Steins;Gate tries to patch up this lackluster fail of a plot, only to fall short with another two episodes of filler.

Because of the second half, I have more love for the characters. At first, only Nagisa Hanamiya proved worthy of time mainly because you could tell the short yet sassy third-year was hiding something. She kept watchful eye of a mysterious black glowing box, too . . .

Then I connected with the wise Airi Hasekura: Sou’s close friend, club president, aikido learner, and future scientist. She is easily appealing compared to the rest of the cast, especially when we learn of the “lost future” of the female lead, Kaori Sasaki, some schmo we were supposed fall in love with.

Speaking of leads, the main characters, Sou, Kaori and Yui, the transfer, are all bland characters. They perform their cutout task and then yeah, that’s it. At least the supporting characters had depth and a sense of fondness.

Oh gawd, the animation by Feel is so attractive – at freeze frame, that is. The moment characters are put into motion, be it walking around the room or running, things just look choppy. In some scenes, characters even lack their original detail – it’s as if the animators had to warm up each day when working on scenes, some being breathtaking while the majority standing as unfinished.

The soundtrack tries to patch up empty space, only having one worthy dramatic track, and thus only assists the show. There’s nothing new going on here, but hey – it isn’t bad by any means.

“Le jour” (“The Day”), the opening sung by Satomi Satō harbors a thrilling sense of mysteriousness and tragedy. It sounds like rejuvenation yet at the same time sings of loss. While “Le jour” is an absolutely beautiful song, its visuals appear to still be in the works as the show progresses. In episode one, the opening is just full of cheap still frames, but by episode 12, includes smooth and powerful visuals of the characters and stars. Yeah. Well at least it got better over the series, right? o_o

The ending song is “Ashita Mata Aeru yo ne” (“We’ll Meet Again Tomorrow, Right?”) sung by Kaori Sasaki (Hatsumi Takada) and Yui Furukawa (Akane Tomonaga). Yet another lovely song that I’ll probably end up downloading – somehow 😉

In Search of the Lost Future follows in time travel’s conundrum and questions as to whether going back over, and over, and over again is worth the hardship and patience. In all artistic and presentation sense, I’m positively sure that the franchise has one of the best visual novels ever made. However as an anime, the adaptation is quite lacking in all departments. Emotionally, the show has a pleasant ending, but it’s not worth all of the headache and disappointment to meet those tears of joy. “We pass by much today, and someday will change our fate.”

Thanks for reading and be sure to hit that like button (you can follow for more reviews, too!) if you enjoyed my thoughts over the 2014 Fall season’s In Search of the Lost Future. I may return to revise this review if FUNimation proceeds to dub this anime, but until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host