Title: Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~
Company: Oriental Light and Magic/Gift Partners
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2006 – 21 Dec 2006
Synopsis: Amami Haruhiko lives in a strange town where everyone has the one time ability to use magic when they hand the “Gift,” a mystical force, to the one they love. Haruhiko is looked after by his neighbour, Konosaka Kirino, who harbours secret feelings for him. However, on the first day of the new school semester, Haruhiko’s foster sister, Fukumine Riko, returns to the town after a several years absence.
Character designs: “Borrowed” from Da Capo.
Characters: Main characters fleshed out quite well.
Side characters: Almost pointless.
Logic: Not important in a setting where anything goes.
Supernatural setting: Provides a distraction from more intriguing issues.
Romance: Aided by the amount of development given to the main characters.
For anyone who has seen Da Capo, the first thing you will notice about Gift is a striking resemblance to Da Capo’s character designs in many of Gift’s major protagonists. This is largely owing to the fact that many of the staff from the ren’ai game on which the Gift anime was based also worked on the Da Capo game project. While both series share a number of similarities, from the supernatural setting to the harem setup, Gift’s characters do enough to set themselves apart from Da Capo’s cast, playing the parts in a romance story that is, given the genre, pretty good. Still, Gift has its fair share of flaws. Put this in the pile with Canvas 2 as an “almost good” harem.
Gift has all the generic personalities in all the key roles, but develops its main characters extraordinarily well for such a series. By the end of the series, we come to know close to everything about the three lead characters, including all their defining moments in their backgrounds. By constantly turning the spotlight on Haruhiko, Riko and their past and present mindsets, their decisions become grounded and easy for the audience to swallow. Kirino’s decisions, on the other hand, may be palatable but many of her background revelations intending to explain them seemed to come far too long after they were made, making them seem rash and unnatural at the time and, thus, making her difficult to sympathize with on these occasions. The romantic aspect of this series is handled commendably; it is made obvious that the love between the leading couple is mutual and the way they overcome the hurdles in their relationship is admirable.
Unfortunately, the cast of side characters is not treated to the same amount of development. The episodes dedicated to these side characters are trite in comparison to the latter episodes that focus on the main three, with loose story telling typical of harem anime. I also didn’t approve of the supernatural setting; on many occasions it provided a cop-out exit to avoid properly dealing with some of the darker, more interesting themes that were brought up. The fact that there were close to no boundaries in the universe made it possible for almost anything to happen, which meant that a number of the plot points weren’t driven primarily by logic. The first episode is also atrocious, hinting at a series much worse than the one we got, which will inevitably turn away a number of viewers.
Markedly unspectacular animation defines the aesthetics of this series, though the music isn’t too bad. The typically catchy J-pop OP and ED pieces, “Nijiiro Sentimental” by Hashimoto Miyuki and “Kokoro Niji o Kakete” by Fujiya Misato rank among the most memorable themes offered by this series. Undoubtedly, Gift’s limited appeal as a romantic love triangle based on a ren’ai game will restrict it to a given audience, but it delivers an often intriguing drama with well fleshed out characters and a number of timely plot twists. As is typical of the genre, the plot carries a number of flaws, from disappointing, sometimes even illogical explanations to near-pointless side characters. People have called this “Da Capo done right”. There’s no question that this is better than Da Capo, but that’s not saying much.
The Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun