The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Harmonie
Genre: Drama
Company: Ultra Super Pictures
Format: 1 OVA
Date: 1 Mar 2014

Synopsis: Everyone has his own world inside him, and high school student Honjou Akio never really understood the world of his classroom crush Makina Juri. What seems to be an ordinary girl surrounded by friends and rumored to be dating someone, Makina is always just out of Honjou’s reach. One day, a twist of fate brings them together and Honjou learns that there’s more to Makina than just a typical happy-go-lucky girl…

The Highlights
Story: Average high school drama, with an eccentric narrative.
Plot twist: Quirky and unexpected.
Art style: Fluid at best; good dose of surreal moments.

I really wish that Anime Mirai would be held more often. Not only does it serve as a platform for aspiring animators to hone their skills, but for audience like myself, the project also has been a decent channel for consistently good titles. Death Billiards caught my attention with its neurotic game of billiards back in 2013, and for this year, the project’s first offering Harmonie has already made me wanting more from it. While the premise is nothing as extraordinary as Death Billiards, the show left a smile of my face for the story’s sheer quirkiness.

Harmonie is a submission to Anime Mirai 2014 made by Ultra Super Pictures, a fairly new production studio with a few titles to boast in its portfolio. The studio is perhaps the least known candidate in the project - the most high-profiled one being perhaps A-1 Pictures - and it hasn’t been impressive with its production history. But with Harmonie, it finally has something decent to show for its efforts. From first glance, it seems like your typical high school drama: an introverted boy is infatuated with the popular girl in the class. What sets itself apart from others in the genre though, is a plot twist that turns out to be a blessing in disguise for protagonist Honjou and results in an amusing and happy ending.

The visuals also plays an important part in making Harmonie a success. The crisp artwork and fluid animation is something akin to that of a Madhouse Studios production, but the highlight is the short dreamy sequence surrounding the overarching namesake harmony. This sequence is a good example of how dreams look and feel like: vivid yet blurry, and everlasting but fleeting at the same time. Some shows seem to overdo its highlight moments, but here it is executed well with the right balance of visuals and light music.

Anime Mirai has been around for a few years, and through the years, there have been a fair share of great productions. While it is still early for me to judge if 2014 is a good year for the project, Harmonie is a good sign of what’s to come for the next three. I just wish that I can see more of it on a regular basis. Decent anime that gets the basics right are somewhat becoming a rarity these days. With an initiative such as this still ongoing, I certainly wish I continue to enjoy more works by ambitious animators whom I hope will push the envelope even further in the future.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: AC

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