Title: Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~
Company: Brains Base/Maruga Factory
Format: 4 OVAs
Date: 21 Dec 2007 – 19 Dec 2008
Synopsis: Suzumiya Haruka is finally discharged from the hospital after a three-year coma. A lot around her has changed, but only one remains unchanged: Takayuki’s love and devotion for her. Both try to make up for the time lost by continuing with their relationship, but Haruka feels that something is amiss and it may have something to do with the phone booth in front of the Hiiragi Station where she had the terrible accident.
Animation: Crisp, clean and much easier on the eyes.
Main Characters: Certainly not as vexing to watch this time; more redeeming qualities.
Filler Characters: What were they brought back for?
Music: Doesn’t quite measure up to the series.
Plot Development: More coherent than the series, evidently.
I hated watching Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Why? The filler characters did not serve any purpose, the animation was half-decent and most importantly, the lead characters just rubbed me the wrong way entirely. This is also topped with an incoherent ending that was the result of poor pacing and incoherent development. This is why I was quite elated to hear about ~Next Season~, which tells an alternate ending to the series. ~Next Season~ did not turn out as great as it should – a little mediocre to be truthful – but it certainly has its merits which deserves some kudos.
The first conspicuous aspect of ~Next Season~ is the improvement of the animation in contrast to the TV series’, which I found very distracting to watch. The animation is a lot more crisp, the colours are more vibrant and overall, the aesthetics came as the first redeeming quality for me, which gave me high hopes for ~Next Season~. The same can’t be said for the music, though; unlike the series which offer a range of pleasant songs from Haruka’s seiyuu Kuribayashi Minami, her musical contribution in ~Next Season~ is scarce. I believe her music in the series was one of the reasons why I stayed on in spite of its shortcomings, so to see her lack of contribution this time round was a little disappointing.
What I certainly wasn’t disappointed in were the lead characters and their development. Each of the lead characters – namely Takayuki, Mitsuki and Haruka – seems to have gone through a character makeover this time, and this comes as a huge breath of fresh air to the stale set up of the series. Takayuki has more self-respect and hence has become more admirable; Mitsuki becomes more selfless, and Haruka becomes more self-aware of her surroundings. These changes in their characters are key factors to the plot development, which I believe is more coherent and better paced. Some may not agree that its alternate ending is better than the series, but the climatic development alone is credible enough to make it coherent.
Sadly, while ~Next Season~ leaves in tact the important aspects of the series, it also brings back many of the little things which I believed were completely unnecessary. ~Next Season~ again resorts to that familiar sense of melodrama, marked by excessively dramatic meetings that are seemingly incapable of ending without the shedding of tears. Furthermore, the irritating and useless Diner girls – Daikuuji and Mayu-Mayu – are back with their teeth-grinding rantings and hardly entertaining fluff. Even for the sake of comic relief, the duo once again fell short, not even getting a giggle from me.
~Next Season~ is certainly not a groundbreaking drama series but it has done favors to the TV series. It fixes a lot of the series’ problems and offers a different ending which may seem better due to better plot and character development. Even with its cons (which need to be omitted for good), ~Next Season~ serves as a path of recovery, both for its characters and its franchise.
The Rating: 6
Reviewed by: AC