Rumbling Hearts

Title: Rumbling Hearts aka Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Studio Fantasia
Format: 14 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2003 – 4 Jan 2004

Synopsis: Narumi Takeyuki is in a dilemma. He’s in love with Mitsuki, the star of the swim team, but her best friend, Haruka, has asked him out. Being a gentleman, he accepts Haruka’s request and with time, falls for her. Just when love seems to be blooming, Haruka falls into a coma after a car smashes into her. She wakes up three years later only to find her boyfriend, Takeyuki, living with Mitsuki.

The Highlights
Characters: Emotions are down to Earth but burdened by angst.
Animation: Clean and elegant.
Script: Strong, but the introductory arc ends too quickly.
Melodramatic: Most definitely.

I have always enjoyed a light touch of realism in the anime I watch. This translucent yet ubiquitous presence allows me to more easily relate with characters as human beings as opposed to just moving pictures. This, however, does not mean an anime should be inundated with realism. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien has one of the most visceral clash of emotions you can find, but it also has the burdensome emotional baggage that makes a date with a drama queen seem more appealing.

For the large part, the series eschews shallow character personalities and jumps straight into the raw emotions that make the cast tick. These characters go through a rollercoaster of feelings trying to cope with their genuinely heartbreaking circumstances. In a state of psychological conflict and deep depression, lead character Takeyuki implodes and his frustration bursts out onto the audience. His situation is so deplorable that even I pity the difficult dilemma he faces.

Pity, however, is all I feel. Imagine if that neighbor you really don’t know gets into a tragic accident. While anyone will sympathize with their neighbor, they probably won’t care enough to go by their side and grieve for them. Simply put, the characters are so full of angst that caring for them becomes a chore. Given their circumstances, the characters act like any other person would act, and they don’t go above and beyond to actually define their roles.

In truth, the circumstances create the drama. The cast is really a tack-on feature that only exists out of necessity. Instead of being the driving force behind the story, the characters are just passengers that happen to be on the ride. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien does have a rollercoaster of emotions, but there is an emotional disconnection between the audience and the anime. Simply put, there is no bridge between what happens on screen and what the audience feels. It doesn’t help that this show takes the exact opposite approach of Kanon and gives two episodes of character foundation followed by twelve episodes of emotional fallout. Beautiful animation and music and aside, only those who who can stand melodramatic soap operas can derive enjoyment from this show.

Looking at the sheer amount of festering emotions, I’m sure that Kimi ga Nozomu Eien would have been devastating if the characters had been given significant development before everything came crashing down. However, this series is like the fool who reveals his royal flush in the second round of betting: it fails to capitalize on what it has because it is so eager to show it.

The Rating: 5
5/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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