Title: Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na ~Crescent Love~ aka Brighter than dawning blue ~Crescent Love~
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2006 – 21 Dec 2006
Synopsis: It has been several generations since the war between Earth and the Sphere Kingdom located on the moon has ended, but tensions between the two civilizations remain. In order to learn more about Earth and improve relations between the two peoples, the princess of the Sphere Kingdom, Feena Fam Earthlight travels to the planet for a home stay with normal high school student Asagiri Tatsuya and his two sisters. However, Feena and Tatsuya have met once before…
Romance: Could have been much worse.
Comedy: Couldn’t have been much worse.
Animation: Laughably inconsistent.
Plot: So predictable it hurts.
Ending: Deus ex machina… our saviour.
Forgive me if this seems less like a review than a list of complaints, but that’s all I really have for Yoakena. Everything about this anime, from its execution to its plot and characters is terribly underwhelming, culminating in an anime that is absolutely forgettable. Yoakena embodies everything that is wrong with the shounen romance genre and, unlike most other titles in the genre, doesn’t even bother to look pretty while doing so.
Yoakena has such a lengthy list of flaws it’s difficult to decide where to begin. The animation is incredibly inconsistent, at its worst an absolute joke which has become Yoakena’s defining feature. After watching a few episodes, particularly in the middle of the series, it becomes easy to suspect that corners were cut in the production of the animation to save the budget. The lackluster animation did manage to draw a few laughs from me, which is more than I can say about the comedy. Numerous episodes in the first half of the series are wasted on comedic filler which add very little to the characters and plot and barely qualify as entertainment. Most jokes consist of a slapstick, lowest-common-denominator brand of humour and many are repeated several times an episode (Natsuki-hit-Jin wore thin after one episode, why did we need to see it again in the other eleven?).
The series was almost half over before Yoakena decided to even begin focusing on its plot. Even once the plot began to progress, it had issues. The biggest problem faced by Yoakena’s story is that the two lead characters are tepid and boring. Tatsuya, in particular, is about as generic a male lead as one can find. The main antagonist in the story is evil purely for the sake of it and most of the side characters are flat, serving only as waypoints for the progression of the plot. It’s hard to create a compelling love story between such cookie-cutter characters, but the writers worked with what they had and delivered a romance that, well, isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen. However, they stuff up the rest of the plot by following a predictable path and then finishing with one of the most horrendous deus ex machina endings I’ve seen since My HiME.
The attempted, mind-numbing comedy always dogs Yoakena, even into the final episodes. Attempts at drama are spoiled by misplaced comic relief, making it very difficult to take Yoakena’s dreary, predictable plot seriously. As a romance, this wasn’t the worst thing I ever saw, (more interesting lead characters would have helped) but as a comedy and as a visual presentation this thing was pathetic. You know there’s something wrong with a series when its most talked about aspect is a poorly drawn vegetable that makes a twenty second appearance.
The Rating: 3
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun