To Heart 2 - Episodes 1-5 (The Melancholy of Karin)

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly. To Heart 2 is probably one of the visual novels that gave the genre the 'dating sim' title, given that there's not much else to it. Similar to Konami's Tokimeki Memorial, the series lacks the supernatural stuff that makes many of this genre unique. Not to mention the sex. TH2 is 100% clean - there was an X-rated version released of it but this was an 'after the fact' deal - I believe it was concieved without this in mind.

What is, I suppose interesting about To Heart 2 is that the main character's harem is much larger than usual. While most visual novels I've seen are constant at about 5 (Tsukihime, Kanon), and some go down to three (Air, the anime TokiMemo), TH2 clocks in at what I've heard is 8 or 9!

This proves consistent with the anime version of it that I've watched so far, as of the 5 episodes so far each has centered on a different girl - the candidates include;

Konomi: The Chosen One. A childhood-friend type that proves versatile as the imouto-type also. She sleeps with Takali (the main character) in the first episode, although in a completely non-sexual way (scared of monsters, suuuuuuure)

Tamaki: I'm hoping that's her actually name as I don't recall hearing her called anything but Tama-nee in the story. That's a sign of her high amount of followers, who seem to be enchanted with her rich (in money) background and bust size. Closest I could compare her to is the Meilin (from CCSakura) type of being very, very possessive of Taka(ki).

Manaka: The quiet, underspoken type who likes books, who is decidedly less awesome than usual for someone of that trope. The class representative (by default), forced into doing lots of things, gets convinced into standing up for herself by Taka, etc etc been there done that. Bonus innuendo points for "showing [Taka] her special spot" - her secret library hideout, that is. Pervs.

Yuma: A mixture of cliches but still not greater than the sum of her parts, she's the isolated rich type, but makes up for this by being overly competitive and genki genki. May end up a tsundere as she takes Taka out on a movie date for her "own reasons" (bs). The most competitive air hockey player in the history of mankind.

Karin: The most interesting so far, to me. A loner type, but not by choice. Her life seems to be devoted to the Mystery Club, as she searches for time travelers, aliens, and espe*cough* UFOs and UMAs, that is. Seems to be the genki type also, very upbeat.

Karin, the most recent one introduced in Episode 5, gets major awesome points from me mainly for subverting the Accidental Groping cliche so cleverly. The scene rolls out somewhat as follows:

Taka messes with some boards, which, as typical, knock him over on top of Karin, taking them both by surprise. The usual moment of stun follows, until Taka is smart enough to follow his hand. 3, 2, 1, panic! Taka begins the usual apology x 1000000, but then Karin throws in the kicker by silently taking Taka's hand and placing it back on her chest (note Taka is shaking the whole way). Karin, in a very subdued voice, whispers, "I don't like to play 'what if', but..."

"If I were to yell for help right now, you'd be done for, right!?"

Aha! Blackmail! A great example of what makes To Heart 2 worth watching. For most of the 5 episodes so far, TH2 hasn't been much special out of all the normal harem animes. It's the little moments, where the series handles things differently than expected, like this that make it just that little bit different.

And as such, I solder on, as Taka's harem grows larger and larger. And he claims he's bad with girls...