Bookmaking: Da Capo

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly.
And another new feature, the series preview. These will be written after the first episode in a series I plan on (hopefully) following through to completion. They really don't serve a lot of purpose other than speculation, so that in 26 episodes or whatnot we all can look back and see just how spectacularly wrong I was.

Considering the first series to get this treatment, Da Capo, is about 4 or 5 years old, I think a lot of you will already be snickering by the end of this article. But don't spoil, whatever you do! Violators face the death penalty.

Da Capo is actually one of the first series I'm watching spoiler-free; whether by accident or not, most of the series I've watched, I've already got an idea of what's going to happen. Whether it's spoiling through others' blogs (Shuffle!), spoiling through Wikipedia (Kanon), or spoiling through the pathetic obviousness of the story (To Heart 2), there haven't been a lot of fully clean series.

That said, I look forward to a bunch of interesting plot thingies in Da Capo, since it feels like the type for it. Text after the jump.

(Although, I must say, on a side note, I was hilariously misguided in my recollection of my Kanon viewing on Wikipedia, being thoroughly convinced that Ayu was someone not human - a Youko, for those who remember terminology from the series)

I say interesting plot thingies in Da Capo mainly because it seems like the type to have one. Eroge or sometimes just plain ol' visual novels tend to have a lot of insane backstory (see Anime Law of Normality) to make things appealing to those looking for more than just pretty (or dirty) pictures. Tsukihime, Shuffle!, Kanon, so on so forth, the only real 'plain' high school romance I've seen is Tokimeki Memorial. And even the anime of that is pretty wild...

Not to mention the first minute or so of Da Capo contains a mysterious flashback scene of Sakura under a sakura tree, speaking cryptically.

It feels harem-ish in nature, in that there are a lot of girl characters introduced in the first episode, who all presumably will interact with our protagonist - whose name, I believe, was never mentioned in full throughout the first episode - in one way or another.

Let's look at the Harem Scoreboard;
Nemu: An ordinary looking girl who fills the role of the Childhood Friend, which is attributed to not only actual childhood friends but now those who live in the same household as the main protagonist. This is because frequently they DO turn out to be childhood friends, and these characters tend to have a very high victory rate as well. Nemu is more edgey than the usual push-over-friendly character in these roles, appearing to fit a loose definition of tsundere. Still, it's quite obvious that she's started with feelings for No First Name Asakura. I give her top billing for the Ending Girl spot, with the main reasons being the role she plays (as mentioned) along with the First Girl Wins wake-up scene. She addresses Asakura on a "onii-chan" basis, but it is explictly stated that they are non-blood relatives; so it's all fair game. Still, characters in these roles have lost many times, so don't count the rest out. ODDS: 3:1

Sakura (Sakuranbo): The other likely suspect of winning, Sakura is a loli-ish girl smacking of Ayu Tsukimiya, being insanely short and loli-like for her age, a bokkuko (which I've found to be an increasingly dangerous sign in anime), and quite mysterious, what with her first scene in the intro and all. In addition, she's quite the energetic pursuer of Asakura as well, giving him plenty of glomps. So, what's stopping her from taking this competition by storm over The Cousin (who often comes close but not quite)? She calls Asakura "onii-chan" as well. There is no explanation as to why, but if they are actual siblings, then it's definitely a no-no for a relationship. Hopefully. But in reality, I doubt that they are. Another detractor is her giving Asakura a kiss on the lips in EPISODE ONE. Interesting development, yes, but maybe peaking a bit early. It's a kiss, but not a kiss of death (and by death I mean 'game over, I win') - that only happens when the guy moves in. Sakura's a threat, but I'd pick Nemu to win by a head for Asakura's heart. Or maybe I just don't like imouto lolis. ODDS: 4:1

The Field: Three girls are also introduced in this episode, but seem to be the type that are Really Awesome, yet only stick around for a few arcs or so. It's a shame, that. I'd hope for a Shuffle!, but I think there was a later series that pioneered that phrase. Wonder what that would be? ;) ODDS: 50:1
*Quiet Girl in the Window: Seems to be the sickly type, staring out a window at Asakura and talking cryptically about how she can't go outside like everyone else and whatnot. She has a cat, or had a cat, that jumped out the window, which may or may not be important. I'd like to think she's an interesting character, being a sucker for Quiet Girl moe, and Shiori's proven that Sick Girls (which this one probably) is, can work, but it's really weird how they didn't show her face, or body, come to think of it.
*Green Haired Sisters: Shown in a short scene where they eat lunch on the roof, the shorter haired one, and likely the younger, has little to no development at this moment. The older one, by elimination, has Mai-like hair and an interesting personality. She seems spacey, and likes to talk on and on about the food she cooked; it feels almost like a cross between Osaka and Miyuki, in the two scenes that we saw her. But, that's likely wishful thinking. It remains to be seen. But I will give Green Mai-Hair Sister my award for Most Likely Halo Character.
*Kotori the Idol: Shown in one scene in the first episode, Kotori is your dime-a-dozen Ridiculously Popular Girl, who is really hot (as shown by her red hair, or something) and wildly adored by guys and sometimes girls across the school. I'd put large amounts on money that she, like most 'school idols', isn't too much of a fan of her popularity (think Sayuri Amamiya-ish), otherwise she might just end up being a boring and/or annoyingly high-class character after all.

That's six, one more than the standard harem size of five, so either I've overestimated someone's position or Da Capo's being generous.

There are two major side characters as well. One's a dark-blue-haired guy who likes to act rather cool, tilting towards the Itsuki (Shuffle!) side of things than the Jun (Kanon) side, always a plus. I hate weak second guys more than weak harem leads sometimes. He seems to have a sharp wit, what with the talk about the Kotori Quiz Tournament of 'how many guys will propose to her'. Oddly enough, he doesn't seem too much of a fanboy himself, which would set him apart from every other Harem Runner-up in the history of mankind. In a perfect world, perhaps he might already have his eye on someone. I think we can handle more than one relationship at a time in an anime for once. (but not 20, so stop looking at me like that, Marmalade Boy. You have too many episodes for me to watch. And you're ugly.)

Miharu, an orange-haired girl with a hairband, seems to be the Scarily Energetic Girl, who is extremely close friends with Nemu, or at least a stalker of hers, given how much energy she pours into glomping Nemu (I must say, Engrish 'Loveoo' doesn't have the same ring as 'This chair' when repeated massively). Her heterosexuality remains to be determined, but it seems that she won't be important enough to matter in the scheme of things.

As for Asakura himself, he's a jerk. He's trying to walk the close line between sharp wit and just being insulting and falling upon the latter. I'm sure he doesn't mean it - when was the last time we had a truly evil harem lead? - but he could try a little harder to avoid insulting Nemu's bust size directly.

In other notes, Sakura has a 'three promise' deal going on with Asakura as well. The first two have been laid out but I doubt we'll get the third until the very end - if at all! I've got two bets for the promise; either it's something deep and depressing like 'forget about me' or something (like the other "third promise" I'm referencing) or something more typically eroge like 'marry me when I grow up' or something. I'd guess the latter.

I'd also like to go on the record and say I'm assuming that the cats have no meaning in the overall scheme of things, even less so than in Shuffle!, another anime where there are Random Cats. I still can't tell if they're inanimate or not.

Da Capo appears to be noted for it's confessions as well, and the reason I began watching it, to be honest, is because Stripey in his list of epic confessions threw up no less than THREE from Da Capo on its list. So it appears to me that Da Capo is serious about this stuff - none of that 'oh, I've accepted that you like someone else, so I won't bother confessing other than in a completely roundabout and why-don't-you-get-the-hint-damn-it manner' stuff here. I'm putting the over/under for confessions at 4.5, actually, since I'm on the optomistic end, and I'd take the over. I think Nemu and Sakura are a must, and of course The Guy's Confession is a third, and I'd wager that some of the harem members would get in a word as well. And what do you know? Badass Secondary Male and Miharu might get some more usefulness than I thought.

Oh, stop looking at me like that, eh?
(Final Word on the Series: I must say, I do love how much D.C. loves to fake you out. Two false kiss setups, and a third which actually happened - out of left field of course. Keep up that pace!)


The temptation to spoil is toooooo great, I..... must....... spoil....


j/k enjoy the series, I'll be waiting for u to finish

Actually, if you go by the "first girl syndrome", Sakura should be the winner... as she appeared in the dream sequence.

Very similar to the openings of Gift (flashback followed by a wake-up scene) and Canvas2. The first girl doesn't win all the time...

Da Capo is one of my favorite series of all-time--you're wise to avoid spoliers, I hadn't been spoiled when I watched it the first time and I think it had much more impact that way. Towards the middle it seems like it's devolving into generic filler, but the ending is just awesome--better than Kanon in my book. It's good timing that you're watching it now too, since the D.C. II anime is coming out in the fall--it's set two generations later and Junichi's in it as an old man, but it definitely helps with some of the backstory if you've seen the original Da Capo first.

Yeah, first impressions can be deceiving. After the first episode Nemu seems like Jyunichi's destined lover and Sakura seems like the desperate and annoying rival trying to drive a wedge between the two.

As more of the past is revealed it becomes apparent that things are not how they seem.