12/15/2007

Twelve Moments of Anime 2007 - #11: Nanatsuiro Drops 12

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The "12 Days of Christmas" series is a joint feature by some members of the Anime Blogging Collective recognizing twelve moments, twelve series, or just twelve things about anime that we've enjoyed over the past year, that really make us enjoy loving what we do, and that is being an anime fan. Feel free to join in the list-making fun too if you wish. We hope you enjoy this feature.

If I had to trace my anime history all the way back to its roots I would end up sitting in the kitchen, staring at a Cardcaptor Sakura DVD.

It was checked out from the library by my parents, in hopes of me enjoying it. I wonder what I first thought. I have to had been skeptical of the adventures of some pink, frilly girl and her plush toy.

I might never know if only because I can't imagine that thought anymore. I consider Cardcaptor Sakura my first love of anime, and as such it's nigh-impossible for me to sing anything but praise for it. (And trust me; I've tried singing the OPs.)

Perhaps I'm lucky in a sense that Cardcaptor Sakura actually is one that stands the test of time; there are none of those moments where I looked back and thought, "what was I thinking back then?" The only crime I could probably be guilty of would be excessive fanboying, as always does happen when there is only one object to be focused on.

It's been a while since I truly sat down and watched CCS though. That's not to say I've forgotten CCS at all; like the aforementioned first love, you look back, think "Ah, those were the days", and move on. It sort of becomes the motivation that drives you, the hopes of experiencing that same bliss as the first time.

It may be the case that that feeling may never come again, if only because the new taste du jour, harem shows, have a wildly different feel than magical girl ones, despite both having strong elements of romance. There will be feelings of awesome (11 more, to be exact), just different ones.

Getting to the point (bloody finally, I hear you), I won't deny that I still have a bit of an urge for the throwback machine, the magical girl days of yore, and although pure magical girl shows are increasingly hard to find, there always seems to be one hidden in the rough.

Nanatsuiro Drops was that show.



12 Moments of Anime 2007
#11 Nanatsuiro Drops - 12
"Sunny Sunshiny Sumomo"


Comparisons aside, Nanatsuiro Drops was still a brilliant flash-to-the-past. A funny phrase for someone who's still in their teens, perhaps, but for someone 6 years removed from their first encounter with true anime, it's very true.

As sugary, cheerful, and happy-go-lucky as most anime tend to be, very rarely can a show match the raw feel-good power of a magical girl show. Sure, you can laugh with the slice-of-lives, you can be entranced by the harems, but in terms of just spreading a wide smile on your face, magical girl is the way to go.

And so, Nanatsuiro Drops being my first return to 'pure magical girl' genre in years, it was something that I really enjoyed.

Part of what made it such a great show is how it handles itself; given it's mixed breed (remember, it's part eroge), NanaDrops is definitely a show different than the stereotypical magical girl show, and it has a couple unexpected surprises.

It's true that it revolves around a girl, her talking plushie, and her quest to collect the seven whatevers.

But when you take into account the twist that the talking plushie and the love interest are equal, the situation changes dramatically. The male lead, Haru, gets an inside look at the emotions, the hidden personality of Sumomo, something that leads to a lot of interesting situations.

If only you could get inside the mind of that one girl, huh? If only you could know their fears, their hopes, their dreams.

But Haru, 'undercover' in a sense as Yuki, naturally finds it a little strange to be so distant from Sumomo at school, while so close to her (unwittingly) at home. Especially when he finds out that he's the guy of her dreams.

It's almost the Kotori situation all over again. Haru knows the score between him and Sumomo. And through Yuki, he can affect Sumomo's personality and character. But, of course, who would be calm in such a situation?

And such the tagline of Nanatsuiro Drops, "first love that encompasses you", comes into play. Watching the slow relationship develop between Haru and Sumomo, is really a heartwarming piece of work. From seeing Haru realize his true feelings, to seeing the two of them take their first steps on a date together, it's all just so sweet without being overly sugary.

Especially since the anime doesn't take its time - the main coupling is realized just over halfway through the show, allowing time for the characters to focus on the one aspect so lacking in a lot of romance anime - the time after. It's not just the confession that matters but what happens next; the moments spent together, the nervous happiness, the first kiss, so on.

And Nanatsuiro Drops shows this well, developing Sumomo - and Haru - through both her magical girl and her romantic adventures. Somehow, seeing a shy girl transform into a confident, smiling beauty never gets old, and Sumomo makes up quite a bit of ground by overcoming her fears and worries.

Isn't that what magical girl shows are all about? A theme that can appeal to a lot of people, not just the preteen girls, but the outspoken otaku in all of us. Who doesn't wish they could be a little more confident? A little more optomistic, more sure of themselves?

Add that to the fact that magical girl shows end well - period - and you've got a recipe for a smile-inducing show, which is why - finally - I induct the final insert song of Nanatsuiro Drops, the 12th episode, to the list of Anime Moments of 2007.

It's after the resolution, after the climax of the story. Everything's right with the world. Haru's back and together with Sumomo. And then, when they go for the Kiss of Conclusion, the song kicks in and we cut to the Happy Montage.

It's tacky, been-there-done-that, true. But like the rest of the show, it's just so unabashedly joyous, so cheerful a moment that you can't help but smile along with it.

All the happy times of the characters, of the show, flood back in the moment, as you realize that the show is coming to an end, and finally, with all the story resolved, you can just revel in the moment, in the beautiful story of one girl, one guy-slash-plush-toy, and the magical first love that encompassed all of us.

-CCY

5 comments:

xXMikotoNakadaiXx said...
December 16, 2007 at 9:08 AM
 

As much as I loved CCS, the only thing that got me the "blast from the past" feeling in Nanatsuiro Drops was there it was a magical girl, in an outfit similiar to one of the outfits Sakura wore, and she has a cute little animal as a sidekick (but in contrast to Cerberus, "Yuki-chan"'s true form wasn't anything to be... feared about)

Yeah...in story, maybe NanaDrops and CCS aren't exactly the same.

But the characters of Sumomo and Sakura are somewhat similar (although Sumomo tilts towards crybaby at times), and both shows really give off big "feel-good" vibes to me.

I should finish watching this.

Also note that Nanatsuiro Drops was originally an eroge, so the fact that it embodies the mahou shoujo spirit so well is pretty surprising.

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