Sachi Koyama is a violinist in her school's Music Club who loves evening twilight, and no longer has to appreciate it alone when she begins encountering Yusuke Kijinami, an aspiring young artist who's trying to paint the perfect sunset.
WARNING: SPOILERS. Necessary to convey the show's nature.
I was astounded when I read on Anime News Network that this show's creator, Yutaka Yamamoto, had denounced this, his own creation; swore he'd never work in animation again; and declared bankruptcy. (This project was originally funded through a Kickstarter-style campaign.) I'd already watched the show when I read this, though I suspect if I'd known Yamamoto's sentiments beforehand I might have been more eager to see it rather than less. And yet, it's not really a cinematic disaster at all.
But Hakubo does have one major quirk that will probably keep it from ever being widely popular. We're used to storylines with protagonist(s) versus an antagonist- some person or thing the protagonist(s) struggle against. Hakubo doesn't really have an antagonist at all. Well, yes, both our kids have been somewhat traumatized by their past- specifically the 2011 earthquake, and the consequent Fukushima disaster. (Yusuke says his old home now lies in the "No-Return" Zone.) But no major obstacle currently stands in the way of these two kids slowly falling in love while appreciating the scenery. I guess there's a message here, that being a displaced person is not necessarily a bad thing, because it can lead to encounters and opportunities that one might otherwise never have had.
Yes, that scenery IS wonderful; the setting probably hits 100% in Science Fell In Love's Romantic Mood Equation, and I share the protagonists' affection for evening twilight. Sachi says she enjoys the sight of "the world dyed orange"; for me, I find the long shadows and lower light levels of evening twilight seem to make everything in a landscape more vividly defined, more "real", than at any other time of day. Sunrise may have similar angles, but morning mist/haze softens the view, compared to the stark delineations of evening dusk. Yusuke's canvas renditions here struck me as very Impressionistic- though he can do quite realistic figure sketches! Sachi does her part to assist with the mood as well.
But as noted, beyond Sachi and Yusuke at twilight, there's not much here. I suppose that Yamamoto intended this as a Valentine, of sorts, to the people who endured the disasters; its premieres were originally scheduled in the affected areas. In maybe the show's most subtly unsettling scene, a news show is presenting regional radiation readings as if they were just the day's high temperatures. Sachi does have the requisite pair of female friends, one of whom seems to be having notoriously bad luck at romance despite her earnest efforts- as is the girl who's leading their music group, come to think of it- but the show doesn't explore any of the other relationships (or lack of them) in any detail, nor does the show really use this effectively for humor. (There's not much humor in the show, really.)
I DID get a little curious about who "Delius" was, since Sachi particularly likes his music. Wiki informed me that Frederick Delius was an English composer whose influences included black spirituals AND Wagner. I guess with influences as disparate as those, I'll have to check out his work.
If you're good with two kids quietly developing romantic feelings while watching the onset of night- AND IF THAT'S ENOUGH FOR YOU- you may actually enjoy this. If you prefer your stories with conflict and/or angst of at least SOME sort, not so much. It's hard to say how many stars to give what is, essentially, just a "mood" piece. I'll just say that if this ran substantially OVER an hour (rather than just under it), it might seem pretty boring to many, and as it is it STILL might be too low-key for some. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Crunchyroll rates this TV-14, though I wonder if this is really just a default rating, since there's really no fanservice or violence. We'll say Mature Situations if we need to rationalize that rating.
Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Crunchyroll
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Hakubo © 2019 Twilight Studio
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