One: To The Shining Season
Okay, there's this guy who lost someone important to him when he was a child. There was a girl who consoled him at the time, and now he's trying to find her. Which girl is she, and why do all these other girls have false memories of being with him? How many times do we have to watch that damn flashback of his childhood? And why should we care?
I am getting really sick of these dating sim anime that are trying to be all 'dramatic' these days. Yeah, it's generally a good thing to have some sort of solid emotional drama in a series, but the problem is that dating sim titles like One are so contrived in concept, that they invariably get it wrong.
In the original game, I imagine, the protagonist (so cookie-cutter generic that I've completely forgotten his name) apparently has the choice of dating all these various girls, all of whom are potentially his childhood friend. Well, you can't do that in anime, so instead, the anime storyline follows the girl's point of view, and rules her out as that childhood friend when she magically doesn't remember the past, in a sort of fantasy mystery thing that could have been clever, but isn't.
Unfortunately, it's merely an excuse to flash back to the main character's childhood, to the tune of at least twice (sometimes three times) per episode. Which means that we get to see the same five minutes of footage something like ten or twelve times during the course of this series. In fact, you could say that this entire anime has just five minutes worth of actual plot, which is just horrible for one hundred minutes worth of anime. You could fast forward through this entire anime, and not lose a thing.
While the characters are kinda cute, they have no personality beyond the standard cliches of dating simulation. Their entire identifying characteristics seem to rely on the musical instruments they play, and this quickly gets boring. You'll notice I don't name any characters in this review - and that's exactly how memorable they are.
Technically, the art is rather nice, being in traditional analog style rather than CG. The music is mostly forgettable, though, and the animation itself isn't stretched at all, in fact relying on that same damn flashback scene to save the studio's budget.
And the ending just left me cold. I remember sitting through the credits thinking, "That's it? That's the whole point of this show? I want my money back!!!" It wasn't even romance at that point, it was just the characters repeating some stupid mantra, like "Love is forever" or something like that. More like, "This series is forever."
I simply do not understand the appeal of a genre in which you get to watch boring young girls do nothing in the middle of nowhere. At least Comic Party has the whole doujinshi subculture to work from, and Tokimeki Memorial has a cast of quirky, likable characters who are actually interesting. One: To The Shining Season has neither, and I resent losing the one hundred minutes I spent watching this, primarily because I, unlike the target audience of this show, have a social life.
One: the number of stars I award to this boring, listless anime. People who like stuff like Kanon and Kokoro Library might add two stars, I guess. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: There's no hentai in here, though I almost wish there were. One background character dies, but other than that, nothing objectionable (or worth mentioning).
Version(s) Viewed: R2 DVD, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (4/4)
One: To The Shining Season © 2001 KSS
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