Friday, June 8, 2007

Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora - complete

(Originally 28 March 2007)

I'm going on Ayako subs on this one, which are…maybe not the greatest (an understatement), but they have first mover advantage. Maybe I'll reconsider my lack of opinion if I get Static-Subs or WinD subs, but that's only if I feel inclined to take another run at this series.

I don't despise KyoSora, not on any kind of scale approaching Saikano, but a root cause of detachment in both was on account of their lead(s). Saikano had a loser for a male lead and a crybaby for a female lead, and all the good characters were secondary cast and thus cannon fodder. KyoSora has a cry-bigot for a female lead, and some attempt at a callous persona for a male lead. Good characters were not developed to their full potential. If the characters aren't compelling it's hard to earn that trust necessary to suspend disbelief. Following that, the lack of backstory, poor dialogue (which also strongly contributes to character), and irrelevant events, not only become less forgivable, they become irritating.

The other gripe was there weren't any powerful moments. There were decent moments towards the end (i.e. the last episode), but they were the result of either knowing the story of Chikane and Himeko from KnM, or the fact that I find non-casual goodbyes (even really long drawn out ones) generally touching. Love confessions over the course of the series were trite. The Kaon x Himiko confession scene against the same kind of gold background in KnM had zero effect on me. The dialogue just wasn't there, and neither was there any build up. All it was was an event, which is to say, an unmemorable scene among a sea of other unmemorable scenes.

I retract my earlier statement about moments. There were also decent moments elsewhere, except they just happened to involve either Kaon and/or Himiko. Did those particular moments have any real impact on the story? Not really, since there wasn't much of a story to begin with.

I'm done with the criticisms. In the character department, Kaon/Chikane wins, again. I suppose that means Himiko wins by association, but I was embarrassed at having to bear witness to her having to play a magical cello. It brings back not-too-distant memories of La Corda d'Oro, which is totally eclipsed by Nodame Cantabile. Mika was relatively compelling compared to everyone else only because she had the most contrasting flashbacks, or maybe even just the most flashbacks. Having a quarter of a backstory, even if only hinted at in scenes, is better than having zero backstory summed up in two lines of dialogue.

The OP is acceptable, light and energetic, with a vocalist who isn't overly cute. I'm fond of the ED, with its forthright lyrics (as far as Ayako's translation goes) and arcing melody. It's a strong ballad, and very loopable. I didn't give much attention to the OST, but the violin piece used throughout the series wasn't nearly as strong as Chikane's theme from KnM, and that violin piece is the only memorable bit.

I considered saving the last episode for no reason other than to hear Kaon speak in Chikane's voice, but for now, off it goes. I can tolerate YouTube if I need a fix.

Edit: Out of morbid curiosity, I did dig up the last Kaon/Himiko scene on YouTube. At first I thought Kaon's dress in the portrait might have been Chikane's dress at the end of KnM. It was not to be, but would have been awesome.