Monday, November 12, 2018

Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart - doesn't close the gap (Anime Review)

Haruki and Miou
Random anime on Crunchyroll time. Flipping through and stumbled across "Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart." The premise looked like something I might like, even though it was a short series at 6 episodes. Sadly, while not unwatchable, it wasn't exactly well written either and had a couple big problems.

The show is about two high-school seniors, Haruki is a budding filmmaker, Miou is an artist. They have always been close friends but never took the next step even though they both clearly had feelings for each other. Let's stop there...

It's freaking high-school. Hormones are raging. NO ONE IS THIS RESERVED when it's clear there is mutual love. I just didn't buy it. It is pathos with no honesty. Anyway, moving on...

It turns out there is a secret link between them, related to the death of Haruki's older brother. The connection, while forced in its execution, is a classic shoujo-type twist (although I think this is a seinen-ish show). However, it's a twist that not only could have been easily resolved with some communication (a failure of most anime characters) but ends up ACTUALLY being resolved with a little communication.

This means the central driving element of the plot ends up being resolved so quickly and non-consequentially that it's a let down. Further, the final episode has a premise which I just don't buy at all. SPOILER ALERT NEXT PARAGRAPHS.

SPOILER ALERT THIS PARAGRAPH: At graduation, they still aren't together (despite almost kissing at a festival and resolving their hidden secret). So he goes off for seven, 7!, years to America and she says she'll wait even though neither one of them has expressed their feelings to each other and she doesn't know how long he'll be gone. She has no idea when he'll be back, if he'll be back, if he is worth waiting for, and that there is anything to wait for at all. She puts her life on hold with no hint of an eventual payoff. This is 1) absurd, 2) a terrible message to send to girls/women about waiting for a boy who promises you nothing and 3) not at all realistic (people change, people meet other people, people have needs...).

STILL SPOILING: So we have a central plot twist that gets resolved in a single conversation and years of a woman waiting for a man who may or may not come back and has never indicated that he would come back or that he even has feelings for her at all.

SPOILERS OVER: Miou is also one of the most passive women in anime that I have come across. Her lines are mostly "because of me" "I'm not good enough" "someone like me" etc... and even though Haruki doesn't like that about her, she doesn't really grow out of it in any meaningful way.  It's an awful trope/presentation of women I'm tired of. You can be strong while also being sensitive, but you don't have to be a door mat. I'm just over anime girls being like that. However, at one point, she does slap the living shit out of Haruki, and it's her best moment in the entire show. She finally has a backbone - you know until (that stuff from the spoiler paragraphs above).

The art is nothing to write home about, fine, but not great. The side characters are pretty much stock characters and all end up dating in the end like it's a dating sim...wait is it?...checking wikipedia...nope, based on a song...oh...shouldn't have expected much then...sigh...

So anyway, it wasn't awful, but it wasn't very engaging, the characters are all drama with no reason, the resolutions suck and are too easily achieved, and there is some real gender stereotypes with women waiting for men who promise nothing, etc... just didn't like it.

I'm sad to say, but this is a 4/10 because it has some real problems to go with its blandness of writing, acting, and art. At 6 episodes it won't kill you, you're not wasting a ton of time, but there is so much better stuff out there, my recommendation is to stay away unless you like really bland tropey high-school romance. If you like great high-school romance, try Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride - whose manga is also coming out now), Kimi Ni Todoke (whose manga is just finishing up), or if you're in the mood for absolute dramatic high-school seinen trash romance, try White Album 2 (it's embarrassed-to-like garbage, but boy does it own what it does, for good or bad!).

Hit me up in the comments if you've seen "Our Love Has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart" and what you thought of it.

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