The Right Stuf International isn't only an e-tailer famous for their
weekly anime sales (for more info check out Wen-Tsai's Anime Bargains section
in the latest edition of Anime
Talk, DVDTalk's own column devoted to all things anime. [End
of shamless plug]) they also release anime on DVDs. Their latest
project is a series that falls into the "cute" genre of anime, To Heart.
This is one of those shows were everything is relaxed and the biggest problem
facing the protagonists is if they'll get to school on time. I wouldn't
want to be limited to watching only this type of program, but To Heart
makes a nice change of pace after watching a lot of mecha shows.
Akari Kamigishi is a young quiet girl who generally wears her heart
on her sleeve but is very kind and thoughtful. She's been friends
with Hiroyuki Fujita ever since they were in kindergarten. One day
early in the year she dropped all of her books in a puddle and he, chastising
her for being so clumsy, gave her all of his books so she wouldn't get
into trouble. Ever since that day, she's had a crush on him, but
she's been too shy to say anything. Now that they are in high school
however, she's trying to work up the courage to tell him how she feels.
on the other hand is pretty oblivious to how Akari feels. He's a
bit sarcastic to everyone in school, but he's a good friend who will really
come through in a pinch. Hiroyuki and Akari also hang around with
Shiho, a rather loud and boisterous girl who grew up overseas and is always
saying clichés incorrectly and Masashi, a nice boy who is one of
Hiroyuki's best friends. Together the four students try to help each
other survive high school.
In this volume, Hiroyuki meets Serika Kurusugawa, the daughter of a
rich industrialist and the school's only practicing witch. She's
incredibly shy, and speaks only in the lowest of voices. When Hiroyuki
helps her find a lizard's tail that she needs for a spell, he becomes her
first friend in school. He doesn't realize how much his small gesture
means to the girl. When she invites him to attend the Magic Society's
meeting, of which she's the only member, he says he may show up, but then
quickly forgets. Serika takes his careless acceptance as a promise
however, and the young girl will be crushed if he doesn't show up.
another episode, Hiroyuki meets Aoi Matsubara, the only member of the school's
extreme fighting team. This is a sport where any style of fighting
is allowed, and competitors can even change style and techniques in the
middle of the match. Aoi's biggest dream is to compete in the Extreme
Tournament, but she still has a long way to go. She hasn't had much
luck getting students at school interested in the sport either, since the
Karate Club considers extreme fighting just alley brawling and not an art.
To settle their differences once and for all, the president of the Karate
Club challenges Aoi to a sparing match to see whose style is superior.
When Hiroyuki and his friends hear this, they decide to help the diminutive
This is a nice gentle series with few conflicts. The worst thing
that can happen is that someone's feelings will get hurt. There is
a bit of humor, but this too is soft. The characters are all likeable
and there isn't an evil or mean person in sight. Still, it is enjoyable
and a nice change of pace from the earth-shattering battles that fill many
One of the neat things about this show is that it (apparently) shares
the same world as Comic Party. In one episode everyone tries
to get tickets to see Childish an Hour, a band that is popular in Comic
Party too, and everyone eats at Marvel Burger, the same fast food chain
that appears in CP. It's nice to see this connection between
the two shows.
The first four episodes of this series are presented on a single sided
DVD which comes in a clear case with a reversible cover. Right Stuf
added a nice touch when it comes to the closing credits. They left
the original closing titles alone and then translated them (and added the
English voice credits) afterwards. I really liked that.
This disc presents the show with the original Japanese soundtrack and
an English dub, both in stereo. I alternated audio tracks while viewing
the DVD, and found both to be acceptable. I enjoyed the Japanese
track a lot more however. The female voices in the English dub were
a bit too high pitched and squeaky for my tastes, something that is common
in anime but irritating none the less. The Japanese voices were the
same, but it wasn't as annoying since I couldn't understand what they were
saying. Both audio tracks were clean and clear with no distortion.
There are optional subtitles in English.
The 4:3 image was fine. Made in 1999, the program has good colors
but the image is on the soft side, making it look a little older than it
really is. The lines aren't as tight and crisp as they usually are
in recent anime. On the digital side, there is only the most minor
amount of aliasing in the background, with fine lines having a stairstep
effect. This isn't a problem however and it doesn't greatly affect
This disc also contains some texts character biographies of the main
characters, a line art gallery, and trailers for Ninja Nonsense and Boys
Be. There are also some translation notes which were very informative.
These explain the duties of a class rep, what the martial art of kyudo
involves, and just why you always see Japanese students cleaning their
classrooms in anime. They also clarify the meaning of some of the jokes
that might seem a little strange to western ears.
This quite, gentle show, a genre I like to think of as "cute anime",
is just that: cute. It is light fare for those times when you don't
feel like convoluted plots or window shaking battles. Filled with
nice characters and pleasant situations, this is a good show when you want
something that's toned down a bit. Recommended.