The second volume of To Heart includes three more episodes from
this cute series. While the tone is very sedate and calm, the program
has its moments and is safe for children. This time around Akari
and Hiroyuki participate in their school's athletic day, have a misunderstanding,
and discover that a classmate has an interesting ability.
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.
Hiroyuki 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, Lemmy, 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.
The first episode features the school's athletic day. A tradition
at Japanese schools, having an athletic day episode is also pretty much
mandatory in anime shows that take place at schools. It will surprise
no one who has seen much anime that Akari and Hiroyuki's class is neck
and neck for first place through out the episode. Akari starts to
worry that Hiroyuki doesn't have enough spirit and wonders why he won't
cheer his classmates on. Could there be a reason?
Next Hiroyuki meets Rio, a girl who delivers newspapers in his neighborhood.
She's a bit awkward and is really afraid of dogs though they seem to like
her. When Hiroyuki helps her out of a scrape, they start talking
and the young man agrees to go shopping with the papergirl in order to
pick out a birthday present for her brother. When Shiho finds out
the two are going out on the town, she reports it to Akari who fears that
Hiroyuki may have fallen for another.
In the final episode on the disc, Akari and Shiho meet Kotone Himekawa.
She's a tall and very shy girl who doesn't want to have anything to do
with the two friends. Shiho's gossip network goes to work and she
discovers that Kotone is shunned by her classmates because she can see
the future. The problem is she can only see bad things that are going
to happen to people that she likes. She feels responsible for these
events, as if she's the cause of them, and so the psychic young girl tries
to keep away from everyone. She is a growing girl however, and she's
developed a crush on Masashi. She'd really like to attend his soccer
games, but she's afraid of what might happen if she does.
This volume was pretty much like the first one. If you enjoyed
that one, you'll dig this one too. The addition of psychic phenomenon
didn't really work too well however. In a series that is trying to
be realistic, having someone who can see the future only reminds viewers
that this is just a show. Even the magic from the first episode was
portrayed as just a girl goofing around with some old books. (The
only thing she was able to do is maybe make a dim light appear.)
I didn't really understand why Kotone was afraid to have friends either.
I'd think she'd want to warn them of the trouble that was ahead.
All in all that wasn't a well thought out episode.
I was also pretty disappointed that there were only three episodes on
this volume, but the price point is low enough that I won't lower my rating
because of that.
The next three 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
high pitched and squeaky especially when they were excited, 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. There are also some
translation notes which were very informative. These explain some
of the traditions that often take place during school athletic days (including
playing Turkey in the Straw during the closing ceremonies) and they
also clarify the meaning of some of the jokes that might seem a little
strange to western ears.
New to this volume is a pair of "mini episodes". These three minute
shorts (with two additional minutes of credits) take place outside of the
show's continuity (in one all of the students become terribly rich) and
weren't actually that entertaining. It was nice that they included
them however, as I'd be the first to complain if something like this was
This volume is a lot like the first one, only one episode shorter.
A quiet, gentle show, it is a nice change of pace from the usual frantic
anime series. Though the show won't ever have a legion of fans, it
still makes for enjoyable viewing. Recommended.