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 the picture.
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 left off.
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.