At Least It Was Free: Rumbling Hearts

An accident, guilt, memories lost.

Will these friends ever learn to heal?

Usually this blog is my forum to gush about the various anime and manga that I’m gaga about. Today I’m actually reviewing, for the first time, an anime series that I don’t care for. Shocking, I know! But there had to be some out there. This one in particular is called Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, or Rumbling Hearts.

The story goes a little something like this: four high school friends are living full, happy lives and looking toward university and the future. Two of these friends, Takayuki and Haruka, begin dating after blue-haired Mitsuki sets them up on a date. Mitsuki has a bit of a crush on Takayuki herself, but refuses to act on it out of loyalty to her shy friend Haruka. (The fourth friend, a boy named Shinji, doesn’t play a very big role in this story until much closer to the end of the series). Despite the possibility that Takayuki might have a bit of a crush on Mitsuki as well, he begins dating Haruka, and things progress rather smoothly until *dum dum DAAAAA!* the accident.

One day while waiting at the train station for notoriously late Takayuki, Haruka is hit by a car that spins out of control and ends up in a coma. Takayuki, who was late because he ran into Mitsuki and took the time to buy her a ring from a street vendor for her birthday, immediately develops post-traumatic stress disorder as soon as he arrives on the scene and is confronted by the sight of Haruka’s bloodied hair ribbons. Flash forward to three years later: Mitsuki has nursed Takayuki through the worst of his disorder, and the two of them are now dating. Akane, Haruka’s younger sister, discovered this fact several years before, and despite first admiring her sister’s friends, she now hates them and tells them not to visit Haruka in the hospital, feeling that they have betrayed her sister. However, Haruka finally wakes up and requests to see Takayuki, because she doesn’t realize how much time has passed and still believes that Takayuki is her boyfriend and all of them are still in high school. Under the doctor’s orders, Takayuki plays along, and finds himself falling back in love with Haruka. But what about Mitsuki?

Like an anime version of The Big Chill, only crappier.

One word sums up what I most dislike about this anime: melodrama. There were some situations packed with so much emotional angst that it just seemed to come off as ridiculous and unbelievably fake. This series felt like it was trying too hard in every aspect, from the awkward sex scenes to Haruka’s nagging and childish requests. While I have nothing against more “realistic” anime, either do it fully or stay within the realm of fantasy. What’s a character with huge blue superheroine hair doing in a realistic anime? Why are the situations that these characters are put into so outlandish and fake? Perhaps it’s because this series is based on a video game by âge instead of a manga, but I just couldn’t get emotionally invested in either the story or the characters, most of whom I felt were irritating or wishy-washy. The only saving grace, in my opinion, was Ayu, one of the two comic relief waitresses who works at the same restaurant as Takayuki. She despises him and is constantly spewing obscenities at Takayuki, which I could appreciate as Takayuki annoys me as well.

This picture is just screaming for an off-colour caption.

Overall, I wouldn’t say that it didn’t have any value. The entire fourteen episode series is available to watch for free on YouTube (both subbed and dubbed versions) so at least I didn’t have to pay any money for it. And it was an enjoyable enough way to pass the time. Perhaps those who are avid soap opera watchers would enjoy this series more than I did. But the way that I measure a quality anime is one that I want to watch again and again. In this case, one round of Rumbling Hearts was more than enough for me.

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