Animation: Fair
Depth: Fair
Design: Fair
Characters: Good
Story: Good

Type: TV   (12 episodes)

Vintage: 2004

Category:

» drama
Verdict: good
Review:

Diamond Daydreams


Summary: >

A legend says that if you see diamond dust in winter and make a wish on it, that your wish will be granted, and a couple who see diamond dust together will be happy together for the rest of their lives. Six girls in the Hokkaido region of Japan have various struggles and may witness to the diamond dust for themselves.

Atsuko works at a fish shop with her mother but financial times are getting tough. Atsuko is arranged to marry a wealthy man, but her heart is in flux as she's drawn to an older Jazz musician she believes is better suited to her.

Karin has been hospitalized for some time, but is scared of the procedure needed to cure her. She writes her dreams on a popular Internet page each day. Recently a new handsome doctor has been at the hospital although she doesn't get along with him. Recently she's made a new friend through email she loves to talk to. Coincidence?

Kyoko is an overbearing film director who demands perfection. She seeks the "perfect scene" but can't seem to find it. Her boyfriend notes that perhaps her obsession with winning an award is preventing her from seeing the beauty in things. Trouble brews as members of the film club tire of her unreasonable demands.

Suomi is a figure skater from Finland who gave up due to an injury. When she was young she promised her friend they would one day share a gold medal, but years later it is her friend who accidentally causes her injury. Suomi's heart is troubled by the loss of her friendship, when she encounters a young boy with a similar problem.

Shouko is a radio personality who gives love advice to people who write in. Ironically she's in a relationship with a married man and can't get her own life in order. As things get harder, Shouko is comforted by thoughtful gifts that are sent to her. A stalker is the last thing Shouko needs in her life. Or maybe not.

Akari lives with her father who spends his days panning for gold, and his nights drinking. Akari works hard to support them, but is bothered by his frivolousness. Her father is diagnosed with a brain tumor and doesn't have long to live. She offers to take him gold panning with a boy who helps out sometimes. It was intended as a favor to him, but her father may give the gift of important lessons in life.


Thoughts: >

Diamond Daydreams is a date sim adaptation that goes the route of giving each girl her respective story, but only for two episodes. It also removes the male side of the equation. This isn't uncharted territory, but most titles that try this approach fail at it. The big issue is that the female role is intended to play off of a central male character. Removing this part creates a problem with the direction of the story. Instead of simply trying to transpose the game, this anime tries to capture the essence of each girl in her story. With an outstanding job at writing, it succeeds very well. Where in the hell has the anime industry been hiding these guys? There's a lot of anime titles that could use their help.

[+] Geography Time!

Diamond Daydreams is a franchise of games for which the title is "Kita e" (which means northward in Japanese). The games take place in the Hokkaido region of Japan. When you see Japan on a map, you probably think of it as one big banana shaped island, but the big section in the north is actually separate. Japan is a highly urbanized nation, but most of that is centered around cities in the southern part; Tokyo in particular. Much of Japan isn't heavily populated, and Hokkaido least of all. It has a lot of farm land, and a cooler climate than what is normally associated with Japan. This is what we might call being "out in the sticks".

For diamond dust to form, the weather only needs to be below freezing, but is rarely seen unless it's much colder outside. Hokkaido being farther north, experiences weather where seeing diamond dust is more likely. Another well thought out point to this anime is that most of it doesn't take place in winter where diamond dust is seen. It starts in spring and progresses through the seasons as each story takes place. The last episode is during the winter when everyone is gathered together for the chance to finally see diamond dust for themselves.

One quirky feature of this anime is conspicuously pointing out landmarks and other Hokkaido features. Especially with landmarks shown in the eyecatch sequences before and after commercial breaks. Does Hokkaido have cute girls with hearts waiting to be captured by date sim enthusiasts? I can't answer that one. You'll have to go there to see for yourself.

There is a key thing to keep in mind about Diamond Daydreams, and that's the length of each story. Characters and plot can't develop into anything overly complex in just two episodes. Having said that, they're very good at what they accomplish. Each girl has a distinct personality, and respective issue that is the core of her story. The anime does a great job at presenting them as decent characters, but doesn't push them too far in attempting to make them overly deep (which would likely fail).

The stories are my favorite part about Diamond Daydreams. They look typical as they start, but go in surprising directions. This unpredictability really drew me into each story, and I think that's a great feature of this anime. Endings turn out happy or bittersweet, but are always positive. Oddly enough, this anime often looks like it's going in a romantic direction, but never quite does. It does get heavy at times, but isn't over the top in melodrama.

Everything meshes together in a very nice package for this one. Animation is ok. The character designs are clean and attractive. The soundtrack is also well composed to fit with the mood of the show. Dubbing was pretty good too btw.

Anime can be many things sure, but lets be realistic: anime normally sticks to safe formulas and schemes which have traditionally been successful for the genre. Diamond Daydreams has the sort of story (and characters) typical for traditional TV and film... although probably more intelligent than I'd give either credit for these days. If you watch anime for being typical "anime" then this one probably won't fulfill your desires, but if you want something different in a collection of nice stories with a lot of charm to them, this is a great watch.

++ Side note: two characters aren't directly featured in the stories, and are only mentioned on the last dvd. They appear in the background throughout the series, but are a little too conspicuous to simply be extras. Not explaining their story beforehand is a shame because it's a cute idea. Jurota is a guy representing the game protagonist. Mafuyu is a woman featured as a hidden character in the game. These two travel through Hokkaido touching each girl's story. They are perhaps destined for each other, but never quite meet. The last episode brings everyone together, including these two.


Quote: >

Epilogue: When I stand surrounded by diamond dust, the whole world sparkles. I don't think anyone who sees this sight will ever forget this happy feeling. I hope one day you will find this happiness as well.

Evil Monster Bargain Hunter: Check out the quality of these bad boys. It's the pulpinator 5000! You'll come. You'll saw. You'll conquer... high prices. Look at that smooth cuttin action. You might as well be cuttin up baby seals.


Screen Caps: >

«- back to reviews
reviewed by archen in 2012