Also known as: Kiminozo
Takayuki never about relationships until the day his friend Haruka confesses to him. The two take it slow, but eventually the bond of love grows. While hiding it well, Haruka's best friend Mitsuki harbors feeligns for Takayuki. She is however happy to see them together. Everything changes when Haruka is left in a coma after a car accident.
Three years pass, and it's been hard on Takayuki and Mitsuki. The two miss their long time friend, and are consumed with guilt over Haruka's accident. They decide life must go on, and grow into feelings for each other. Slowly they move past the pain, and begin to build a life together. Then Haruka wakes from her coma, unaware that three years have passed.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Kiminozo for short) means "The Eternity You Desire". It has nothing to do with this anime, which is probably why the title was changed to rumbling hearts in America. "Rumbing Hearts" is so vague it could describe most anime releasd these days. With the cover art showing school uniforms, I figured this would be another high school drama / romantic comedy thing. Man was I wrong about that! Rumbling Hearts is an adult oriented drama unusual for anime. If you watch anime for the "usual stuff", you may not like Rumbling Hearts.
Rumbling Hearts begins with the typical high school experience between four friends. The beginning is okay, but something didn't quite feel right. It's packed together too tightly and flows poorly. Things looked bleak for this anime, then the accident changes everything.
From there it goes into really heavy drama. So heavy I'd say it's trying too hard, but it mostly works. A big issue involves a cast of frustrating characters - possibly fustrating enough you might throw things at the TV. That doesn't mean they're bad. For example a good villain may be a character you hate - the more the better. Similar to this, characters in Rumbling Hearts are oriented to creating drama within the story, NOT necessarily around you liking them. That's asking a lot of an audience, so think about that before you decide to pick this one up.
Haruka - through most of this show she's a shallow character. One thing this anime captures is a sense of pity. Despite Haruka causing agony for everyone, none of it is her fault. Due to her loss of memory, the doctors decide to hide the fact that three years have passed, so she remains innocent of the pain she's indirectly caused. In some ways this further hurts those around her.
Akane - the younger sister of Haruka. She's slightly bratty girl in the first section, but changes drastically. You'll hate her guts by the end of episode 3. Things are already hard enough, however Akane further makes everyone's life hell by grinding salt in any wound she can find. I'm not sure the angst (so much angst!) she brings to the show is necessary, but if you're going to do emotional drama, why not do it full tilt? Things get interesting when she finally realizes what she's done to everyone.
Mitsuki - Haruka's best friend. Had a crush on Takayuki, and after the accident takes care of him (in his zombie like state). At some point Mitsuki acts on her feelings and they become a couple. Mitsuki sincerely loves Takayuki, but is consumed with guilt over taking her friends lover. She clings to the few things she has left, feels remorse over everything she's lost, and yet is continuously hurt by the one she loves.
Takayuki - The main guy of the show. Due to treating Mitsuki like crap, I hated this guy, but as his situation became clear I began to pity him. By the 5th episode I could honestly say "thank god I'm not that guy". Another strong point of this anime involves the theme "kindness can also be cruel". Being nice to everyone, can be cop out; hurting them even more in the end. Takayuki eventually has to face up to this fact.
The dub isn't bad, and I think Funimation did a good job with it. Some key things alter this anime in subtle ways. Takayuki is traumatized, and emotionally he shuts down in the Japanese version. The English version doesn't portray him as emotionally flat. I think this changes his character quite a bit. For some reason the dub is bent on framing Mizuki as a bitch, but that aspect wasn't in the Japanese version at all. It's a bit mysterious why it was invented in the English script. Akane seriously has the bitch department covered.
Most of Rumbling Hearts is wall to wall angst and drama. It tries so hard it often becomes unconvincing. If you want drama, you can probably look past that, but don't expect it to feel natural enough to convince you. The drama starts to clear around the last two episodes, and I realized each character grew out of everything I hated about them. A very strong point of Rumbling Hearts: until the very end I had no clue who Takayuki would end up with... if anyone. That level of suspense was a big plus. With the conclusion, Rumbling Hearts stays true to itself by not washing away the pain with magic sparkles. Healing takes time, and I think the end captures this, with the most powerful breakup I can think of. Considering how explicit the show is with drama, the ending is a bit vague, bittersweet but positive.
Rumbling Hearts is good for a mature adult drama. This puts it in a league out of what most anime fans want, and will likely not be of interest to most - unless specifically looking for this kind of show. It's nowhere near perfect. It's clunky, often overdone, and has a few haphazardly applied sex scenes. Parts with Takayuki's job are intended for comic relief, but I didn't find very amusing - oddly that didn't bother me. On the plus side, the soundtrack is well crafted. I also give Rumbling Hearts credit for touching on something else that hit pretty close to home. There are times when your personal life can turn to absolute shit. And maybe all you want to do is crawl into a gutter and die. ... But then you still have to go to work. Ugh!
I know this isn't the popular opinion, but I really enjoyed Rumbling Hearts. I often reflect on shows afterwards (doing reviews requires this); the more I think back on Rumbling Hearts, the more I like it. So if you're the kind that likes to think a lot about a show, this one might give you a lot to think about.
Book: The seasons drifted by, and my heart thawed. I'm beginning to accept the pain of that day. From the time I learned that all of us carry burdens, feelings of warmth have started to sprout. I'm sure someday this sorrow will turn into kindness. The wind still blows on the hill where I met you. I will never forget your trembling gaze, your confusion, your unease, or the joy of your love. I will never forget the heartfelt affection you gave me without hesitation.
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