For many years now, Shinichiro's childhood friend Hiromi has lived with his family. He's long admired her, but never admitted how he feels. At school he encounters a strange girl named Noe. The two hit it off and quickly become .. friends. Then Hiromi realises she has an interest in Shinichiro.
Not having enough to worry about, Shinchiro's other childhood friend Aiko admits she's in love with him. This is especially tricky since she's dating Shinchiro's best friend. Hiromi ends up dating Noe's brother due to a misunderstanding, and it's jealousy all around.
I've gotten to like anime romance dramas, but something about the title "True Tears" made me anxious. Like it would try too hard. In the end I did like True Tears, but I have to admit it was pretty weak in all the areas which this kind of drama should excel at.
True Tears mainly suffers from characters that are hard to like. They're not bad, just plain for what they do. Noe is the only one I actually hated. One anime drama gimmick, is integrating a weird yet poetic philosophical element. Usually I like this approach. In True Tears, Noe believes her grandmother took her tears when she died, and she's been searching for someone to return them to her. Ever since she's been preoccupied with people and things which are close to the sky, and have the potential to fly. On paper that sounds okay, in practice it's actually kind of dumb.
Hiromi is the default love interest. Her story is fair from a romance perspective, but the drama doesn't work well at all. True Tears works up to a confrontation between Hiromi and Shinichiro's ultra bitch mother, but resolves the problem by magical redemption and suddenly they're friendly. It's almost like that got written off when the writers got bored with it. I do at least give Hiromi credit for having a strong will, and strait out telling Shinichiro to get his shit together and choose between them.
The third girl, Aiko; has the story I liked the most, but it almost happens in the background. Aiko is dating Shinichiro's friend, who adores her and treats her like a queen. However she's really in love with Shinichiro. Aiko can chaise a love unlikely to happen, or pursue one she'll have to grow into. It's an idea rarely explored; that a couple feel drawn together even if sparks don't immediately fly, but stick with it to see if love eventually blooms. For me this was the highlight of the anime, but it's more of a backdrop development.
Despite some unusual ideas, very attractive designs, and high production values, True Tears really didn't have anywhere near the impact an anime of this calibre should have. It lacks the special charm needed to hook you into the story and characters. It's okay for a romance / drama, but probably not on the level where you'll forgive it unless you're specifically looking for this kind of show. There's a lot to overlook, but it's otherwise a decent watch.
• Akito is a charming girl who works hard. She can cook, clean, and is even good at knitting. She's stuck between her crush on Shinichiro but otherwise there's nothing to say against her. Verdict: good choice.
• Noe is obviously off her rocker from the very start. Everyone at school says she's an aloof weirdo, so that says something. She also picks (semi inedible) berries to feed Shinichiro as a sign of affection, and is obsessed with making a chicken fly. After seeing Shinichiro dance, she climes high up in tree and jumps off to see if maybe she can fly too. Verdict: crazy woman.
• Hiromi has spouts of erratic behavior. After getting upset, she makes a guy ride a motorcycle with her in the snow and he predictably gets into an accident and it goes up in flames. Having now been the cause of destroying his expensive bike, she warms her hands on the fire. Verdict: crazy woman.
Seriously, think long term here...
Shinichiro: Women really are a lot of trouble
Nobuse: It's the trouble that makes it all worth it.
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