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->''"Candy carries the taste of happiness. If you suck on it, a flower will bloom in your mouth."''

''[=H2O=]: Footprints in the Sand'' is an {{anime}} and VisualNovel centered around Hirose Takuma, a middle-school student who moves out to the country in order to recover from an illness. Said illness has caused him to go blind, even though the doctors cannot seem to find anything wrong with him from a physical standpoint.

Upon arriving at the country village, Takuma encounters the mysterious, yet [[GenkiGirl energetic]] Otoha, the self-proclaimed "Spirit of the Sounds of Time." Otoha offers Takuma, whom she refers to as "The Promised One," his sight back, if only for a short while. Takuma also encounters the enigamatic loner Kohinata Hayami, whom the rest of the village treats with an obvious grudge, for reasons Takuma can't seem to figure out. Not even Kagura Hinata, the granddaughter of the village elder, seems willing to fill him in. As Takuma refuses to stop acting friendly towards Hayami, he sets into action a chain of events that may change the entire village.

A VisualNovel adapatation in the vein of ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' and other [[Creator/KyotoAnimations KyoAni]]/[[Creator/KeyVisualArts Key]] works, though the best comparison themetically and plot-wise would probably be ''VisualNovel/EfAFairyTaleOfTheTwo''. The show itself starts off slow, and rather cliched. However, towards the middle, it [[GrowingTheBeard improves quite a bit]], as the backstory of the characters and the revelations about the village's past supplant the HaremAnime and VisualNovel cliches that littered the beginning. The ending is quite the TearJerker, in any case.

The Visual Novel was produced by Makura, with the animated adapatation put together by studio Zexcs in 2008. The anime has has been licensed by Kadokawa [=USA=] for an English release. The title comes from the names of the main heroines (Hayami, Hinata, Otoha) and the well known ''Footprints'' poem, which is used as the main theme.

!!This series provides examples of:

* AccidentalPervert: Takuma's blindess seems to facilitate this early on in the series.
* AllJustADream: Double-subverted. [[spoiler:Episode 8 is so bizarre and ridiculous it seems like a dream, and eventually the camera moves back to show Takuma sleeping, and everything seems normal again. Then the wackiness comes back, so apparently it wasn't a dream and then at the end, it turns out the whole episode was [[MindScrew some kind of bizarre mind-adventure concocted by Otoha.]]]]
* AlphaBitch: Played with. Yui acts like this, but the rest of the students just sort of laugh at her when she does so.
* ArmorPiercingSlap: Hinata to Takuma in episode 11. [[spoiler:[[NiceJobBreakingItHero It doesn't work]], and actually sends Takuma further into a HeroicBSOD.]]
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler: And [[{{WholesomeCrossdresser}} Hamaji]] is the father.]]
* BalloonBelly: Hayami in Episode 6
* BeachEpisode: Episode 4, doubles as a HotSpringsEpisode
* BigFancyHouse: Hinata, being the daughter of the village elder and all.
* {{Bokukko}}: Otoha
* BrainBleach: You might need it for the opener to episode 8.
* ButtMonkey: Yui tends to be on the recieving end of more than her fair share of things.
* CallingTheOldManOut: Hinata in the final episode.
-->[[spoiler:'''Hinata (really Hotaru), after her grandfather attempted to kill Hayami:''' I've called the police.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Grandfather:''' What did you say?]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Hinata:''' I plan on revealing everything, the fact that the hunting rifle was missing from the house, and that you're here.]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Grandfather:''' Why you little...!]]
-->[[spoiler:'''Hinata:''' This village doesn't belong to you!]]
* TheCameo: Misakura Rin from Makura's another game ''Sakura no Uta'' makes a small but rather an important appearance in Otoha's route in the game.
* ContrivedCoincidence:[[spoiler: Hayami is discussing about how she thinks that Takuma's mother didn't commit suicide because she thinks that his mother must have loved him, enough to not to think to leaving him all alone. Then suddenly a little boy who never been seen before crosses the railroad while the train is moving in the exact same way as Takuma did when the ''unfortunate accident'' happened, therefore invoking Takuma's buried memory? That his mother died by saving another person?]]
* CuteClumsyGirl: Hinata, though like the other {{moe}} tropes, it is toned down as the series continues.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler: Otoha, in other words the ''real'' Hinata Kagura.]]
* DefrostingIceQueen: Hayami, in a very classic example.
* DiabolusExMachina: This is what [[spoiler:kills Hayami. And then she comes back due to a DeusExMachina]].
* DisturbedDoves: When Hinata's grandfather [[spoiler:tries to shoot Hayami]].
* DraggedByTheCollar: Hinata's grandfather goes caveman on her in episode 7.
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Hayami
* ExtremeDoormat: Hinata acts this way initially towards her grandfather.
* FantasticRacism: The anime version took this off.
* FirstGirlWins: [[spoiler:In the anime, Hayami appears first and is the first to meet Takuma (besides Otoha, who [[DeadAllAlong wasn't really an option]]).]]
* GeniusDitz: Otoha.
* {{Hypocrite}}: [[spoiler: After spending 8 episodes defending Hayami, because he thinks it isn't fair for them to blame her for her family sins, Takuma ends up beating up Hayami ''very'' brutally after he learns that her family is the one that drives his mother into killing herself (they're wrong, he didn't even consider questioning it).]]
* InMediasRes: [[spoiler:The scene near the beginning with Hayami getting beaten up in the rain is actually from near the end of the series.]]
* {{Kawaiiko}}: Otoha, [[BerserkButton but, don't ever tell her that]]
* LampshadeHanging: Game version only.
-->'''Otoha/[[spoiler: Hinata]]''': I don't need training because ever since I was born I was set to be able to do everything.
* LaughingMad: [[spoiler:Takuma, right before regressing to childhood and becoming convinced that Hayami is his mother.]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: The ''Footprints'' poem, as mentioned before.
* LonersAreFreaks: Hayami, at least in the beginning.
* MoodDissonance: Some people have a hard time taking the humorous elements of the show in stride with the abuse of Hayami, ''especially'' when it involves Yui, since one of the first things her character is seen doing is stomping on Hayami's head, and dumping toilet water on her.
* NewTransferStudent: Takuma
* OfficialCouple: [[spoiler: Takuma and Hayami. It didn't even last one episode.]]
* OlderThanTheyLook:
** Yui has a bit of this, and even more of it in the DistantFinale; all the other characters have grown and aged a few years, but she looks the same as before.
** Otoha, who [[spoiler:appears in the finale as a very young child, despite being the now-adult Hotaru's older sister]].
* ReplacementGoldfish: [[spoiler:Kagura Hinata is actually Kagura Hotaru. The real Hinata (Otoha) drowned when both sisters were younger, but the family wanted to cover it up, so they told everyone Hotaru had died instead. This is one of the reasons Hinata (the one who is really Hotaru) is a ThirdPersonPerson up until TheReveal.]]
* RomanticRunnerUp: [[spoiler:Hinata.]]
* SinsOfOurFathers: Poor Hayami...
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: Episode 8 opens with Hayami and Hinata referring to Takuma as an older brother, Takuma's uncle has had a gender change, and Otoha, aside from being visible to everyone now, is apparently a MagicalGirl. Turns out that [[spoiler:it's AllJustADream, created for Takuma by Otoha as a way of showing him a good time, to say thanks for helping fix the village's problems.]]
** This may be a reference to her route in the VisualNovel which was titled "[[spoiler: Mahou Shoujo Magical Hinata]]".
* TheThingThatGoesDoink: Part of Hinata's BigFancyHouse.
* {{Tsundere}}: Yui.
* TwelveEpisodeAnime
* UnsettlingGenderReveal[=/=]WholesomeCrossdresser: [[spoiler:Hamaji]], bonus points for doing TheReveal as part of the HotSpringsEpisode.
* UnwillingSuspension: Hayami ties Takuma up in a tree, after catching him peeping. Her walking towards him with a knife (to cut him down afterwards) was interpreted [[KnifeNut rather differently]] by Takuma. Her mentioning that that knife was used for cutting up naughty boys probably didn't help.
* TheUnfavorite: [[spoiler:Hotaru, to the point that seemingly everyone from her family hopes that she dies in place of Hinata.]]
* WomanInWhite: Otoha, after TimeSkip in her route.
* WouldHitAGirl: ''Dear God.''
* YamatoNadeshiko: Hinata, the clumsy and family oriented daughter of the elder. At first she was an ExtremeDoormat but develops the inner iron important for this trope. [[spoiler: Later Hayami after she [[DefrostingIceQueen defrosts]].]]
* YourMindMakesItReal: [[spoiler:Both the reason for Takuma's blindness (it is actually trauma induced, after seeing what he thought was his mother commit suicide), and the explanation for why he could see through the series itself. Apparently, according to the outside world, he was blind the entire time.]]
* YourSizeMayVary: Hayami's breasts' size seem to constantly change depending on the situation, although she officially is flat chested.