When I first watched this anime, I was expecting wacky hijinx
and some lighthearted poking-fun at otaku
all the way through. What I got, however, was something more: a story of a few wayward souls trying to make their way in the world. There's moments of laughter, of course, but there's also some tears
, drama, subtle yet biting satire of the dark side of Japanese society, and beauty
Upon first viewing, I kind of thought the tone and pacing didn't quite work due to the sudden shifts in both, but the more I rewatched it (I've seen it three times now, third time dubbed) the more it managed to worm its way into my very top favorites of anime. There is a little Off Model
animation, but it rarely if ever jars you out of the story. Overall, this story is highly recommended to anyone , although of course Your Mileage May Vary
dub, later finished by FU Nimation
when ADV collapsed, is quite good. Chris Patton
as Satou is hilariously wacko
, Greg Ayres
as Yamazaki gets a chance to chew the scenery
, and Stephanie Wittels is refreshingly ordinary as Misaki, who could have easily been played too cutesy
. Luci Christian
does a fine acting job as Satou's sempai, but the somewhat high-pitched voice she uses just isn't right for the character. The actors manage to simultaneously be hilarious when the subject matter is funny while also treating the serious material with the respect it deserves. Near the end it seems they only have like two people voicing incidental characters, which kind of takes you out a bit, but other than that it's good.
Manga? Not as good. For the first few chapters, it's very similar to the anime, albeit darker, but when it gets to the stuff that the anime couldn't cover, it gets a little... confused. The pacing is very odd, the tone just gets darker and more bizarre, and the ending in the manga doesn't play at all. Unlike the anime, which leaves you with some faith in humanity reaffirmed, however marginally, the manga ends up being just depressing and confusing
, which wouldn't be so bad, except it's also kind of stupid. Although there are some sublimely bizarre and hilarious moments in the manga that aren't in the anime, I would still recommend giving it a skip.