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In a word: Average
In a word, I found Akaneiro Ni Somaru Saka to be 'average'.

Average plot, average characters, average everything. Oh, it had its moments, it actually made me laugh at one point (a rare thing for an anime) and there were some heart warming moments. The thing is, there weren't enough to make it memorable. To give credit where it is due the story was executed reasonably well (YMMV), but it all started to go down the drain towards the end.

If there was one thing that really irked me, it was the finale. For spoilers' sake I won't go into details but I personally found it to be something of a bait-and-switch. All but the two main characters were woefully underdeveloped, and those that did get characterisation got just enough to pique your interest before they were rushed back to the sidelines. The most jarring point of all was that just as the characters began to make progress, just as things began to change, to get interesting, the big finale arrives and everything goes back to how it was (almost). I walked away from the screen at that point. To put it bluntly, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys this kind of show, then you've probably already seen everything that Akane-Iro Ni Somaru Saka has to offer a dozen times before. In short, it has nothing to make it unique.

I am most definitely accentuating the negative here so I'll move on to its positive notes. It did manage to make me laugh at one point, and there was nothing that was truly bad about the plot (my views on the ending shouldn't tarnish the bigger picture), there was a fair amount of fan-service (if that's your thing), the acting was good and the animation was up to scratch. I just don't think that 'up to scratch' is enough to call it 'good'. It's stuck in the middle, nothing intrinsically wrong with it, and yet nothing that was done particularly well, in a word: 'average'.

As for a recommendation, if you've got time to kill and you can't find anything better, by all means go for it. It won't (necessarily) be a waste of your time and hey, you might like it a lot more than I did. Just don't expect to be blown away. I certainly wasn't.

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