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Anime / True Tears

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From left to right: Aiko Andou, Hiromi Yuasa and Noe Isurugi

"Because I gave my tears away."
Noe Isurugi

True Tears is a 2008 anime series produced by P.A. Works and directed by Junji Nishimura. Despite having the same name as the 2006 visual novel, it has a completely different plot, cast and art style. This article focuses on the anime, which follows Shinichiro Nakagami, a high school student who aspires to be an artist, and his relationship with Hiromi Yuasa, a well-liked girl from his school, after she moves in with them following her father's death.

Despite having known Hiromi for years, Shinichiro notes that she has grown cold and distant at home, despite being friendly and outgoing whilst at school. Shinichiro believes that she's just holding her tears in, and makes watercolours of her, hoping to eventually ease her tears. At school, Shinichiro runs into Noe Isurugi and runs into misfortune after teasing her, being coerced into performing Muhiga dancing. He subsequently reconciles with Noe, and as the two grows closer in the process, Shinichiro strives to help her recover her tears.

The anime is thirteen episodes in length, and was promoted by an internet radio show was hosted by three voice actresses from the anime prior to its release. Presently, the series has been licensed by Bandai Entertainment.


  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: When viewed in bird's eye view non-important background characters are rendered in CG.
  • Abusive Parents: Shiori, Shinichiro's mother, is not particularly fond of Hiromi; their relationship initially is rocky, but improves following Hiromi's involvement in an accident. Subsequently, their relationship becomes a more friendly one.
  • Accidental Pervert: Shinichiro accidentally walks in on Hiromi while the latter is showering in episode one.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Shinichiro's mom calls him "Shin-chan", while Shinichiro calls Aiko "Ai-chan".
  • Alliterative Title
  • Arc Words: As evidenced by the title, tears are a central theme in the show.
  • Art Shift: On several occasions, the scene transitions into a gentle watercolour rendering.
  • Betty and Veronica: Noe and Hiromi respectively, though they switch roles from time to time as well.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Jun Isurugi towards his younger sister Noe. He even asks Shinichiro to date Noe for the sake of her happiness. But...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Noe. Insults and Kick the Dog moments toward her don't faze her a bit and she is quite a patient and overall forgiving person. However, when she sees how depressed Shinichiro looked in episode 7 and how he's "turned away from the sky", she correctly deduces that Hiromi was the one at fault and angrily demands that Hiromi apologize to him, while inviting her to eat lunch with her even.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Hiromi. She pretends to want to befriend Noe, but her reasons for doing so have ulterior motives behind them. Noe sees through this facade immediately and calls her out for lying.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shinichiro in the end realizes he loves Hiromi and breaks up with Noe. He declares that while he loves Hiromi, his heart will always belong to Noe. Shinichirou and Hiromi are a couple and Miyokichi and Aiko decide to start over from the beginning as friends. Several months later in the spring, Noe is finally able to shed tears for the first time in years.
    • The drama CD improves things slightly better for Noe. She meets two classmates, Hitomi and Sakurako, who want to befriend her. Despite Noe's constant rebuffs, they manage to win her over with their constant reaching. Moved, Noe realizes that she can't live in her own world forever and that she should start interacting with other people. Also, Shinichirou and Noe never speak with each other again but Noe believes it's for the best.
  • Broken Ace: Hiromi. A model student at school, friendly, popular, good at basketball, has great grades. At home? A girl with a bundle of issues hiding underneath a quiet facade.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Hiromi is, for much of the series, under the impression that she is Shinichiro's half-sister and as such, is very unconfortable with her feelings for him.
    • Jun harbours romantic feelings towards his sister, Noe.
  • Childhood Friends: Hiromi and Shinichiro, and Aiko and Shinichiro. It's unknown if Aiko and Hiromi are this as well.
    • Childhood Friend Romance: Hiromi and Shinichiro.
      • Of the Unlucky type: Both Hiromi and Aiko have known Shinichiro since his childhood. Aiko is not so fortunate and is rejected by Shinichiro. Of the Victorious type: Once all the misconceptions are rectified, and the dust settles, Shinichiro finally hooks up with Hiromi at the end.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Hiromi. Not Played for Laughs.
    • Aiko too when she sees Noe for the first time.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: Shinichiro's not as bad as some, and in fact figured out that Noe had feelings for him before she did. However, he remains oblivious to Hiromi and Aiko's feelings until they respectively spell it out for him.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Noe is frequently regarded as unusual by those around her.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Noe's preferred greeting for Shinichiro is requesting that he catch her, typically resulting in the former crashing into the latter.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Shinichiro towards Jun twice: first was when he thought Jun was Noe's boyfriend and was relieved to know that they're actually siblings. The second time was when he overheard that Hiromi was interested in Jun romantically.
  • Death Glare: Noe towards Hiromi plenty of times, though she only made one that was born of anger once in an incident with Hiromi.
  • Deconstructed Trope: The Love Triangle trope in most animes. While many romance animes would have the two girls fall in love with the same boy, and be OK with it; still being good friends and having a friendly rivalry. This tackles a more realistic portrayal. Both Noa and Hiromi are in love with Shinichiro, and both are aware of the others interest, but the relationship between the two isn't pleasant in the slightest. Both tried to befriend the other, but Hiromi's two-face nature and Noa's unfiltered attitude clashes to the point they hate each other and have a physical fight in public. Even when Hiromi starts dating Noa's brother, this still doesn't patch the issues between the two. By the end, unlike other shows which would befriend them, their relationship remains the same, even ending in a really bad note with Hiromi demanding Noa to leave Shinichiro's life.
  • Disappeared Dad: The Isurugi siblings' father died sometime before the events of the anime, according to Jun.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Miyokichi maintains a friendly manner towards Aiko in the hopes that she would eventually open up to him, and Aiko is kind to Shinichiro in the hopes that he would reciprocate her feelings.
  • Extreme Doormat: Contrasting her outgoing personality at school, Hiromi is decidedly more reserved at home and follows requests from Shiori without question.
  • Festival Episode: Shinichiro and Hiromi are seen in a festival of sorts during a flashback.
  • First Girl Wins: Hiromi is the first girl seen in the anime, and the one who ultimately wins Shinichiro at the end of the anime.
  • Foreshadowing: Jun breaks his normally stoic facade exactly once, blushing furiously when Hiromi teasingly calls him a "sis-con". As it turns out, he actually is in love with his sister Noe.
  • Friendless Background: Noe before meeting Shinichiro, probably due to her eccentric personality.
  • Genre Savvy: Noe. She's aware that Poor Communication Kills, and that keeping things to oneself would only cause further trouble in the future, so she puts it in herself to confront both Shinichiro and Hiromi to 'fess up and tell her what exactly is wrong between the two of them in episode 7.
  • Hate at First Sight: It's more subdued than most, but Hiromi held an instant dislike towards Noe the moment she managed to get Shinichiro's attention. Noe also held some dislike towards Hiromi, but unlike Hiromi, Noe was willing to be friends with her on account of making Shinichiro (and to an extent Hiromi) happy. Too bad Hiromi's vitriol towards her was strong...
  • Hopeless Suitor: Poor, poor Aiko. She virtually stood no chance with Shinichiro the moment Hiromi and Noe entered the picture.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Noe, Hiromi, Aiko, Shinichiro and Miyokichi simultaneously wish for their respective feelings to be reciprocated but simultaneously try to account for their friends' feelings.
  • Jerkass: Shiori towards Hiromi during the first few episodes. She gets better eventually.
    • At times, Hiromi is one too, but only towards Noe and in a subtle way at that.
  • Kick the Dog: Several characters do this to one another intentionally or not:
    • Shinichiro's mother does this to Hiromi when she asks her to go out late at night to deliver a wine bottle to some fisherman they know. Luckily, Shinichiro helps her out and his dad chews his mom out for it afterwards. There's also the time she cut out Hiromi's mother's faces in the pictures they had together that Shinichiro found.
      • There's also her cold treatment of Hiromi starting from the moment Hiromi first stepped in the Nakagami household.
    • Hiromi also does this to Noe several times, albeit subtly. The first was when she took off the gravemarker Noe made for Raigoumaru and dug it to the ground without Noe's permission (though she had a point in saying that the sign should be on the ground and not on the chicken cage since there was still a living chicken in there left). Noe was clearly upset about this, but doesn't get angry with Hiromi and understands anyway. The second time was when Noe agreed to be friends with Hiromi as a favor to Shinichiro, even eating lunch together with her on the staircase. But after their first lunch spent together, Hiromi decided to practically ditch Noe and let her eat lunch alone again without telling her beforehand by using extra basketball training as an excuse. The third time she does this was during the festival episode where she practically tells Noe to go away since Hiromi and Shinichiro have reached an understanding, even while he and Noe were still in a relationship.
    • Shinichiro did this once to Noe too, although it's unclear if it was intentional or not. He promised Noe that they'd go home together during episode 5, but decided to go home with Hiromi instead and promptly forgot about Noe. Noe was understandably upset at this betrayal, but still had it in her to forgive him without even mentioning the incident to him whatsoever.
    • Aiko kissing Shinichiro when she heard that he was going to start going out with Noe, even while she was still in a relationship with Miyokichi. And even before that, going on a pseudo-date with Shinichiro behind Miyokichi's back.
  • Love Epiphany: Noe and Shinichiro both have this during episode 7. It's also the same episode where they get a Relationship Upgrade.
  • Love Hurts: Several characters go through this; Hiromi, Aiko, Shinichiro, and Noe. They aren't very happy seeing their Love Interest expressing interest in someone other than them.
  • Love Triangle: Unrequited feelings and conflict abound wherever Hiromi, Noe and Shinichiro are involved.
    • Love Dodecahedron: Things get increasingly complicated as the series goes on. Hiromi, Noe, and Aiko are all in love with Shinichiro, who has feelings for both Hiromi and Noe (but ultimately chooses Hiromi), while Miyokichi is in love with Aiko, and Jun, Noe's brother, turns out to be in love with her.
  • Luminescent Blush: The more noteworthy ones include
    • Noe blushes brightly after Shinichiro confeses to her.
    • The favour is returned to Shinichiro when Noe kisses him.
    • Also, Jun when Hiromi teases him about being a "sis-con"...
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Noe. Shinichiro meeting the eccentric Noe and falling in love with her kickstarts the anime's plot, with Shinichiro's life taking an interesting turn the more he spends time with her.
  • Maybe Ever After: Between Aiko and Miyokichi, as they decide to start over as friends and see what develops.
  • Meet Cute: Shinichiro meets Noe for the first time when the latter is stuck in a tree. However, this is the extent of their meeting: Noe subsequently curses Shinichiro after he teases her.
  • Minors Living Alone: Subverted. Jun and Noe live with their mother since their father and grandmother died. She's usually absent at home thanks to work though.
  • The Nondescript: Shinichiro is initially portrayed as an ordinary high school student with no remarkable characteristics aside from being a talented artist.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Aiko focibly kisses Shinichiro out of desperation after hearing that he's going to go out with Noe.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Noe gives one to Hiromi, telling her that "she (Hiromi) can't fly" based on sheer observation alone and outright tells her to her face that it was a shame that Shinichiro couldn't fly either at the time despite having had the ability to do so was all because of someone like her. Hiromi was pissed and a fight ensued after that.
  • Relative Error: Shinichiro Shin mistakes Jun, Noe's brother, for her boyfriend in episode three.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: As the series progresses, it becomes clear that Noe will end up fulfilling this role.
  • Scenery Porn: The locations depicted in the anime are simple, clean and aesthetically pleasing.
  • She Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Her: At the end of the anime, when Shinichiro professes to Noe that he loves Hiromi but his heart wavers when he's with Noe, Shinichiro bawls when he and Noe let each other go, implying that while he says he loves Hiromi, his heart will always belong to Noe.
  • Shipper on Deck: Shinichiro finds himself in this role, trying to get Aiko and Miyokichi together and later, attempts to do the same for Hiromi and Jun. In the latter case, he finds himself hesitant to do so because he liked Hiromi but then overheard her mention she liked him, but does so nontheless in the hopes that she would be happier.
    • Jun's intervention begins the relationship between Shinichiro and Noe.
  • Snow Means Love: Despite Hiromi admitting that she hates snow for the unpleasant memories it invokes, she shares a kiss with Shinichiro under falling snow.
    • It was also snowing when Shinichiro first confesses to Noe, and she reciprocates.
  • Sparkling Stream of Tears: All of the characters shed tears at some point in the series. Given that "tears" is present in the title, this is not particularly surprising.
  • The Stoic: Hiromi at home. Subverted at school.
  • Tranquil Fury: Before it erupted into a fight, Noe was obviously fuming at Hiromi for being the reason why Shinichiro was so depressed on episode 7, and yet she was still calm while wearing a Death Glare at Hiromi when she called out to her to have a little talk.
  • Unable to Cry: Noe, after her grandmother died and "took her tears with her", finds herself unable to cry no matter how depressing or happy the situation is.
  • Unrequited Love: Miyokichi loves Aiko, but the latter finds it difficult to reciprocate, as her heart lies with Shinichiro, who, in turn, never returns any feelings beyond being friends with her.
    • Both Hiromi and Shinichiro feel this way towards one another until Shiori finally reveals that her later in the series due to a huge misunderstanding/lie by her hand.
  • Wham Episode: Hiromi reveals why Shiori hates her to Shinichiro in episode six. This hatred was motivated by the fact that Shiori was under the impression that Hiromi was her husband's illegitimate daughter, compounded by the fact that it was with his best friend's wife. This would have given him justification to accept Hiromi into his household after her parents died.
    • After the truth revealed, Shiori finally realises her mistake and accepts Hiromi as her daughter.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Noe. Out of all the characters, and in spite of her seemingly childish and Cloudcuckoolander attitude towards everything, only she has a mature outlook in life, often being the most perceptive when it comes to others' feelings, and being the most knowledgeable when it comes to knowing other people.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Hiromi is depicted as a kind individual who will stand up for herself where required.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Noe to Shinichiro. It's one of the reasons why Noe took a particular interest in him.
  • You Are Not Alone: Again, Noe to Shinichiro during episode 7. She believes that facing one's problems alone aren't enough and that someone should be there by the person's side to help that person's problems out. She declares that she'll be that someone who'll be by Shinichiro's side so he wouldn't face his problems alone.