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Visual Novel / Rumbling Hearts

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The death and mutilation of innocence. A synopsis.

Guy dates girl. Girl gets in a car accident and is left in a coma. Girl's best friend eventually gets guy to get over his own misery then starts going out with him herself. Girl finally wakes up from coma after three years. Drama ensues. Has a sequel of sorts in the form of the Muv-Luv series.

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (君が望む永遠, lit. The Eternity You Desire), also known in the Anglo-phonic world as Rumbling Hearts, is a visual novel and anime series that depicts an abrupt and tumultuous transition from an idyllic lifestyle to that of unadulterated sorrow and tragedy.

Released in 2001 as a visual novel, it was later picked up and turned into a 14-episode anime series that was initially broadcasted from October 2003 to January 2004. In both manifestations, the protagonist, a third year high school student by the name of Takayuki Narumi, begins dating fellow classmate and introvert Haruka Suzumiya after much convincing from their mutual friend, Mitsuki Hayase, a talented swimmer who secretly harbors her own feelings toward Takayuki but attempts to suppress them in favor of her insecure and timid friend's happiness. Things seem to go blissfully well for the couple until wholly unanticipated disaster, in the form of a severe car accident, renders Haruka comatose and Takayuki guilty and psychologically decimated. Shortly thereafter, Takayuki's life proceeds to deteriorate at a rapid rate, eventually stifled by the personal intervention of Mitsuki Hayase, who definitively discards her promising career as a nationally-renowned swimmer to help Takayuki recover from his PTSD. Eventually, things return to a relatively balanced state, with both Takayuki and Mitsuki having become lovers and having largely transcended the drama surrounding the comatose Haruka from earlier (though through a somewhat shameless repression of her memory). However, once Haruka wakes from her coma after three years of purgatorial slumber, the bittersweet life that both Takayuki and Mitsuki mutually built for themselves, like its more effervescent predecessor, swiftly crumbles.

For those who seek an upbeat anime series with hijinks and the works, Rumbling Hearts is the complete antithesis to that genre, with the only "comedic relief" in the show being two of Takayuki's teenage co-workers, who, in all sincerity, seem grossly out of place within the framework of the cruel and melancholic plot.

This tragic and excruciatingly realistic story of decaying innocence and transient love somehow gave birth to the Muv-Luv franchise, a series of visual novels centered around mecha and Evangelion-style alien onslaught. During Anime Expo 2016, Degica announced that an English localization of this visual novel was in the works. It is also loosely related to Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu, the very first work of âge, which shares the same setting.

In October of 2019, 20 years after the release of the original visual novel, a reboot was announced by âge. In October, 2020, âge announced they plan to release an English translation of the visual novel. A crowdfunding campaign to develop a modernized port of the game (with plans to release the digital version in English) was launched on Japanese crowdfunding site Ubgoe in October 2023, with instructions on how to participate posted on the Muv-Luv international website.

Rumbling Hearts provides examples of:

  • The Anime of the Game: Originally based off of an H-Game.
  • Arc Words: Three years.
  • Bittersweet Ending: (Mitsuki's route, which was followed by the TV adaptation): In the end, Haruka decides she can't be with Takayuki because he's not the same person he was three years ago; Takayuki finds Mitsuki and convinces her not to leave, and says he won't see Haruka again. It then skips to the first children's book Haruka wrote, about a character who just wants to get to the top of a hill to see her friends once more. The last shot is of Haruka standing in front of the tree, hopefully waiting.
    • And even when they're together, Takayuki has foregone his chance for a better full-time job, while Mitsuki not only couldn't get back to her swimming career she abandoned long ago, she also lost her Office Lady job. But at least they're together.
      • The OVA "second season" which follows a Haruka route ends with Takayuki and Haruka renewing their relationship and love for one another in the same spot where her traumatic accident occurs and in an almost sickeningly sweet moment of all the onlookers clapping on for them. However, Mitsuki, who has almost been Demoted to Extra in this continuity, gave up her swimming career and didn't even get Takayuki either. But she and Haruka maintain their friendship as she willingly bows out of the Love Triangle.
  • The Cameo/Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": The adaptation has the first animated appearances of Yayoi Isumi (Takayuki's landlady, originally from age's debut title Kimi Ga Ita Kisetsu) and Chizuru Sakaki (Akane's rival and best friend, originally from the quasi-sequel Muv-Luv).
  • Catchphrase: Ayu's "You can go step in cat crap!"
  • Cute Little Fangs: Ayu, one of the waitresses in the restaurant Takayuki works at.
  • Deconstruction : Of the very concept of True Companions by showing just how impermanent the bonds of childhood/adolescent friendship truly are, especially in the face of major, life altering experiences. It also shows how trying to keep up the pretense after the bonds fade can only make things worse.
  • Demoted to Extra: If you only see the anime, you wouldn't notice that some extras like the doctor or some of her assistants, and Mayu/Ayu can be love interests.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Mitsuki hums the opening at the beginning of Episode 8.
  • Evolving Credits: The series doesn't have the normal opening until the third episode, when the main story takes place.
  • Gut Punch: Especially in the Visual Novel, but the anime also doesn't let up. Can't spell "rage" without "age", indeed.
  • Half-Truth: Everyone with respect to Haruka after she wakes up.
  • Heroic BSoD: Takayuki, after the accident. He stays that way until Mitsuki finally snaps him out of it.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: Played for Laughs in the Omake at the end of one episode, sang by Ayu, to the tune of the opening credits.
    "That guy Takayuki is dumb,//And no one likes him at all//No,no, they don't cause he struts around all over the place,//And he thinks that he knows everything//But he doesn't cause he's just assistant-manager at a crappy restaurant,//I should have his job,//Cause I'm smarter than him!//(Spoken) I HATE HIM!"
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Hayase Mitsuki, a once-in-a-generation swimming prodigy, has the makings of an Olympic-Grade Champion. She leaves it behind to take care of her best friend Haruka's boyfriend Takayuki, so suicidally depressed over Haruka's car-accident induced coma (which Mitsuki blames herself for) that he could not finish high school.
  • Idiot Ball: Both straight and justified. A doctor treating TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) by demanding that everyone play along with a false reality? It speaks volumes that the same doctor frequently smokes in the hospital... near oxygen. On the other hand, there are several points of the story where characters do unbelievably stupid things that are completely consistent with their individual pathologies.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Mitsuki says this to Takayuki regarding Haruka.
  • Lighter and Softer: A crossover visual novel featuring casts of both this series and Muv-Luv where Takayuki and Takeru have a "Freaky Friday" Flip. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Akane's parents don't bother to tell her that "Takayuki won't be seeing her anymore, since we told him to stop coming". This leads to the incredibly painful to watch scene where Akane tells both of them off for not coming to visit (in the latter case, Mitsuki actually wanted to visit but was called a traitor by Akane herself).
  • Love Triangle: Between the newly awakened Haruka, Mitsuki, and Takayuki.
  • Market-Based Title: Rumbling Hearts is the official title for the North American release of the anime, and also the title of the opening theme for the original visual novel. The Japanese name for the series is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (The Eternity You Desire).
  • Mess of Woe: Happens to Takayuki after Haruka falls into coma. If it weren't for Mitsuki, his life would have been even worse.
  • Mood Whiplash: The anime may be really sad and such... but the Omake in the end? REALLY lighthearted in comparison.
  • Omake: Instead of a next episode preview, there's an omake at the end of each episode.
  • One Side of the Story: Akane, when she walks in on Mitsuki in Takayuki's bed - without knowing that her parents had just told him to leave, or that Mitsuki offering herself to him might have been the only thing that kept him from going off the deep end forever.
    • This is an endless source of Dramatic Irony, since Akane is always out of the loop, making some scenes with Akane just painful.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Haruka's parents and the doctor might have had second thoughts about what they were asking of Takayuki if they knew about his relationship with Mitsuki.
  • Running Gag: Haruka getting involved in a vehicle accident carries over to age's other works like Muv-Luv Alternative and Ayu-Mayu Theater.
  • Shown Their Work: The producers of the anime series did their research on PTSD as it applies to Takayuki, and it shows.
  • Tareme Eyes:
    • Haruka and Mitsuki contrast each other as the two main love interests, with the former being softer and the latter more tomboyish and high-spirited.
    • Mayu and Ayu shows the same contrast as well, where Mayu is more traditionally cute and Ayu shows a tsundere-like behaviour.
  • Those Two Guys: Ayu and Mayu, the two waitresses who Takayuki works with at the Sky Temple family restaurant.
  • Time Skip: Haruka is in a coma for many years after the car crash. Drama ensues.
  • True Companions: Deconstructed as Takayuki and Mitsuki's devotion to Haruka takes huge tolls on the three.
  • Two Timing The Bestie: Takayuki's girlfriend, Haruka, had an accident at the beginning of the story, leaving her in a coma. When Haruka's best friend, Mitsuki, helps Takayuki through his PTSD from the incident, they began developing feelings for each other and start dating. Three years later, Haruka wakes up. Takayuki and Mitsuki choses not to tell her about their relationship, leading to drama ensuing.

Alternative Title(s): Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien