Monday, 20 April 2009

Hatsukoi Limited - Episode 2

Hatsukoi Limited limited started off pretty well in its first episode, sticking to the first chapter of the manga almost religiously, and episode two follows on in a similar vein - Adding to and extending from what the manga covers slightly, while still well and truly retaining the overall feel of the source material.

This episode deals somewhat with the fallout from episode one, as rumours are rife around all and sundry that the man-mountain Misao was beaten up by a girl - Misao knows it, Ayumi (who was the culprit in the entire thing) knows it, and Misao's younger brother Mamoru knows it, but nobody is going to confess to such a scenario ever taking place in public.

Of course, Misao is still tortured by the fact that he hasn't had a proper answer to his confession from Ayumi (who seems to think that she has given him an answer, and she probably has something of a point), while Ayumi herself is more interested in Mamoru, who in turn is keeping his distance from Ayumi after seeing her defeat his brother. Talk about tangled webs and all that...

Indeed, this particular web is more tangled still, as Mamoru admits to a friend his feelings towards Misaki, his older next-door neighbour and friend of Misao. While Mamoru wants to get closer to Misaki, so she treats him like a little brother, giving us yet another dilemma of the heart to ponder.

I have to confess however that despite all these goings-on centred around emotion, the main drive of this particular episode seems to be fan service, as it features in abundance here. Again, I have to be fair in mentioning that it's hardly absent from the manga, but it does get ramped up her to a pretty large degree. That aside there are a couple of funny moments, although sadly the funniest section of this episode is made up entirely of Japanese plays on words, so it loses any real relevance in the translation to English no matter how you translate it.

From these opening couple of episodes, I really don't see Hatsukoi Limited becoming a classic amongst its kind - It's well animated and pretty to look at (and yes, I am saying that as a hot-blooded male and not just from some kind of pretentious arty perspective), and delivers its simple stories well enough thus far, but it doesn't really hold anything unique to make it stand out from the crowd, and that may well prove to be its downfall in the long term.

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