I’m back after a few days of refreshing and recharging. It’s a beautiful summer day outside and I will have some important news later today. “God’s in his Heaven – All’s right with the World,” as Robert Browning wrote. :-) (The wife reminds me that this quote actually originated with Cervantes, but I’m using the Browning version today.)
While I was relaxing, I was able to watch the 5th Marimite OAV, Ciao, Sorella (this link leads to to the Collector’s Edition. Click here for the DVD-only editon) with seiyuu commentary, and incidentally give my office an overdue cleaning while I was at it. While not as Yuri-ful as the previous OAV, Ready, Go!, of all the novels I have read, it seemed to me to be the most suited for adaptation to an anime. I have not posted my notes here, but I *have* already read Ciao Sorella. Most of the novel is travelogue; descriptions of all the normal tourist spots and doings that one would cram into a week school trip in Italy. From Yumi’s unique perspective, of course.
Let’s start with the important bits – the goodies inside the collector’s edition. I was close with my prediction for the gimme. I had predicted a marble-patterned pad – it was a marble-patterned photo album (similar to the one that Sachiko received.) So, close enough.
Postcards were, as usual, appealing, and the character design booklet that comes with the DVD included Yumi, Yoshino and Shimako in regular clothes, their teacher Katori Maki (who has been in several of the stories in the novels and although she had no major screen time here, I was glad to see her) as well as important characters like “shoulder bag” and “airplane seats.” ^_^ And Yoshino’s magic cloth.
Also included was a one-sheet flyer with a picture of Yumi and Touko on the front and some seiyuu comments on back, with a notice about the upcoming fourth season of the anime.
The OAV was, as I had hoped. The animation was significantly better than Ready, Go!. Without all the detailed description of the buildings, the story is rendered down to a few key scenes that worked perfectly well. What was cut was in no way crucial to the story. And they kept in pretty much every good scene.
I think they nailed the scene with Shizuka singing – kudos to the sound mixers. They really captured the sound of Shizuka’s voice reverberating and blending with itself in the high ceiling.
I listened to the DVD with seiyuu commentary which is, as always, amusing, when I can follow it. This time it was the seiyuu for Yumi (Ueda Kana,) Yoshino (Ikezawa Haruna,) and Shimako (Noto Mamiko – who, when she forgets to be breathy, has a surprisingly deep voice.) They commented at one point how they’d like to have a lover like Rei. No, really, they did. ^_^ At the end of the anime, instead of a next episode teaser, there was a one-line, “4th season is coming.”
Here are the two best scenes, IMHO. At the Vatican, Yumi comes across Shimako standing in from of the “Last Judgement” crying, beautifully of course. Shimako says she can’t make the tears stop. Yoshino joins them and says, “don’t you think Jesus is a little fat?” And Yumi, standing between these two thinks, these are my best friends. ^_^
The other great scene was truncated, but as its the punchline in a long joke, I’ll just say this – when the bird speaks, *really* pay attention to what it says.
As for Yuri…well, this novel had already proved to me that Sachiko and Yumi are definitely, positively not gay, even if they are indeed incredibly lovey-dovey and romantic. At the end of the story when Sachiko confronts Yumi about the postcard, it was a *very* sexual tension-filled scene in the novel. But they do not kiss, and Yumi does not even think about kissing Sachiko. So, while it’s a great scene – and works well in the anime, better even, because we can’t hear Yumi’s thoughts – it seals the deal that they are totally not a couple. More’s the pity. It’s still very sweet, though.
Art – 7
Characters – 9
Story – 8
Yuri – 2
Service – 4 (bath scenes, some implied nudity – each instance of which Ikezawa Haruna points out in the seiyuu commentary. “That’s service.” No, really? ^_^)
Overall – 8
Nothing to do with this DVD, but when I watched Ready, Go! with seiyuu commentary (Yumi, Kanako and Touko’s voice actresses) and Sachiko walks up in gakuran, Ueda Kana says, “Gakuran is nice, huh” is a very wistful and wishful voice. The other two respond, in stereo, “very nice” equally as wistful and wishful. It was funny as hell.