My First Review: His and Her Circumstances

His and Her Circumstances

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His and Her Circumstances is an anime series that aired from October 1998 to March 1999 and is based on the manga of the same name by Masami Tsuda. It tells the story of high school student Yukino Miyazawa (the self-proclaimed "Queen of Vanity") who, on the surface, appears to be every parent's dream child; she gets good grades, is athletic, popular with the student body and faculty alike, and is rather attractive. However, all that is just a mask for her true self; a lackadaisical slob who only does all of the aforementioned things in order to garner praise from everyone. "Queen of Vanity" indeed.

Things are going great for Miyazawa and her little act, until another star student, Soichiro Arima, overtakes her top spot in the high school entrance exams. Miyazawa becomes enraged and vows to beat Arima once and for all. Unfortunately, during this little mission, Miyazawa lets her guard down and accidentally reveals her true self to Arima - after Arima had confessed to having a crush on her. After a long bout of Miyazawa doing Arima's work for him under the threat of the truth coming out, Arima reveals that his feelings for Miyazawa didn't change despite what he saw. As it turns out, Arima was also putting on a mask of a model student, albeit he was doing it to prove wrong all the people who doubted that he would amount to anything because of his crooked parents. This exchange leads the two to become a couple as well as them making a vow to stay true to themselves. The rest of the series shows them dealing with the fallout from all of their years of deception, introducing new characters in the process.

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From left to right: Rika, Aya, Tsubaki, Tsubasa, Maho, Arima,
Miyazawa, Asaba, Tsukino, Kano, Miyazawa's parents.

Speaking of characters, this is where Circumstances shines. Arima and Miyazawa feel like a real flesh and blood couple who react realistically to the changes around them. How does Miyazawa react when Arima has to leave for a trip with his kendo team? She patiently (at first anyway) awaits his return while hanging out with some of her friends, which include the athletic (possibly bisexual) Tsubaki, the published writer Aya, the skilled seamstress Rika, and two former enemies: Maho, who was jealous with Miyazawa's success and sought to destroy her after learning of her deceit, and Tsubasa, Arima's ex-love interest whose interactions with Miyazwa account for a big amount of the show's laughs, and is also coping with her father re-marrying. Even the womanizing Asaba has a level of depth rare in most characters of the same archetype; he's an excellent artist who honestly believes that all women are beautiful.

Having only watched the English dub I can only make assumptions about the original Japanese version. Overall the performances are solid, with the weakest one being Miyazawa's father. Although his VA does a good job with his numerous comedic scenes, it just falls apart when he narrates the episode about the parents' background. All is forgiven, however, when we hear the two adorable voices of reason that are Tsukino and Kano, Miyazawa's younger sisters. Their "on the next episode" segments are worth the wait through the ending credits. The catchy ending theme makes sure that it's not a boring wait.

And I do mean catchy!


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Not an actual screenshot, but it gets the idea right.

The pacing and technical side of things is where Circumstances falls short. That plot synopsis mentioned in the fist couple paragraphs takes up the first eight episodes, and most of it is handled with dialogue. Most of the dialogue is accompanied by static, hand-drawn sketches of the main characters which left me tapping my foot waiting for them to revert back to the original art style. The series also likes to cut away from what's going on to show random scenery. While most of them can be connected to the events before the cutaway (a clean puddle getting muddied, a green light turning red), some of them feel like they were there because the animators got lazy. I still don't know what's with the empty staircase. Then there's the two recap episodes (14 and 15, just so you know).

Tragically, the series abruptly ended after the manga author withdrew from the project due to her disliking of the anime focusing more on the humor than the romance. This was a shame because not only was the series exceptional despite its flaws, but there was a lot of side-stories that I would have liked to see get developed more. Ah well, such is the tragedy of real life.

Bottom Line: If a good art style and quick pacing is a must for you, skip this series. But if you're looking for a mature, realistic love story, give it a shot.

Wow! That was a genuinely impressive first review. You covered all your bases, used some nice evidence to back up your points and gave your impressions without sounding opinionated. For one piece of constructive criticism, the layout was somewhat random, but formatting is something you'll naturally improve on as you experiment with it the more you reviews you do. And you are doing more reviews, right?

Oh, great review. Layout was, odd, to say the least and I feel like I was exposed to more plot than I would have liked in that summary, but yeah, that was great! You even did background checks which is fan-dabby-babulous. I won't see this though, as I have found all Love Stories bad. No exceptions. If there is a male and a female lead, then I make the assumption they are gonna get on each other. When they do, I roll my eyes and say "I knew it". Romance may not be for me, but perhaps something where they actually put in the Romance as the main feature rather than a sub plot would be good for me?

Calumon: Jack's a Liar! He liked Takato and Jeri in Digimon Tamers.

Jack: Well...umm...They were... sweet and cute, and Takato...is bashful...and...Dammit. I loved that part.

There were a few moments where you almost stumbled on to many details, but a very good first review.

I think this show was in production during Gainax's money problems, hence the amount of still images in the series. It can get a bit tedious, but Ganaix still does the best with what they've got.

I never knew that about the ending though. Still, I think it was handeld fairly well: You get the idea that Arima and Miyazawa might not be together for the rest of their lifes, but that their relationship still served it's purpose because it helped define their future.
And that new romance that is formed just in the last episode kinda gives you the impression that relationships come and go and that the circumstances between couples will always continue.

Things can get bogged down near the end, but I still very much love this show.

example
example

Here's a tip on presenting you pictures. Instead of placing them in a quote box as you are doing now use this little lovely piece of code:

[ img_inline caption="What you want the caption to be" align="right/left here" height="XXX" width="XXX"] img url here [/img_inline]

Without the initial space and with the proper things between the speech marks you'll end up with something like this >

Pretty neat, huh?

FargoDog:
Wow! That was a genuinely impressive first review. You covered all your bases, used some nice evidence to back up your points and gave your impressions without sounding opinionated. For one piece of constructive criticism, the layout was somewhat random, but formatting is something you'll naturally improve on as you experiment with it the more you reviews you do. And you are doing more reviews, right?

Hmmm, y'know, now that I look at it that Youtube vid does seem kind of out of place doesn't it?

Oh yeah, I never thanked you for your advice. It was a huge help!

As for more reviews, I've already decided I'm doing Excel Saga next.

Stranger of Sorts:

example
example

Here's a tip on presenting you pictures. Instead of placing them in a quote box as you are doing now use this little lovely piece of code:

[ img_inline caption="What you want the caption to be" align="right/left here" height="XXX" width="XXX"] img url here [/img_inline]

Without the initial space and with the proper things between the speech marks you'll end up with something like this >

Pretty neat, huh?

"Pretty neat"? That's figgin' awesome! Thank you so much for that!

Ooo very nice review! This was especially good for a first attempt. Great job ^_^
I liked the layout and you covered all appropriate bases here and made me genuinely interested in this series, despite never hearing of it prior to reading this.

Keep up the good work ^-^

Jack and Calumon:
Oh, great review. Layout was, odd, to say the least and I feel like I was exposed to more plot than I would have liked in that summary, but yeah, that was great! You even did background checks which is fan-dabby-babulous. I won't see this though, as I have found all Love Stories bad. No exceptions. If there is a male and a female lead, then I make the assumption they are gonna get on each other. When they do, I roll my eyes and say "I knew it". Romance may not be for me, but perhaps something where they actually put in the Romance as the main feature rather than a sub plot would be good for me?

Calumon: Jack's a Liar! He liked Takato and Jeri in Digimon Tamers.

Jack: Well...umm...They were... sweet and cute, and Takato...is bashful...and...Dammit. I loved that part.

Why thank you Jack! It took me forever to...wait a minute. "Fan-dabby-babulous"?

shadyh8er:

Jack and Calumon:
Oh, great review. Layout was, odd, to say the least and I feel like I was exposed to more plot than I would have liked in that summary, but yeah, that was great! You even did background checks which is fan-dabby-babulous. I won't see this though, as I have found all Love Stories bad. No exceptions. If there is a male and a female lead, then I make the assumption they are gonna get on each other. When they do, I roll my eyes and say "I knew it". Romance may not be for me, but perhaps something where they actually put in the Romance as the main feature rather than a sub plot would be good for me?

Calumon: Jack's a Liar! He liked Takato and Jeri in Digimon Tamers.

Jack: Well...umm...They were... sweet and cute, and Takato...is bashful...and...Dammit. I loved that part.

Why thank you Jack! It took me forever to...wait a minute. "Fan-dabby-babulous"?

Fan-Dabby-Babulous, yeah. Like a nice way of saying Fan-fucking-tastic. It's like Fabulous, except it's also Dabby, meaning you're essentially Fabulous x2!

Why do I now feel camp?

Calumon: Why do I feel weird? :S

 

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