When not helping his friends out with the Houjou School festvial, the smart, diligent but preachy Kitahara Haruki practices the guitar in one of the school’s three music rooms. In the room next door – reserved for elite musicians – a mystery pianist often accompanies his playing. He meets the beautiful, popular Ogiso Setsuna when he assures her on behalf of the festival committee that she need not enter the Miss Houjou contest for a third year if she doesn’t want to. On the last day he plays his guitar, he hears the piano as well as singing from the school roof. He runs up to find that it’s Ogiso.
This is a sequel to a series that aired back in Winter 2009, before RABUJOI came to be. It lasted two seasons and 26 episodes, and we stuck with it as the protagonist juggled his kindhearted, rising idol soul mate (voiced by Hirano Aya) with a fair number of other ladies, including her manager. We liked how it took place in a time before cell phones and the constant connection characters take for granted in most contemporary anime, though it often over-relied on those technological limitations to hike up the drama.
This new series takes place ten years later, and that idol’s signature song just happens to be the first CD the new protagonist Haruki bought and learned for guitar. There are cell phones in this series, but there are still boundaries between the characters. There are literal walls, in the case of Haruki and the as-yet un-introduced pianist in the adjacent music room; and there are the emotional walls Ogiso (not voiced by Aya) has put up to hide her true self. Haruki is an intelligent, perceptive, rational, honest guy, but once he’s inevitably embroiled in a love triangle, we suspect those qualities may not help him, and may even hurt him.
Rating:7 (Very Good)