Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta. – 02

“Summer, Fireworks, Color of Love” is this week’s title, and it pretty succinctly sums up what we get. If you’ve heard of these themes in romance anime before well…you’re not alone! But what this show lacks in original themes, it makes up for in solid execution and attention to detail, and variety.

We get looks not just into the budding romance of Miou and Haruki, but see how close Yuu and Natsuki are without officially dating, as well as Souta’s attentions towards Akari. The plot of making one last film together, starring a character who is an art student in love, is pretty hoaky, but super-charming if you can switch off the cynicism.

In her desire for her art (and not Akari’s) to be chosen by Haruki, Miou puts undue pressure on painting the perfect canvas, and ends up unable to paint anything at all. Haruki seems to get a bit jealous when he overhears that Miou will soon meet the man who saved her from drowning.

But they largely set aside those issue when the six friends gather for a fireworks festival. Natsuki sets things up so Miou and Haruki are alone, while Souta’s in the right position to catch a stumbling Akari, breaking the ice. All three couples have great chemistry and it’s fun to watch them interact.

Everything seems to be ruined when Miou faints and she and Haruki end up with an obstructed view of the fireworks, but they find a platform to get a better view. Haruki tells Miou he’s looking forward to seeing what art she comes up with (adding to the already high pressure of that project).

When he awkwardly offers to grab something for them to eat, Miou bravely, finally closes the 10cm distance by grasping his shirt. The two come this close to kissing, but are lamely interrupted by a couple of yappy dogs. LAME, I say. At least they can laugh about it.

Then the next day the thing I knew was coming came: Miou learns the man who saved her life is dead. Not only that, he’s Haruki’s big brother, Chiaki. She goes home, and rather than paint what love looks like for Haruki, she defaces the painting of her memory of being saved, ashamed that he lost his life, and Haruki lost his brother, all for her sake.

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Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta. – 01 (First Impressions)

What’s this, eight weeks into the season? A new high school romance comedy-drama from Studio Lay-duce (formed from ex-Bones members) that, at least for the moment, does not involve love polygons or an obsession with communication through the LINE app.

Instead, we have a built-in compatible couple in Aida Miou (Toyosaki Aki) and Serizawa Haruki, both creative people born in the spring. There’s mutual attraction, but due to the contrast between Haruki’s flashiness and popularity and Miou’s modesty bordering on self-loathing, the two find it difficult to get any closer than ten centimeters together.

Gimmicky title aside, this first episode efficiently establishes both Miou and Haruki as good decent people who are novices when it comes to romance, and the dynamic between their different outward personalities and a kind of inner connection that draws them closer together.

The fact that coming closer happens so organically, before they realize it, a friend of Haruki plasters the chalkboard with playful slogans. Miou does not like the spotlight, or even appearing in Haruki’s camera lens, but Haruki wastes no time telling his buddy that this kinda thing is not okay, while telling Miou not to let it get to her.

The network of friends, which consists of three girls and three boys, doesn’t seem ripe for any kind of conflicts. Miou’s friends assume she and Haruki are already girlfriend and boyfriend, even though they just go home together most afternoons because they’re “headed in the same direction.”

Of course, as we watch their chemistry unfold together, it’s clear it’s not just practicality that drives their after-school walks. Haruki likes Miou and Miou likes Haruki, but Haruki wishes Miou wouldn’t criticize herself so often, using the phrase “somewhat like me” like it’s going out of style and having no confidence. Yet for all his bombast, Haruki isn’t any closer to drawing nearer than 10cm from Miou. It’s something they’ll have to figure out together.

While hardly a groundbreaking or risky show, 10cm is thoroughly competent and enjoyable, with a minimum of the teen angst that tends to sour these kinds of shows. It also has the benefit of a totally stacked all-star cast including Toyosaki and Suzumura Kenichi, Kamiya Hiroshi, Tomatsu Haruka, Kaji Yuki, and Asumi Kana.

I don’t care what you’re making, if you get this amount of talent behind it it’s bound to be good. Looks like this will be only six episodes total, so I don’t see the harm in checking it out, late in the season though it may be.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 09

Shinka unilaterally decides the club will perform a flashmob battle. The fall semester is nearly halfway gone, and Rikka has been avoiding Yuuta ever since she spent the night. Rikka believes the “overseers” planted a “dark anomaly” in Yuuta, making her heart race at the sight or thought of him. She and Sanae call him out one night to “defeat” him with, but fail. Shinka picks up on Rikka’s behavior, takes her aside, and tells her she’s in love, then crafts opportunities for Rikka to get Yuuta to respond. The third attempt, when Rikka nearly falls off the roof of the school, succeeds when Yuuta rescues her resulting in a passionate embrace.

Akasaki Chinatsu voices Shinka. She also voiced Oribe Yasuna in Kill Me Baby!, which wasn’t the best anime in the world, but her strong, flexible, energetic voice was the main reason we watched it. The running gag was that no matter how many crazy methods she used, she’d never quite achieve her goal, much like Wile E. Coyote. This week, Shinka channels Oribe once she realizes the blatantly obvious: Rikka has well and truly fallen for Yuuta…like a ton of bricks. Shinka’s schemes come straight from shoujo romance manga, but this time, she finally succeeds. And all it takes is Rikka almost falling off a roof!

Yuuta, for his part, is your typical passive male lead who lets half a semester of awkwardness pass before his harrowing rescue of Rikka. Rikka mistakes her feelings for some form of sorcery, and we’re not even sure how sincere she is in that skewed interpretation, considering her Chuunibyou is a coping device, not just something she does for the hell of it (like, say Sanae, until she gets a tragic backstory…). Deep down, of course, Rikka knows the true reason why Yuuta makes her face red and her heart race; she just afraid and needs a little catalyst, which Shinka helpfully provides. She and Yuuta aren’t out of the woods yet (nor are any of the couples this Fall :P), but it’s a hug in the right direction.


Rating: 8 (Great)