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Rumbling Hearts DVD 1
Violence: mild
Sex/Nudity: Some
Music:
Runtime Episodes: 24min/14
Overall Rating: A
Artwork: B -
Story: A
Comments: This is a clean soap opera from Japan and the only soap opera anywhere worth mentioning.  Amazingly enough this is based on a porn game.  There are several little known spinoffs none of which are currently available here in the US: Akane Maniax, Ayumayu Theater, and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (OAV) (alternate ending)
Voice Acting English: B +
Voice Acting Japanese: A
Genre: Romance
Extras: previews, clean opening,



Date Reviewed: 11/30/07 Last Updated: 10/26/09

Basic Premise: Mitsuki is a high school student who befriends Takayuki so that Haruka who is infatuated with him can get close to him.  The only problem is that in the process of the four of them becoming friends Mitsuki begins to have stirrings for Takayuki that she wasn't expecting.  Only now Takayuki and Haruka are going out with each other.  That is until a tragic accident lands Haruka in a coma for the next three years.
Review: Back in my days of torrenting anime I came across a one that could only be described as a soap opera and while I hated soap operas as many people do this one was not silly.  The characters were very realistic as was the situations they faced together.  It was not all about who was sleeping with whom an who killed who and how someone who was dead has now come back to life or a twin sister makes and appearance.  This story actually had a moral; several, in fact.

This first DVD has 5 episodes.  The first two is more of an introduction and maybe a bit cheesy, but if you continue watching you will see that this is not the junior high harem story that you were thinking it was.  The people grow and change.

Takayuki is a high school senior that a few girls seem to like for some reason.  He is one of the most apathetic people I can remember ever having seen in anime though.  He doesn't care about grades and has no hobbies.  He hangs out with his friends and will play some video games, but his goals in life are truly lacking.  He has no ambitions and just barely makes it from one grade to the next and now he is a senior and about to graduate, but he doesn't care and is not worried.

He has three other friends that he hangs out with.  Shinji is his closest friend, but to be honest he is a bit of a minor character.  Shinji definitely has his role to play in this story though.  Shinji and Takayuki are good friends and like to joke around with each other.  

Along the way there is the outgoing Mitsuki and her friend Haruka who is quite shy.  Haruka has had an infatuation with the apathetic Takayuki all through high school, but has never had the courage to talk to him.  When Mitsuki sees this she tries to become closer to Takayuki so that she can get her friend closer to Takayuki.  Except that Mitsuki began to like Takayuki instead and vice versa.

Still Haruka and Takayuki go out and after a few ackward weeks begin to grow closer and fall in love.

It is too easy to go on.  I must say that the characters really are rich in character and diversity.  There really is no useless character in this anime and the as things progress the characters only grow and become more than they were as we watch them grow up from graduation to the beginnings of their careers.

The animation is good, but not great.  The music is the same.  They are both supporting aspects to the story itself, so I won't fault either one for that.  I don't remember any strong language in this anime, but I have not listened to the English version all the way yet.

There is nudity in this one.  This story is for middle teens of around 14 or 15 or so.  There is not much, but it is there and this is one of those rare times where it actually looks necessary to the story.  In one other anime, Perfect Blue, that I can think of the nudity was acually vital to the story.  I can think of about 3 instances of nudity in this show and I may change that number as I watch the show, but that sounds about right.  I just wanted to warn you.

With the voice acting there is a problem.  When possible I like to watch anime in English, because that is my native language after all.  I know of no other.  I give it a little leeway when I can, but I have to be strict as well in order to do justice to the review.  

From what I have seen there are some very good voice actors in this anime.  I was really impressed in particular with whoever played Mitsuki.  She has some real talent and I hope she gets better.  

The problem is that the translation is off.  It was americanized and many of the cultural referrences were lost.  Most of them were actually.  More than that though is that it was altered enough that the storyline changed a bit.  Plot lines were altered slightly.  While this is forgiveable for me if the spirit and story remain the same in this case the spirit of the story inadvertantly ended up being changed too much from the original version.

Lastly, some of the personalities of the characters changed on me.  Try listening to it in English and then listen to the same scene in Japanese and you will see what I mean.  Takayuki's character changed the most.  In the Japanese version he is more thoughtful and concerned, but in the English he is more cold and thoughtless.  Rather frustrating, so as good as the English voice acting was I have to recommend the Japanese version instead.

The best thing about this DVD is that there is some real character and story development.  You can really feel for the characters like Mitsuki's guilt for her feelings for Takayuki and never letting go even when it hurts her and her friends.  Akane, Hauruka's little sister, who feels betrayed by what she thought were her friends, Takayuki and his confusion about doing the right thing, but not wanting to hurt anyone or even Haruka whose world will be turned upside down.

Conclusion: I neglected to say this part, but this anime is more of a masterpiece.  It is one of the hidden giants of anime and was immediately and long rated as the best anime around long before it was licensed and for good reason.  The story is well done and very engrossing.  It may not win any awards, but it should be a part of anyone's collection.



Publisher: Funimation
Related Website: http://www.funimation.com/rumblinghearts/
Where Found: the usual places
Copyright: 2003/2005
Author: Tetsuya Watanabe
If you enjoyed this anime try: Saikano, His and Her Circumstances


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