Main Studio: Zexcs
Sometimes I don’t really end up having that much of an opinion about a show, which makes these review thingies kinda hard to write. H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ is certainly one of these shows. It’s also one which has ~a stupid subtitle with tildes~ which are becoming annoyingly common. I guess a good place to start would be to briefly describe the show. Actually, wait, I did that back in my Winter 08 roundup post. Oh well, most of what I wrote there still applies.
H2O is another entry in the over-packed Renai or visual novel/dating sim adaptation genre. Kyoto Animation has this genre totally locked down with their masterful adaptions of Key‘s Kanon, Air, and Clannad, and with shows like that, there really isn’t a lot of room for bad or even mediocre adaptations. H20 is based on Makura’s PC game which I haven’t played obviously. Like any other Renai show, the protagonist wanders around their setting, and has conversations with girls who he runs into. Actually there is less of this than in the Kyoto Animation shows, and it’s structured more like a regular school setting anime for the most part.
Hirose and Hayami, blind, and un-pummeled, respecitvely.
The setting is a remote mountain village community, sort of like Higurashi‘s Hinamizawa but less fucked up. The protagonist is the occasionally blind Hirose, who is about as generic as it gets. He’s blind for the first episode, but starts being able to see at about the 22 min mark, thereby removing his one interesting characteristic. The main conflict in the show is centre around a girl called Hayami Kohinata who the whole town seems to hate, but whom Hirose likes. It’s with this main plot where my main criticism of the show really comes in.
Warning: I am just going to explain the plot at this point, because I don’t really want to end up motivating anyone to watch this.
Okay, so in the past, Hayami’s family were jerks. They ‘ruined’ the town, made some people commit suicide, refused medical treatment to people getting some people killed, you know, jerks. So the residents of whatever the town is called (I can’t remember, and wikipedia tells me nothing!), decide to burn their house down. Presumably her family are all killed in this incident, as they are never mentioned to be alive anywhere in the show, and Hayami going to stay with them is apparently not an option. Hayami decides to continue living in some abandoned train carriages which are improbably located up on a nearby hill.
Punch her face! That’ll teach her not to have parents who are jerks!
For some reason, Hayami continues to live in the town and attends school despite the fact that every single person in the town hates her. So we already have two glaring questions. 1) Why does she stick around? 2) Is everyone that unreasonable that they can’t separate Hayami’s actions from those of her parents? It’s these two questions that ultimately make me dislike the main plot in the show. I can’t for the life of me accept either contrivance. Look, there are buses that go directly out of town! Why not go one town over, to a town that doesn’t hate you, Hayami?
But for the sake of the story’s existence, she sticks around. She regularly gets beaten up in school, and not in school. Later in the show some villagers come and burn down her makeshift train-car home, because they hate her that much. Even later, they start coming after her with guns. Jesus Christ, Hayami, just get the hell out! What is wrong with you? The main character is not exempt from this madness either, and once he learns that her parents were responsible for his mother’s suicide, he responds by pummelling her face in. Yeah, way to be likeable there, you fucking idiot.
Hirose, pummelling Hayami like a totally reasonable person.
Hayami is continually shown to be a nice person, and does eventually win over some of the more reasonable students, but not everyone. The aforementioned face-pummelling bit results in Hirose reverting to childhood for some reason. Also, the issue of whether or not he was ever actually not blind is raised, but never satisfactorily answered. Oh yeah, there’s also a magic dead girl called Otoha who gave him his sight back, just thrown into the mix. I think the writers knew that all of Key’s works have supernatural aspects in them, so they just threw that in there to try and keep up.
Everything about a Renai show really lives or dies on the quality of it’s writing and characters, and sorry H20 but you fail. The art, voice acting and pacing are all fine but not incredibly noteworthy or anything. The show is just cursed with a retarded premise, and unlikeable characters. Overall, I would definitely say to give this one a miss.
Arbitrary Rating: 5 – Stupid