Myself; Yourself

Genre: Romance
Length: 13 episodes
Score: Excellent

Sana returns to his hometown to attend high school after 5 years away living in Tokyo. On the surface, very little has changed since he left – his friends he left behind are still around, the town itself looks the same as it always has. As Sana rekindles his friendships, he discovers things aren’t as they first seemed. The innocence of youth has well and truly disappeared and his friends are now battling their own problems: child abuse, arson, attempted murder, attempted suicide, the list goes on. Sana’s return seems to exert a tension on the circle of friends, and his presence in the group somehow encourages things long left unresolved to come to the fore.

When I first downloaded this, I was expecting a light, fluffy love story without a great deal of conflict. Boy, was I in for a shock. It’s a nice, fluffy love story for all of 4 or 5 episodes, then the past really kicks in. As Sana discovers more about the lives his friends have led whilst he’s been away, so his own past catches up with him and he sees episodes from his past in his friends.

This is a brilliant love story with plenty of conflict, struggle and emotionally-flaying moments.

Marcus adds:

Score: Very Good

While I’m not sure I go as far as his Excellent rating, I do recommend this complex romance.

Why not the Excellent? Well, the series faces a number of complex issues – several of them simultaneously – but at 13 eps doesn’t really have the time to explore them in the depth I’d have liked. In fact, as Minotaur says, the first half of the series is moderately light and fluffy, so we really only have about one episode per fucked up character. What this means is that the story focuses on the most dramatic parts of the story, where secrets come out and big events happen, but skips over the long tail where people learn to live with the changes, which in some ways is more difficult and interesting.

All of which doesn’t make Myself; Yourself bad, by any means. Just that the bar has been set higher by some of the truly excellent anime on this list.