November 21, 2009

Mystery Meat -- Nanatsuiro Drops

Nanatsuiro Drops was a new torrent appearing on BakaBT, and it looked good for grins so I downloaded it. After watching the first episode, about a week ago, I really didn't think I could handle any more and didn't feel like writing it up. The beginning of it was virtually identical to any of a dozen other magical girl shows. Only not quite.

There's a guy in a boarding school. The school is coed. He's handsome. But he's also not very social. He's nice, but he keeps to himself. Some of his classmates finally chew him out for it, but for some reason he just isn't comfortable doing it. It's his fault; the others aren't shunning him, and in fact they like him.

His name is a mouthful: Tsuwabuki Masaharu. Others either call him Tsuwabuki-kun or, eventually, Haru-kun.

There's a teacher, kind of swishy, who manipulates Haru into working with the Gardening club. One of the girls in his class, who secretly has a crush on him (did I mention that he's really good looking?) is in it. Haru feels a little annoyance but doesn't take it out on her; he isn't an asshole. She gives him a can of soda to drink. A weird looking guy with animal ears comes through carrying a whole load of soda cans, and they collide, and cans go everywhere. Haru helps collect them, and the kemonomimi hands him one and says it's Haru's. Only it isn't.

Haru drinks it, and is magically transformed into a plushy that looks like a ram, complete with horns. Haru wears glasses and so does the plushy. He can still move and talk. The teacher finds him.

Turns out the teacher is a sorceror. Turns out there's another world, magical. Turns out that the kemonomimi is from there. Turns out that if a normal human drinks one of their potions, he turns into an animal.

And... it turns out that there's only one way to fix it. Haru the plushy ram gets to be the cute animal sidekick for a mahou shoujo on a magical quest to collect seven star drops, magical whatsis's which occasionally fall from the sky. In the mean time, Haru will convert to his normal human form during the day, and to the plushy ram at night. And if anyone ever finds out that he's the ram, bad things will happen. Of course, there's another mahou shoujo competing for the star drops.

It's kind of half-way between Card Captor Sakura and Moetan. And it turns out that Haru's mahou shoujo is Akihime Sumomo, the girl from his class who has a crush on him.

Part of what turned me off from the first episode was Sumomo's voice. It's annoying as hell. Evidently I'm not the only one who thinks so; that seiyuu hasn't gotten many roles.

Tonight I got curious and decided to watch the last episode to see how it came out. That Haru and Sumomo would end up in love was a foregone conclusion, but how would it all be handled at the end?

I ended up watching the last three episodes, and you know what? It wasn't the ending I expected. Parts of it reminded me of the ending of Maburaho except that they didn't cheat. Spoilers below the fold.


I think it was also a foregone conclusion that eventually it was going to be discovered that Haru was the plush ram. And when it did, what happened is that the conversion was complete. He became a toy, just a toy, no longer conscious and no longer able to move. And he didn't transform back to human form during the day.

The magician teacher was shown searching through sundry grimoires looking for an answer, and he eventually came upon one. Naturally, it was profoundly difficult, and naturally, it was Sumomo who had to do it. It was a kind of time-rewind spell, and she spent a huge amount of time practicing it before finally getting it right. The best time to do it comes (full moon) and she's ready. The teacher draws a magical diagram to help things along and pours a few drops of some potion on her magical staff, but in the end it's her that has to do it. She almost fails, but then her competitor, who has since had a change of heart (damn, I do love Matsuoka Yuki's voice!) shows up and helps, and the spell completes and he's converted back to human form.

But he's still cursed to transform to a plushy. The only way to stop that is to create a potion out of the star drops that Sumomo has collected. The only problem with that is that it's going to wipe Haru's memories of the time since he first became a plushy -- which includes him meeting and getting to know Sumomo as a man (i.e. not as a plushy), and falling in love with her.

The teacher has let both of them know that this will happen. And so they spend a last date together, very romantic and such, and he promises her that he'll remember her no matter what.

Well, at least initially he doesn't. But he feels like there's something missing, something important. This is the last episode and they handled it nicely. He finds himself drawn to visit places where he had taken Sumomo on dates, and begins to remember that he was in love with someone. He remembers someone by his side; he remembers caring for that someone. He starts having flashes of memories of her, just vague, brief, not very distinct.  It really was well handled.

In the end he figures out that it was Sumomo. And he seeks her out, and tells her that he loves her. She starts crying. He still doesn't remember the time they spent, but he remembers the feeling, and tells her that he'll have to love her again. And then he kisses her.

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The final scene is the two of them arriving at the school, holding hands. And all their friends then cluster around them, happy that it's worked out. Most of them didn't know about the magic but they did know about his amnesia, and of course they knew that the two of them had been dating.

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I confess; it brought tears to my eyes.

I think that the single best thing in the middle of the last episode is that the other mahou shoujo shows up and hands Sumomo a crystal vial, glowing strangely. She says that she used all of the star drops that she had collected to create a potion, and if Haru drinks it his memories will be restored. Sumomo is grateful, but she says that Haru promised to remember, and Sumomo believes in him and will wait as long as need be for him.

And that was nine kinds of awesome, because that happened even as he was in the process of finding those feelings..

Do I recommend the series? I can't, really; it's still hackneyed, and even at the end Sumomo's voice grated. And it's a really huge angst overload. But points to them for doing the ending honestly.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 05:32 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 1200 words, total size 7 kb.

1 I've skipped most of your post because I never finished watching this, and want to avoid spoilers.  But I didn't remember it at all until you mentioned a certain element, and then I was oh yeah, the sheep plushy one.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 21, 2009 08:30 PM (PiXy!)

2 You definitely should skip it, then, because I described the ending.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 21, 2009 10:08 PM (+rSRq)

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