For once, I’ve actually gone through with one of my New Year’s Resolutions! I finished watching Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~! If you’ve read my Top 5 Anime of 2005 feature, you already know this is my favorite anime of last year. And yes, I decided that before I even finished watching the series! Anyway, here is my full review of Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~ (complete with spoilers!):
Shiratori Ryuji has just moved in to the Narutakisou apartment complex, a sort of oasis in the middle of Tokyo. The landlady there is a cute highschool student who just happens to be Shiratori’s childhood friend. There isn’t a really strong plotline here; this is pretty much a slice of life anime where we get to know the residents of Narutakisou and see their interactions with each other. There’s sort of a recurring plot device (Kozue’s multiple personalities), but the anime would have been just as good without it.
Basically, when Kozue gets excited, she changes into one of four alter egoes. There’s the the kung-fu tomboy, the seven year old, the cosplay designer, and the introverted magician. They’re all pretty good at putting Shiratori into compromising positions, and comedy ensues!
Most of the episodes revolve Shiratori and another character. They’ll have some kind of problem, and Shiratori (being the nice guy that he is) will help with it. All of the characters are interesting and unique, so this never really gets boring. I kinda wonder why Haibara never got his own episode, though. Maybe he’s an ex-assassin?
One of my favorite things about the anime is when it goes into four-panel comic strip mode. It really works well! They should really think about adapting mahoraba into a four-panel manga! (Yell at me if they’ve already done this)
Like I said before, all of the characters are really unique. This is probably one of the series’ most strong points. The characters all come with their own backstories too. Throughout the series, you get to see why the characters act like they do. Okay, so maybe the whole dog puppet thing is never explained, but exactly how do you go about explaining that anyway?
I really like the way the characters are drawn. True, Shiratori might resemble a middle school student more than a college student, but he’s cute (especially when he dresses like a girl…)! Even the minor characters who only appear once in the entire anime are detailed. I especially like the super high-strung maid. She could have her own spinoff show as far as I’m concerned!
Yes, cuteness gets its own category! As far as cuteness goes, Mahoraba is chock full of it. Pretty much every character (even Shiratori) is cute (minus Haibara)! Exceptionally cute is Asami, who pours water in her orange juice to get three times as much! This show can even make poverty seem cute! Besides Asami, there are countless other characters who are just freakin’ cute! Okay, I think that’s enough for cuteness.
The music for this series is ok. I didn’t really notice anything monumentally awesome though. The OP is pretty wacky. I’d say it’s above average. The ED is kinda generic and boring. I think it has to do with someone’s speedo.
The background music works well, though. I like the music for the four-panel comic strip mode, and none of the music really detracts from the show.
Mahoraba has everything I would ever want in an anime (except for the walking)*! The story is fun, the characters are interesting, and everyone is cute! There aren’t any filler episodes (because with a slice of life anime, every episode is a filler episode), and tons of character development. I seriously hope this anime (and manga especially) get licensed in the US. It’s an exceptional series and deserves no less.
I recommend this anime to everyone and anyone. For its awesomeness, Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~ receives the Basugasubakuhatsu seal of approval!
[insert seal of approval graphic if I had one…]
*note: Seinfeld reference