What They Say:
How far would you go for true love?
All his friends said he was just being “stupid” and “delusional,” but Haruto just couldn’t give up on her… Yuzuki, the girl that showed up on his doorstep one day, stole his heart the next, and then left just as abruptly as she arrived. With the faint hope of rekindling the romance they’d shared, Haruto decides to pursue her, moving away from the rural outskirts of Hiroshima to the big city of Tokyo.
However, soon after arriving, he learns that Yuzuki has seemingly moved on and has a new boyfriend. No matter how hard Haruto tries, she refuses to see him and won’t tell him the reason why she left him. He could move on, as many have urged him to, but is that truly what Yuzuki wants? He could try winning her back – after all, he’s already moved to the town where she lives – but how much farther will he need to go?
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as done by the uncompressed PCM format. The series is one that is pretty much all about the dialogue as there’s nothing really here in terms of action. There are a few slightly bigger moments just from silly events that happen once in awhile but they’re few and far between and not exactly huge. With the dialogue itself the show definitely makes out well here as we get a good range of events playing out, some big moments of emotion, and certainly the quieter and internal struggles. All of it comes across in a clean and clear way as it needs to without any problems. Combine that with some great musical moments with the opening and closing among others and it’s definitely a solid design. Everything is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2013, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes for this series are spread across two discs with six on each while the extras are mixed across them. Animated by Gonzo, the show has a fantastic look with a beautiful color palette that really shines here. This is the kind of release that definitely needs a high definition presentation because it simply won’t be the same. There’s some great detail to be had both in background and character designs and some very smooth and engaging animation, but it’s the color design that makes this a standout looking release. There’s a warmth and richness to it that just first perfectly with what it needs to do and the show simply looks beautiful across the screen.
The packaging for this release brings us a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds the two discs against the interior walls. The front cover gives us a good image of the four main-ish characters together with the guys palling around and the girls along the bottom looking all cute while showing off their personalities. The guys look decent, but damn they’re whisper thin, and the soft blandish yellow/white background works to let the colors in their clothes pop more. The logo across the middle is simple but nicely done with a touch of style that works. The back cover runs with a small strip of decent character shots along the top while the middle is filled with a good summary of the premise. The origins of the show are given their due, which is nice, and we get a simple breakdown of the episodes and extras. The technical grid is simple but solid as well as it breaks everything down quickly and easily. Sadly, there are no show related inserts nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release works a nice aspect where it sets the mood through the use of location shots. The clips that play set a decent feeling overall, especially since it has that light rain design to it, and the color tone with the detail gives it a pretty rich feeling as it plays out. It’s the same for both discs which makes sense and works the best. The navigation strip along the bottom uses shades of orange and yellow across it with the lengthy title along the left in the same script as the cover while the navigation itself is a simple white font with a red triangle cursor that makes it easy to navigate and see where you are at all times. Submenus load quickly and episode access is solid both as the main menu and as the pop-up menu.
The extras for this release are fairly standard but welcome as we get the clean opening and closing sequences as well as a collection of TV spots and promotional videos. The show got little in this regard online when it came out so it’s fun to see how the show was promoted at the time.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Kouji Seo, A Town Where You Live is a twelve episode series that originally aired in the summer 2013 season. The original manga is one that began in 2008 and ran for twenty-seven volumes before ending in early 2014. This series is one that feels like it takes various concepts from the manga and works its own narrative so that you get the same ideas but it’s not a blow by blow adaptation of the manga, which is definitely for the best. I’ve read some of Kouji Seo’s work in the past and the anime adaptation of Suzuka so I knew what I was getting into this series with for the most part. That said, this is not the kind of show to watch when you’re struggling in your own relationship because there are so many things going on here and plays hard and rough with emotions that it can definitely seep into you.
The show focuses on two time frames though the bulk of it is in the present as we get to know Haruto, a young man that has come to Tokyo in order to follow a girl that he had fallen in love with but had left him. He’s doing so by moving in with his older sister that lives there and that leads to its own comedy as the girl who lives next door, Asuka Mishima, thinks he’s a perv intruder at first and makes quite the impression. Haruto’s a fairly standard character to some degree as we see him cope with everything but he has some nice little nods that separates him, such as actually acknowledging a range of feelings throughout the show, having interests outside of the pursuit, and actually having a potential career future that others kind of nudge him toward that he hadn’t thought about. It’s always nice when you get a male character that’s good at cooking and it’s not made a huge thing over but seen as just a potential path.
Haruto’s time in Tokyo doesn’t focus on school much since it wants to deal with the character struggles that happen. Since he’s come in pursuit of his lost love Yuzuki Eba, he ends up making friends with Koysuke, a dashing and fun young man who actually has a fairly dark secret about him that doesn’t get explored as rich and deep as it should. Haruto also gets pretty close to Asuka along the way as well, though he doesn’t see her as someone to pursue for a while even though she begins to make some moves toward him after realizing that she does like him. Since the two are neighbors and she’s friends with Haruto’s sister – sadly underdeveloped character – she ends up spending time there often enough and time in school helps to keep her close to Haruto. The two have that kind of slow build connection that works even within the constraints of a twelve episode series that focuses on a lot of flashback.
The flashback is what proved the most troublesome for me at times because it felt like it should have all been done in chronological order instead. Haruto and his interest in Yuzuki is something that’s nice to see as it plays out across three different meetings over the years from childhood to high school and how their perceptions of each other changed each time. When she goes and leaves and ends up with someone else in Tokyo, he just can’t let it go and that’s an area where you can understand it but it also just hits that creepy level. He wants closure but isn’t owed it yet he’s also just a teenager that hasn’t learned how to cope with such things. Yuzuki, for her part, is an interesting character because she has several conflicts to deal with and that plays out in haphazard form because of the flashbacks and her reveals in the present. We get her motivations but it’s best to not dig into them too deeply as they’re going to feel superficial as the story isn’t truly told from her point of view but rather as an object of pursuit by Haruto. She was a hard character to connect with because of the back and forth time periods and because of how the viewer ends up likely connecting with Asuka far more.
Where this series excels for many but may be a struggle for others is that it works the drama in a big way. It may be melodramatic for some but there’s something to be said, in a sea of shows that barely acknowledge actual emotion or genuine romantic relationships with merit, to have something that goes are hard as it does. There are some tough choices that are faced here, some actual soul searching for what you want and how it’ll impact others, that if you allow it to you’ll definitely feel it. Though you may disagree with the emotions at times and have that view of how creepy some of what Haruto does is actually like, you can’t discount that the show goes to places where few others do and takes the time to explore it. This was actually one of a number of shows where I just felt like the intended winner is the one that shouldn’t have won. Often things are designed so well that the secondary character is someone better off without the leading male character but here I really just wanted to see Haruto learn and move on in a big way. Not getting that was also a welcome change because the show didn’t do what I wanted it to do but rather what it wanted to.
While I could guess some of what this show would be like based on it being a Kouji Seo work, meaning emotional and full of really appealing fanservice and character designs, I wasn’t sure how far it’d go on the character romance level. It definitely puts these characters through the wringer and you feel that that do have to deal with a lot in a big way. I loved the animation and designs and especially the color palette, but I was frustrated by the flashback and chronological order in which things played out. There’s a lot to like here though and it’s the kind of series where it’s going to work even better with future viewings because you can piece together a lot of parts of it earlier and see the flow of it.
Japanese 2.0 PCM Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, TV Spots, and Promotional Videos
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.