Sometimes you want to just settle into a nice romantic tale but you end up with a show that has a cast that just goes too far over the top. This is a series that keeps all of that out and just focuses on the romance itself.
What They Say
Misou managed to get through all of High School and college without a girlfriend. In fact, a wizened fortune-teller has predicted that it is his destiny to be alone for his entire life! When Misou sees the beautiful Nagisa, his heart is awakened for the first time. He has serious competition, however, from the flawlessly handsome Kaizuka and the amazingly ugly Kujira. Misou is determined to succeed, but he is stalled by his knack for ending up in compromising situations with other women at exactly the wrong moment.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with an English language dub, both of which are encoded at 192kbps. The OVAs feature a nice stereo mix that provides a good amount of forward soundstage directionality. There’s not much to it beyond this so it’s a fairly straightforward piece overall. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout and we had no issues with dropouts or distortions. We spot checked the English track and found no issues there either.
Originally released in 1998, the series is presented in its originall full frame aspect ratio. The three OVAs here look quite good, though the style used doesn’t allow it to really break out and show off. Colors are nice and solid, cross coloration is pretty much non-existent and there’s little in the way of macroblocking during the night time blue sky scenes. The animation style is fairly close to real-world style, so the colors are fairly muted for the most part, but there are some good sequences that show off some nice brightly colored pieces.
The front cover provides a nice fanservice shot of Nagisa, though there’s nothing really that fanservice-y in the show for the most part. The cover is complemented with the three men who are pursuing her in a gray tone next to her. The back cover provides some more color shots of the cast members as well as a brief paragraph describing the plot. The discs features and basic production information is clearly listed. The ball is dropped though as they list the running time as only 58 minutes when it’s really 90 minutes. Ooops, nothing like forgetting to count an entire episode! The insert replicates the front cover artwork sans the images of the three men on one side while the other is just adverts.
The menu is a nice simple static image of artwork from the show with selections quick to access and set up pretty nicely. Since there’s not much on the disc outside of the show itself, access times are nice and fast and the minimalist layout works nicely.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Whether anyone believes it or not, I’m a romantic at heart. Some of my most favored anime series tend to be the ones where there’s such a deep level of love to the leads or that their relationship is the key to things. These used to be fairly common when I started to really get into anime, but over the years they’ve ended up changing quite a bit, and usually not for the better.
Most romantic shows these days are romantic comedies, which means they offset the romance with humor. The humor of choice tends to be slapstick, which means you get things like Love Hina or later episodes of Ai Yori Aoshi. Those shows definitely have their place, but sometimes I just want a show to take a few key people and follow that romance, where you don’t have big breasted American female characters fondling others, wannabe samurai girls beating people up or other such oddities like flying turtles. A prime example of a good romantic comedy in my mind is Maison Ikkoku.
Well, If I See You in My Dreams isn’t Maison Ikkoku, but it certainly helped ease a void in current releases that I hadn’t really realized was missing. Dreams, as I’m going to shorten it down to, is a very appealing three OVA piece with roots in manga that deals with regular characters and some of their friends. The only weird element in it is where you wonder how a high school teacher managed to score such a nice car.
The story in Dreams really revolves around two central characters. You have young salaryman Misou, a man who takes his job seriously and doesn’t jeopardize it. During a walk home, he stops at a fortuneteller to find out if he’ll ever have a girlfriend, only to have the old woman tell him that he’ll never know such a thing. Misou’s life only becomes more draining after that, though he continues to work each day. His depression only gets worse as he becomes more and more resigned to his fate.
Counter to that, we’re introduced to an attractive young woman named Nagisa as she’s out at a bar/restaurant with a girlfriend of hers. The two are enjoying their time out, but when a couple of men buy them a drink and come over to talk, she panics and essentially runs right out of the place. Her friend eventually catches up to her and tries to find out what’s wrong, but in the end, Nagisa makes her way home in the rain alone while her friend heads off to her boyfriends for fun.
Before all of this though, there was a chance meeting between Nagisa and Misou on another rainy day and things ended with Nagisa helping him out and offering him a handkerchief of hers to dry himself with. On this particular night a day or two later, as Misou is returning home, he pulls it from his pocket only to have Nagisa walk right beside him. Realizing that she’s the same person, he starts off after her to try and see if there might be some slim chance. Naturally, she immediately things he’s a stalker, but recognition eventually does settle in.
What happens from here is the kind of romance you know is fairly predictable but just don’t see anymore, at least without the overbearing comical ties previously mentioned. Misou leaves without getting her name, but finds out her friend works in the same place as him. The school where Nagisa work provides some trouble along the way, as the head of the school has set Nagisa up against her will with a high school teacher she knows as well as there being a strange little man who deals with the school that’s also pursuing Nagisa. All these men after this cute introspective woman whose never even had a proper kiss yet.
We get the silly misunderstandings that come into play, such as a coworker of Misou’s who starts to find something appealing about him that ends up causing a scene that throws Nagisa off after she’s ready to realize her feelings. The walk-in jokes and so forth. I have no issue with the majority of it being predictable at all, because it’s so nicely done. A nice decent romance without the real bad stuff. Nice characters you know belong with each other and you simply want to see that happen.
Other than the inclusion of the strange little businessman who is also pursuing Nagisa, I enjoyed all of the characters here. The potential love triangle brought into play by Misou’s coworker was nicely done and was actually a great evolution of that character and completely believable, as was Misou’s dealings with her. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this show since it was a complete unknown to me, but it was an extremely pleasurable hour and a half of good classic romance blossoming. Good stuff, very recommended.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Media Blasters
Release Date: April 29th, 2003
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.