The anime version of True Tears shares nothing in common with the visual novel or the film (beside the name). It has its own independent plot, its own independent setting, and its own independent set of characters. Thus why use the name True Tears and give credit to the original visual novel creator when there is virtually nothing in common is beyond my understanding. However, what I do understand is that True Tears is an attempt by Lantis to produce a similar anime type to Air/Kanon/Clannad by Kyoto Animation. The purpose of this review is not to compare and criticize True Tears with the above anime, but I personally feel True Tears is worthy of such comparison if there is one. True tears is a story that focuses on the life of a high school student and his interactions with the three heroines of the story. The story focuses on the romance and drama in the lives of the characters.
I think that the story line was one of the best I have seen for a 13 episode anime. It was just the right length for such a story. The anime incorporates a lot of realism and really brings out the drama of a love triangle. The story looks at love from a path less ventured on and is different from your typical love story. Some may call this a harem because all the main girls fall in love with the main character but it is very different from your usual harem because it looks at it from a more realistic and serious angle. Expect a lot of drama and meaning in this show. Though a word of caution that this show is a bit enigmatic due to its metaphorical usage of chicken flying and a strange and unique theme of tears. While it is not difficult to understand what those metaphors imply, some viewers may be discouraged by them.
The relationships between all the characters are expertly developed. In addition to the multi layer relations that are common in most romance genre, we also see a great deal of interactions between the younger and older generation of characters and how they affect one another. The protagonist’s parents certainly played a more central role compare with most animation from this genre. However, what I like best is the perfect illustration of a young boy’s heart when confronted with two (or three) possible lovers. I, for one, instantly saw a reflection of myself from Shinichirou (not that I am two-timing or anything, but I find his actions highly logical for a boy his age). I think I would most likely be as confused (if not more confused) than he is if I were in his situation especially after all those shocking events.
Animation-wise it certainly lives up to fans expectations. This is especially true for the key scenes of the show. As evident from the title of the anime, tears do truly seem different in here. Tears in True Tears are very beautiful, the glittering salty water look exceptionally real when running down the cheeks of various characters. In addition to tears, the fluidity of the character movements, the detailed shadows on the face of the characters as they speak, the camera angles used to illustrate certain key aspects such as the 3D walking scene etc.; everything adds up little by little and before you know it you will find yourself having a hard time reverting back to watching lower quality animations.
Like the awesome animation production, True Tears’ music is also not to belittled with. The music was effectively used both in terms of BGM and OP/ED as they all served their purposes well. BGM creates the mood just needed to make some scenes touching enough to make people go teary-eyed. The OP is by eufonius whom Clannad fans should be familiar with. I personally find True Tears’ OP much better than Clannad’s though. Unlike most anime, True Tears’ seiyu did not interest me much (nor did they play any role in my decision to watching it). The biggest name out of the main casts is probably Kaori Nazuka (Nunnally in Code Geass, Eureka in Eureka Seven, Lynette in Strike Witches).
Overall, This anime is not to be missed. Especially if you are a romance-drama fan. The anime managed to portray many key elements in the show within the short time span and i think that the anime will leave a lasting impression on all who watch it. However, patience may be needed in the course of understanding the story and the characters. If you are looking for something more light-hearted then perhaps you may not find this to you liking.