At first, Takayuki Narumi is befriended by Mitsuki Hayase only because Mitsuki’s best friend, Haruka Suzumiya has a crush on him; however since then, Takayuki, his pal Shinji Taira, and Mitsuki have grown to be the best of friends. Then one day, Haruka confesses to Takayuki her love for him. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, Takayuki agrees to go out with her. After a few incidents, their relationship gets intimate, even while Takayuki and Mitsuki begin to realize their feelings for each other. But suddenly, when tragedy strikes, things are never the same for these four friends again.
- Title: Rumbling Hearts (Kimi ga Nozomu Eien)
- Series: Series
- Episodes: 14
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Oct 05, 2003 – Jan 04, 2004
- Producers:Studio Fantasia
- Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Romance
- Rating: PG-13
As of this writing, the Summer 2012 anime season is in full swing and one of the many shows that is airing is Muv-Luv: Total Eclipse, which is adapted from a novel that is itself based off of a series of Visual Novels by the company Age. I bring this up because, while today’s review doesn’t have giant mecha or fights against aliens, I am reviewing the animated adaptation of one of Age’s other works, the 2003 adaptation of Rumbling Hearts.
The production of this anime is taken care of by Studio Fantasia, who have worked on anime such as My Neighbor Totoro and the current Saint Seiya Omega. The characters are all drawn well enough, since this isn’t a really action heavy series. However, there are some instances of characters being off model, but it never lasts for too long. The music for the series is pretty good, as both the OP and ED themes fit the tone for the most part. The series does have a dub, but it is one of those where it changes up the script for whatever reason. I will admit that I am no fan of changes such as these, so I prefer the original Japanese language track in this instance.
At its core, Rumbling Hearts is a rather melancholy series, as it deals with the difficulties of relationships, life, and how one is supposed to cope when they bare witness or are affected by tragedy. Takayuki in particular goes through a lot, as he saw the aftermath of Haruka’s accident and holds himself directly responsible for her ending up in that situation. Even when it is years after that, he still feels terrible about it, probably feeling something akin to PTSD from it. That isn’t to say that the other characters are not hurting in their own way, I just mention Takayuki since he is the protagonist after all.
Going briefly over the other characters, you have Mitsuki and Haruka, who both have feelings for Takayuki, but they deal with their own problems. Mitsuki starts off as your determined female lead who has a firm grasp on what she wants in the future, but finds out that things are not as clear cut for you in the future as it should be. Haruka, being the accident victim, may not seem to have much development, but she too has her own dreams that she would very much like to achieve, but first must overcome her hardships. In fact, out of the four main heroes, Shinji is probably the one that does not receive as much focus or development as the other friends. It is kind of sad, but he at least has a few moments of his own, like when he confronts Takayuki about what he should do in regards of Mitsuki and Haruka.
These aren’t the only characters however, as the next important character is Akane, Haruka’s sister. She used to look up to Mitsuki as a role model when it came to swimming, but things have become sour between them since her sister’s accident. She is trying her best for her sister, while also juggling her own ambitions and, though it is rough for her, she seems to be in control for the most part. There are also Mayu and Ayu, Takayuki’s coworkers. While they do not receive that much development and are usually regulated as comedy relief, that isn’t a bad thing, as the show does need its lighter moments when things are turning out grim. Ayu, despite her own problems with Takayuki, does her part in trying to help him out, which adds some dimension to her character.
For the most part, the series takes itself rather seriously and realistically, which means there really isn’t a “bad guy” to deal with. With that said, I would recommend this series to people who would like to see a more serious story when it comes to their anime, though the shorts at the end of each episode that have Mayu and Ayu in them help dispel the seriousness with so much needed parody and humor. The series is available in the states through Funimation and should be easy to find as of this writing.