Teenagers have their circumstances.
The first four episodes of His And Her Circumstances are very good. There was so much going on in every episode. and things were constantly moving forward as Miyazawa and Arima’s relationship develops, from their first meeting to eventually becoming a couple.
But what really made it work is how interesting and likeable the two lead characters are. You can easily see why they’re drawn to each other and, at the same time, why they have their insecurities. They’re very similar, but also very different. They both see themselves in each other, but also see something they feel they’re missing in themselves. The way they explore their feelings and overcome these issues feels very natural, and I especially appreciated how it was all about them. It didn’t need to put contrived obstacles in their way for cheap drama. And whenever either of them was starting to get broody, it threw in some comedy to defuse the tension and prevent it from getting too overbearing. They’ve got depth to their characters, but they’re also just fun to watch.
When they finally get together at the end of the fourth episode, it’s the highlight of the entire show. Even though the series had only just started, it felt like they’d come a long way, and I was happy for them. If the show had ended there, I would have rated it pretty highly.
But of course, it didn’t end there. And while Miyazawa and Arima still got plenty of attention in the remaining episodes, the tone gradually changed and focus shifted to the side characters. These side characters… well, they’re not exactly bad, but they’re nowhere as good as the two leads, and I wasn’t as interested in their problems.
What also annoyed me a bit was how most of these characters start out being excessively antagonistic, only to become best friends in the blink of an eye. It’s not that it comes completely out of nowhere, but it’s such a big change that it makes me feel like they only acted like jerks in the beginning to cause drama, which is exactly what I commended the first arc for not doing.
By the final arc, I had all but lost interest in the show. I didn’t care at all about Tonami and Sakura, or how he was falling in love with the girl who abused him when they were younger. The plotline about Arima’s internal struggle was never completely resolved. And we didn’t even get to see the play that Miyazawa was going to star in. Even for an anime based on an ongoing manga, it really felt like it just ended in the middle.
And of course, I can’t really review the show without mentioning the production issues. I was warned in advance so I had some idea of what to expect, but it was still a big letdown when entire episodes were more like an audiobook than an anime. A story like this doesn’t need amazing animation, but it still got bad enough to negatively affect the experience.
In the end, I feel conflicted about the show. I enjoyed the beginning a lot, but watching the quality slowly degrade over the next twenty episodes ultimately left me disappointed and unsatisfied.