“My Happy Marriage” offers a refreshing twist on the classic Cinderella story, combining romance, fantasy, and drama into a heartfelt anime. The tale begins with our protagonist, a young woman forced into servitude by her stepmother after her mother’s death. Unlike her family, she lacks special powers, an attribute that adds to her subjugation.
Her life takes an unexpected turn when she’s sent to marry a man feared for his reputation. Upon arrival, she’s pleasantly surprised to find that he’s not only young and handsome but also gentle and understanding. The two begin a love story filled with warmth and affection.read more
Fuuka is a relatively new anime that is part of Crunchyroll’s Winter Simulcast lineup. You can watch Fuuka for free on Crunchyroll here.
Fuuka is very similar to other band slice of life anime such as Beck Mongolian Chop Squad or Nana. If you like either of these anime, I think you’ll also enjoy Fuuka.
Check out my “Early Review” for episodes 1 through 4 of Fuuka below, and catch Episode 5 on Crunchyroll Friday at 11:00am EST.
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Drama
Length: 12 Episodes (so far only 4 have aired).
Related Media: Fuuka is a sequel to another anime called Suzuka. Fuuka is actually the daughter of one of the main characters in Suzuka. Both Fuuka and Suzuka also have manga adaptations, and Fuuka’s manga is currently still running with new material.
PS: You can enjoy this series without watching Suzuka – I had never heard of Suzuka until I was researching my blog post tonight – and only just started watching Fuuka tonight too and already in love with it. It’s definitely “my kind” of anime! Suzuka is similar but instead of a love triangle in a band, it’s a love triangle in a sports anime. I may marathon it this week while waiting for the next episode of Fuuka :).
Studio: Diomedia and Funimation
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
Geeky: 3/5 – The animation and music are both highlights in this series with extremely high production values; however the slow plot and short overall length of the series could alienate some fans.
Sweetie: 4/5 Awesome characters and story with love as a huge focus and slice of life about kids starting a band. Took away one heart for huge amounts of fanservice.
Concept: 9/10 – It’s not terribly original. (-1 point) It’s been done before, and probably done better before too… but Overall, I am in love with the premise of this series. Two childhood friends drift appear, reconnecting years later – One is well on their way to fulfilling their dreams and promises; while the other simply drifts aimlessly through life until a key event occurs which puts them also on the path to their destiny.
There is a huge love triangle/love rivalry at the center of this drama. There’s also huge amounts of significant character growth and development. Already just within 4 episodes, we’ve witnessed the main character overcome his fears and shyness and learn to speak up, and we’ve seen already several relationship ups and downs.
As for the female lead whom is the namesake of this show, we’ve watched her, also like the male lead, go from wandering aimlessly, to having a purpose and a goal and a vision. We’ve also seen that although she can essentially be a tomboy, that she too gets shy and awkward at times, and has trouble expressing her feelings.
Also within just 4 episodes we’ve watched them find and recruit all of the necessary members for their band, and even put on an impromptu performance.
Story: 10/10 – If relationship drama and slice of life is not your cup of tea, you will not be too interested in this — However, for me, it’s my favorite genre; and yes, although there are similar anime dealing with “band drama” (Beck, Nana, Your Lie in April, and White Album to name only a very small few) — I still find the concept refreshing and enjoyable.
To put it simply, the story revolves around a love triangle between “music geeks” who are pursuing their dreams of becoming either solo artists or rock band musicians. I’d like to say “pretty sure we know how the triangle will end” given the name of the show… but that is not necessarily true you know~!! Similar Manga such as Nana have had a lot of failed relationships and couples that you’d think should be together, but aren’t.
It could just be that Fuuka goes on to become an idol and fulfill her dream (which is to sing). She could go on to become a strong, independent character — she already is so much stronger than the more emotionally weak (but successful already in her singing career) love rival that she’s pitted against.
Though we do witness weak, tender, and vulnerable sides of Fuuka as well. At this point it’s anyone’s guess how the story will go. Who will Yuu choose? Or perhaps none of those relationships will pan out.
Aside from the love triangle, you witness the day-to-day struggles of performing music, and see the characters at school, work, and home, typical slice of life stuff here.
Characters 10/10: The story begins by introducing the male lead, Yuu, who will become the bass player for the band. He is a very shy and awkward soft-spoken boy who finds escapism online and has difficulty connecting with others face to face.
One day he meets the namesake of the series, Fuuka, as she’s dashing across the street and bumps into him, because he is so busy looking at his phone. This creates a misunderstanding about why he was using his phone, and it won’t be the last misunderstanding between them either.
Fuuka is an extremely energetic and bright young girl who has a strong tomboy streak and acts very unlady-like at most times. Like a lot of young people, she wonders what she should be doing with her life. One day, she gets free concert tickets to a live event. As they’re walking home, she begins to sing, and finds encouragement and feedback from Yuu, which causes her to impulsively want to form a band. She pretty much forces Yuu to go along with her idea, and Yuu can’t say no at this point, because his personality is weak, and Fuuka is very dominant at this point.
They also enlist the help of a classmate who is charming and good looking but “not interested in girls” as he himself says lol. He becomes the keyboard artist for the group.
Lastly, they recruit an upper classman who has been pestering Fuuka to join the track and field team oneday when he lets it slip that his big brother used to be a drummer; thus, he too becomes a drummer like his brother.
As mentioned, there’s also a very prominent love rival in the form of a childhood friend of the main character.
The main character also lives in a house full of females (enter more copious amounts of fanservice). And a cast of side characters consisting of teachers and advisers who also happen to be former band-mates who have taken the new members under the wing.
Anyways, most of all, I can’t explain but the namesake of this show is just so darn cute sometimes (in her actions and facial expressions). And there are some truly cute moments between both “couples” in the series… It’s definitely the cute characters that make this series for me, especially Fuuka!
Artwork: 4/5 I love the artwork in this series; they way their eyes are drawn and the detail and light in their eyes is especially pretty. However — could do without the huge amounts of blatant fanservice.
Music: 5/5 – Thankfully this is really, really good; I mean it’s an anime about music, so it’d better be good right? lol. Crunchyroll for some reason doesn’t have subtitles on the opening or ending theme which is a bummer, but no fault of course of this anime and just a fail on Crunchy’s part.
The music is fast paced, and more “J-Rock” infused. Once again similar in ways to Beck and Nana with the same “vibe”. There are also a few tracks (from the love rival) which are definitely more soft and Pop inspired.
Voice Acting: 5/5 They have to be able to both sing and act, so I once again give this a 5 out of 5.
Just finished watching “I’ve Always Liked You – Confess Your Love Committee” on Crunchyroll and had to immediately type up a review because that’s how much I enjoyed this anime. Everything about it was so relateable and the cute artwork and numerous vocal songs throughout made this just an amazingly memorable movie to watch.
I’ve been going through numerous tough times in my own relationships or lack there of, this year, breaking up with someone, trying to date other people, liking people that will never like me back, feeling awkward, nervous, excited, scared, sad, happy, overwhelmed at times even, or at times, just the reverse, dating people who liked me way more than I felt towards them.. So in that regard, I could relate to every single character and the overall theme of this anime in so many ways.
I think part of the reason we all love slice of life or romantic comedies is because it lets us escape into the lives of the characters, and have a happy ending, even if it’s not real, or not our own. We become attached to the characters, we care about what happens to them, and we want to see them be happy, because ultimately we feel that if they can achieve their dreams, then maybe there is hope for the rest of us after all.
Title: I’ve Always Liked You – Confess Your Love Committee
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll
Length: 64 minutes – 1 movie so far, reportedly with a sequel in the works for release later this year.
Genre: Shoujo Slice of Life Romance Drama
Release Date: October 4th 2016
Geeky: 0/5 – Nothing geeky here. Very predictable, basic slice of life, with typical anime tropes, complete fluff, no action, adventure, or scifi, and no complex plot, or themes, so unless you’re into over-the-top “cuteness” and/or “relationship drama” this is a show you’ll want to pass.
Sweetie: 5/5 – The theme really hit home. Unrequited love is something we all experience. The cute artwork and pop music also make this anime very “sweet”.
Concept: 9/10 – This anime can jump around a bit, it tries to do a lot in a 64 minute timeframe. It would have worked better as a series. There’s really not a clear main character, with all of the characters getting pretty equal screentime and having equally complex relationship dilemmas. It is interesting how many vocal music tracks were used, more than I have ever seen in an anime feature length film before. This gave it a very “Disney” kind of feeling – you know how characters just burst into song. The songs help tell the story – and they’re good songs too. The lyrics to the songs hit home just as much as the character dialogue and story. Presentation values were very high, with excellent music, voice acting, and artwork. The writing, while extremely predictable, also felt extremely raw and real. All of the characters were likeable and relateable to anyone that’s ever struggled with their feelings.
Story: 8/10 – I love this anime because of the story, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. You know early on how this story will go, and what will happen. (Which I won’t reveal here). This doesn’t make it a bad anime by any means. Slice of life don’t really need mystery or suspense. What they need are characters that show significant growth and development. characters that draw you in, make you like them, care about them, and a central plot that draws from perhaps the author’s own experiences, or experiences that are very common to almost anyone from any walk of life – and this anime has all of those things. The story does jump around quite a bit though and that can be distracting at times. The basic premise is there are 3 couples, the first are childhood friends who are both too afraid to confess their feelings. The next is a pair of relatively new friends/acquaintances who aren’t really sure of their feelings yet and are in limbo somewhere between friends and dating, and the final pair consist of a guy with unrequited feelings for a girl for many years, and the girl being inexperienced and never really thinking much about love. There’s also a few love rivals and other outlying characters and issues throughout the film.
Characters: 8/10 – The characters are likeable, relateable, and they gradually begin to experience growth and mature to where many of them eventually overcome the obstacles facing their relationships. Watching them awkwardly work through their feelings, struggle, and fail, or struggle, and overcome their hardships, these things endear them to us. The artwork for the characters is also quite nice and drawn in a very cute style. The voice acting is also cute. The characters exude a lot of charm and work well in a shoujo setting. However, I feel like more could have been done given more time. I think the series does a good job of making all of the characters “main characters”, but for example, some of the truly minor characters, such as Nacchan’s brother and Setoguchi’s sister, their relationship is not fully explored – although there is a scene at the end of the credits with Setoguchi’s sister holding a love letter – but I kinda wonder if that letter is perhaps for Yukki who ends up being the only “odd man out” — if that’s the case though then Nacchan’s bro would become the “odd man out”– and the blonde pigtailed girl gets barely any screentime – do we even get to know her name? — Perhaps all of these things will be revealed if there is a sequel later this year as rumored.
Artwork: 5/5 – Nacchan reminds a lot of Lovely Complex – which I reviewed here. There, I criticized the female lead’s physical appearance for not being very kawaii (although some of my readers in the comments section clearly disagree). — However, although Nacchan has the same hairstyle and haircolor, Nacchan’s hair is more “fluffy” and flattering. Her bun is actually really kawaii! Later in the movie you also get to see her with her hair down as well. — Her fashion sense though is very boyish and strange — but you also get to see her dressup and be feminine later on too. Showing how multifaceted she is, makes her seem more real, more relatable, and ultimately more kawaii. — The other characters are also equally kawaii – my favorite for “Kawaii”factor is definitely Akari. I also really like Yukki. I think he was equally cute with his long hair and more modest appearance (which is shown only briefly as a flashback). The way everyone’s eyes are drawn is super beautiful too.
Music: 5/5 – Really would like to give it more than 5 points, but to keep it a bit consistant with my other reviews, we’ll go with this. – Music plays a huge vital role in this anime. Reading the lyrics is really important, It helps convey the characters’ feelings and emotions. I’ve never ever seen an anime feature length film with so many vocal tracks. There’s at least 5 or 6 music tracks. The ending music also when the credits roll continues to tell a story and seems to forshadow even college or adult life with some clips and brief animations as well. (in these illustrations the characters seem more mature, their hair is much longer, one of them is wearing a suit, etc. ) It’s definitely worth watching the ending credits. Plus there is a very brief scene after the credits as well. Like I mentioned, the vast amount of vocal tracks in this anime really give it an almost Disney-esque feeling. It’s definitely a memorable experience and makes me want to buy the soundtrack!
Voice Acting 5/5 – I loved all the character’s voices, Nacchan’s voice sounds more tomboyish, while Akari has a very kawaii voice, and the other girl very soft spoken, all 3 of them are very distinct and instantly recognizable.
Story: 5/10 A young woman goes to spend a summer on her aunt’s farm. While helping out on the farm and around the house she is reminded of her childhood. She also meets a young man working on the farm and must reconcile her feelings of her childhood in order to become a woman.
The story is told through numerous flash backs that take place 17 years prior to the current events. The flashbacks are of other people, friends, family members, former romances, etc that she has encountered thus far in her life and how they’ve shaped her outlook on life and her experiences.
It is very slow moving. If I were just grading about the last 30 minutes of this film I’d give it a 10 lol. One of my favorite endings I think of any Ghibli film. It was very heart warming, as most Ghibli films are.
The fact that it’s told through flashback and that it features different people not related to the current events kinda disconnects the story a bit for me.
I also feel like the pacing and timing of several of the flashbacks was a burden to the film overall. I kept anticipating and thinking perhaps the two characters had met before and/or that there was some significance to the flashbacks – beyond just showing the lead character’s progression etc.
Or if the flash backs had been more spread out over the period of time – instead of focused all on one year of her life – It would have been more interesting in my opinion to see her grow and evolve through the flash backs instead – Although there are some significant events which clearly did contribute to her backstory and character development.
Overall – the story is just kinda meh to me. A little too slow and dull – though not as bad as Up On Poppy Hill or I can Hear the Ocean Waves.
I did think that it was interesting to see a very detailed account of what growing up in the 70s in Japan was like, and I enjoyed seeing the cultural aspects and history of farming and agriculture told in the movie, as well as seeing more of what elementary and middle school is like for young Japanese students. Their student council meeting was really interesting to me.
I didn’t love the story, but I did find myself caught up by the end and found the ending immensely satisfying which felt like pay off for sticking with a rather lackluster overall story.
Characters: 8/10 – The characters were very likable in this film. Unlike “I can hear the Ocean Waves” (in which the main female is a downright bitch lol) and they had significant progression unlike “Up on Poppy Hill” which never seemed to go anywhere at all. The old 90s style character designs were pretty ugly though which did prevent me from connecting as well as I would have with more “kawaii” (cute) designs. Still I felt their emotions and their pains, hopes, dreams, etc.
Artwork: 3/5 The colors used and character designs created are very drab. The main character is only 27 but she looks much older. The backgrounds are really pretty however, especially the countryside and lush landscapes. Studio Ghibli films strive for a realistic touch – and even their newer films have that hallmark Ghibli styling in the way the faces eyes hair etc are drawn. I found this film in terms of both story and design to strive even further for realism. Laugh lines, wrinkles, and round cheeks are prominent on all of the characters. Not my cup of tea but not deducting points just because of personal preference. Being from the early 90s the animation is not as clean or crisp as more current animation.
Music: 2/5 – Music majorly missed the mark for me in this film. While I appreciate being exposed to new or interesting things, and I equally appreciate Ghibli daring to do something “different” The music just really didn’t apppeal to me, nor did I feel it suited most of the scenes. The score consists of “Hungarian Folk Music” and a few Japanese “covers” of popular 70s-80s pop music and ballads. For a film that is so distinctively Japanese, it seems like an odd musical choice.
Voice Acting: 5/5 On the other hand, the voice acting was quite brilliant. I especially liked Toshio. But Taeko’s voice actress was also very convincing. Their performances conveyed a lot of heart and emotion which was key to telling the story.