Genre: Romance / Comedy
Parental Guidance Recommended
2002 Masakazu Katsura, Yousei Morino, Studio Pierrot, DigiCube
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Three childhood friends make a promise that they will meet again ten years from their day of adventure. When the appointed time came, two of them, Itsuki and Yosuke, travel back to the place of their childhood, while Ichitaka struggles with his deep-seated feelings for a certain idol-to-be named Iori.
Beyond the Mush. >>> by skysenshi
I must admit, the first time I saw the anime, I was quite disappointed that Iori didn't resemble her manga counterpart. The manga Iori had this innocent vamp look that has successfully made men drool — to the point that they got conned into buying the overly mushy comic books. The artwork in the anime isn't as breathtaking as the manga, but it could be beautiful in some instances.
As for the story flow, the real action begins near the end of the first episode. Nothing much really happens at the first part, except for Ichitaka being angsty about Iori and all that high school drama. There's also a whole load of skin that's enough to make for a fanboy's wet dream. As mentioned in a review of the manga, I"s is indeed known for the gratuitous display of flesh, so I'm guessing it's a way to stall before the real point of the plot actually begins.
And what a point it is! I ended up in a state of shock at the end of the episode 1. The sordid realism in this title that makes it not quite appropriate for kids. You'll see blood, murderous objectives, and even thoughts of rape being aired out loud. See, when Itsuki and Yosuke meet up at the promised destination, the reunion is ruined by a bunch of bicycle thugs intent on violence. You'll hear them utter things like, "She's got such a nice, tight [censored word], I just want to [censored word] her." Basically terms that you'd see me using in the dark side of the Fridge and not in the main Otaku Fridge.
Just when you think that things will progress from bad to worse, the whole gang of I"s come in to save the day — as well as Ichitaka and Iori's romance. In any case, everything ends well...or so one would be led to believe. I will not spoil the story for you.
Overall, I"s OAV could've been made into one solid movie. They could've actually chopped off the unnecessary saccharine and concentrated more on plot development. Most of the action came in the second episode, which makes me think that I wasted 30 minutes of my time going through the first. Still, I guess this is a nice move for those who have been fans of the I"s comic book series. It doesn't exactly delve into the manga plot, but has a tale of its own. Heck, viewers unaware of the manga wouldn't even know that Itsuki, Iori, and Ichitaka actually have a love triangle going!
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 9