Wow, what a horrible title ^^;;
WARNING: If you’re cynical to the effect of anime on persons, you migt as well not read :p
So… to start, a couple days ago my brother and I marathoned Manabi Straight. I was initially watching this show when t was first being subbed, but I lost track around episode 8 and simply never got back to it. Little did I know how much timing would effect my perception of the show.
Anyone who’s watched both Manabi and Hitohira will immediatel draw parallels between the two. First of all, both are stories of a small group who wants to fight against all odds to keep their club alive. In a lot of ways, though, the stories are sort of opposite. In Manabi Straight, Mikan starts as the only member of the student council, but gradually she is surrounded by friends who help her push forward. In Hitohira, Mugi is dragged into an already existing tight group of friends for whom she must be the strong one.
Still, both of them are a similar journey of a shy girl who needs the help of her strong friends to keep their time alive, even if they know it won’t last. In Hitohira, every odd is against the club, and you can pretty much tell right off that there’s no chance in hell that they’re going to make it. Similarly, in Manabi, the girls are fighting almost for a lost cause because they know that their school fair will be he last one and that their school is dying anyway, but they still push on.
Both of these shows take an extra responsibility, though, in the end. These are no fairy tales, where the big event comes, everything is glamorous, and then the show ends. Nono, both of these shows feature the constant climb to the top of this mountain that is their utmost goal, and both also watch the characters as they climb down the other side – and at some points, tumble on their way down.
Hitohira probably does the better job of exploring this part of the journey, if only because it took a couple more episodes after the big event. After this whole long journey – this battle to preserve that one moment, all the growth that comes along with it, the intense struggle… when you’ve reached the pinaccle of your journey, what happens next? That’s the million dollar question. In Hitohira, there is a lot of drama put into Mugi’s last attempts to hold onto her time of happiness, and he wanting to stay with her senpai and the others who have to move on. In Manabi, it’s more collective as we know that everyone will be moving on together, and Mikan is relieved of her stress much easier. I think Mikan is simply a bit stronger than Mugi, though both are admirable in their conquest in the end.
The most important difference between the two, and the one that made me so happy to watch Manabi Straight later than Hitohira, is the ending. I don’t really know whether to call Hitohira’s ending a ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ ending. It’s simply a ‘real’ ending. At the end of Hitohira, Mugi is somewhat optimistic, only promising herself that one day she’l cross that bridge into the outside word as well. But we don’t really know what happens. In the end, all we know is that she will one day have to move on, but whether she does so successfully or not is left up in the air.
Meanwhile Manabi’s ending is much more fulfilling. We see everyone move on. We see them happily in their futures, and we see Mikan come back for a visit, and we know exactly how it goes for them. I can’t tell you how thankful I was for this ending, though the night after watching this show, I had a complete breakdown and was bawling my head off ^^;; Hitohira had left me questioning my own future. Being a child about to go into 11th grade, I have a lot of questions about my future, and I’m terrified to have to walk out into the world. Hitohira was like a reflection of my own feelings in Mugi. I’m just like her – timid and not ready for what’s ahead. So seeing Manabi Straight bringing everyone into the future and showing that there really is a great time to be had, and that your life isn’t going to change to the point of destruction was greatly appreciated.
I don’t really want to talk about myself to much here, but I have to say, Manabi Straight gives me a lot of confidence in my future, and really was a moving experience for someone in a position like my own. It’s really a shame that I don’t appreciate my school life more, and that the people around me aren’t like the characters in anime, lol.
If you haven’t seen either show, i think it’s best to watch Hitohra first. Hitohira is a more depressing series all around, whereas Manabi is constantly uplifting. If your like me, you’ll definitely appreciate the experience.