Asatte no Houkou is in no doubt one of the best slice of life series in the anime world of 2006. However, is it a lolicon heavenly keep with the extremely lovable characters or a series that speaks volumes about how a slice of life series should be done?
Both are applicable, to a great degree.
Asatte no Houkou is a very idyllic series that talks about the fate of three people, or in particular the fate of two women. One was a small young girl of 12, wanting to grow older so that she will no longer be a burden to her brother, Hiro. Her name is Karada. Another wanted to escape and start life afresh as a child so that she can relive the sad life that she has. Her name is Shouko. What happens when the two collide in the middle of a wishing stone that is often believed to grant wishes? What is the link between Shouko, Hiro and Karada and what will change in their relationship?
Review of last episode
The last episode of the series was sadly a letdown compared to the rest of the whole series. Even though most of the issues in the end are resolved, there is just this certain rushed feeling to the whole issue. I cannot explain what is exactly wrong for the last episode but it makes me yearn for something more powerful, something more wonderful and perhaps something more of a miracle. It is perhaps of my wishful thinking that I want to see perhaps just one episode of how they will live happily together, once they are restored back to their usual self.
I like the resolution of the various characters, finally realizing what is most important to them in their lives. For a long while, they have been lost around the pathway of life, with the resolution meaning that what they have found what is most important to them: Happiness.
The thing about a slice of life series is the line when the show ends. I have said it before and I will say it once again. A slice of life series is like a journey, with generally no apparent goal or end. It is generally about the characters and you have to experience, love and enjoy this particular special experience that the characters bring about. In that sense, the last episode is very special because a special goal is set. Karada finally understood the meaning of truly growing up, and that it was not as easy as it seemed. Even as an adult, she was still a child, which made her realize the limitations that what she wished was not exactly what she wanted.
To me, the most surprising changes that was created by the whole series are by Shouko. It is initially unclear whether Shouko wanted to return to her childhood. She seemed to be resisting the attempt but it is clear with the various episodes that concentrated on her that she had a very lonely childhood that she wished to fix. That is why, inside her heart, she wanted to start afresh, in order to replace the lonely childhood that she had. The child that brought her back to play, even though others said that she would not, was an extremely big step for Shouko. Always shunned when she was a child because she was so docile to play with the other kids, someone finally made the first step for her. To me, I was warmed by that feeling.
Hiro also finally faced his fears. On one hand, he futilely tried to hide the fact that he was not the blood brother of Karada, trying to hide the knowledge that he had abandoned so much for her, even though she clearly knew it. I made no attempt to hide my disgust of Hiro for the whole series, who I consider in a very mild language, to be a total shameless, gutless, crappy escapist who always ran away when someone needed him. It was a good thing at the end that he finally found out what was wrong and removed the burden from him. With that, his hair also was manageable and you can actually see his eyes. Wow, it really means looking forward to the front, bad pun intended.
Lolicon heaven territory
I honestly think that Asatte no Houkou, considering that it is a rather serious slice of life series, is in fact a hidden minefield for all lolicons out there who loves cute little characters. Honestly, you have a 12 year girl hidden inside a 21 year hot body, the 12 year girl herself who is extremely cute as it can be seen from the above picture.
You then have a really cynical and spectacle wearing Shouko. She is probably not what you generally consider to be the sweet cute type but more like the cool cute type. Don’t ever get me started on explaining the major differences between the two because it is a whole post that I am dreaded to do. I think someone by the name known as Stripey might have a better idea and explain to you in great detail on the differences of various types of cuteness in the lolis.
However, where in the world can you have a 2 in 1 loli ready made for goddess ranked abilities and another spectacle loli for good measure? Unless you are seriously screwed up (which is an irony by itself since lolicons are generally pretty screwed up anime watchers, in a warped sense that you think that beach episodes are the greatest due to fanservice galore), it is almost a sin for any self-confessed lolicon that loves cute stuff NOT to watch Asatte no Houkou. It is a total lolifest in anyway you see it, seriously.
In a more serious tone though, Asatte no Houkou had all the great qualities for an anime that will be remembered: Sheer likable characters, good graphical design, excellent story telling and a compelling setting. This is by far one of the slice of life series that I will remember for a long while.