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Hourglass of Summer (OVA)
Reviewer: Aaron Murphy 08/11/2008

Synopsis:
Makimura Koutarou has decided, this is the summer he will tell the girl of his dreams, Serizawa Kaho, how he feels about her.  However, a chance encounter with a strange woman, known simply as Ligene, lands Koutarou in the future after summer vacation has ended, and things are not as he imagined them to be.  While there he learns that Kaho has tragically died in a traffic accident after becoming his girlfriend!  Now he’s on a mission to save Koho from her unfortunate fate, but it won’t be easy.  He’s stuck in a time flux, traveling to different times sporadically, having to help other people on the way in order to ultimately change her fate.  Will he be able to save the life of the one he loves or will fate prove unwavering?

Review:
Hourglass of Summer (Natsuiro no Sunadokei) is one of a number of bishoujo games whose popularity resulted in an anime adaptation being produced.  The quality between them varies, but Hourglass of Summer got the equivalent of a shot foot by comparison.  What was a 10+ hour long b-game got compressed into a fifty minute OAV.  With such a reduction in runtime you’re never going to end up with as complete, intricate, or in-depth a storyline as you had originally.  And even for those of us who have not played the game, these shortcomings are readily noticeable, making you wish you had just taken the time to play the game, rather than wasting it on the rushed and incomplete feeling anime counterpart.  Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have a conclusive end; it just feels like you’re missing out on much of the journey.

The whole title plays out like a love triangle gone afoul; mixing time travel escapades with unrequited love drama and intermittent spurts of humor.  Everyone wants Koutarou, from his childhood friend Senou, who he keeps using to deliver his letters to Kaho, oblivious of her feelings.  To Kaho, his love interest, and after they start going out much of the time is spent focusing on them dating.  Even Ligene likes him, but she has a much larger role in the series than just another pretty face.  She’s actually a time traveler from the future, and an incident with her is what’s causing Koutarou to jump through time.  They’re both on a mission to stop Kaho from being killed, but there are a number of bridges that have to be crossed first.  This is because, for whatever reason, there is no simple way to stop the events from happening, and Koutarou has to help out other people as a way to ultimately save her.  This only sort of happens though, and may have been much more prevalent in the b-game.  Here it is touched upon and he does help two people, but it has no effect on the situation.

For two episodes, it’s a lot of material, situations, emotions, and circumstances to try and establish/convey.  That’s the first problem with Hourglass of Summer, too much stuff, not enough time.  It makes everything seem cheap and it loses the emotional value it might have otherwise had, especially with a lack of any character and plot development.  The other really nagging problem has to do with Kaho’s personality.  It appears they were trying to create the “ideal” girlfriend.  She’s shy; always worried about pleasing you, pure, caring, and sweet.  It doesn’t feel real, it feels ridiculous.  And the added drama with her having an overbearing father just seems unnecessary.  Other than that the animation and other technical aspects were sufficient, but did little to enhance the experience.

Hourglass of Summer had an interesting premise, but it couldn’t perform in the face of so little time.  If you’re intrigued, I would recommend giving the bishoujo game a try.  The anime just has too many problems that stem from it being condensed so drastically.

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Hourglass of Summer (OVA)
Hourglass of Summer (OVA)
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Review Title:
Hourglass of Summer (OVA)
Alternative Titles:
Natsuiro no Sunadokei, Sandglass of Summer Colors
Type:
OVA
Episodes:
2
Duration:
60 Minutes
General Rating:
2.5 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2004
Suitable For:
Older Children
Genres:
Comedy, Drama, Romance
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