Myself; Yourself is a slice-of-life romantic drama. Aww, it's a sweet story about a guy called Sana returning to his childhood home and friends. There's a bunch of nice fun and high school high jinks. This is so nic... Oh no...
Damn it, I knew it was too good to be true. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Sana, our protagonist, left his home town of Sakuranomori when he was just a little kid to go to with his family elsewhere. In the process, he has to leave his established friends and daily routine to go somewhere entirely different.
Well, that happens off-screen and we instead time-jump to Sana returning to the town years later, when he's in high school, because Japan always loves high school.
First off, this is yet another 13-episode series that doesn't even get close to overstaying its welcome like some series can. It gets in and gets out before you have a chance to protest.
The overall plot of Myself; Yourself falls in here too. For all its contrived development, it manages to forge a path through the overflowing romantic drama genre with a plot that just feels natural. Nothing is particularly out-of-place and it feels like everything that happens is a logical occurrence when you consider how these characters thinking.
In hindsight, the plot didn't quite have everything it needed to be great though.
The animation style is also solid. The colors are vivid and the character designs are well done.
The biggest element in Myself; Yourself is, appropriately, the characters. The cast is made up of complex characters with even more complex motives and histories.
You've got Sana himself who is mostly a mystery through most of the series. Nanaka (not seen here) is the sweet childhood friend tsundere character that absolutely is not anything more complex than that! Shusuke and Shuri are a pair of twins that have some issues surrounding their platonic relationship. Asami is the gentle girl-next door type that volunteers at the old folks home with nothing else complex about her, really! Bringing up the rear are Aoi and Hinako, who are both actually pretty normal. I'm not lying this time.
When it all gets put together with the plot, what we get is a real solid anime about a bunch of emotionally damaged teenagers. The plot is driven (at least between Nanaka and Sana) by everyone keeping in their feelings to protect others, despite the fact that actually telling others would reveal important things.
Contrived? Yes. Understandable? Yes.
I grew to love these characters. They have a degree of complexity that sets them apart from others and it manages to touch on some very poignant themes that I loved.
Speaking of themes, there's a whole bunch of them flying around in Myself; Yourself that knock the series up a notch. I'm not actually going to talk about them since it's spoiler-bait, but rest assured that they pull it off marvelously and it deepens the plot and the characters in all the right ways.
Myself; Yourself isn't a horror series, but that didn't stop it from lapping on the nightmare fuel mid-season. I didn't see it coming and that will probably become a symbol of this series for me. SAVE ME!
Contrary to most of my contemporaries that took on this series, I actually liked the final episode and the epilogue. It felt like a natural conclusion to the series that wasn't really forced by any means. It just worked.
Also, no nice boats, which is always a plus.
This really should go into the "mixed" category if I had one, but I don't think anyone in the reviewing community understands why the opening theme animation has almost nothing to do with the plot of this show. It really doesn't, there's no rock band anywhere in this show and several scenes in the opening don't ever happen really. The closest we get is Nanaka's violin, which... really now. You could attribute this to a clever bait-and-switch by the production company to mislead the audience on what exactly the series is, but that's an elaborate plan. It's a good theme though!
More seriously though, the plot feels contrived more often than not. This is a series about a lot of kids making stupid decisions and adults making stupid decisions right along with them. If you can make it past this problem, then you can enjoy the series more. Otherwise, you'll probably shout at the screen on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the plot is also the victim of rampant foreshadowing and trope usage. It becomes extremely easy to predict the trajectory of the plot during most of the show.
The biggest problem is the jumpiness in its character development. While the characters are the strongest part of this series, it is also important to note that it's uneven. The plot focuses heavily on Nanaka and Sana to the detriment of the other characters. This is another case of "it depends on if you wanted the other characters developed" as to if this is actually a bad thing. I, personally, agree with my contemporaries in saying that Asami was a missed opportunity in a character. Otherwise, I was fine with the show's development.
Myself; Yourself is a series with excellent presentation and a good plot coupled with a very strong cast. There's a lot to love here if you manage to overlook some of the detrimental aspects of the show. The trick is trying to get past it.
The characters are a brilliantly written bunch with many layers to peel back. The main characters get this treatment amazingly (Nanaka and Sana), whereas some of them have missed potential (Asami). In addition, none of the things they do come off as "wrong" in any capacity.
The plot is well written and it never feels particularly contrived such that it broke my suspension of disbelief. The themes that the series tackled are very mature and excellently written into the show. The way that the characters react to said themes is poignant and well-done.
Speaking of, let's keep this series firmly away from children. Why kids would be watching a romantic drama I don't know, but I won't judge.
This is best for someone that's looking for a romantic drama, sure, but also for someone looking for a story about a bunch of emotionally damaged teenagers and the almost unrealistic problems they have. There's a lot of character development and a workable number of twists in the plot. Generally speaking, the series isn't what I'd call "great", but it took on quite a few thought-provoking themes in its run. It's definitely worth watching if you're in the mood for the complex romantic series.
You can watch Myself; Yourself on Crunchyroll.
As usual, I claim no ownership of the images herein.
I have a bunch of stuff in the review pipeline. There's an equal chance of Fafner, H2O: Footprints in the Sand, Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne, Evangelion 3.0,and Beyond the Boundary next time.
This is part of Anime Marathon 2014, a continuation of Anime Marathon 2013 by popular demand. I'm on a mission to review every anime I can for the TAY community and anyone else that wants to read it. I can never guarantee when these reviews will be posted, but I'll do my best to keep it consistent.
You can see all my articles on Dex's Corner.