Thanks. Yeah, family members disappearing is sad.. I was close to her, so it really came as a shock eventhough I know it's coming. Grandma is very old (93). I didn't realize that grandma is also saying goodbye to us, when we said goodbye to her before going to the convention.
I'm sorry to hear that, my grandfather passed away a few years ago on my parents wedding anniversary, and one of my grandmothers passed away on thanksgiving evening, back in 1996; so I understand how it can be difficult to go through.
I finished it awhile ago, but I've also been reading each chapter as their released, so I know what happens in advance.
Overall, I have to say that I like the new series a little more then the older anime, on the grounds that it actually follows the manga, where the old anime made a lot of things up and advanced too quickly.
Now, in regards to the first episode being a recap: if you think about it, that was kind of unavoidable, considering that a large number of fans have been waiting for a continuation for years, and the fans that follow the manga don't really need the first part animated.
My feelings are pretty much that all of the events that took place in the recap have been covered, so there was no reason to go through everything again; plus, that would just add to the wait for the fans that have been wanting a continuation.
Anyone that is new to the series should try to read the manga or watch the first series before getting into the 2013 series; if they by any chance find that to be difficult, then that's just too bad, it was already covered and they missed the opportunity; Naruto, Bleach and DragonBall have what, 600+ episodes? And no one expects to recount all of the events; if a person gets into the series when it's at episode 120, so why should it be considered to be any more difficult with a series that only has 3 12-13 episode seasons and a 2 episode OVA?
However, I remember seeing parts of the original anime being advertized, so it's possible that they plan to re-release the 2006 series.
The biggest drawback I see is with the English release of the manga, as TokyoPop cancelled the selling and distribution of the manga, so the price tag went up a lot.
Now, in regards to the changes in story, the manga seems to focus more on the winded world's Jun, where the 2013 anime focuses more on the not winded world's Jun.
Spoiler for Several events near the end of the 2013 anime are mentioned:
In the events that occur at the end of the season, where everything pretty much goes back to normal: in the manga the story switches the focus back to the original Jun, and the reader is pretty much left with the idea that the other world's Jun is no longer important to the story; but that's not the case, as he does end up returning do to various situations.
In the anime version, it shifts the focus to the other world's Jun, and all of the stuff concerning Megu, and her attendance at Jun's school are suggested, but not actually shown.
Peach-Pit was very smart, the first anime became so popular that it overshadowed the manga, but with the 2013 anime, they decided to split the series: the manga primarily covering the original winded world Jun, and the anime covering the not winded world Jun.
Why do I say they were smart by doing this?
If a person watches or reads one, then they are getting part of the story; this in turn leads fans to buy the other, as they want to know the full story.
This means that fans of the manga will watch the anime, and fans of the anime will read the manga; as a result, Peach-Pit earns more and has a stronger fan base, which in turn allows them to continue advancing with the series; the anime studio also benefits by this.