Thread: Da Capo
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Old 2007-12-20, 02:37   Link #604
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: State College, PA, USA
Age: 30
Consider me one that is (generally) against thready "necromancy." However, allow me to raise this thread to give a short review.

I picked up this series as a recommendation by one of my friends. We seem to share tastes in anime, especially those with a romantic bent. To her, this was one of her favorites, a prime example of a harem anime.

I began watching with expectations along the lines of Kanon, Air, and Clannad, three of my favorite series (Not by coincidence, all are Kyoto Animation adaptations of Key visual novels). The series followed a similar formula, initially the story was light, with a hefty dose of humor. Although I find such to be a necesity in such series, as it's hard to relate to characters with whom you've never shared so much as a chuckle, I felt that Da Capo's humor was drawn out. Moreover, I never really found it all that funny. A couple good moments, here and there, but nothing too fantastic. These first 15 episodes would have been great to shave down, because the series really gets on a roll afterwards.

From episode 17 on (16 being a recap) the series takes a sudden serious turn. Romantic intentions are all thrown out in the open, and serious decisions are made. Da Capo becomes increasingly dramatic, and everything about the series loses its light and airy feel. The island where dreams comes true becomes an island of despair and broken dreams. Would that this were a longer series (I have yet to see season 2), certain characters may have seen longer arcs. However, several characters do still get a moment to shine and share their own special moments with us. I really wish they would have taken the time to explore these stories, but the funny part (read:boring part) took up too much time.

Of particular note in the second part is the change in background music. The music in part 1 [Eps 1-15] with a forced cheerfulness. Essentially, the music was awful. The later portion [17-26] features well composed instrumental numbers with a brilliantly melancholic tone. There are several memorable numbers here, one waltz in particular sets the mood perfectly in several key scenes. There is a concious at episode 17, and an entirely seperate soundtrack for that portion. That is soundtrack, "Brillante," is simply better than the first.

The ending is well done. There is plenty of drama, sadness, and a certain bitter-sweetness that is incredibly satisfying. I would probably say that the series is worth watching, if only for the end. It is truly an example of how a serious ending does not have to choose between Happy and Sad. Instead, a good ending can fall somewhere in the middle, with a complex mixture of feelings.

Then there are the "Side-Episodes." These short stories are highly symbolic, and somewhat difficult to understand. Perhaps, with a bit of thought and discussion, these could be the most interesting part of the whole series. There is something very dreamlike, and archetypal about them, that could be worth some analysis. However, they remain largely apart from the primary story, and only give us a little insight into the inner workings of some of the characters.

Da Capo can really be expressed in two halves. The first half was meant to be humorous, but dragged on with only mildly entertaining humor. The second half was well orchestrated drama. Many series have done humor better, several have done drama as well or better. Quite a few do the combination much better.

Thus, here is my final score:
Episodes 1-15: 3/10 (Below Average)
Episodes 17-26: 8/10 (Good)
Overall: 5.5/10 (Average)

If you have the urge to watch this series, stick it out till the end and you will be rewarded. If you really want, skip to episode 16, watch that recap episode, then go on with the rest of the series. A fan of the genre will enjoy it, but it's not going to win any converts.
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