To Heart is recent 13-episode shoujo anime
TV series, only available in fansub
, that is completely unknown
and probably always will be. That doesn't mean I'm not crazy about it
At first, the premise sounds boringly simple and unoriginal: the series follows the normal lives of a group of ordinary Japanese teens. The key word here is normal: nobody dies, no eccentric exchange student arrives, no aliens invade. What you have is a portrait of a group of students going about their daily lives and their relationships slowly developing; suspense is provided by events such as sports events and exams.
The result of all this is absolutely incredible character development. The characters have distinct, non-extreme personalities; also, their personalities vary believably depending on mood, recent events in their lives and experiences. They are consistent but not always predictable. The great seiyuu add to the experience (I love Remii!). By the end I could spontaneously imagine myself holding a conversation with one of them, as if they were acquaintances. In short, To Heart has by far the most believable characters I've seen anywhere. Even Evangelion's cast start looking a little flat in comparison.
The theme of the series is friendship, and it takes a very positive outlook on life. There is some tragedy and broken hearts but overall, it makes you smile.
It's worth mentioning that it also has exceptional art for a TV series. Original character designs and exquisite attention to detail. The soundtrack is also good, if not exceptional: the opening and ending themes do a good job of amplifying the overall experience.
I love it. I would recommend To Heart to any hardened fan of shoujo anime. It's a great series to show anime lusers when they claim that no anime has any depth.