Finished the anime now, and I did end up quite enjoying it: whereas after the first two episodes I thought I’d be taking this to the DVD exchange once I’d seen it all, I can definitely say I’ll be rewatching it many times.
I was surprised to find episode 10 with Yui turned out to be my joint favourite as I’d found her character a bit irritating apart from her musical role until then. It’s probably the most straightforward character story in a way but it has a very good mix of humour and drama without the frenetic antics of some other episodes. It’s a lovely moment when Hinato comes through to help her pass on.
The other joint favourite is naturally the final episode, even though the series skipped so much about so many members of SSS so that the impact of suddenly losing them is reduced, I enjoyed the quiet, reflective nature of it and found very enjoyable. The graduation ceremony was nice with Kanade’s daft mapo tofu tribute! And then of course there is THAT ending…I swear someone started peeling a cartload of onions in my room. Otonashi’s confession did seem to come a little out of the blue even though it was clear he had a growing attachment to Kanade but it did make her reveal, a twist I certainly never saw coming, and the obvious implication of what was going to happen agonising (in a satisfying way). However I think that the little epilogue was totally unnecessary and really ruined some of the poignancy.
The opening sequence and ‘Brave Song’ kept growing on me as I went through and the art and animation seemed very good to me. And of course I loved GirlDeMo.
So, no great insights - I would just agree that the series needed longer airtime to flesh out the story and some of the other characters’ backgrounds and I found the switches between comedy/melodrama/action to be a bit disconcerting at times. I don’t know if I will ever get to play the VN should it be completed with official English Language release but I hope to get the chance.
It is lowest on my ‘chart’ - though I’ve only seen three anime! It doesn’t have the depth of Clannad or Steins;Gate but I’m glad to have made the choice to buy it