Project Magic!!!: Nanatsuiro★Drops (2007)

Nanatsuiro★Drops

Nanatsuiro★Drops

Title: Nanatsuiro★Drops
Alternate Titles: Seven-Colored Drops, Nanatsu-iro Drops: First Love That Encompasses You, ななついろ★ドロップス
Type: TV
Episodes: 12
Aired: July 03, 2007 to September 18, 2007
Director: Takashi Yamamoto
Studio: Studio Barcelona
Voice Actor(s): Michiru Yuimoto as Sumomo Akihime
OP: “Shining stars bless☆” by Kaori Utatsuki
ED: “mo.o!” by LOVERIN TAMBURIN

Synopsis:

Tsuwabuki is a normal student, though not very social. One day, he meets a student, named Sumomo Akihime, and another girl, both the only members of the gardening club. Tsuwabuki is forced by a teacher to join this club. But then he bumps into a strange guy with dog ears, switching his drink with the guy’s by mistake. Drinking it, he is turned into a stuffed animal. The teacher tells him that the only way to turn back to normal is to find the chosen girl and let her catch the seven stardrops. This girl is Sumomo, that accepts to help him, though she’s not allowed to know the animal’s true identity. All information comes from My Anime List. Everything after the cut spoils the entire series. Please don’t read unless you’ve seen the anime.

This series was originally made and published by UNiSONSHIFT as an eroge visual novel for Windows, the PS2, and Nintendo DS. It was released in April 21, 2006. A light novel was also written by Tamaki Ichikawa, illustrated by Noizi Ito, published by Enterbrain and released on June 30, 2006. It got adapted into a manga written by UNiSONSHIFT, illustrated by Yuki Takami; there were six (6) volumes published by ASCII Media Works on November 2006 to August 2010. There’s a sequel manga also written by UNiSONSHIFT, illustrated by Sorahiko Mizushima; there was only one (1) volume which ran in the Deneki Comic Gao! magazine from April 27, 2007 to February 27, 2008.

I have to be honest here; the first impression I had about this anime was less than stellar. This anime has a high school boy as the main character and on top of that, he turns into a sidekick so I expected a lot of perverted moments (despite how cute and colorful it was). Granted, this series was originally an eroge but, with the exception of a few moments, this anime was a lot cleaner than I thought.

From the beginning, we learn about the main characters we’re going to focus on: Tsuwabuki Masaharu and Akihime Sumomo. It’s shown that Tsuwabuki isn’t that sociable with others, although it seems he’s more introverted than shy or deliberately anti-social. As for Akihime Sumomo, it’s clear that she’s extremely weak, very emotional, and very sensitive.

This series is actually more focused on the romantic relationship between Tsuwabuki and Akihime than the magical girl aspect. The magical girl aspect, though, is pretty important to the story and the way that the two (unknowingly) bond. After all, Tsuwabuki is her secret sidekick!

From what the teacher told Tsuwabuki, because of the potion he drank, the transformation to the cute lamb doll is based on the moon’s phases. As long as the moon is out, he’ll turn into Yuki-chan (the name Akihime gave him) until the night’s over. However, during the new moon, he won’t transform for that night while if there’s a full moon, he’s to remain in the sidekick form all day and night – until sunrise. It’s surprising, though, they didn’t do an episode on that (especially since it’d be ripe with fanservice and shenanigans).

The catch, though, is that Tsuwabuki is not allowed to tell Akihime who he actually is because, otherwise, he’s going to be a stuffed animal forever.

Eventually, Akihime, or also known as Prima Plam, runs into a rival – a girl from Figurare named Nona Yuki (or Prima Asparas). From there it’s better explained that the reason why Akihime and Nona are capturing the seven star drops because it’s an annual competition between two schools in Figurare: St. Asparas and Pramu Clovis. However, since the student that was initially chosen from Pramu Clovis got sick, they gave the power to Akihime.

While Akihime herself is weak, she has an innate talent with the “recipes”, or spells, that she uses to catch the star drops. For a while, Nona was determined to figure how and why she was able to until she stumbled about Karin, a legendary Prima who disappeared eighteen years prior to the story after capturing the seven drops. Soon, she was able to put two and two together about Karin and Akihime so (as well as the teacher’s connection with everything), she starts practicing to have a friendly duel with the latter.

Meanwhile, Akihime is getting herself stronger, emotionally and mentally. For a while, she had depended on her best friend, Nadeshiko Yaeno, who didn’t seem to mind one bit. In fact, when Nadeshiko saw Akihime capture a stardrop, that was when Akihime revealed her secret to her and she took it in stride.

Throughout the story, though, it seemed that it was going to be a harem (and it easily could have been) but Nona didn’t seem to be all that interested in Tsuwabuki besides some choice scenes for the misunderstandings to happen. At least, though, they didn’t drag it on for too long and it was pretty painless.

For an anime that focuses more on the romantic aspect more than the magical girl, it did a decent job on building a relationship on the two main characters. They grew from classmates, fellow club members, friends, and then finally lovers. Granted, with the limited time, the build up suffered a little bit but Tsuwabuki did see her in many different ways, especially during his time as Yuki-chan (which was five months).

When they did get together, the viewer could easily tell that they genuinely love and care for one another – there was an actual relationship instead of just getting Character A and Character B together. They did go out and they did do little things around school that high school lovers do. In fact, they actually kissed! More than once!

And when the sad moments came, it came and it hit hard. After Nona became obsessed with becoming more powerful, her ladle got out of control and Tsuwabuki had no choice but to reveal himself as Yuki-chan to help Akihime since she was the only one who could stop it.

One could feel the sadness Akihime had and the determination to bring him back to his normal. One could feel the emotional hit when the teacher revealed that he’d lose his memories of his time as Yuki-chan once Akihime gathers the last stardrop. And when it happened, it was hard.

The pain that Akihime had during the last few episodes really had a strong impact with how much she loves Tsuwabuki. During the last few episodes, since Akihime was done with being a Prima, she kept doing her daily activities.  After a month, Tsuwaburi finally remembered, at the very least, the feelings he has for Akihime.

This anime really does try to focus on the relationship (or at least one aspect) between a magical girl and her sidekick, especially since this is in the sidekick’s point on view, but in the end, it was mostly a romantic story rather than a magical girl one. The story was fine for what it was and it was done fairly well within the twelve episode count. Could it have been paced better? Sure, but pacing’s not necessarily the problem here. The problem could be in the animation itself – it’s a little outdated and it’s very awkward in some areas.

There is quite a bit of slapstick but the humor is decently timed and done well enough to get some laughs. It’s a bit more balanced in this instance but there were moments where it could have been cut out entirely.

The music for the anime is fine although sometimes it felt really out of place for the ending song to come on (and it’s a bit annoying at times) after a rather serious moment. There are violins and it is a bit distracting but other than that, it’s nothing to really talk about. The music’s there but it does its job.

It’s also very colorful and aesthetically pleasing, although the art for the girls’ eyes could have been toned down a bit. It would have worked better not to be too cutesy or to try to emulate the visual novel’s original style.  There’s a lot of star imagery but it’s so pretty. It’s really gorgeous but the animation could have been a bit better.

As for the series in its entirety, if someone wanted something that focused more on the romance than the magical girl aspect (but wouldn’t mind it either way), this would be a good series to watch. It does drag a little bit in the beginning but once Prima Asparas shows up, it picks up its pace.

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