Rumbling Hearts Review
Summary: Takayuki, Shinji, Mitsuki and Haruka were best friends in high school. Haruka had a crush on Takayuki for a long time, and she eventually gains the courage to confess to him. Takayuki doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he accepts her confession and they start dating. However, he eventually starts growing to love her and their relationship eventually becomes more intimate.
Everything seems to be going great until tragedy strikes. Haruka has been hit by a car and falls into a coma. The accident greatly impacts Takayuki who basically becomes a semi-mute mess. He’s taken care of by Mitsuki for a handful of years and they eventually hook up and start dating. However, everything changes once again when Haruka suddenly wakes up…..
Reasons for rating: This is another anime that I had to rethink after re-working my old review of it. This was one of the first 10 reviews that I ever wrote. And I think I got a little too carried away with it, mostly because I really wanted a different pairing ending. Now that it’s been a few years since I watched this series and thinking back on the facts….this anime was as great as I first believed it to be. It’s still great, but I really endorsed this thing too hard.
I guess I should weed people out now, if you can’t stand soap-opera drama, you might wanna leave this alone. This is the most soap-opera-y anime I’ve ever seen. It’s better made and acted than soap-operas, but the tone and story are just covered in drama.
You also might think that I put too much information in the plot summary. Well, fear not because that’s just from the first two episodes. (See what I mean?)
Now, the main reason why I decided to dock this some points in my rework (it was previous 4.5/5 when I used to do ??/5, which basically equals 9.5/10 here) was because I thought about the entire story, barring my love of Haruka, and…well….I was basically right before, but even more. Takayuki and Mitsuki, to me, have no chemistry. You know Mitsuki has a thing for Takayuki early on, but you never really felt like the feeling was mutual. The only real reason that they get together is because Mitsuki was fed up with vegetable zombie Takayuki and decides to snap him out of it by confessing to him, stripping naked, and then jumping his bones. Despite the fact that Takayuki went along with it, I never felt like he was as in love with Mitsuki as she was with him.
My major problem is that both Takayuki and Mitsuki are kinda difficult to really like. Both Takayuki and Mitsuki, one being her boyfriend and the other her best friend, fail to visit Haruka in the hospital once for three years. For no good reason. Yes, it might be awkward despite the fact that she can’t see or hear you or even acknowledge your presence, but she’s still your friend dammit. You don’t have to constantly hold vigil at her bedside, but a quick visit like once a week wouldn’t kill you.
Once Haruka wakes up, things really start getting unfurled, starting with shaky waters between Mitsuki and Haruka’s little sister Akane who accidentally walked in on Mitsuki who was naked in Takayuki’s bed early on in her and Takayuki’s relationship. Now she basically hates Mitsuki for betraying Haruka but has an okay relationship with Takayuki because of how much he means to her sister.
Next, Haruka doesn’t realize it’s been three years since the accident and hasn’t been caught up on anything for fear of her going into shock and making her severely ill. She still believes Takayuki’s her boyfriend, they’re all still in high school, Akane wears her old school uniform around her to further the illusion etc.
Takayuki’s relationship with Mitsuki is severely shaken after this, especially when he seems to start spending more and more time with Haruka. Eventually he even starts getting romantic with Haruka again.
Mitsuki is so depressed by losing Takayuki that she….well, I don’t want to go so far as to say ‘rape’ but she drunkenly pushes Shinji into having sex with him despite him stating that he has a girlfriend. And that’s basically Shinji’s only real purpose in this anime. I guess they didn’t want her having sex with some random stranger, but I realy can’t remember him doing anything else. He is a nice character, but he doesn’t do much.
On paper, this might seem kinda soap-opera-ish, and it is, but it is also well-written and well executed. The characters are fleshed out and have believeable personalities, especially given the situation that they’re in. While I find it to be a dick move for both Takayuki and Mitsuki to hook up then basically ditch Haruka, I can, sadly, totally see that happening in a real situation.
Now I won’t lie, I, myself, didn’t care for the ending. The ending….was unexpected. It was sweet, but not the ending I personally was rooting for and has a major problem given the information I’ve already presented.
SPOILERS FOR ENDING
Haruka and Takayuki are seemingly happy together, and Haruka has even come to terms with the fact that three years have passed and Takayuki and Mitsuki hooked up while she was in a coma. Shinji tells Takayuki of how Mitsuki was acting and Takayuki actually seems like he doesn’t care. Shinji punches him and tells Takayuki off.
Later, Haruka tells Takayuki that a lot has changed over the past three years and that she wants to step aside for him to be with Mitsuki.
See, I don’t get this. This is a great gesture by Haruka. It’s extremely selfless and sweet, albeit sad. But it really seems like all of this is happening purely to make Mitsuki happy again. As I said before, I never really got the vibe that Takayuki was really all that much in love with Mitsuki. It really seemed like he was trying to fill the hole in his heart from losing Haruka and Mitsuki was there and loved him, so why not? We got to see Takayuki go from dating Haruka to avoid hurting her feelings to him legitimately loving her. And just because Mitsuki’s going on a self-destructive bender because she lost her boyfriend, Takayuki should feel more obligated to be with her than Haruka? And Haruka ends up with nothing? That just seems…awful.
And to answer your question, yes he does actually go to her and they live happily-ehhh ever after.
END OF ENDING SPOILERS.
Art: The art and animation are fantastic. However, I really feel like if they wanted a realistic feel, they shouldn’t have gone for the bright blue and pink hairstyles.
Music: Good, but not particularly memorable.
Voices: English Dub. The voices were actually great, though Haruka’s and Akane’s were sorta too high pitched for my tastes.
Bottom line: Though it may be too soap-opera-y for some people, it’s still an enjoyable romantic drama. No matter if you dislike certain characters or not, you do connect with all of the characters on some level and feel bad for their situation. The ending may be disappointing or great depending on your opinions on the situation.
Additional Information and Notes:
Rumbling Hearts was based on Eroge game, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (which is also the show’s original Japanese name).
It was produced by Studio Fantasia, and is currently licensed by Funimation in North America.
Rumbling Hearts has a sequel OVA and a spin-off show centered around Akane called Akane Maniax, which is apparently a comedy. I may review these in the future. I started watching the OVA, but never got around to finishing it. I do remember the art being even better than the series, through. It was gorgeous.
Recommended audience: Mild swearing, mild violence, some mature situations, severe levels of drama, partial nudity, mentions of sex, non-graphic(though there is a nipple or two…haha, get it? Or two?…ahhh..) depictions of sexual encounters….I’d say…..14+