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Living for the Day After Tomorrow – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 5, 2010 by  



An entertaining, enjoyable, emotional and vibrant anime series!  “Living for the Day After Tomorrow” is an anime drama series without the usual love triangle driven storyline but still manages to captivate you from beginning to end.  Definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © J-TA-Mag-Garde/Asatte Partnership. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Living for the Day After Tomorrow – Complete Collection

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Japanese 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: TBS Animation/Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV 14D

Released on April 13, 2010

Originally created by J-Ta Yamada

Directed by Katsushi Sakurabi

Series Composition by Seishi Minakami

Screenplay by Seishi Minakami, Tatsuhiko Urahata

Music by Shinkichi Mitsumune

Character Design by Ikuko Ito

Art Director: Shichiro Kobayashi

Anime Production by J.C. Staff

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayumi Fujimura as Karada Iokawa

Shizuka Itou as Shōko Nogami

Akeno Watanabe as Tōko Amino

Ami Koshimizu as Kotomi Shiozaki

Katsuhito Nomura as Tetsumasa Amino

Satoshi Hino as Hiro Iokawa

There are far worse things than having to deal with your ex-boyfriend’s little sister or your older brother’s ex-girlfriend. But that’s something Karada Iokawa and Shoko Nogami have to learn the hard way when a magic wishing stone inexplicably grants Karada’s wish to be older – and does it by stealing the years from Shoko! Now Shoko, who’s already graduated and studied overseas, is Karada’s age, just about to enter junior high school. Meanwhile Karada must suddenly face the real facts about what being grown up entails. And just to make a bizarre situation even more awkward, there’s the issue of how to handle their existing romantic interests!

In 2006, an anime adaptation of J-ta Yamada’s “Asatte no Houkou (Living for the Day After Tomorrow)” was aired on Japanese television.  The original 2005 manga series which was serialized in the Mag Garden Magazine “Comic Blade Masamune” finally reaches U.S. shores via Section23 Films/Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series is directed by Katsushi Sakurabi (“Revolutionary Girl Utena”, “Ai Yori Aoshi”, “Tsukihime, Lunar Legend”) and a screenplay by Seishi Minakami (“Bakuman”, “Skull Man”, “Boogiepop Phantom”) and Tatsuhiko Urahata (“Aria the Natural”, “Ichigo 100%”, “Mermaid’s Scar”, “Nana”).  Character design is by Ikuko Ito (“Princess Tutu”, “Sailor Moon R”, “Magic User’s Club”), art direction by Shichiro Kobayashi (“Ashita no Joe 2”, “Angel’s Egg”, “Golgo 13: The Professional”, “Kimagure Orange Road”) and music is by Shinkichi Mitsumune (“FLCL”, “Cyber Team in Akihabara”, “Yu-Gi-Oh”, “Rozen Maiden”).

“Living for the Day After Tomorrow” revolves around Hiro Iokawa and his adopted young sister Karada Iokawa.     Hiro was living in the United States attending college in Boston and dating his girlfriend Shoko Nogami.  But one day, he received a phone call that his parents had died.  Because he had to leave his girlfriend temporarily, he promised that he would return.

But when Hiro came back home, he was left with his two-year-old adopted sister who he had to raise and thus breaking his promise to Shoko, with no reason but telling her that he can’t go back to the US.

Flash forward and now Karada is entering junior high school.  She’s a bit sensitive and knows that her brother Hiro has sacrificed everything in his life to take care of her and it hurts her that he can’t have a normal life because of her and the fact is that she is too young.

So, she goes to shrine which has these special wishing stones which she prays that she can get older.

Meanwhile, Shoko Nogami has moved back to Japan and decided to move to an area where she can start her life over again.  Needless to say, she has not gotten over her breakup and has became introverted.  So, she wants to start a new life for herself, in a city she has never lived before and not think about her former life with Hiro.

As she is walking, she ends up near the shrine and meets the young girl Karada but to her surprise, she also sees her ex-boyfriend Hiro.  Needless to say, all emotions come pouring back to Shoko and seeing Hiro with a young girl, she can’t understand what is going on.  But she realizes that the reason he stayed in Japan, was for the girl and he picked the young girl over her and thus, has a bit of a dislike towards Karada.

With emotions high for Karada who wants to be old and further enhanced by Shoko calling her childish, on one night she prays at the shrine.  Shoko then comes to join her and all of a sudden, life changes for both women.  Karada becomes an adult, while Shoko becomes a young girl. And the wishing stones that were under the shrine have dissolved.  Without any wishing stones, it appears that the two may not be able to revert back to their original selves.

Because of their new predicament and knowing that no one will believe what happened to them, Karada must grow up quickly under the guidance of Shoko, while Shoko depends on Karada to be the person in charge of getting a job to support each other.  But can Karada help someone that may be responsible for her breakup with Hiro?

Meanwhile, Hiro is worried that something bad has happened to Karada.  But when he goes to Shoko’s home and discovers a young girl that resembles her, will Hiro believe what has happened to his younger sister and ex-girlfriend?

The main characters of “Living for the Day After Tomorrow” are:

  • Karada Iokawa – Karada is a junior high student who is known for her short height, her bubbly attitude, her sensitivity and always worrying about her older brother Hiro because of all he has done for her.  Karada was adopted at the age of two by Hiro’s parents but since their deaths, she has been raised by him.
  • Shoko Nogami – A young woman who returned to Japan after studying in the U.S.  She is the ex-girlfriend that Hiro had left behind in the U.S. and is still not over her breakup.  She has since closed herself off from people since the breakup.  She is not aware of the reason why Hiro broke up with her (since they were literally a couple in love) and because there is no closure, she is still hurt by the breakup.
  • Hiro Iokawa – Karada’s older brother.  He has given his life for his sister including breaking up with his former girlfriend Shoko and also becoming somewhat of an introvert.
  • Tetsumasa Amino – Karada’s classmate and a boy who has always loved Karada but often can’t stand Hiro because Hiro interferes when Tetsumasa tries to get close to Karada.
  • Toko Amino – The older sister of Tetsumasa who works at a diner that Hiro eats at.  She is attracted to Hiro.
  • Kotomi Shionzaki – She befriends young Shoko and Tetsumasa and is free-spirited for her age.

The following 12-episodes are featured on two DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode of “Living for the Day After Tomorrow – Complete Collection”:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Karada and Shoko’s life will no longer be the same after Karada’s wish has been granted.
  • EPISODE 2 – Karada and Shoko must depend on each other.  Meanwhile, Hiro must find out where Karada is.
  • EPISODE 3 – Hiro shows up at the home of Shoko but can she keep up the charade that she is Shoko’s sister.
  • EPISODE 4 – Hiro has a hard time believing what happened to both Karada and Shoko.
  • EPISODE 5 – Shoko moves in with Hiro and Karada.  Tetsu tries to look for Karada.
  • EPISODE 6 –  Tetsu continues his search for Karada and gets help from the older Karada.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – Karada and Shoko celebrate Hiro’s birthday but emotions run high for Shoko as she has to stay at the home of her ex-boyfriend.
  • EPISODE 8 – Karada runs away from home and tries to live on her own.
  • EPISODE 9 – Karada finds a job at a restaurant and is now living on her own.  Meanwhile, Tetsu and Kotomi travel to another city to find Karada.
  • EPISODE 10 – Tetsu is shocked to find the older Karada (he still doesn’t know that the girl he is looking for is older Karada).  Meanwhile, Tetsu suffers from exhaustion from his search and Karada blames herself for it.
  • EPISODE 11 – Karada decides to tell Tetsu the truth of her identity.
  • EPISODE 12 – Before Kotomi goes home back to her father, she has one last special gift to give to Shoko.

VIDEO:

“Living for the Day After Tomorrow” is a vibrant anime TV series presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen.  At times, the animation ranges from simple to detailed but the artistic backgrounds are quite nice and the fact that the characters are constantly in the move, there are hardly backgrounds that are being reused.

In fact, there are many times where the backgrounds are like pastel to lush watercolors, some scenes look as if they were colored pencil but for the most part, these backgrounds are absolutely beautiful.  Character designs are mixed.  Farther shots are not as detailed but closeups really show the anguish, anger, happiness and sadness on the character’s faces.  So, for the most part, the series looks very good.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio for “Living for the Day After Tomorrow” is in  Japanese only and in stereo (2.0) while subtitles are in English. So, it’s a front channel driven soundtrack but I preferred to watch the series with my receiver set with stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape.  The series is dialogue driven, so there is not much in terms of special effects and surround usage.  But the Japanese soundtrack that is satisfactory for this type of anime series and the voice acting is well-done.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Living for the Day After Tomorrow – Complete Collection” comes with the clean opening and closing themes plus Sentai Filmworks trailers.

I enjoyed “Living for the Day After Tomorrow”.  It’s definitely a touching anime series that deals with misunderstandings but also an interesting and unique anime series about a woman who was scorned by her lover for his younger sister and the woman Shoko and the young girl Karada having to switch bodies and having to depend on each other.

Sure, the storyline has been done via “Freaky Friday” and in that film, daughter learns about her mother’s lifestyle and mother learns about what her daughter has to put up in high school.  But for “Living for the Day After Tomorrow”, young Karada has to grow up quickly and be put in the role of a woman trying to support herself while Shoko has to deal with life with her new body but also having to deal with having to stay at the home of her ex-boyfriend and all those hurtful memories consuming her.

But one of the major problems I have with the series is the look and age of the characters.  Karada and Tetsumasa are young jr. high school students but somehow, Tetsumasa looks like an older teenager while Karada looks and dresses like an 8 or 9-year-old girl.  And when Karada becomes a grownup, she looks like a girl that is the same age of Tetsumasa and both are the same height.  Granted, Karada is a short girl and when she grows up, she will be short but I just felt the age was quite off for these two characters who are supposed to be the same age.  But despite my feeling towards the age of the characters and their character designs, I really did enjoy “Living for the Day After Tomorrow” a lot.

I have not read the original manga series but I heard the manga differs in the fact that there are people who are after the wishing stones and want to use it for their own use, while in the anime series, it’s a series about relationships, friendship and having to deal with one’s predicament while another realizes that they were running away from the problem and not facing the problem directly.

Overall, “Living for the Day After Tomorrow” is a very good anime drama series.  No dealing with love triangles or anything like that.  So, it’s pretty cool to have something different and yet, so enjoyable.  Definitely an anime series worth checking out!






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