Never, ever, chase a monkey into the woods. It will never be worth it.
What They Say:
If That Were A Bear, It'd All Be Over
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the adult bishojo game Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, A Bridge to the Starry Skies is the latest from studio Dogakobo. The game came out only in the fall of last year with the anime running roughly in parallel to it for awhile, though of course with plenty of difference since there's no actual adult material in here. With it being the kind of game it is, it's easy to imagine the variety of women that will come into play during it, which is made all the more clear during the opening sequence. From the start, you at least get a good idea of how the productions qualities are, which are pretty good and very appealing when it comes to the settings, and what to expect from the variety of girls.
The story focuses on the Hoshino brothers as the elder, Kazuma, has decided to move out to the countryside with his younger brother Ayumu, who needs it for his health. The pair have ended up in Yamabiko, a place where Kazuma had been before when he was little as he came out here with his father. The memories of that time have helped to reinforce his decision to bring Ayumu out there, as well as the fact that they can get some space at an inn there because the owner knew their father well and wants to help out. Their first experiences in the countryside are kind of awkward though as they get on the wrong bus and then when they get off to wait for another, Ayumu's cap gets stolen by a monkey and Kazuma races into the woods to get it. It's here that he has a fateful encounter with a beautiful young woman which also brings back some very strong memories from his childhood.
It goes from bad to worse when he's caught in an awkward situation with her and then another girl shows up, is promptly offended without finding out what's going on, and starts to kick Kazuma's ass. Yes, it's pretty by the numbers, but it's an introduction that lets the personalities come out quickly. Ibuki's quick to anger to be sure while the nameless girl is fairly sweet and nice and rather understanding considering what happened. Of course, you know we'll run into the again, but it's nice to get a look at the inn when the brothers make it there. The place is surprisingly welcoming with a sense of quality about it that we usually don't get in these kinds of shows. The brothers get to stay in the older wing that wasn't part of an upgrade before, so no guests stay there and it's perfectly suited for something like. What surprises them though is that the gentleman that was going to watch over them is no longer there, and instead is an attractive slightly older woman named Senka who has agreed to take them in and be their guardian for the duration.
Of course, the mystery girl is actually Tsugumi and she works at the inn part time and is also the one that will be guiding the brothers to school since they don't know where it is. The awkward introductions, made worse by the incident the night before in the bath, adds to a fun situation as it's not terribly overplayed. It isn't exactly subdued, but it could have been played for laughs a lot more. And that's the kind of feeling that the show gives off for the most part here. With the really nice looking backgrounds and basic movement animation, the characters feel like they belong in this very well realized world and it has a good sense of atmosphere, but it's not taken to watercolor painting extremes or anything. It feels rich but not overpowering in its presentation and animation, and that goes a long way towards making it enjoyable since it's not forcing the atmosphere so heavily.
A Bridge to the Starry Skies has a rather mellow opening overall but it's one that I found works rather well. While we do get a couple of character introductions when it comes to the women that will populate the show, and there is that sexual tension that's brought into it, we're not thrown into meeting everyone that we see in the opening and closing sequences. Giving it a more natural flow like this, and hopefully some time to breathe as it progresses, could make this a very enjoyable little show if it keeps to real world situations and doesn't go over the top with some of their interactions. There's mysteries to be had but they're not significant at the moment and I'm curious to see more of the inn, its owner and what's going on with Ayumu that really necessitated this kind of move to the countryside.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.