Rumbling Hearts Vol. 3
Released By: Funimation
NOTE: This review is a continuation of my reviews of this series. If you have not seen any of the volumes or my previous reviews, you risk spoilers by continuing.
Time to say good bye to a series that literally made me do a fist pump/happy dance when I found out the last volume was on it’s way to me.
When we last left off at the end of volume two, Akane had grown so frustrated with the situation that she yelled the truth at Haruka in the hospital room about Mitsuki and Takayuki which sent her back into a coma while on the other side of town Mitsuki, in a drunk depression, sleeps with Takayuki’s best friend Shinji.
In the final four episodes of this series, guilt is the primary theme and feeling that starts us off. Everyone is feeling guilty about something. Takayuki is guilty about how he’s been treating Mitsuki, Mitsuki is guilty about sleeping with Shinji, Shinji is guilty for sleeping with Mitsuki and cheating on his girlfriend, Akane is guilty for sending her sister back into critical care… but priorities change when Takayuki gets sick himself.
The relationship tries to mend and the couple tries to heal but it soon becomes obvious to Mitsuki that she is not Haruka after she tells Takayuki everything about what happened between herself and Shinji and then leaves him. Haruka wakes up completely unaware that she had woken up before, Shinji and Takayuki fight and Takayuki must face Haruka again.
Things are a little easier this time though, after all… Takayuki is single now. But it’s not because now Mitsuki must face Haruka alone and tell her the entire truth which has about the result from Haruka that you would imagine it would and Takayuki must do the same in an effort to not run away from his problems while Haruka must face her new reality.
And that’s it… everyone who had some kind of connection to Takayuki has had their lives torn apart in one way or another. There are still lots of questions to be answered and these final episodes will answer them for you… who ends up with whom, who ends up happy and who ends up heartbroken.
The Good And The Bad
I knew that the drama in this volume was going to reach an all time critical mass peak for this series and so when the first episode ended I was very pleased to see that the comedy spots at the end of each episode were still in place and were still written in a way that provided some good laughs. Mayu and Ayu were consistent bright spots in a very dark anime and so I was glad to have them in this volume as well.
The characters and story still affect me just as strongly now as they did back on volume one. I still found myself talking to the characters on my screen, trying to urge them to do the right thing. Though I wasn’t shouting at the television like I was during volume two, I was still certainly urging the characters to do exactly what I thought was the right thing to do and then whispering to myself further when I thought that I had it all figured out and I knew exactly what was going to happen next (which for the record, I was wrong most of the time).
The animation and video quality was still very strong and very enjoyable. I didn’t notice any major issues with animation but I did still see some issues with scenes being too bright which drown out the foreground characters. This was also very apparent in the opening menu but again, this is not likely to be an issue with your viewing experience as this problem tended to come and go when I viewed this DVD on different players. Sometimes it was too bright, sometimes it was perfect but it was never consistent.
If there’s one thing that a geek like me can appreciate it’s when the staff of an anime work hard to make sure that the little things isn’t ignored and Tetsuya Watanabe did not disappoint with this title. An absolutely wonderful example of this comes in episode 13 when Takayuki is in a café with one of the nurses who works at the hospital Haruka is staying in and the nurse mentions in a sly manner that Takayuki is running from his problems and suddenly the ice in his drink melts and collapses. If one wasn’t looking too deeply, you would ignore it and see nothing. When someone is looking for those subtle hints though, you instantly feel that extra twinge of defeat and embarrassment that Takayuki was feeling. There are examples of this throughout this entire series but in this volume you’ll see them left and right if you remember to look for them.
For the most part I really enjoyed the background music in this volume and this series but I couldn’t help but feel that some of the background music felt very under produced. Some of the music was very full and really swept you away with the emotion and yet some of it just really felt underdone as though someone was just sitting there next to you playing a synthesizer. I really think that this anime could’ve gotten a much bigger effect from its audience with a full orchestra but this was likely due to budget, not because of conscious effort.
The ending theme to the final episode is a brilliant choice and very wonderfully produced and composed.
Dub vs. Sub
Both tracks were well done but in this case I really felt like the dub track won out. Monica Rial and Luci Christian were wonderful once again as Ayu and Mayu but more importantly was Colleen Clinkenbeard as Mitsuki. Tomoko Ishibashi did wonderfully as Mitsuki but I just really felt the emotion that much more from Colleen.
Just clean animation.
I’ve had this volume sitting by my side for the last three days. I almost watched it at least three times before I chickened out and did something else instead. Which does beg the question, why would someone who was so ecstatic to see the end wait so long? Honestly it was because a person that I know had already seen the end on fansubs and said one thing to me about it, ‘It ends the way it’s supposed to.’ How are you supposed to watch a deep drama like this with that hanging over your head?!? How it’s supposed to? Is that good or bad? Well, sadly no one told me (not that I asked) and I’m not going to tell you. I will tell you that he was right, it does end the way it’s supposed to.
Questions were answered neatly though I could say that there could’ve been a bit more detail shown to really bring it all home but all in all, this series delivered exactly what it sought out to do from the beginning. For fourteen episodes, this series sought to deliver a deep drama about love, relationships and what happens when you lose that very delicate transition from your teenage years to your adult years. It had me hooked from start to finish and I can’t count how many times I’ve raved about this series to friends since I saw the first volume last month. This is officially one of my early picks for best series of 2007. If you enjoy drama and you want something deep, you want this series.
Final Grade: 91% – A