The negative reviews kept me from watching this for over a year, but I decided to give it a shot last night and immediately regretted listening to the haters for so long!
Though the art, music, and voice acting are all fantastic, the areas of this anime that shine the brightest are plot and character. The story is superbly well-told. And though there are a few side characters who are a bit too static, most of the characters have heartwarming depth and complexity that makes the story compelling. I laughed with them, cried with them, and railed at the author when something traumatic happened to them. And this author is completely unafraid to put the beautiful characters in this show through the wringer. That in itself makes this show unforgettable. But it’s the shifting thread of hope that wends throughout the show that makes it impossible to stop watching.
The main character is relatable, flawed but compassionate, heroic in the most human way possible, and I was totally captivated by him throughout (as an adult and as a child/adult). The girl he wishes to save is so real and her soul is so tough-yet-fragile, my heart literally wrenched at the thought of harm coming to this precious child. And then we have the MC’s mom–the single best anime mother in all time forever, trust me, I’m calling it right now.
If you’re interested in an emotional roller coaster with depth, darkness and light, mystery, tragedy, hope, and a healthy dose of adorable awkwardness, this show is for you. Definitely put aside 4 hours to watch this straight through; once that first episode ends, you won’t be able to pause for a second!