His and Her Circumstances (1998 IMDb)

Categorization

TV animation series. High-school romance. Very experimental, using deformation, varied media (fairly simple 2D animation, distorted photographs of real environments and people, putting the characters on paper slips and filming these in live action, making episode previews by filming seiyuu in character, and so on) and meta. The content is similarly mutable, ranging from serious and realistic psychological dissection (even of relatively minor characters) to curiously procrastinated shoujo, all the way down to really bizarre forms of slapstick. Switchback pacing throughout. It is uncertain what actually happens and how. There are tons of summaries, and characters are seen sliding between different designs. Written markers of sounds and moods are frequent. Some conversations at the end occur in writing, with narrators merely categorizing the sentences as they are mutely spoken, and this is not the end of the variations. Initially handled by Anno, then left to Tsurumaki Kazuya after conflicts with sponsors and the original author.

Subject

Two overachievers full of secrets strike up a relationship.

Commentary

Frustrating, but some games with our suspension of disbelief are interesting. The very special style of the series does work much of the time. Interesting characters, good Sagisu soundtrack. The first Gainax anime project adapted from non-Gainax work, in this case a manga. That manga was still going on when the TV series finished, which helps drag down the ending. Lots of cheap filler.

Anno Hideaki Gainax Japanese production Tsurumaki Kazuya animation series