a.k.a. D.C. ~Da Capo~
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 7/6/2003 to 12/27/2003
On an island where the cherry blossoms are always in bloom, Asakura Jyunichi lives with his sister Nemu. The inhabitants of the island are as unusual as the cherry blossoms. For starters, Jyunichi sees other people’s dreams, his schoolmate can read minds and his sister’s best friend is a robot with an affinity for bananas. His childhood friend Sakura returns to the island one day after six years away, but she looks the same age as the day she left. What is Sakura’s secret? And what is the promise Jyunichi made to her years ago?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Gives closure to characters; turns to drama
Lows: Weak first half; intrusive side episodes
Da Capo is a strange mix of fan service, romance and drama. The first half of the series is standard dating simulation fare with an assortment of attractive girls for the main character to choose from. Even though the second half of the series finds its focus, the side stories tacked on to the majority of the episodes interrupt the flow of what otherwise could have been a strong story.
This series starts out as one would expect a dating simulation to play out, with the introduction of a number of girls with their own unique quirks. The cute character designs and appealing vocal songs set a cheerful mood. Early episodes are light, flippant and give the impression that the girls are nothing beyond their shallow personalities. Halfway through the series, however, the plot takes a sudden turn into a much more serious, substantial story that some viewers will find controversial. Almost all of the side characters are revisited and given proper closure to their subplots, which is a pleasant surprise for a series that at first seemed more concerned with fan service than characters.
Most episodes of the series are also undermined by the inclusion of side stories tacked on the end of an episode. These side episodes interrupt the flow of the story, often times creating a cliffhanger that is resolved in the next episode while the side story uses up the remaining time of the current episode. These side stories have nothing to do with the main plot; characters that were in conflict moments earlier in the episode are working together the next minute in the side episode. Thankfully, the side episodes end before the last few full episodes of the series, giving the story proper time to conclude.
Da Capo has its fair share of flaws, but it still should be a pleasant way to spend time for romance junkies. If the series had skipped the filler and side episodes and concentrated on the controversial relationship of its main characters, this might have been a groundbreaking entry into the romance genre.
Da Capo can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.