a.k.a. Koko wa Greenwood
Nothing ever works out for Hasukawa Kazuya. To escape his home life with his brother’s new wife… who just happens to be Kazuya’s first love… he applies to the prestigious Ryokuto Academy. The day of the school entrance ceremonies, he falls ill and can’t begin attending classes until a month later. When he finally arrives at his new dorm, Greenwood, he finds out that most of its residents are on the strange side… and his own roommate is a girl! Will Kazuya’s problems ever end?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Succeeds at both comedy and drama; homage to Lupin
Lows: Attempts to compress manga; episodic
Here is Greenwood is an OVA series based on the manga by Nasu Yukie. Even if it is a rather short and episodic series, the quirky characters, romance and nods to other anime should put this title on any shoujo fan’s to-watch list.
While the muted colors of the art and the character designs make this OVA series seem older than it is, the visuals are still attractive and unique. Fans looking for bishounen to squeal over will not be disappointed when they see Mitsuru and Shinobu. The unusual and quirky characters find themselves in odd and hilarious situations time and time again. Although comedy dominates most of the episodes, when the story turns to romance and drama, the series stays just as enjoyable without missing a beat.
The eccentric personalities make this anime driven more by the characters than a concrete plot, which is evident in its episodic nature. Each episode, with the exception of the last two, has next to nothing to do with the one before it. These one-shot episodes leave the impression that they have just been pulled straight from the manga, and attempting to fit eleven volumes of manga into a six-episode series never works well. To give back-story to the second episode, brief scenes are shown to summarize the events from the manga, so it’s obvious that the creators were well aware of this shortcoming.
Here is Greenwood is also aware of other anime; sharp eyes will catch Ranma in the first episode, and the parody of Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro is absolutely wonderful. If romance, bishounen and off-the-wall shoujo stories are your cup of tea, this series will definitely entertain you. But if effeminate male characters and a story with no action or busty females scare you, you might want to avoid this one.
Highs: Excellent comedic timing; smart characters that are aware of events; diverse personalities work well as ensemble cast; relaxing songs
Lows: Missing a lot of background information; disjointed story
I remember my Freshman year of college, being on my own for the first time and meeting the guys in my dorm. Never before had I lived with such a wide-ranging group of personalities and backgrounds, but it was that very diversity and the feeling of an extended family that made the experience so much fun. They’re also the same reasons why Here is Greenwood is so much fun, too.
This is what Here is Greenwood is not: a cohesive story. That’s essentially my only complaint with this anime, but it’s a rather big one. The episodes are told like a situational comedy with just a hint of a progressive story. What makes the experience frustrating is that the audience knows there’s more to this anime than it lets on but is only privy to brief glimpses into the lives of Greenwood.
But despite a lack of background, this anime does a great job of making do with a limited OVA format. There is just enough information given at regular intervals to make this anime understandable and the characters likably sympathetic. And what great characters they are! Here is Greenwood features a very large cast replete with quirky behaviors, sophomoric antics and plenty of affection for one another so their relationships feel authentic. The characters possess the rare ability to fling punch lines with a deadpan delivery, belied only by a hint of a smirk that conveys to the audience that the characters are in on the jokes, too.
What makes Here is Greenwood a winner is the existence of utterly believable characters with real problems; be it underage drinking, casual sex or gang involvement, the cast faces the same issues that many of us once have or currently do. But they face those issues together, hand in hand… just like old friends.
Here is Greenwood can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.