Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete had lots of bad animation and non-animation right from the get-go. You can even see how most are badly traced CGI. It was decent episode 3 onwards, with only occasional failings, but the damage was done.
There’s a reason why many series debuts with higher visual quality than what it will have for the rest of its run. A significant amount of viewers get turned off by anything ugly.
And production schedules usually aren’t messed up yet at the beginning.
Volume 1 sold a measly 400+ BD/DVDs in its first week. Whether its quality animation had anything to do with it failing commercially or not, no one can say for sure. I just wanted to mention its animation failures to open the post.
Yes, this title wasn’t watched a lot. And yes, I liked it very much. So let me dedicate a short post about it in the pretext that I’m doing this because it didn’t sell and it deserves more love (because love is making a blog post about it).
In truth, I’m only doing so because I really like Waremete and for some reason, I think I have a somewhat coherent explanation as to why I liked it that much.
On the surface, it’s your typical forced premise found in many VNs, LNs, manga, and subsequently, also in anime. It’s about a group of high school friends in the same club. It’s harem-esque since the source VN had multiple heroine routes. It’s got plenty of stupid stuff embedded in its story. While I’m not turned off by those (how else would I have no taste who rates everything high), I also don’t care about the presence or absence of those elements.
What really grabbed me was how well written (and competently directed) it was for me. Everything flowed really well. It didn’t feel like it was slogging through long stretches of VN lines because of copy-pasta dialogue and narration, “faithful” style — but it also didn’t feel like things were skipped and cut awkwardly to progress things in good pace. It didn’t jump around places and events unnaturally that many VN adaptations suffer from due to the nature of VNs and its script not being adapted well for TV anime. It just felt like a show telling its story, and skillfully at that, not just a VN that got its routes animated and aired as a TV show — if that makes sense. This is by no means a jab at VNs. I play VNs even if not as much as I watch anime. Each medium just works differently and a work from one medium does not work well in another if not adapted well. The point is that the series works as a series. Adaptation or not, that is always the goal with any series.
I assume that the whole first episode was a common route’s worth of events based on what happened and yet it was paced really well and it perfectly set up the next episodes. Also outstanding is how the characters were really given personality in the first episode. The dialogue was full of nuanced character and portrayed the gist of the relationships between the people in the group in just that first episode. It did this without resorting to dumbed down narrations or dialogue that make the characters explain things to the viewer directly in an oversimplified manner, failing to capture any feeling of complexity that could’ve been there (aka spoonfeeding). It goes without saying that I found the cast to be good despite their archetypical nature for reasons stated above.
There are some really stupid things, one of the biggest being a naked girl with amnesia appears out of nowhere and people decide to let her live in another student’s house and be a transfer student in the school and no one bats an eye. The series manages to downplay the stupidity (at least for me) and actually makes a reason for the example I gave later on in the series. It doesn’t change the fact that these are stupid things and that it could’ve been rewritten in a way so that it didn’t have these, but this is supposed to be a commercial product — and for me, that’s another testament to how skillfully written this is, being able to balance these things. It’s there. It’s using it. But it’s not harming the storytelling.
But it didn’t sell well so where’s the balance?!
This quality in pacing and writing, as well as its commitment to the non-spoonfeeding way of storytelling without trying to be confusing (just the way I like it), continued on for the whole series — building up well, with everything coming together nicely in the end. It was consistent and it felt complete. By the end, the animation disasters mattered little to me.
tl;dr: I really liked the execution.