Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

25 May 2009: The lesson in Hatsukoi Limited

Miss Kei "Two Years" Enomoto.

Hatsukoi Limited is very much about otaku wish fulfillment, but it executes these moments so well I absolve it from blame. The fan service in Hatsukoi Limited is overt, but sincere. Moreover, the fan service is diffused through nostalgia-colored glasses with thick coats of optimism. This is first love, best case scenario, and J.C. Staff is careful at presenting it to the viewer.

Ayumi in a nurse costume.

You can kind of see it in the ED. The Hatsukoi Limited girls spend the ED dressed up in various fetish-type outfits, but they're clearly wearing costumes. For example, Ayumi wears a nurse costume, not a nurse uniform. The distinction is important because it suggests a certain awareness that perhaps breaks the fourth wall a bit, but at least seems more earnest and honest about its reasons for doing so. It's fan service, but it doesn't pretend not to be.


Nothing in Hatsukoi Limited through six episodes has been groundbreaking. It relies on old staples, but J.C. Staff executes them very skillfully. He likes her, but she likes that guy. That guy likes that girl, but she likes someone else, and this guy likes this girl. Oh, what a mess. It's simple, but stories of unrequited love are time-tested and proven. And they work well in Hatsukoi Limited.

Kudada and Kei
In heels, Kei towers over Kusada.

They aren't all unrequited love stories. There is at least one potential pair with obviously mutual attraction, but their own boneheadedness keeps them apart. That's a time-tested and proven formula too. And it'll probably be the crux of the Hatsukoi Limited climax during its too-short run. I hope it's not really only going to be 12 episodes, because that's a painful "read the manga" tease, although at four volumes the manga sounds too short also.

Rika wearing leotard? Hoodie? Pajamas? I dunno.

It's not really enough time to develop all these characters. We know Rika is the athletic one because she has darker skin, short hair, and she wears bike shorts under her skirt. Yet she's surprisingly feminine instead of being pigeonholed into being a typical anime tomboy character. Her eyes, feathered hair, and voice are feminine at least. Chances are, though, the show isn't going to devote much more than episode seven towards developing her character and romantic entanglements. Kei will probably get the bulk of the remaining screentime, if my guess is right.

Yuu and Kei
The Enomoto sisters.

Surprisingly, Kei is DIRTY—at least as measured by the content of her fantasies (such as the one that takes place in an alley!) and her eagerness for trying on racy outfits. She's more of a freak than Kusada. I don't know what the deal is with her baby-faced sister, though.


The remaining characters likely won't get much screentime at all. Nao spent so much of the first episode with her face hidden in her hands I wasn't even sure if it was her or not when that one putz crashed into her in episode five.


It'll be criminal to leave open Misaki questions unanswered.

Meguru is the American, if you know what I mean.

Like Zyl, I was rather unsympathetic towards Meguru because of her willingness to waste Olympic-level talent. I'll let it go if they just meant the Junior Olympics, but really, non-sports anime are entirely too cavalier when it comes to offhandedly dismissing the rarity of truly exceptional athletic talent. It also didn't help her arc was probably better suited for a half-episode; filling an entire episode made it seem a little too drawn out.

I don't know who these characters are yet
I don't know who these characters are yet.

It's unfair to Meguru, but dragging out a short arc to fill an episode wastes valuable time in a short series considering not all of the characters have even been introduced yet by the halfway mark.

Sleeping Kei
Tiny pictures are the way of love.

Then again, maybe that's the lesson of Hatsukoi Limited: First love is fleeting, as is youth. Enjoy it while it lasts, because all too soon it will be gone. I suppose that's a far better option than suffering though interminable manga and anime that never end.

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