Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

1 July 2009: The only problem with Hatsukoi Limited is that it ends

Mamoru, Sogabe, and Kusada
This worked out a lot better in Honey and Clover.

The best show of Spring 2009 is Hatsukoi Limited. A mostly wistful look at first love, Hatsukoi Limited is a textbook example of how J.C. Staff can succeed wildly when it plays to its strengths. It helps that the source material is good, as the anime remained mostly faithful to the manga, and diverged mostly for the better on the rare occasions when there were changes.

Mamoru and Ayumi
It is entirely too early in the morning for relationship traumarama.
Go back to bed.

One sure sign of a successful show is an ending that leaves viewers wanting more. That is certainly the case with Hatsukoi Limited, as 12 episodes are not nearly enough to fully explore the myriad interwoven relationships of the ensemble cast. Even for the characters given the most attention (Kusada and Kei), the viewer only sees a tiny portion of what must be a fairly rich story. Alas, the manga ended early as well, so all the reader gets to know about the various new couples and remaining victims of unrequited love is that (a) some of these characters hit the jackpot and (b) others got completely screwed.

Kusada and Kei
First Love, Best Case Scenario (depending on your point of view).

I'd like to see the anime continue for another season by producing new material. Unfortunately, these kinds of scenarios appear to be rather uncommon. There are plenty of instances where a manga begins, grows popular, and gets an anime adaptation that fudges its ending because it outstrips the source material (often diverging dramatically and culminating in unsatisfying conclusions almost universally decried as being vastly inferior to the eventual manga endings), but manga-based anime that keep going after exhausting the source material appear to be rare at best. Since the chances of seeing new, original episodes of Hatsukoi Limited waver between slim to none, I suppose the best I can hope for is the anime's popularity inspiring new chapters continuing where the manga left off. It could happen—if Hatsukoi Limited preaches anything, it's optimism.

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