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Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi Review

July 07, 2011 By: Nopy Category: Anime

Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi is probably one of the most over-looked series of the spring 2011 season, and why wouldn’t it be? The story is about Kazuma and his younger brother Ayumu, who move to  an inn located in the mountains. The move to the mountains introduces them to a flock of beautiful girls, and even more are brought into the picture when they start attending school.

Obviously, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi is a school harem anime. Just the thought of that genre probably turned off a lot of people, but I didn’t think it was too bad. Over a decade ago, a VN/anime called “To Heart” set the standard for school harems. Hoshizora seemingly took all the basics from the To Heart era and brought them back to life.

So besides having a school and a harem what exactly are the basics of school harems? The next step is to cover all of the major character types. The harem should include at least: a childhood friend, the best friend of the childhood friend, a tomboy, the school idol (or idols), and a loli. The male lead should also have forgotten some memories regarding the childhood friend. The next thing a school harem anime needs is a male character to act as the class clown. This character always befriends the male lead and fails at flirting with the girls. Another staple of school harem anime are beach and school festival episodes. The former acts as an excuse to show off all the girls in bikinis while the latter is used to progress an arc. That brings me to the next point: every series has an arc devoted to a specific girl. The girl that the main character chooses always gets hers last. If the character you like gets her arc before the last 3 episodes, then she’s not the lucky girl. The last thing a school harem needs is a twist. To Heart had android girls, and Kanon had spirits – Hoshizora has a loli otouto.

This anime follows the basics of school harems right down to the letter, and why wouldn’t it? It’s a winning formula. You’re probably wondering though, if it follows the script so closely, shouldn’t it only be an average anime at best? What makes Hoshizora good are the sweet stories and a solid male character. Kazuma creates a deeper connection with one of the girls in every arc through acts of chivalry and being there for emotional support. For anyone who has watched Clannad, you’ll know that while its the girls that draw the attention, it’s the man that pulls the story. This is what many school harem anime fail to achieve; creating male characters that are simply pretty-boys or worse, characters with no redeeming qualities that magically attract all the girls. By creating a character that girls would drool over, Hoshizora invokes a sense of realism and brings the story to life.

Besides having all the necessary character types and story, the anime was also visually appealing. I loved the clean character designs and the multi-colour shading in the eyes. The animation quality was exceptional, especially the stream in the forest during Madoka’s arc.

The only complaint I have about the series was the lead-up to the final arc. While it’s difficult to fit in several arcs into 12 episodes, they could have added in a few more minutes of bonding between Kazuma and the girl he chooses to make it less sudden. The confession scene in the final episode could have had a few improvements such as a bit of internal monologue or even just a heartbeat sound effect.

The sad thing is that this anime is in the wrong era. In the midst of the current moe slice-of-life boom, the school harems of old don’t stand a chance against overly cute characters and the significant lack of testoterone. Indeed, the thing that once drew many fans to this genre (lots of cute girls) has now taken them away. I still enjoyed Hoshizora though, and if you’ve been sitting on the fence on this series, then I hope you consider giving it a go.

For anyone wondering, my favourite girls in order are: Ibuki, Madoka, Tsumugi, Kasane, Ui, Senka (the inn owner), Hina, and Koyori.

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12 Comments to “Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi Review”

  1. I liked your review and I’ve watched the show as well.
    It looked nice and was very entertaining. I don’t really care about the generic elements of vn adaptions as long as I feel entetained.

    Too bad that Ayumu that got no girlfriend I somehow would have liked to see that.

    I was a bit surprised about the girl Kazuma had choosen until episode 10th episode it is quite open.
    Ibuki was my favorite, but I also liked Hina, Koyori and Ui. Haha but all the girls were really cute ^-^

  2. You compared this to To Heart. I must watch this.

  3. I too ended up really enjoying Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi. At first I was skeptical, just watching for the sake of it. But the more episodes I watched the more I was drawn in. It wasn’t really anything original or special in the end, but it was certainly better than what I was expecting. Plus a male lead who isn’t completely incompetent is always good.

    I liked the little references to other series thrown in with this anime.
    Episode 7 had a reference to Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (another feng VN) during the karaoke. And I caught two Koihime Musou references (Doga Kobo the animators for this series also did the Koihime Musou anime). One in episode 7 at the arcade (there’s also a Koihime arcade game on the way); and Rinrin popped up in episode 10.

    Joint favourite for me between Ibuki and Hina. Hina has such a strange air-head personality, I just loved how she’d pop up around anything cute and get distracted. Ibuki was interesting right from the start with her slightly aggressive personality and probably had the most convincing ‘route’.

  4. I guess nothing can beat Shuffle in terms of great harem story.
    There was no build to this at all nothing for us to go “wow” to. for example like Tomoya and Nagisa, Ryuji and Taiga, Misaki and Usui and many more had a developed relationship which led us to accept the pairing when it finally happened. The pairing with Ui had no significant development … if anything Madoka had the most build up with Kazuma slowly remembering bits and pieces of his memory with her in the past and how Madoka was always thinking about him whereas Ui was thinking about food the entire series (and her brother). I could go on … along with Madoka we saw development with Hinata and Ibuki however they apparently don’t hold a candle to Ui. I had high hopes for this series only for it to end horribly.

  5. @Fabienne:
    I’m sure Ayumu will have no problem getting girls, he did have all those milfs around him at the end. I had a feeling that Kazuma was going to make that choice because she was the first girl that he met, but I wish he had gone with one of the other girls instead.


    The series was definitely better than expected, I thought that I would watch an episode or two just to see the girls, then I ended up watching it to the end. I didn’t realize there were any references in there, though I did stop watching Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka and Koihime so I wouldn’t have gotten them anyways.

    Madoka and Ibuki certainly would have made better endings, I actually thought the series was going to end at Madoka’s arc while I was watching it. The lack of any bonding between Kazuma and Ui was the weakest point of Hoshizora, but I still thought it was a good series.

  6. Ok sure, sometimes I like harem, sometimes I don’t. This one seems worth a go. I think my favorite harem series is the original Tenchi Muyo OVAs.

  7. Oh..To Heart and Clannad! Those two are what I call good examples of a harem show. I don’t watch just any harem show but since you mentioned Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi alongside with those two titles, it should be pretty good. I’ll give this a shot. Thanks for the review. =)

  8. @lovelyduckie:
    Tenchi Muyo was so long ago, I can barely remember anything from it. Maybe I should rewatch some episodes just to refresh my memory.

    I hope you enjoy it. The series gets off to a slow start, but the later episodes were pretty good.

  9. Surprised to see you mentioned it in the same vein as To Heart, but in a technical sense it does make sense. Despite the generic fixings I do think watching this is worth it. It is in the wrong era indeed.

  10. I liked it well enough but following the “winning formula” too closely kind of put it off for me. Still, I can’t say I didn’t like it. It had some funny scenes.

  11. Definitely one of the more overlooked series. I totally don’t even recognize this title. I have a genre bias against harem so I doubt I’ll be watching this. But it was really interesting to read the basic of a classic harem.

  12. @tsurugiarashix:
    If this had aired 10 years ago, I think it would’ve been a big hit.

    I admit it was a bit predictable because it followed the formula, but it turned out pretty well. The comedy was great coupled with some of the arcs.

    I know several other people who will not watch harem anime, and it’s understandable. For it’s genre though, it was an above average series.


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