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I wish to thank Matsumoto Izumi for creating these stories and characters, Takada Akemi for her wonderful character designs, and everyone else involved in its creation for such a wonderful and touching work. I first discovered this series from the internet, and I wish to thank all of those who provided material there and apologize for not mentioning them individually. I especially want to thank Theresa Martin whose song translations I have included here, and Dave Arnold for his work proofreading. I want to add a special thanks to Robert Woodhead and all the staff at AnimEigo for bringing us the subtitled OAVs and movie. In some sense, this book is from those days when we didn't have the subtitled versions, such as the fine ones they provide, and anime fans had to get by with a synopsis or learning Japanese. Hopefully it will still be of some use.
This is an excellent series. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Meeting this series, lead to my falling in love with it, moved my heart and wrapped it in the gentle color of memory. George Robbert twice 15 years old, remembering my youth.
If you do not want any spoilers, begin reading with the synopsis for Episode #1. The `Character Guide,' while describing the characters, does mention things that happen during the series, which may ``spoil the surprise'' for some people.
Throughout this guide, I have kept names in the Japanese order (family name first, the opposite of the English convention). However, I have glossed over some of the finer points in the usage of names. For example, Madoka is called: Ayukawa-san, Ayukawa, Ayukawa-kun, Madoka-san, and Madoka depending on who's talking and what the circumstance is. I have listed these in approximately increasing order of familiarity. Notice that Kyousuke almost always calls Madoka ``Ayukawa.'' He doesn't feel he has the right to imply the closeness of calling her ``Madoka,'' yet ``Ayukawa-san'' is too formal and distant. Likewise, she compromises and calls him ``Kasuga-kun.''
The music in this series does a very good job of setting the mood. Take a close look at the words to some of the songs; they fit what the characters are thinking or feeling quite well. In the songs, I have included the complete words to the song, in both English and Japanese, as they appear on the various CDs. The portions that are used in the credits or the like are highlighted with a black bar on the left.
One feature I especially like about this series is how it depicts the gradual maturing of the characters, their relationships, and how they deal with their feelings. While this may be hard to see between one episode and the next, one can notice this over larger spans. For example, notice how Kyousuke and Madoka's relationship and reactions toward each other change through episodes #1, #12, #35, #39, and #46-48. I find that Madoka and Kyousuke grow up the most, but this is fitting since the series is mostly told from Kyousuke's viewpoint.