"Masami Oyamada? Tell me—how long do you plan on using your special power only to punish yourself?"
I'm heartbroken that Someday's Dreamers concludes in this volume. I want to see more of Yume and find out what happens to Mr. Oyamada, and see if he ever finds love with Miyuki. I wonder if Yume and Zennosuke start up a romance? Will Smiley be a good mage?
Volume 3, episodes 9-12 conclude the story of Yume Kikuchi, apprentice Mage. Having grown up in rural Japan, her arrival in busy Tokyo for training was something of a shock. Anyone who can perform magic is required to register with the government and be licensed as a civil servant, performing Mage actions for the public upon request. Because of her gentle nature and openness, Yume quickly makes friends and settles into her new life. Her instructor, Mr. Oyamada, is a troubled soul, but he is kind to her and fair in his tutelage. She grows to respect him, but is concerned because he seems so sad whenever he uses his special powers. Meanwhile, she deals with the pressure of learning how to do well in her work, but also how to be compassionate and fulfill client needs.
I cannot say enough good things about this short, addicting series. It's a breath of fresh air, like walking through a flower garden in a gentle breeze. I'm not just talking about the beautifully ethereal animation or the soothing, atmospheric music. Someday's Dreamers (AKA "What's Important to Mages") is very much about relationships and the power of love as a magical force in one's life. The message is clear: love can't do everything, and can even be painful, but it is the one thing that helps when nothing else can.
I'm sighing wistfully now, because at its best this series makes your heart feel light. It does not try to teach a profound lesson or impress you with any cool visuals. It just wants to tell you a story of a nice girl who makes good, or tries to. In this suite of episodes, Yume has a crisis of faith when she sees the results of her professional Mage actions don't always leave the client happy. What is the point, if she can't fulfill their needs and heal their hearts? There is no pat answer, and she has to resolve this conflict before she can take her final certification. Along the way, there will be many tear-jerking events, and we will finally find out why Mr. Oyamada has such sadness in his life.
Image transfer is excellent—clear and bright, beautifully showing off the gauzy, watercolor animation style. A crisp Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack does similar justice to the music and dialogue. English voice dub is superb, with actors once again getting the spirit of each character dead-on and delivering a terrific performance. I have noticed most Geneon releases pay careful attention to voice dubs, for even the smallest title. Extras include a reversible cover, post-card insert, character designs (interesting to compare the concept for Angela to the finished anime), previews for other DVDs, and a "photo session." Production photographs used as references for animation are presented in a slide-show format and set to music from the series. I really enjoyed this segment because I was able to see real-life examples of some of the iconic images used in the animation (aside from the more well known images, such as Tokyo Tower, although those were included, as well).
Even though I wanted to see more, I appreciate the brevity of this series. With just 12 episodes, the story is tight and well paced, and there is definitely a sense of closure and rebirth. The Someday's Dreamers DVDs make a nice set to keep for those days when you just need a bit of fresh air in your life.
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Scales of Justice
• Masataka Nakano's Photo Session
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