Post Reply Celestial Method
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Posted 1/8/15 , edited 1/8/15
by moonhawk81

Celestial Method is a story of loss and reunion in the face of inevitable change. In simpler terms, someone took the old saying "You can't go home again" and added animation. And it is of recent origin, with the anime series produced by Studio 3Hz and the manga by Naoki Hisaya both beginning in late 2014. The ongoing manga is carried in Dengeki Daioh, while the anime was broadcast on Tokyo MX and simulcast on Crunchyroll on Sundays at 9:30AM CST. (The season has ended, so the series can now be viewed on CR in its entirety.)

Celestial Method concerns the return of Nonoka Komiya to Lake Kiriya City, in which she lived as a child. However, she really remembers very little about her previous time there beyond the fact that her mother was still in her life. Additionally, the move seems to have jarred Nonoka a bit, and she is having trouble settling into her new home--hardly a surprise, given that the town has a huge flying saucer hovering over it! And so Nonoka is really unprepared to meet Noel, a much younger-looking girl who claims to know her from before she moved away from town previously. Poor Nonoka is already confused when a girl of her own approximate age approaches and asks in annoyance why she has returned. And so begins Nonoka's new life.

Attending school helps Nonoka establish some order and routine into her days, and allows her the opportunity to interact with others of her own age. She discovers that the annoyed girl is named Shione, and that she is one of a group of friends which includes: Koharu, the daughter of shopkeepers; Yuzuki, who is devoted to driving away the saucer; and Souta, Yuzuki's twin brother. Eager to make friends and understand life in this unique town, Nonoka allows herself to be brought into Yuzuki's efforts to remove the saucer. Things grow quickly complicated, however, as she recognizes that any one friend's goals might clash with those of the others. Koharu's family depends upon the tourist trade generated by the saucer's presence. Souta is too concerned with studying abroad to care about the saucer. And, just to make matters more difficult, Noel confides that she actually is the saucer. It is at this point that Nonoka begins to remember her past friendships with her schoolmates and the stupefying fact that it was they--at her suggestion--who called down the saucer seven years ago. What ensues are Nonoka's efforts to rekindle her childhood friendships while trying to help those friends better understand each other.

But we are discussing teenagers, so beware the angst! You already know that every group has that one person who just cannot let go of things, who thinks that every occurrence is a personal slight. Well, remember Shione? If the moon fell out of its orbit and tumbled into the sun, she would absolutely know that it was done just to spite her. And she will make certain that Nonoka takes the most blame--it's just what old friends do. Indeed, Shione becomes aloof with her own friends once they welcome Nonoka back into their lives. Shione's character needs a saving grace and finds one in the relationship she develops with Noel while she's busy cutting other people out of her life. Thus, Noel is the link that everybody sees but nobody recognizes. . .so what will happen to our squabbling little group were Noel to go missing? This series just keeps quickening its pace, and by the latter episodes we're dealing with disappearances, alternate time lines, and even flying hats! (Probably the plot development for which I most fervently hope is when the others ambush Shione, tie her up, and feed her to whatever critter lives in the depths of their lake. C'mon, it's a tourist town with a lake--there's gotta be a hungry critter that nobody's really ever seen except in blurry photos, right?!)

*glare noted--Shione denies!

Celestial Method really does not offer its viewers anything new, but this is the anime equivalent of comfort food. The theme of returning home only to find everything and everyone changed is familiar, and most of the characters presented are stock. Still, the show is enjoyable and fun to watch, particularly as things begin to fray towards the end. Even if the characters are stock, they are also vibrant and engaging, and their interactions are believable--especially between Yuzuki and Souta (that sibling friction!). The artwork has moments of crispness that can captivate, particularly in detailing the observatory and saucer, while the animation provides glimpses of amazingly accurate natural movement (for example, in the opening when Souta stops and shifts his weight). And while I said earlier that this show is about reunion, it is also about redemption, something that must first be believed before it can be achieved. So who in this group really believes? Finally, I find that I can readily empathize with the characters and their frustrations, and even sympathize somewhat with Noel, who keeps trying to help the others reconnect positively. (She might just succeed, too, if she drops the soft sell and--I don't know--maybe threatens to punish them in the name of the mmm. . .saucer!) Celestial Method starts slowly, but builds to ultimately reward the patience of its viewers. Rated: Worth the wait!

*Pssst, Nonoka! Nonoka, over here! Hurry up and throw Nasty into the lake! It's your only chance for happiness. Do it! Do it now!
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