Anime Taste Testing: Yesterday wo Utatte

I vaguely remembered that there was one Doga Kobo anime on my to-watch list this season, but having now watched it, I’d never have guessed it was this one.

Yesterday wo Utatte/Sing “Yesterday” for Me definitely won’t be for everyone. It’s the kind of show where all the action is internal, and much of the charm lies in its quietly contemplative realism. Shot by shot, the premiere took me on a journey back to Japan – the part of it that seemingly lies forever unchanging no matter what happens in the world around it, from the local convenience stores to the neighbourhood family restaurants, the orderly narrow side-streets and the politely uniform apartment buildings.

Yesterday is a meandering slice-of-life piece that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere in a hurry – if indeed it ends up going anywhere at all. It’s characters, trying to navigate life as best they can, and in most cases failing to live up to the standards of mainstream society in one way or another, are just as introspective as the setting, eschewing drama and instead gazing at their environment with a kind of clear-eyed cynicism – if they’re lying to the world about what choices they make and why, at least they’re never lying to themselves.

If that all sounds a bit vague or even entirely pointless, Yesterday probably won’t float your boat; there’s little in the way of plot to speak of. Instead, it’s really all about the characters and how they view their various situations, no matter how uninteresting they might seem to the outsider. It’s not an exaggerated, more colourful or particularly optimistic version of real life – it’s just life itself, without any embellishments to make it seem more interesting for the sake of the viewer.

Personally, I’m okay with that, at least for now. Of course, whether this sort of thing can keep my attention for 11 more episodes remains to be seen.

Rating: 6.5/10

12 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Yesterday wo Utatte

  1. I tend to like slice-of-life shows that don’t have a real point to them and focuses on characters doing mundane things. I’m not sure while, but most of them are so calming to me. It’s a great break from the heavier content I usually watch. This is one of the five titles on my hit-list for the season, and your thoughts just make it sound even more appealing to me lol.

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    • I hope you enjoy this one, then! I couldn’t really think of any direct comparisons, but purely in terms of atmosphere, it felt a bit like Fune wo Amu, if you happen to have seen that (and if not, it’s possibly also something you’d really enjoy, based on your comment). 🙂

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    • Yeah, I’m not sure how old Haru is – depends on how long ago she dropped out, I guess. I don’t know if they’re going to be romantically involved at all yet though. Anime conventions dictate yes, but then, this didn’t strike me as a very conventional anime.

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        • True. Although, had she been teaching in a different area beforehand, or working a completely different job? It wasn’t clear to me whether she had switched jobs or just locations.

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  2. Does the show actually have the Beatles song? It wasn’t a big plot point in the manga, but it’s right there in the title so it would be nice to actually hear it. I think I started reading the manga like ten years ago, so I’m kind of surprised it got an anime this far into its run. Like you said, the story is rather pleasantly uncomplicated, but I quit reading because there’s only so much random stuff happening in an everyday life I can follow along to before I want something more stimulating.

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    • Not so far, and I highly doubt it will – I’m guessing from what I’ve seen so far that they don’t have a large budget, and I imagine getting the rights to the song even for a single episode would be extremely costly.

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  3. Pingback: Anime and Manga Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week (April 10, 2020) | Lesley's Anime and Manga Corner

  4. Premier of the season, for me. I adore the art style and the focus on body language. They all feel like real people that way.

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    • I wouldn’t say it’s my premiere of the season, but I do think the execution is very good – certainly very ‘real’ in atmosphere and all-round presentation.

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