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.