My Dear Marie

I'm not a huge fan of romantic comedies as they have a tendency to be overly saccharine at times (melodrama is not my thing). So I was a little skeptical renting My Dear Marie, but wound up enjoying the charming little slice of life it presented. My Dear Marie is basically a sweet tale of young love that does quite well in not becoming too melodramatic or sappy. The first two episodes revolve around Hiroshi Karigari, a hapless geek in love with a girl named Marie. Terminal shyness prohibits him from actually asking this girl out, so he does the next best thing: builds a replica android of her. Much to his surprise, his android (also named Marie) turns out to have much more free will and human behavior than he anticipated. In the second episode, Hiroshi meets a tough female street punk named Hibiki Kennou who inexplicably falls in love with him on first sight. This drives Marie (the android) to attempt to keep Hibiki from Hiroshi because he's supposed to be in love with the, uh, real Marie. These two episodes are fairly down-to-earth, dealing with human emotions, relationships, attempts at relationships, and of course, the cute little android, Marie. Despite the fact that it is based around a somewhat silly concept, it doesn't really come across that way, but at the same time, delivers a perfect number of laughs at just the right moments. The third episode is quite a bit different than the first two, as it involves Hiroshi upgrading Marie's system to allow her to experience dreams. It was quite a bit more surreal than the previous episodes, made even more so by the fact that Marie wasn't quite sure if she was awake or dreaming at times. Some of Marie's dreams were a little on the bizarre side, and I'm still scratching my head over the ending (let's just say that Marie's actions were totally unexpected). The artwork and animation were a bit on the plain side, but fairly vibrant at the same time. The character designs were a little different than most anime, with the female characters tending to look slightly anorexic. There were also some cute episode previews featuring a super-deformed Marie, which I thought was a nice touch. My Dear Marie wraps up drama, comedy, romance and even a little action into a nice, well-rounded package that will probably be enjoyed by most anime fans. The Verdict: * * * 1/2 (above average)

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