Here is Greenwood

Here is Greenwood is a delightful series about Hasukawa Kazuya and his adventures at school. Hasukawa Kazuya is in the 10th grade and has come to a boy's dorm to live there while attending school. It seems that his brother married the first girl Kazuya ever fell in love with and he just can't be around the house anymore.He was so upset, in fact, that an ulcer delayed his entry into the dorm.

He meets Tezuka Shinobu and Ikeda Mitsuru soon after arrival. Shinobu is the student council president, and Mitsuru lives in the same room. Together both end up tormenting Kazuya, but at the same time helping him to do well in school. Kazuya's roommate is Kisaragi Shun. One minor problem: it appears that Shun is a girl. In fact, Mitsuru and Shinobu tell Kazauya that he has to keep the secret that a girl is living in a boy's dorm.

As Kazuya enters the hall he is confronted by scads of students representing the school's clubs. They're not allowed to talk so they all carry signs. If you slo-mo through that portion you see the Anime Club (with a student carrying a sign with a picture of Ranma-chan on it), a Drama Club which is going to present "Here is Cherrywood"; the Judo Club and the Baseball Team, the school band, the Tea Ceremony Club, the Sci-Fi Club, the Escort Club for Lonely Men, and the Hockey Team: Part 6 Jason was Alive. Oh, there's also one religious cultist.

Various adventures occur, and Kazuya decides to stay in the hall for the summer break rather than return home. Later his sister-in-law comes to visit him but that turns into another disaster. Seems Kazuya's luck can be classified as bad, worse-than-bad, and forget-it-there's-no-hope type of luck.

The second episode is "Nagisa Hyper-Rhapsody" Shinobu's sister appears on the scene. Seems she was always trying to get Shinobu in trouble but ended up getting in trouble herself. Now she has a bunch of thugs working for her and a variety of weapons at her disposal. She kidnaps Reina, who is Shun's brother who happens to look just like a girl. Nagisa, Shun's sister, decides she wants to start having fun with little girls and gets Reina to come up to her apartment. When she realizes just who Reina is she sees a way to get at Shinobu. This leads to one funny adventure after another with the gangsters going against a pretty sharp Reina and others from the dorm.

The third episode is "Here is Devilwood." The story concerns a movie the dorm is putting together. It's a D&D type of story which the dorm is going all out to do well. Most of the episode is about them shooting the movie and it's quite interesting. It's kind of everyone pulling together to do a good job sort of arrangement and the results show it.

The fourth episode is "The Phantom of Greenwood." This story concerns a ghost girl, Misako, who has come to Greenwood and is haunting Mitsuru. It seems she always wanted a handsome boyfriend, but before she could get one she was hit by a truck and killed. Now she has returned and set her sights upon Mitsuru.

The problem is that Mitsuru doesn't want to be bothered. Oh, yes, there's one other minor problem. When Misako becomes upset she causes poltergeist-like activities that tend to lead to a lot of destruction in the general vicinity.

The dorm mother is unfazed by Misako being a ghost and tries to talk her into moving on to the "other side." Misako finally agrees to leave if Mitsuru will kiss her, but because she is a ghost and can't be touched she will need to inhabit the body of someone else. All the available someone else's, though, are male.

Finally, however, using a totally different approach Misako gets her kiss and leaves. And promptly returns with three more ghost girls!

This is one of those "innocent" animes. Don't count on large numbers of people being killed, or vast areas of the surrounding countryside being blown up. This is an anime about personalities and things the people have to deal with in their everyday lives. It's a thoroughly enjoyable anime and one you shouldn't miss!

The fifth episode (on the third tape) starts with Kazuya being really depressed. Soon, though, a strange girl tries to get into the dorm and Kazuya, now dorm president, lets her sneak in. Seems Igarashi Miya is the leader of a gang and another gang is looking for her. She has a really tough act but in fact she's not tough at all.

So now she's going to have to go up against the entire gang on her own. Or so she thinks. What happens after that is quite moving. The sixth episode is really the second part of this story. Kazuya is definitely in love with Miya, but Miya has a boy that she has been associated with for years. Kazuya makes attempt after attempt to get to talk to Miya and tell her his feelings but Tenma, her boyfriend, blocks some of his efforts and Kazuya's bad luck blocks the others.

The question becomes will Kazuya's love be able to replace Tenma's "being-there" presence for Miya?

I really enjoyed the entire series. The characters are all well done, the stories highly romantic and also funny, and there are parts of some of the episodes that are very moving and emotionally upsetting (in a "have a box of kleenex" way).Definitely a series you should look into. From what I have heard, though, the laser disc version is not well done so stay with the tapes. There are 11 tankobons in the series so it's obvious that a lot was never put onto tape.

The dvd has all six episodes which again leaves lots of material out. It's a shame that a more expanded version of this series wasn't done.

This review is based on the first three English volumes of the manga, the three vhs tapes and the dvd.

This is one of the music CDs available from the series. This particular one is Here is Greenwood: Vocal Collection, volume 2 JNA-1513-2.It's a really good CD and has two absolutely hilarious tracks. Track 3 has the singers doing the song in a hawaiian-type song format, and track 13 has a calypso-type beat! Definitely worth getting.

Some photos of Kisaragi Shun

The tankobon covers to the Here is Greenwood series