This Is Greenwood

If you're aiming at the side of an elephant with a shotgun, likelihood is that you'll hit it when you pull the trigger. However, it's another thing to try and hit a small moving target...and even if you do, the shot won't likely do much damage. This is, essentially, the problem with This Is Greenwood. It's an amusing show that simply tries a hit-and-miss, scattershot approach that results in a mediocre feel overall, even though it's really good in its best moments. It's frustrating not because it isn't enjoyable, but because you can sense the lost potential.

Hasukawa has a problem...his first love just married his older brother! Since his brother happened to raise him, he's decided to live at the high school dorm so that he can escape that sticky situation at home. However, what he doesn't realize is that dorm life can be wacky in ways he never ever expected. He's got a roommate who looks and sounds like a woman yet is most certainly male, a next-door neighbor that constantly gives him a hard time, and guys down the hall that run a full-blown arcade out of their room! And if that's not enough, Hasukawa's not so sure that his brother's wife doesn't return his affections...and so, over the course of six episodes, we follow the lives, laughs, and loves of the residents of Greenwood dorm.

If you've seen Orange Road, you've seen the artistic style in Greenwood. It's very similar in many ways, and even though it's an OVA series, Greenwood looks very much like a TV series. It's not a popular look now, but it has its charms. However, it can't make up for the fact that Greenwood simply doesn't have enough time to become a good show. This Is Greenwood was a long-running manga series, and in compressing it into three hours, a huge amount of material has been lost. Now some shows, like Video Girl Ai, found ways to overcome the manga hurdle within six episodes. However, Greenwood breaks a couple of cardinal rules.

First and foremost, fully half the episodes either bring up side stories from the manga or tell self-contained anecdotes that don't draw us closer to the characters involved. (At one point, a character tells the audience in essence that if they don't understand what's going on, they should check the manga!) Although episodes two, three, and four are enjoyable in their own right, they get us nowhere. What makes it worse is that these episodes immediately follow a promising opening. It's not until episode five starts up that we get back to the central themes we thought we'd be watching all along. By this time, I had started to lose major interest in Greenwood, and although the show ends on a high note, I didn't care nearly as much as I should have about it.

That being said, Greenwood is not a bad is amusingly funny throughout, and it's easy to see that the characters involved have strong back stories. The last two episodes are also really very good, which saves the series. We're still left disappointed, though, because there should just be more there. I normally really like this kind of show, which may be why I thought that it should have been better than it expectations might just have been out of line.

Ultimately, Greenwood is a decent show, but you've seen all of this before. If the show played fairly and expanded the central romantic theme, it could stand out...but it doesn't play fair. It pulls too many punches and wastes our time too often to really make it seriously recommendable. I so wish that there was more to Greenwood because it has so much potential, and I could even see reading the manga, but the anime is like watching Cliff's Notes. You get the core concepts, but you lose a lot of the style and substance.

This Is Greenwood -- mild innuendo and language -- B-