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"Candy carries the taste of happiness. If you suck on it, a flower will bloom in your mouth."
H2O Footprints In The Sand is an anime and Visual Novel centered around Hirose Takuma, a middle-school student who moves out to the country in order to recover from an illness. Said illness as caused him to go blind, even though the doctors cannot seem to find anything wrong with him from a physical standpoint.
Upon arriving at the country village, Takuma encounters the mysterious, yet energetic Otoha, the self-proclaimed "Spirit of the Sounds of Time." Otoha offers Takuma, whom she refers to as "The Promised One," his sight back, if only for a short while. Takuma also encounters the enigamatic loner Kohinata Hayami, whom the rest of the village treats with an obvious grudge, for reasons Takuma can't seem to figure out. Not even Kagura Hinata, the granddaughter of the village elder, seems willing to fill him in. As Takuma refuses to stop acting friendly towards Hayami, he sets into action a chain of events that may change the entire village.
A Visual Novel adapatation in the vein of Clannad and other Kyo Ani/Key works, though the best comparison themetically and plot-wise would probably be Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two.. The show itself starts off slow, and rather cliched. However, towards the middle, it improves quite a bit, as the backstory of the characters and the revelations about the village's past supplant the Harem Anime and Visual Novel cliches that littered the beginning. The ending is quite the Tear Jerker, in any case.
The Visual Novel was produced by Makura, with the animated adapatation put together by studio Zexcs in 2008. The anime has has been licensed by Kadokawa USA for an English release. The title comes from the names of the main heroines (Hayami, Hinata, Otoha) and the well known Footprints poem, which is used as the main theme.
This series provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: Takuma's blindess seems to facilitate this early on in the series.
- Alpha Bitch: Played with. Yui acts like this, but the rest of the students just sort of laugh at her when she does so.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Hinata to Takuma in episode 10. It doesn't work, and actually sends Takuma further into a Heroic BSOD.
- Babies Ever After: And Hamaji is the father.
- Balloon Belly: Hayami in Episode 6
- Beach Episode: Episode 4, doubles as a Hot Springs Episode
- Big Fancy House: Hinata, being the daughter of the village elder and all.
- Bokukko: Otoha
- Brain Bleach: You might need it for the opener to episode 8.
- Butt Monkey: Yui tends to be on the recieving end of more than her fair share of things.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Hinata in the final episode, the closest thing to a Crowning Moment of Awesome in the entire series.
Hinata (really Hotaru), after her grandfather attempted to kill Hayami: I've called the police.
Grandfather: What did you say?
Hinata: I plan on revealing everything, the fact that the hunting rifle was missing from the house, and that you're here.
Grandfather: Why you little...!
Hinata: This village doesn't belong to you!
- The Cameo: Misakura Rin from Makura's another game Sakura no Uta makes a small but rather an important appearance in Otoha's route in the game.
- Complete Monster: Hinata's grandfater. He's really just an old man who wants to control the village he presides over as the elder, and seems to care solely for the preservation of the Kagura family. To the point of forcing his granddaughter to falsify her identity, and attempting to murder a middle-school-age girl. Sure, the girl's parents were Bad Samaritans, but that alone doesn't justify the brutality given to Hayami.
- Contrived Coincidence: So, Hayami is discussing about how she thinks that Takuma's mother didn't commit suicide because she thinks that his mother must have loved him, enough to not to think to leaving him all alone. Then suddenly a little boy who never been seen before crosses the railroad while the train is moving in the exact same way as Takuma did when the unfortunate accident happened, therefore invoking Takuma's buried memory? That his mother was in fact died because saving his life from the train? Yeah...i guess i can buy that.
- Extreme Doormat: Hinata acts this way initially towards her grandfather.
- Dead All Along: Otoha, in other words the real Hinata Kagura.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Hayami, in a very classic example.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: This what kills Hayami.
- Dojikko: Hinata, though like the other Moe tropes, it is toned down as the series continues.
- Dragged By The Hair: Hinata's grandfather goes caveman on her in episode 7.
- Dropped a Bridget On Him / Wholesome Crossdresser: Hamaji, bonus points for doing The Reveal as part of the Hot Springs Episode.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Hayami
- Fantastic Racism: The anime version took this off.
- Fridge Logic: If you play the game, you'll realize that most part of the story really doesn't make any sense because Takumi never regained his sight( At first), but some part of the game continue as if he really can see, like how he know where Hayami is and how he can know the exact position of his house.
- Well, that he could do from memory and hearing. But for the Dropped a Bridget On Him, how did he know?
- Genius Ditz: Otoha.
- Hime Cut: Hayami, when not sporting Twintails.
- Hypocrite: After spending 8 episodes defending Hayami, because he thinks it isn't fair for them to blames her for her family sins, Takuma ends up beating up Hayami very brutally after he learns that her family is the one that drives his mother into killing herself (they're wrong, he didn't even consider questioning it). Yeah, What the hell Takuma?!
- Japanese Honorifics: Takuma is addressed as "Hirose-sama" by Hinata, much to his initial confusion. Yui also refers to herself as "Yui-sama."
- Kawaiiko: Otoha, but, don't ever tell her that
- Lampshade Hanging: Game version only.
Otoha/ Hinata: I don't need training because ever since i was born i was set to be able to do everything.
- Literary Allusion Title: The Footprints poem, as mentioned before.
- Loners Are Freaks: Hayami, at least in the beginning.
- The Messiah: Takuma, specifically "The Promised One"
- Mood Dissonance: Some people have a hard time taking the humorous elements of the show in stride with the abuse of Hayami, especially when it involves Yui, since one of the first things her character is seen doing is stomping on Hayami's head, and dumping toilet water on her.
- New Transfer Student: Takuma
- Official Couple: Takuma and Hayami. It didn't even last one episode.
- Replacement Goldfish: Kagura Hinata is actually Kagura Hotaru. The real Hinata (Otoha) drowned when both sisters were younger, but the family wanted to cover it up, so they told everyone Hotaru had died instead. This is one of the reasons Hinata (the one who is really Hotaru) is a Third Person Person up until The Reveal.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Hinata.
- Something Completely Different: Episode 8 opens with Hayami and Hinata referring to Takuma as an older brother, Takuma's uncle has had a gender change, and Otoha, aside from being visible to everyone now, is apparently a Magical Girl. Turns out that it's All Just a Dream, created for Takuma by Otoha as a way of showing him a good time, to say thanks for helping fix the village's problems.
- This maybe a reference to her route in the Visual Novel which titled Mahou Shoujo Magical Hinata.
- Tear Jerker: When Hayami dies in the exact same manner as Takuma's mother (not a suicide, which was what we had been led to believe) by running in front of a train to try and protect a little boy who had chased a ball onto the tracks. Quickly transitions into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the epilogue, as Hayami comes Back From the Dead.
- The Thing That Goes Doink: Part of Hinata's Big Fancy House.
- Tsundere: Yui.
- Twelve-Episode Anime
- Unwilling Suspension: Hayami ties Takuma up in a tree, after catching him peeping. Her walking towards him with a knife (to cut him down afterwards) was interpreted rather differently by Takuma. Her mentioning that that knife was used for cutting up naughty boys probably didn't help.
- The Unfavorite: Hotaru, to the point that seemingly everyone from her family hopes that she dies in place of Hinata.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Hayami's birthday is 25 December.
- Woman in White: Otoha, after Time Skip in her route.
- The Woobie: Hayami, her first scene shows her being beaten up on a dirt road.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Both the reason for Takuma's blindness (it is actually trauma induced, after seeing what he thought was his mother commit suicide), and the explanation for why he could see through the series itself. Apparently, according to the outside world, he was blind the entire time. Don't worry if this makes no sense.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Hinata, the clumsy family oriented daughter of the elder. At first she was an Extreme Doormat but develops the inner iron important for this trope. and later Hayami after she defrosts.
- Your Size May Vary: Hayami's breasts' size seem to constantly change depending on the situation, although she officially is flat chested.