gift ~eternal rainbow~ primer

Categories: anime, spoilers, wallpaper


One series that I know I didn’t give enough love to is Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~. Back in my original thin slicing, I ranked it lower than Crescent Love… well… I screwed up. Here’s a mulligan: Gift‘s the best harem anime series this season. And here’s a spoiler-filled primer to get everyone caught up.


I think to make a good harem series, it takes a few basic elements: first off, we need a simplistic plot. We don’t need a plot unnecessarily complicating the harem dynamics because the harem dynamics should be the focus, and some of the best harem series have relied on the tried and try two sentence formula; i.e. being able to describe the plot in two sentences. For example, “Girl is secretly God but doesn’t realize it. Hilarity and costume raping ensues.” Or “Failure of a man miraculously becomes a Ginko-class pimp after working as an apartment manager. Hilarity and hot springs-related fanserivce ensues.” Or how about “Witch with talking panties tries to seduce typical harem loser with three overprotective witch sisters. Hilarity and scary seduction technique fanservice ensues.” If we need to start a Phoenix Wright-type logbook or a wiki or a DVD full of “clues” to keep track of the plot, fuggetaboutit. Yes, I’m looking at you Sonozaki twins.


For Gift, I’d summarize it with “Boy has two childhood loves and ends up deciding between the two. Hilarity, jealous, and quasi-incest ensues.” There’s not a lot to the plot beyond the human interaction between the main character, Haruhiko (could be read as “child of Haruhi”… yes, I know it’s not), and the girls around him in a town blessed with a mysterious eternal rainbow: the gift. Incidentally, while the gift has a role in the plot, the plot isn’t driven by the gift. Instead, it’s more of a reoccurring symbol much like “the promised girl” in Love Hina or Nanami’s “count of promises” in Lamune. The gift is something one person can give to a loved one, but each person in the town can only use this gift once. If the love is perverse or one-sided, the gift will go astray and start turning people into zombies (or something to that effect). So the story is based on Haruhikio’s interaction with his harem with the gift overhanging everything like a wildcard. Of course, a very necessary ingredient is the harem, and Gift doesn’t fail to deliver.


First up would be Haruhiko’s little sister/childhood friend, Riko. While not a biological sister, Riko is still related to Haruhiko as her parents died while she was young, and Haruhiko’s family took her in. After his father lost his job, they had to send Riko away to live with some other relatives, and that was about seven years ago. Haruhiko and Riko got along very well as kids– think Kouta and Lucy, Shiratori and Kozue, and even Ayu and Kyon. And then, one day, out of the blue, Haruhiko finds Riko at his doorstep, ready to move back with him. Riko’s pretty much the ideal girl: class idol, pink hair, good cook, slight ツンデレ (she’s about 20% ツンツン; 80% デレデレ), will call you “onii-chan” even if you’re dating, deeply attracted to non-Mesousa rabbits, etc. Definitely superior to Nemu.


Of course, Riko’s return is bad news for Haruhiko’s childhood friend Kirino. She’s a splice of Kotori and Kaede with a touch of FSN‘s Sakura. While Kotori took care of Asakura while Nemu was away (BTW, Haruhiko and Asakura share the same seiyuu, which probably explains why I don’t like him very much), Kirino did the same thing with Haruhiko. Damn, where can I order a childhood friend who would wake me up, spin around in a miniskirt, and make me breakfast. Obviously, I have an underprivileged childhood. After Nemu’s return in DCSS, Kotori was kinda shoved unceremoniously to the side, and she kinda of just took it while Kaede fought back against Asa. Kirino is a mix of the two approaches– a doormat with a box cutter. Okay, a doormat with a gift to be precise.


Kirino has a friend, Chisa, who also doubles as a witch who grants people’s wishes in the form of “fake gifts.” Unlike the real gifts, the fake variety generally comes with a “becareful what you wish for” caveat. The worst kept secret in Gift has to be that Chisa is the witch. I find it hilarious that no one was able to tell them apart– she doesn’t even wear a mask.

(Oh, have I mentioned that I loved Chisa’s happiness rant? If she tossed in an “USO DA!” when Haruhiko confronted her, I would have melted.)


Chisa’s family is fairly well-off and employs a meido, Yukari, who doesn’t remember the past. She doesn’t care about her past either– she’s happy now, and that seems to be okay with her. Of course, I think all superior harem anime must feature a worthy meido, and Yukari fits the bill for Gift.

(Yukari needs more screentime.)


Rounding out the harem would be Rinka, the swordswoman (and she kicks high). Unlike other swordswomen in harem anime, Rinka is most definitely not a ツンデレ but instead gets lovey-dovey with Haruhiko quite quickly, much to the dismay of Riko, Kirino, and Rinka’s lesbian friend Nami. Yes, fanservice swordswoman has a lesbian friend. Unfortunately, she’s kinda annoying and doesn’t provide enough hawt girl on girl action to compensate.

(Rinka also desperately needs screentime. Haven’t seen her since episode five.)


There’s also the peloton consisting of Haruhiko’s “oneesama,” the student council president who has more than a glancing resemblance to Mikuru Asahina, and the uber-creepy pedophile teacher.


Lastly, an important ingredient in any harem anime is pacing. One episode should flow into the next without me falling asleep. For example, I don’t think Gift is any more or less complicated than Da Capo, yet it took 48 episodes for Da Capo to reach about Gift episode 8. Gift is fairly speedy for this type of harem series, and it gets right down to the point of advancing Haruhiko’s relationship with Riko. I mean, by episode three, he has already confessed to her (and got shot down, much to my giddiness). I think the episodes even fly by a bit too quickly as I’m disappointed that the series is winding down and almost over– a sign of any good harem anime (see: Magikano).


There’s a few things going against Gift that I think makes people (like myself) underestimate it. While the story is entertaining, it’s also fairly filled with harem cliches. Then again, I’m a veteran and jaded blogger, and I still found some joy in the proceedings, so to each their own. I definitely enjoyed watching Haruhiko deal with the fact that he was in love with his sister, got rejected by his sister, and then realize that he loves her because she resembles his dead mother. At that point, I was rooting for him to either elope with Rinka or kill himself. There’s no other dignified escape for a man. Until, of course, a fake gift causes him to rethink, “Well, so what if I’m in love with my little sister because she reminds me of my dead mother? She’s still hawt!” and off we go.

A second detriment is that Gift is airing in a season already chock-full of harem anime, and to make things worse, it’s going up against Kanon. Gift doesn’t have the same pedigree (if only Gift had an original, shittier version made four years ago) or the animation prowess of Kyoto Animation behind it. Yet, Gift is entertaining and is a fun ride. I’ll use something like Keiichi Morisato’s explaination at the end of the “Call Me Queen” arc to explain:

Kanon is like a Lotus Elise. High-end, no-nonsense, with both a name tag and a sticker price that commands respect driven by a pro (Kyoto Animation). It can be driven sloppily, and it’ll still go fast.

Gift is more like Inital D‘s 86. It doesn’t have the raw horsepower or handling abilities of the Elise, it needs to use all of it’s abilities to even stay in the race. However, each component, while nowhere as pricey as the Elise, is meticulously cared for and optimized. The driver, while not a pro, knows his vehicle and knows it well through all the tofu-delivering bonding. A special bond not even the best pros and their most expensive rides can forge.

Now the question is, is it better than Kanon? Gift‘s got pacing and fanservice while Kanon has the superior animation as well as Kyon. Kanon and all Kyoto works should be their own category– they’re like the New York Yankees of the anime world– spend to win baby! I think we need to impose some sort o Kyoto Animation Salary Cap to all future anime comparisons where we divide the awesomeness of said series with how much more it costs versus a standard anime series. To me, Gift‘s enjoyability is more impressive because it does more with less– and I’m a big fan of the underdogs (go elevens go!). Plus, I’ve seen Kanon before four years ago (three if you count Kanon Kazehana). Gift is fresh meat. If only if Riko lost her top during the beach episode and Kirino pulled out a butcher’s knife, then I’m sure people would finally start talking about Gift.


On that note, the animation behind Gift is uneven. All the “far away” shots of the characters look terrible, like their eyes are waaaaay too big for their heads while the “close in” shots of the characters (especially the girls) vary from “acceptable” to “delicious.” And the animation team (OLM) obviously knows who their audience is because a quick comparison reveals that the two big male characters, Haruhiko and Maki, do not receive the same complexity as the female characters, especially compared to Riko. I’m not shocked as this production team also worked on To Heart (good animation) and To Heart 2 (terrible, craptastic animation) as well as Utawarerumono (passable animation until the last third of the series when it mysteriously got better– probably due to ADV $$$).

Still, I don’t think animation quality nor pedigree is everything. I think it’s definitely the ride. Gift has much better pacing than any harem series currently on, and it passes the watch test time and time again (i.e. I’m always disappointed when the end credits roll). To top it off, there’s palatable tension and jealousy between Haruhiko, Kirino, and Riko… not to the over-the-top hill that Shuffle went nor the doormat method that Kanon and Da Capo undertake. I think jealousy would be normal in any harem setting, and Gift tries to take on this issue.


Nonetheless, I’m finding Gift to be quite a present this season. With some many subpar traditional harem series, it’s definitely good to see one rise above the rest.

21 Responses to “gift ~eternal rainbow~ primer”

  1. I think it’s definitely harem fatigue. Personally, I’d probably watch Gift if there weren’t one billion harem shows out there this season. Especially considering that I’m not really watching that many shows at the moment.

    And Kanon as the NYY? If Kanon is this season’s NYY, Gift is, like, Oakland? It’s that good?

  2. Uh, the thrice cursed Yankees.

    I hestitate to pick this up despite your stamp of approval this time around. I am no fan of indecision and as of late I find myself getting on fairly well with my own little schedule. While much of what you have said sounds interesting I am not sold on it since I doubt that this is not being blogged on a semi-regular basis here. If it does fail I doubt that you would go out of you way to mock since your energies are tied up with Kanon. Sis-con san has essentialy declared it quits while you have just discovered this, in addition I wonder if this years craptiastic gamut of harem series makes even the medicore seem more stellar than it should. Perhaps if I find the time I will give it try but right now I prefer to focus on school work and finishing up other personal projects.

  3. While I agree this is quite a setup for harem show, the character design is just way too unstable to back Gift up … plus if one has played the game before then such quality & storyline won’t live up to their expectation(usually impossible anyway)

    Basically Game -> Anime is the hard path, few production teams make it right.

  4. i thought Code Geass was the best Harem anime of the season.

    btw there was a brief frontal nudity shot in the hot spring of the student president. No nipples through.

  5. People underestimate this show and even talk about Crescent love more often then this. Eternal Gift is something I’ve been keeping up with and am happy that the animation hasn’t totally gone down hill….

    Maybe Riku should start ordering some Dominoes….

  6. Yay for car analogies. That NBA crock was unbearable, to tell you the truth.

    Baseball and NYY I can at least forgive if not undersand, after all it’s the game.

    Having said that, I’m going to skip this now. Seems too saucey. Filing under “Name: Gift, Status: R/D, Referensor: AoMM, Reason: incest, Capsule: n/a”. Actually, I do have a little database, it’s getting ridiculous how many shows they make these days. I can’t keep up!

  7. Both of the links go to the bottom picture of the blue hair girl. Is it supposed to be like that?

  8. Yeah, there are a GANG of harem shows this season. What’s up with that?

  9. I was really turned off by the first episode There wasn’t any harem dynamic to speak of and the way Haruhiko tracked down the sender of the rogue gift and his ridiculous speech gave me the impression that it would be like Law and Order: Loli Demon Revenge Unit, except with a rouge gift each episode that manages to interrupt the school activity of the day. Then episode 3 came around. Holy crap, a confession of love so soon! It must be a world record! A sign that this series is actually going somewhere. Aside from having to overlook the lack of the chaos that would result if everyone in the town had one magical wish there’s not much to dislike.

    Also, one point about your car analogy. The Lotus is an awesome car but with a base price of about 43K it hardly breaks the bank. It’s a bit expensive for a just a 2 seater and definitely isn’t a family car but the price tag isn’t sky high like a McLaren F1 or a Ferrari Enzo. Can’t comment on the 86 though. I’ve never seen Initial D and unfortunately my knowledge of cars is limited to real cars.

  10. >> And Kanon as the NYY? If Kanon is this season’s NYY, Gift is, like, Oakland? It’s that good?

    Didn’t Oakland get swept by the Tigers? Yeah– Oakland would be fair. The Tigers would be Otome wa Boku with Code Geass being the Cards. A National League team winning the WS is about the same shock value as a Suzaku x Lulu pairing.

    >> I am not sold on it since I doubt that this is not being blogged on a semi-regular basis here

    Probably not. I need to enjoy anime from time-to-time too. When I blog about a series, I generally analyze more than I would if I didn’t… sometimes, it takes the flow out an anime for me than if I marathoned it.

    >> Yay for car analogies. That NBA crock was unbearable, to tell you the truth.

    What’s with all the backhanded compliments lately, Pete? Did you get dumped or something?

    >> i thought Code Geass was the best Harem anime of the season.

    I downgraded Code Geass once I realized that we’re headed for the Suzaku ending rather than the C.C., Karen, or Shirley endings. No amount of stuffed crust pizza can save it now.

  11. Ok, I’ll watch it. Just NOT for the fanservice, those characters look fugly in swimsuits… keep the clothes, as much possible (I can’t believe I said that about a harem anime).

    I’d rather have my Kanon girls, on swimsuit (post-Clannad style, preferred). But I have not even seen an official swimsuit poster for AIR girls, and they are the ones on summer season :S

  12. >> I downgraded Code Geass once I realized that we’re headed for the Suzaku ending rather than the C.C., Karen, or Shirley endings. No amount of stuffed crust pizza can save it now.

    We also now get a filler episode while Sunrise revises the script.

    I’ve been keeping up with Crescent Love and the artists for that series need to be shot. So does the person who came up with the idea for episode 3.

  13. The irony is that Key might’ve hit the home run they sought if they had animated Clannad instead of Kanon. It certainly would’ve generated its share of buzz.

    Instead, we have a rehash of an anime with a mediocre storyline… opening the door for Gift to score a stunning upset! If Gift scores with D.C. ~ like drama in the last 4 episodes, I think it might pull it off. But if it doesn’t… this could prove to be a slow season for H-game/dating sim conversions.

  14. Oops, I mean Kyoto Animation, not Key.

  15. >> The irony is that Key might’ve hit the home run they sought if they had animated Clannad instead of Kanon.

    Won’t we get a Clannad movie next? By Toei, of course, but at least it’s something. And it’s bound to get its Kyoanification anyways… or should I say Kyonification? Or Sekification, perhaps? (since he is the one left ^^).

    Oh well, no point arguing about Kanon’s mediocre plot. Keep the hating, I’ll keep my Zombie Cousin in Snow :P

  16. the best harem series of the season is kujibiki unbalance ; ;
    it’s such an underrated serie

  17. I love Gift’s pace but lament its execution. Chisa’s arc illustrates this with a poor build-up and hasty resolution. I cringed so much when Haruhiko was spouting such generic nonsense about happiness.

    And yes, we need more Rinka. :)

  18. Thanks for redirecting my attention to this show, which I gave up after one ep. Now that I’ve watched up to ep8, I can say it has strong romantic feelings and great voice-acting, which is all I need.

    From Ragz comment, maybe I have to watch another ep of Kujibiki, which left me cold with the kiddie-level first ep. I have followed some recommendations to reconsider Tokimeki, which still seems boring to me, despite a good moe character. Happiness seems aimless, with repetitive “comedy” and moments of interest.

    But I still love Yoakena. The animation and ep3 were losers, but the two main characters are worth it all. Very strong and affecting, in my opinion. Nabatame’s voice is just wonderful.

  19. Gift ~ Eternal Rainbow just put up a crooked number in Episode 9; Kanon is now playing from behind. They’ll really have to be spot-on with the Ayu arc to have a chance. We could see an upset!

  20. I ‘ve been watching a lot of animes. including the saddest anime “AIR”. after I watch Gift, i somehow feel exremely happy!! I totally love gift, it’s a really really great anime, so many animes have been trying to be sad but this one is perfect, beautiful and romantic, it gives people a piece of refreshment. anyone here know if there’s a movie or OVA to this, I would love to know , thanks

  21. I’ve just watched: Kanon, Gift~Eternal Rainbow~, AirTV and Crecent Love just recently [Two months almost…] And of all, I thought Gift~Eternal Rainbow~ to be th best out of all. And to me, I’ve watched more than about 30+ harem series? Gift, at the very LEAST ranks above my top 10. Even quite possibly my top 5, a solid story line with just enough storyline twists to cook up a reasonably, and not so confusing as AirTV was storyline. With almost no fanservice in this anime (More in the OVA), it makes up with storyline. Personally, I’d love for a season 2, but sadly. The proudcers can’t really go anywhere else with the anime since the Eternal Rainbow was “gifted” away.

    Currently, I’m watching Gift~Eternal Rainbow~ for the 2nd time in this week. lol

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