Being a fan of Japanese RPGs, I always find these adaptations rather interesting because of the setting and the characters. Shining Hearts is a Japanese RPG made by Sega that is part of the Shining Series that received a Japan only release. Since it’s an RPG adaption, I thought it had potential. Sadly, it kind of fell on its face for being an over glorified commercial promoting bread and happiness. Its kind of disappointing if you think about it since the actual game (which I’m ironically playing at the moment) is much more than just baking bread. I think there are several reasons why the show is a let down, although it’s not terrible by any means. (Image Source)
Believe it or not, I haven’t played the game before watching the Anime since I don’t know enough Japanese grammar back then to completely understand what they are saying. I just wanted to watch the Anime first. However, I did enjoy Tony Taka’s character designs since all the girls looked pretty (Xiao-Mei and Melty are my favorites). Also, the animation and how Production IG depicted Wyndaria looked eye-catching. Aside from these two strengths, the story and character development in this adaption felt rather weak.
The main problem with the story is that it’s too much about baking bread rather than what you expect in a RPG adaption. They simply put way too much emphasis on the supposedly drugged bread that gives happiness rather than action. I know there is some action with Rick whipping out the sword in some instances. Aside from that, he is very decisive with his decision on whether or not to continue baking bread or return to being a swordsman. This bothers me a lot since this is dragged out until the last episode where he becomes one in order to save Kaguya from those humanoid lizards. Even after he saved her, she never regained her memories, which is actually one of the main objectives in the game! Not only that, the conflict leading up to the finale felt rushed due to the length of the series.
Another apparent flaw with this adaptation is the shallow character development. We don’t learn much about the girls, except some important details. Because of this, I always thought that the old lady fed the washed up survivors with some kind of drugged bread to prevent them from ever regaining their memories. Also, what ever happened to Mistral, a female pirate that is featured characters on the game’s cover? Did she get lost while sailing to the island or something? We will never know…
While the Shining Hearts Anime looked gorgeous, it doesn’t live up to the game’s content. Instead of focusing on exploration, resolving problems on the island and most importantly, help Kaguya regain her former self, it became an over glorified bread baking anime with very few RPG elements. I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it, but they could have made the story more interesting. Aside from that, just skip the Anime and play the game instead, providing that you know enough Japanese.
Overall Rating: 7.0, C-, Average