Sing “Yesterday” for Me

Sing “Yesterday” for Me

Sing "Yesterday" for Me anime series logo
Sing “Yesterday” for Me

Series Overview

Sing “Yesterday” for Me (Yesterday wo Utatte / イエスタデイをうたって) is a slice of life, romantic drama. It’s also my favorite anime of the 2020 spring season, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given the genres it fits into. However, this wasn’t an anime I was watching at the beginning of the season.

I think I picked up the series when it was on episode 8 and quickly binged it to get caught up. It’s definitely an anime that’s better to binge than to watch week-to-week based on my experience. Since the relationships between the characters are always changing, it was sometimes hard to remember where they had left off once I had to wait a week for the next episode.

The series focuses on the everyday lives, and love lives, of four characters, two males and two females. And since this is a romantic drama, of course, there’s a complex web of who-loves-who. This can get a bit overdramatic in some series, but I found the inter-character relationships in this one to be fairly grounded.

I’ll discuss the relationship web in more detail when I go over the main characters, but the main idea is that everyone is in love with someone else. Nobody’s love is reciprocated in the way they want, and their all battling it out amongst themselves.

There’s also a coming of age aspect to Sing “Yesterday” for Me, though it’s not what you would typically expect. Rather than an adolescent character coming of age, the adult characters are having to figure out their place in the world and what they’re looking for in relationships.

As someone who hasn’t been a teenager for quite a while, I found this to be a lot more relatable.

Main Characters

Rikuo Uozumi is the protagonist of the series. He’s a college graduate who never looked for a full-time job after graduation and instead works part-time at a convenience store. He doesn’t really have any ambition, but he sort of likes photography and he has a crush on his college friend, Shinako.

Haru Nonaka is a high school drop-out who works part-time at a milk bar/cafe that functions as a real bar after dark (though she only works for the milk bar part). She’s 18 years old, has a pet crow named Kansuke, and fell in love with Rikuo at first sight when they passed on the street one day.

Haru and Kansuke from the anime series Sing "Yesterday" for Me
Haru and Kansuke

Shinako Morinome is one of Rikuo’s friends from college. She’s currently working as a high school teacher and previously had Haru as one of her students before she dropped out. Shinako is the one who really makes the relationship web complicated because she’s at the center of it.

Rikuo is in love with Shinako, which is why he ignores Haru’s feelings. And the character I’ll go over next, Rou, is also in love with Shinako. However, Shinako mainly views Rikou as a friend and Rou as a younger brother. The person Shinako loves is Rou’s older brother who died when the two of them were in high school.

Rou Hayakawa is the younger brother of Yuu Hayakawa, the boy Shinako “dated” in high school. During the series, Rou gets into the high school Shinako teaches at so he can be closer to her. While he has a crush on Shinako, he also views her as an older-sister-type and wants to be acknowledged by her as different from his brother.

Haru vs. Shinako

Throughout the series, there’s a constant battle between Haru and Shinako over Rikuo. Really, it’s just Haru fighting for Rikuo to acknowledge her over Shinako; Shinako isn’t exactly fighting back. But either way, one of my favorite things about this series is that they’re both great options for Rikuo, and every episode changed my opinion on who’s better.

Haru has some obvious benefits, such as the fact that she’s younger than Shinako (younger girls are cuter), she’s more energetic (and therefore also cuter) than Shinako, and she’s very upfront with the fact that she likes Rikuo. It’s hard to say that there’s much wrong with a cute girl who likes you.

But Shinako has obvious benefits of her own, not least of which is that Rikuo has already had a crush on her for some time. Shinako and Rikuo already know each other extensively, she’s the same age as Rikuo, she has a steady job as a teacher, and she’s generally a safe bet if settling down for the long-run is Rikuo’s plan.

Haru and Shinako eating dango from the anime series Sing "Yesterday" for Me
Haru and Shinako eating dango

Of course, both girls have their downsides as well. Haru’s main downsides are her age, unpredictability, and lack of a full-time job or future prospects. Sure, her age makes her cuter, but it also means she’s still developing into the person she’s eventually going to be.

Shinako’s main downside is simply the fact that she’s still in love with a dead guy over five years later and is unable to move on. But I think she can get past that, she’s an ideal candidate. She’s also a bit indecisive, but whatever.

Secret Option #3 and Spoiling the End

This section includes massive spoilers for Sing “Yesterday” for Me.

I do also want to point out that there’s a secret third option, or at least their was. Rikuo’s ex-girlfriend from high school, Chika Yuzuhara is a pretty good pick. I’m someone who definitely leans towards stability in a relationship, so I like Shinako over Haru. But I really liked the way Chika just showed up and decided she was going to live with Rikuo.

Okay, she did that because she had nowhere else to live at the time, which is a problem. But once she’s actually living there, I would have been content with her staying forever if I were him.

In the final episode of the series, we get to see who everyone ended up with, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Rikuo ends up with Haru while Shinako ends up with Rou. I know that Haru was set up as the female lead and the one to be with Rikuo from the start, but I felt like the series progressed away from that conclusion.

As the series moves forward, Rikuo and Haru drift apart. And at the same time, Rikuo begins to make real progress with Shinako, with the two of them even officially dating. Yes, Rikuo and Shinako are taking things slow, but that’s not a problem.

What I do think is a problem is that once Rikuo and Shinako separate, they each go to the relationship they were trying to avoid for the entire first 11 episodes of the series. Rikuo heads to Haru as his rebound relationship and Shinako ends up dating Rou, who I’ll remind you is not only one of her former students, but also the younger brother of her deceased ex-boyfriend.

I’m sure some people will think I didn’t like the end because Shinako lost out to Haru, but that’s really not the reason. As I stated, the problem with the ending is that the entire series leading up to that point was going in the opposite direction. Rikuo and Shinako were learning to have a healthy relationship together, and then they threw it away.

Extra ONA Episodes

I do want to take a moment before concluding this review to mention the “extra” ONA episodes. These are episodes that aired online, and they’re only between one to two minutes each. There are six ONA episodes total, and each one comes after a different episode of the main series.

The ONA episodes follow episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, and 12 respectively. I didn’t watch them until after watching all 12 main episodes because they didn’t release until the series was over. But if you haven’t watched the main series yet, I recommend watching these ONA episodes following the main episodes they’re associated with.

These ONA episodes give some extra background into the relationships between the characters. And while you might not expect that to matter that much, content from these ONA episodes is actually referenced in the main episodes themselves.

There were a few times I felt like I must have missed something when watching the main series. And I only found out after that fact that I did miss something because the conversation that was being referred to happened in one of these ONA episodes.

Conclusion

Sing “Yesterday” for Me would have been a 9/10 for me if the final episode didn’t play out the way it did. But because of that, it’s an 8/10. I don’t think the ending ruined the anime by any means, but a different ending would have made more sense to me.

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