I watched both the Haikara-san ga Tooru movies, also known as Here Comes Miss Modern. Here are my thoughts:
This anime is about a tomboy who is pressured into an arranged marriage with a half-jap soldier in the Japan army. The story takes place during the first couple decades of the 20th century and has a socio-historic flavour that some viewers may find appealing. It involves a lot of social issues in Taisho-era Japan, mainly involving female gender roles. It is somewhat interesting from a sociological perspective, although the plot velocity and runtime constraints limit the depth to which these themes could be explored. Even so, someone interested in historical Japanese society might appreciate this anime. These movies also incorporate the political nature of marriage in the writing – I found this to be refreshing, as the typically overly romanticized nature of marriage in fiction often doesn't reflect reality. I appreciated this lifelike treatment of marriage, and it meshed well with the other social themes. That said, romance is still a dominant motif in this anime, as is the relationship drama that comes along with it.
This feels like a shoujo-demographic anime, albeit not exclusively so. As you might assume from the title, the story focuses very much on the female MC. The primary male love interest lacks character depth – he's really underdeveloped. In fact the entire cast is tropey in characterization, but I don't think that could have been avoided given the runtime. The story actually reminded me of theatrical works like Shakespeare in the sense that it involved themes such as love and loss, love polygons, tragedy and reunification; it was all quite reminiscent of theatrical writing. Haikara-san ga Tooru feels like it could be a stage play instead of movie anime. Ironically however, I found the scriptwriting itself poor – many scenes in this could have been enhanced by a better script.
Similarly to theatrical writing, the story of Haikara-san ga Tooru demands a lot of suspension of disbelief. It is filled with convenient coincidences used to move the plot along and it felt crude and hamfisted as a result. The second movie in particular is quite bad in this regard and I enjoyed it less than the first. I also found the pacing of the first movie better calibrated than the second. Post too long. Click here to view the full text.