Sing “Yesterday” for Me is Doga Kobo’s Most Unusual Anime for the Studio


Anime production company Doga Kobo is widely known for its traditional romantic comedy and slice-of-life series such as Girls’ Monthly Nozaki-kun, My Senpai is boring, and more recently Shikimori is not just a cutie. In 2020, the studio decided to expand its anime library by producing a more serious slice of life series: Sing “yesterday” for me by Kei Toume.

Sing “yesterday for me centers on the life of Rikuo Uozumi, a recent college graduate who works at a convenience store and has no idea what to do with his life. He reunites with his old college classmate, Shinako Morinome, who is now a teacher. Rikuo thinks this faithful encounter is an opportunity for him and Shinako to start dating – even though Shinako is still in love with her childhood friend’s deceased older brother. Meanwhile, Rikuo befriends an eccentric girl named Haru Nonaka, who eventually develops feelings for him.

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Sing “Yesterday” for Me Typical Adult Stars Who Don’t Want to Grow Up

Unlike characters from other Doga Kobo series – who tend to follow standard character archetypes and tropes – the cast of Sing “yesterday” for me are realistic and authentic, making them relevant to viewers. For example, Rikuo is the typical adult in his twenties: somewhat tired and uncertain about his hopes and dreams for the future. From society’s point of view, he is a failure because he does not have a successful career.

However, Rikuo is slowly taking up photography as a hobby. He is not yet confident in his skills, but ends up being encouraged by the various opportunities he receives. Rikuo is someone most viewers can sympathize with because he’s at a crossroads in his future, trying to figure things out as he goes day by day.

Similarly, viewers can also relate to female protagonist Haru Nonaka. Haru isn’t the standard cute character from a slice-of-life anime like Chiyo Sakura’s. Girls’ Monthly Nozaki-kun or Umaru Doma from Himuto! Umaru-chan. Instead, the persistent and assertive Haru befriends Rikuo by visiting him at his job at a convenience store and initiates social outings with him. She hopes to become a couple with Rikuo and openly expresses her love interest. Haru’s tenacity and bold demeanor grab viewers’ attention as his youth reminds them of what it’s like to be young and in love.

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There’s no guaranteed happy ending in real life.

Sing “yesterday” for me separates from the mainstream rom-com anime produced by Doga Kobo. In the typical formula, the protagonists are often shy towards each other but end up reuniting after a fatal encounter. In this series, love is not so simple.

One of the thematic messages addressed by this story is the struggle to come to terms with the loss of loved ones. Shinako Morinome is in love with her childhood friend’s older brother, who sadly passed away, and has a lot of baggage to carry. She rekindles her friendship with Rikuo to help him get out of the past. Although their relationship seemed to be going well, for the most part, the two still had wounds that they had to heal on their own. She ends up being content with her life, even if love is not a possibility for her.

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As for Haru, she suffers from unrequited love. Rikuo is so focused on sparking a romance with Shinako that he tends to leave Haru on the back burner, causing Haru to avoid Rikuo for a while. The two end up meeting at a bus stop, and Rikuo awkwardly confesses his feelings for Haru.

Unlike other rom-com stories that play into a whimsical romantic confession, Rikuo’s is wholesome and realistic. There is some uncertainty about the success of their relationship, but the two are willing to give it a shot. So this scene breaks the automatic happy ending and gives viewers a more realistic approach to romance: there’s no guarantee that two people will be together forever.

Sing “yesterday” for me can be classified as a romantic drama with minor comedic moments, as its cast does not follow the typical archetypes seen in a series of slice-of-life romantic comedies. Instead, these characters are more wholesome and down-to-earth, making them more relatable to audiences. The series also sets itself apart from traditional romantic stories produced by Doga Kobo by featuring more serious subject matter, such as the pain of unrequited love and loss. Sing “yesterday” for me may be different from what is usually produced by Doga Kobo, but it deserves the love of anime fans just as much.


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