One of the more inconspicuous Ghibli films. Its reputation is no big surprise, it lacks the magic of Takahata and Miyazaki's work, but there's a certain level of maturity here that is rarely seen in animation. I will say that the film didn't quite hold up on rewatch, but it's still a very worthy entry in the Ghibli catalogue.
The film homes in on Taku's first love. Rikako, a transfer student, comes to Taku's school and turns his world upside down. He is immediately smitten by the girl, but she takes advantage of Taku's feelings. Rikako is a tough cookie and makes enemies wherever she goes. Still, Taku can't help but care for her.
It's funny to see a central character that is unsympathetic by design, while not being a total caricature. The relationship between the two (three in fact, since Taku's best friend also has feelings for the girl) is interesting and not too obvious, the animation is decent (but not Ghibli's best) and the score is fine. There's just something missing, in the end, I felt too much of an onlooker.