Of the review sites I frequent, 2 of them gave this poor reviews. As for the other 2, well, they haven't gotten around to this one yet, I guess. lol They cite first and foremost the ruining of a story concept with ecchi humor. In regards to that, I do have to say that changing a character here (Jennifer - the resident drunk/fanservice whore), some camera angles there (okay... it's a hot springs. You don't have to take the angle UNDER the water -_-), and changing some scenes around a little bit (When Hikari and Akari, the two otherworldly beings, get fitted for their clothes - measurements are taken in person... and the camera is there for it! These two scenes are probably the ones that made me wonder the most whether I could take this show or not.) would make this anime more palatable to me, bordering on perfect.
However, story-wise, I think this anime succeeded very well. There were things developing beneath the surface the whole time to connect the beginning to the end, and the pacing of the relationship between Takeru and Hikari was handled very well. A little melodramatic at times, but brilliant nonetheless. All of the main characters possessed a high level of maturity, and there was a sense of realism and honesty there that not a lot of anime possess. It was for these moments that I watched, the ones where the humanity and depth of the main characters shone through.
In fact, it was this depth and maturity of character that allowed me to see that the use of nudity in this show was mostly not for the sake of fanservice. If Takeru or Ryou (Akari's guy... I guess. lol Though he's more like her father.) would have responded like the perverted classmates they had when they met Hikari and Akari, I wouldn't have been able to stand this show. But from episode one, when a naked Hikari falls from a tree into Takeru's arms, and the first thing he does is cover her up with his coat, I knew there was something different here.
I think Gainax has really outdone themselves with this one. I didn't really like Eva that much, thought it was a little too deep. This one doesn't try to dupe you with symbolism, it doesn't try to confuse you with randomness like FLCL. This is a serious story that unfolded smoothly, though there were a couple bumps that kept it from being the perfect anime, it was still very solid in my book.
An intriguing beginning, an - entertaining? lol - middle, and a captivating, thematically driven, emotional ending. Yeah. This one's up there.
There ya have it,