They’re the best Anime that 2017 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Kuzu no Honkai, Just Because!, Sousei no Onmyouji, and more!
10: Kuzu no Honkai
English: Scum’s Wish
MAL Score: 7.23
To the outside world, Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya are the perfect couple. But in reality, they just share the same secret pain: they are both in love with other people they cannot be with.
Hanabi has loved her childhood friend and neighbor Narumi Kanai for as long as she can remember, so she is elated to discover that he is her new homeroom teacher. However, Narumi is soon noticed by the music teacher, Akane Minagawa, and a relationship begins to blossom between them, much to Hanabi’s dismay.
Mugi was tutored by Akane in middle school, and has been in love with her since then. Through a chance meeting in the hallway, he encounters Hanabi. As these two lonely souls spend more time together, they decide to use each other as a substitute for the one they truly love, sharing physical intimacy with one another in order to stave off their loneliness.
It isn’t necessary for a story to make you feel happy. There exist a wealth of fiction that, while depressing, and perhaps never even enjoyable, are still valuable for the message they are trying to make.
Kuzu no Honkai doesn’t have that message. It is misery for misery’s sake, existing almost exclusively to make you feel like crap. If you found anime such as Aku no Hana and School Days difficult to watch, you might have yourself something of a challenge here, too.
There is seldom a character within Kuzu no Honkai who behaves sensibly or is capable of thinking with any other organ except their genitalia. Hanabi and Mugi are lonely because they cannot be united with their loved ones, and so they seek to find some solace in each other. They can’t love each other because they love someone else. They use sexual intimacy as an escape. But they still can’t give up on the one they love. And so the cycle, their tedious lives continue.
If that is where the series stood, all may have been fine. But it escalates, and they, and just about everyone else surrounding them, wants more, more, until nothing remains in their hollow lives but sex and sleaze. It becomes impossible to feel any empathy for them and the grief they are constantly plunging themselves into. They’re beyond saving. They deserve everything that happens to them. And so I cannot bring myself to care when it tries to play Hanabi as the victim, the tragic heroine. The real victims are Norumi (the male teacher) and Noriko for being deceived by such deplorable people. Love is blind, as the cheesy proverb goes, but in this case they must also be blind in the literal sense.
Most of Kuzu no Honkai’s cast is comprised of hypocrites who get upset with their partner(s) for acts they have been committing themselves. They act nonsensically at times, and can change their attitude on a whim, giving up on their love at the end of one episode and then cheerfully encouraging each other to confess at the beginning of the next. They haven’t the slightest idea of what they want. Maybe that is to be expected. Love is a tricky thing, after all, and teenagers are at their most confused stage in life. But it becomes a question if what they felt was ever love in the first place when they can so readily find someone else as a replacement, sleeping with anyone who shows them even the slightest affection. It’s entirely possible that Hanabi and Mugi only fell in love with their respective partner because they were the first ones to give them that affection. And so how am I to feel bad for the two when their crushes end in disappointment?
While women like Akane undoubtedly exist in the real world (having unfortunately encountered someone similar myself), she is possessed by such an intensely twisted and ugly worldview that it becomes a wonder how she is even able to fulfil her duties as a teacher. She eventually comes to a point of redemption, but makes it quite clear that she is there only to see, to try, potentially ruining a man’s entire life merely for the chance of relieving her boredom. I didn’t find that heartwarming as it was intended to be – I found it disgusting of her, and that’s in the face of all the detestable things she had already done.
The main theme of each episode is who is going to make out with or bang whom. It’s an endless rotation, much like a hentai, the characters seemingly unaware of or passive to the concept of cheating, and incapable of guilt. Everyone loves someone else, and seemingly nobody in the world is capable of a happy, fulfilling relationship– even Hanabi’s friends (who are never otherwise shown) are revealed as having their partner cheating on them. Maybe it’s a good thing I detest all the characters, as I don’t think I would want a character I actually like to be in a story like this. Any time Noriko appeared, the one I disliked the least, I was dreading to see the mess she might be dragged into. And Narumi, while naive to painful extents, is never really deserving of the awful situation Akane puts him through. The only joy you could possibly extract from something like this is some sadomasochistic desire to see everyone in pain and despair. I can’t say I possess that desire.
The main rebuttal, I would imagine, is that the characters are meant to be human trash, and so it is okay that they are trash. I could concede to that point, as stories do not require respectable characters. But even trash are human, and so it is expected that they still behave like humans, a detail that Kuzu no Honkai seems so ready to forget.
Sanae, for instance, has such an intense (and frankly creepy) attachment to her loved one that it almost seems a crime for her to not be locked away in some mental hospital. There can at times be a desire to stay with someone you love even when you know you cannot have them or that they are bad for you, but she long crosses the boundary of how real people would react in her situation. There is a difference between being a confused teenager who seeks sexual gratification, and being a psychotic almost-rapist who believes people are their property. If they have done as she does, then they’ve probably gotten to know prison life pretty well.
It’s also questionable why the author decided to complicate things further by giving Sanae someone who one-sidedly loves her as well, considering how little is ever done with them. You could write them out completely and it wouldn’t affect much of anything. They exist solely, I would assume, to create more despair, as if the show hadn’t enough of that already.
Kuzu no Honkai’s detestable cast is, if nothing else, well-realised, thanks to the frequent monologuing and backstories. Each of the main six get their turn to narrate on numerous occasions, which does well to explain their motivations and feelings and to make them feel like proper protagonists rather than mere accessories to the carnage, even if some (namely Sanae) receive significantly less characterisation than others. To merely show two characters having sex or making out with each other is not nearly as meaningful as when it is accompanied by narration. It leaves less to the imagination, but, unlike other intensely uncomfortable and cringe-filled anime such as School Days, gives substance to the scene and makes sense in the context of the characters. When timed with the anime’s emotional soundtrack, some of the dialogue can almost feel captivating, and a kiss can carry power, even if it is between two people who really have no business kissing each other in the first place. It’s nice to have an anime courageous enough to portray sex in an honest manner, as most use it purely for pornographic purposes, or seem afraid of touching upon it altogether, as if humans are somehow sexless creatures. I just don’t think that real people are nearly as defined by it as they are in Kuzu no Honkai.
I’ll fully admit that I hated every second I spent watching Kuzu no Honkai, and felt relieved when it was over. This isn’t because it is a particularly bad anime, but because it aims to say or do little else but make the viewer feel terrible. It pushes you, kicks you, and then throws another punch to your gut once that is over. It is filled with moments where you want to shout at the characters to stop, to not be stupid. There are times where you will have to pause and take a breather because of all the cringe and madness that is unfolding. Kuzu no Honkai is about as far from a pleasant anime as can possibly be, and it never really aims to fill that gap with much substance or meaning. Its starting and ending points are the same. It wants to say that people are stupid, that love hurts, and more than that, it wants you to hurt, too.
Some people will be fine with that. Maybe they want to feel awful. Maybe they just want to feel emotion, any emotion.
I’ll give them that – it certainly makes you feel something.
Did “School Days” get a second season? Oh, no, it’s Kuzu no Honkai, also known as one of the most popular and overrated anime series of winter 2017.
Kuzu no Honkai is an exaggeration of the love life experienced by high school students and watching it reminded me of a National Geographic documentary about mating rabbits I saw years ago.
While the show had some very good ideas, it failed in executing them, fact which made the show look more like a trainwreck rather than the “in-depth, mature” series it intended to be.
The plot is inconsistent and poorly executed for the most part employing cliche ideas, cringe worthy scenes, predictable twists and unnatural actions.
The character cast in itself is poorly constructed and consists mostly of generic tropes that are shallow and one-dimensional, but the inter-relations between them were surprisingly well-done.
Nowadays, shows that feature adolescents thinking about and doing the dirty is considered to be mature and “in-depth”… To be honest, Kuzu no Honkay is your generic drama TV series that got animated, nothing more and nothing special.
The story revolves around the love life of two high school students, Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya.
High school students Mugi Awaya and Hanabi Yasuraoka appear to be the ideal couple, they are both pretty and popular, and they seem to suit each other well. However, outsiders don’t know of the secret they share, both Mugi and Hanabi have hopeless crushes on someone else and they are only dating each other to soothe their loneliness.
Hanabi has been in love for a long time with her older childhood friend Narumi Kanaiwho who is now her homeroom teacher, and Mugi is in love with his slightly older former tutor Akane Minagawa who is now a music teacher at his school.
In each other, they find a place where they can grieve for the ones they cannot have and they share physical and emotional intimacy driven by loneliness. This begins their romantic relationship as both of them predictably fall for each other as the story unfolds.
The story is character-driven, linear and fairly unique but predictable, it progresses with the characters at a good pace, showing their inner thoughts and development as well as portraying their dilemmas and questions about love.
Themes such as “forbidden love”, “friendship”, “maturity”, “sex, lies and betrayal” are approached by this show and some of them are fairly well executed while some of them are not.
Kuzu no Honkai explores sexuality from the interesting yet juvenile perspective of high school students. Unfortunately, what could have been a great enlightening experience turned into a revolting experience consisting of watching people as they take some really dumb and weird sexual actions with no clear purpose other than satisfying their primitive needs.
This anime touches the sensitive feelings and problems that most young people go through when they find real love/romance or fake love/romance that they don’t know how to deal with and the problems those feelings can lead to. While I commend the show for taking such an unusual path I cannot ignore the poor manner in which it was executed.
I wish the show would have focused much more on the moral and emotional implications of these love acts, showing and thoroughly analyzing the psych of the characters rather than focusing on poor-taste sex scenes that seemed forced, but that’s just my opinion.
Kuzu no Honkai is the definition of a pretentious show because the main theme is “I’m 17 and I’m deep” and the show expects to be treated as a mature and profound romance series.
Although Kuzu no Honkai has those ambitions, it miserably fails at being mature and rather comes off as pseudo-mature. A bunch of junior high school students try to compensate for their desires, insecurities and unrequited sentiments through ludicrous acts like pointlessly having sex in order to “fill their emptiness”. Is that the best they could come up with?
Also, recall the villainous slutty music teacher who screws around saying she “exploits” men, that is so profound…. I failed to see the “maturity” and “profoundness” of this show.
Scum’s Wish tried so hard to be complex to the point the script became an utter mess.
Why I say that?
Hanabi loves Kanai, Mugi loves Akane but Hanabi and Mugi are together, and Akane and Kanai are together, Moca loves Mugi and Ecchan loves Hanabi and now Hanabi starts to fall for Mugi.
I say it is too complex for its own good, it seems like a clusterfuck of a situation more than anything else and to be honest, it’s dumb and pathetic to see a show try so hard and fail just as hard.
The “friends with benefits” scenario is as cliche as it can get and makes the plot so much more predictable. This scenario consists of the generic course of action where two people decide to have sex on a regular basis and promise to never fall in love with each other and later on they always end up falling in love with each other.
As predicted, after Hanabi and Mugi started having sex they started developing feelings for each other and later on in the show, Hanabi decides to “try to love Mugi”, predictable.
I guess the creator watched one of those cliche movies like “Friends With Benefits” or “No Strings Attached” and decided to do a perverted and twisted animated version of them.
In a sense, Kuzu no Honkai is a jumble of realistic scenarios and life problems which I really enjoyed. It portrays questions and situations some people faced in their youth and could relate to, such as:
“If I could have things work out with him… I’d do it in a heartbeat” – which is very much true, the only thing you want when you are in love is to be with the one you love but sometimes you don’t have the “courage” to take the first step towards that goal and that is unfortunate.
“I’m not sure if I should choose the older man or the athletic student” – also a problem that a lot of women face when they have the option of choosing between money and social security represented by the ”older man” or looks represented by the “athletic student”, in the end, neither choice is based on the feeling of “love” but it is rather based on the feeling of lust or the need to feel secure.
“I’m not sure what is the diffrence between love and lust anymore” – a question that confuses many teenagers but has a rather simple answer.
“It’s not like I like them both so much it hurts but making the choice is a pain” – also a real problem many people face before entering a relationship just for the sake of doing it because they had nothing better in mind.
“It was love at first sight” – as the line says, this “love” can only be based on physical appearances therefore it is superficial and should be called lust.
What I like is that Kuzu no Honkai is an open-minded show in which love has no bounds. Be it student-teacher, lesbianism, incest or childhood friends, nothing will stop the characters from having sexual intercourse based on a moment’s decision.
The idea of exploring same-gender love was actually great, after all, that is what Kuzu no Honkai is supposed to do, but the execution of it was terrible and resulted in a girl-to-girl scenario that was wrong, out of place and furthermore damaged the show.
After seeing Hanabi willingly have “sex” with a female friend after being rejected, I was left pondering that course of action and questioned the creator’s knowledge of the female mind, therefore I proceeded in asking multiple young female friends if they would have sex with a person of the same gender, given the context of being “heartbroken”. The answer was an unanimous “no”.
The characters seem damaged on a fundamental level, desperately wanting the attention of their loved ones, fact which I could not understand.
Hanabi is obsessed over her “onii-chan” to the point that what she feels is not called “love” but “lust”. It is not normal to fantasize about your crush to the point where you have sex with another person while pretending that person is your crush.
I find this “unrequited” love situation grossly exaggerated and forced because it doesn’t follow a natural flow and it is very far from being realistic.
For the sake of the plot, these characters have no common sense, instead of confessing their “love” or silently await the right moment to take the initiative, they decide to screw around and play house with no worries about the consequences of their actions or their future.
When I was in highschool my first and foremost priority was studying in order to pass the university entrance exam, not fooling around and whining about being lonely.
I know I shouldn’t compare anime to real life, but they made the show in a high school setting because they wanted people to relate to it and how am I supposed to relate to such exaggerated, unnatural and hard to believe love problems?
Another important writing screw-up made by the creator was changing the fundamental traits of the characters in very short periods of time, referring to Noriko and Akane.
Noriko is an innocent girl who has built her life around the idea that she is a princess and only thinks about marrying her “prince” and live happily ever after, an innocent girl who suddenly wants to have sex with the prince, basically a “princess” turned into a lusty and deplorable girl in the matter of a few minutes…
Akane, a despicable women who screws around seeking any man’s attention and other women’s jealousy. This woman that is damaged on a fundamental level suddenly changes as Narumi, the “knight in shining armor” touches her soul. It is not only cliche but also unreal, for a woman who only considers men as warm bodies, distractions from a mundane life and basically sleeps with anyone she meets to be changed so easily. Poor judgement on the writer’s part.
There was a saying, “you can’t change a whore into a housewife” and that perfectly applies to Akane’s situation. From all the lack of judgement on the creator’s part I was able to notice a life lesson: If you are pretty, everything is forgiven.
The last thing that bothered me were the imbecilic lines such as: “I want you to be filled with me”; “Getting a man to fall for you is easy”, “It doesn’t matter if we are cousins, I’ll never give up”; “You don’t have to stop seeing other men”, etc. and the forced, cringe-worthy scenes when Hanabi was giving a handjob to Mugi, a bunch of idiotic scenes about Akane, etc.
At least I sometimes laughed at how stupid some of the lines and scenes were…
The characters on their own are nothing special, they are mostly self-centered tropes and quite despicable characters that are difficult to relate to or like, but when they are looked at as a whole, it’s a different situation. Almost forgot, there is no character development except for Hanabi and Akane.
What I found interesting is the true strength of Kuzu no Honkai that lies in the character interactions, this show has some amazing relationship development.
Hanabi Yasuraoka, she is a high school student who is in love with her older childhood friend, Narumi who is her homeroom teacher. After finding out that Narumi is in love with another woman, Hanabi enters a “fake” relationship with Mugi to satisfy her loneliness but soon after she has physical relations with Mugi, she realizes her feelings towards him, and as the story unfolds her character undergoes multiple changes.
At first, Hanabi is portrayed as a innocent girl but after she begins her relationship with Mugi she becomes confused and doesn’t know what she is feeling and what she is supposed to feel, as she states, “I can’t even tell the difference between love and lust anymore”.
After finding out that Narumi had sex with Akane, Hanabi decides to “steal” everyone that is under Akane’s “spell” by having sex with them. Fortunately enough, after dating one of Akane’s boytoys, Hanabi realizes that lowering herself to Akane’s level is not the answer to her predicament and hateful emotions, therefore she stops deluding herself by thinking she can beat Akane at her own game. Soon after that, Hanabi begins to isolate herself from Mugi and starts thinking of herself as a “weak” person and a “coward”, having no “self-worth”, this is a difficult time for Hanabi because she feels defeated and inferior to Akane.
As the story progresses, Hanabi slowly recovers from that depressive state of mind and fulfilling a promise she made to Mugi, Hanabi confesses her love to Narumi and gets rejected, event that sets Hanabi free and makes her feel like she can have a fresh start at life.
In a nutshell, Hanabi goes from being a normal girl to lowering herself near to the level of a “slut” but she soon recovers from that downfall and starts to feel miserable about herself only to later regain a healthy way of thinking and decide to stop ignoring her feelings towards Mugi.
My thoughts on her character: Hanabi just wants true love but doesn’t know how to lover herself, yet.
Mugi Awaya, he is a high school student who is in love with his former tutor, Akane. He and Hanabi begin a fake “relationship” to satisfy each other’s desires. In middle school, Mugi had already been in a “friends with benefits” relationship with his senior, Mei Hayakawa, who took his virginity.
Mugi is not a dense man but rather clever and observant, he is one of the only men who realized what type of woman Akane really was, he had always been aware of the kind of person Akane was, but loved her nevertheless.
Mugi is reluctant to admit his true emotions towards Hanabi because he already had that kind of “friends with benefits” relation, he fell in love with that person and ended up heartbroken because the relationship had to end. He is still afraid of being close to someone, point that is proved in the scenes where he asked for sexual favors then suddenly stopped as if it was a bad idea, which is synonymous with him wanting to try being in a relationship again but being scared of the rejection he once experienced.
At the end of the series, after he had sex with Akane on multiple occasions, trying to change the way she was, he realizes he doesn’t love Akane anymore so he bids goodbye to her.
Narumi Kanai is Hanabi’s homeroom teacher and older childhood friend.
Narumi is the generic and cliche type of man who is kind, shy, mellow, forgiving, etc.
He is in a relationship with Akane even though he knows she is a “slut” and completely forgives her for it, telling her she “doesn’t need to stop seeing other men” because he loves her enough to accept that part of her.
Even after knowing Akane’s true nature, Narumi does not seem to mind and asks her to marry him, which she accepts. Bleh, cliche.
My opinion on his character: He is just an emasculated guy who plays the role of the knight in shining armor that saves Akane from herself. More and I’m gonna throw up.
Akane Minagawa, on the outside, she is a nice, well-behaved woman who is adored by her students, but she actually loves the feeling of winning a man’s heart while directly hurting someone else who is in love with that man. She can also be considered a lonely person and a nymphomaniac.
Akane attempts to seduce Narumi like her previous relationships, but she notices that Narumi refrains from touching her, unlike the men in her past, later realizing that he truly loves her. After Narumi asks her to marry him despite of knowing her true nature, Akane begins to take interest in him and suddenly decides to change her ways. Bleh, cliche.
My opinion on her character: This depraved woman thinks she is “exploiting” men when she has sex with them but actually she is the one being used and “exploited”, what a pathetic and disgusting state she is in.
I have a saying that fits this like a glove: “A key that can open many locks is called a master key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.”
There are other characters that are just empty tropes, particularly Sanae Ebato who is the lesbian girl who forced herself on Hanabi, and Noriko Kamomebata who is a deluded “loli” girl that considers herself a princess and dreams of marrying her “prince”, Mugi.
Now, the strong point of Kuzu no Honkai are the character interactions, which I’ve basically described in the paragraphs above, no need in doing it again.
The art is beautiful with surprisingly good character designs, working with a well-chosen color palette that gives a somber tone. The animation is fluid, nothing to complain about other than a few small flaws and the overuse of “hidden eyes”, which are used when they want the characters to reflect a deep emotion.
The opening and ending theme were well-suited for the show, not only being pleasant to hear but also having some symbolism and offering a drama tone. The OST was well-chosen as well, it offers an immersive experience and facilitates the potential flow of emotions coming from the show. The voice actors did a very good job interpreting the characters and their emotions but there were some exceptions to the rule.
I am inclined to say that I enjoyed the show despite its numerous flaws.
The show has failed in many categories but I think it does a fairly good job at showing how cruel love can be. If you are looking for a romance show that is slightly different form the generic “boy meets girl” scenario, give Kuzu no Honkai a shot.
As a manga reader, I was already prepared although it’s easy to judge by the premise that the story itself will be saturated with drama. Ever heard of ‘friends with benefits’? That’s pretty much how the premise sounds like. In the beginning of the story, we learn quickly that Hanabi and Mugi are engaged in a “relationship” that seems like those of a happy couple. Yet deep down, both suffers from pain because they are in love with someone else and are only using each other to ease their pain. It’s not hormone that’s driving these young folks into engaging in sex but that they simply want to feel something rather than pain. I have to admit, a show like this definitely takes on a more mature approach at romance than your typical high school rom-com. Make no mistake about it, Kuzu no Honkai is an emotional story that deconstructs romance in many ways more than one.
The character cast is small yet complex because almost every character has their own personal issues. Some are more complex than others as the show focuses on them in their own twisted stories. A primary example is Akane, the seemingly lovable teacher. Yet, as the story progresses, you’ll quickly learn that she isn’t exactly what appears to be. Fans could easily label her as a bitch in sheep clothing and hard to accept. It’s also relatable too as Akane is a type of character that can easily be encountered in real life. That’s what also makes this show more realistic than some others as Kuzu no Honkai demonstrates a lot of realism. Relationships draws a line between love and sex. Can sex lead to actual love? Or is it just sex?
In the meantime, character relationships in the show deconstructs what you’ll find in most romance stories. Yes, there are love triangles but Kuzu no Honkai has characters that uses others to satisfy themselves. Hanabi and Mugi is one but many examples. We’ll also learn in the show of how childhood friends will take the risk of being rejected and hurt. The fact is, no one is really safe of being happy in this series. Happiness is more like an illusionary word in the world of Kuzu no Honokai. Even when certain truths are realized and confessions are made, it is the stone cold truth that brings in even more pain. It doesn’t fall for every circumstance in the show as some characters are more willing to accept reality. However, the truth is still there that makes character relationships in this series seem like a losing battle. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
As you can imagine, the show is drama heavy with a lot of emotions. Jealousy, regret, greed, hopeful, mistrustful, fear, are just a few to name. Action has consequences and this show brings out the worst out of human behavior. Think about it really. Kuzu no Honokai translates to Scum’s Wish as the title references to one’s interest to satisfy their own desires. Most of the characters does this and is drawn by humans emotions. At the core of these emotions is love. However, this show deconstructs love and very few characters actually understands it. Or perhaps there is no real answer because everyone has different perceptions. Narumi (Hanabi’s homeroom teacher) is a rare example in this show where he accepts certain people for who they are even after learning the truth. Still, the truth can hurt doesn’t it?
Yes, don’t expect much comedy or humor from Kuzu no Honkai. It occasionally throws in some comedy from time to time but the majority of the show retains its mature feel. Now, the anime portrays sex as what it is and believe me, there’s a decent amount of it. The manga even has more explicit scenes to illustrate its point. So in essence, this show is not designed for a younger audience but suitable for those looking into a serious yet twisted story. The word ‘love’ doesn’t fit in there as that word is more or less an illusion. Still, I am happy that the adaptation captured the general idea of the original manga. It sticks to its point without derailing from its coming of age feel while inserting human emotions.
Lerche surprisingly did a fairly decent job at crafting the artwork. Character designs look mature especially for the adults such as Akane and Narumi. Ebato has that pure nature lady look that makes her desirable. However, Moca’s character design can be bothersome to get used to as she looks like a child being stuck in a mature world. Be aware that the show has a lot of fan service such as make out scenes, sex, and other suggestive innuendos. One thing I am impressed by the artwork is how there are certain scenes in the show that captures the characters’ expressions at fullest. It accomplishes this with a more detailed visual of their feelings but importantly makes them look impactful.
Soundtrack and music retains a somber tone. It’s a drama heavy story so what else did you expect? It has a feel of melancholy throughout the series along with light instrumental OST. Music director Masaru Yokoyama (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans) does a fantastic job at the directing as expected. The OP and ED theme songs have some symbolism along with a drama-like tone. But in terms of voice mannerisms, this is where it gets sort of mixed. Characters such as Akane and Ebato are really hard not to feel attracted to with their mature voices. In the meantime, I have to mention again that Moca is a source of annoyance whenever she opens her mouth.
Kuzu no Honokai is like walking into a world of twisted desires. It’s like going into a maze with endless doors and no way out. Behind every door is a truth or lie that brings anything but joy. However, I think the show does bring up a good point of showing the realism of love. Examples in this series can really happen to anyone and realistically, it does. It’s part of us being human as there’s no real answer to what love is. Or to put it simply….
9: Just Because!
English: Just Because!
Japanese: Just Because!
MAL Score: 7.26
As another school year begins drawing to a close, the third-year high school students move steadily toward the next milestone of their lives: graduation. Among them are Mio Natsume, a girl burdened with lingering feelings; Hazuki Morikawa, a member of the concert band but distant from the others; and Haruto Souma, an athlete obsessed with baseball. Meanwhile, second-year student Ena Komiya seeks to revive the photography club to its former glory, refusing to let the organization be disbanded. Though this group lacks a strong connection with one another, their lives suddenly cross paths with the arrival of a third-year transfer student.
While a transfer so close to graduation is unusual for most, it is business as usual for Eita Izumi. Due to his father’s work, he has never been able to stay in one place for very long. But as luck would have it, their most recent relocation has returned Eita to his hometown for his final semester of high school. For better or worse, it also sparks the rekindling of old relationships left behind in the past.
With graduation already causing its own share of anxieties, Eita’s sudden arrival brings these students’ carefree days to an abrupt end. Long-forgotten memories, deeply buried emotions, and inspiring new passions—everything is brought to light in their bittersweet final semester.
The series at its core is a character-centric; which mean that no matter how the characters became; whether they’re reach their goals or not, it is became a part of and affecting the story. There’s no big overarching plot to draw the viewers in actually. It’s pretty much about these five Student, and how their lives will play out over the next few months. The story essentially played out by the struggling of this character facing the transition to adulthood and also the problem they get when interacting with each other.
It sounds like typical slice of life but certainly it doesn’t. What makes show a little bit different in my eyes is how ‘calm’ the presentation is handled. Anime or most of high school anime in general tend to be bogged down by gimmicks, but it did not happen here. The mood is very calm and smooth, the pacing is deliberately slow, most of the characters are quiet and soft-spoken, making the show to be quite atmospheric. Of course being different doesn’t equal to being better, but at least it is nice that every now and then you could watch some drama where you can just sit back and relax and not getting pumped up by bizarre presentation.
Having said that, since the story may sound quite alright at best, thankfully it did deliver (even more) on its focus which is the characters. Although, I have heard many peoples complain about the characters of this series because they seems had no personalities but certainly I am not one of these people. I personally think that the characters in this series is fantastic with each of them has their own motives and justify reason to do what they acts.
Obviously in this series Komiya might be the clearest who has a motives for what she did; she just want to save her club; and doing anything to do so. Haruto always feels left behind. Everyone’s talking about entrance exams and going to college. They have their futures ahead of them. On the other hand, everything has already been decided for him, since he’ll need to work and he feels powerless. Hazuki’s college won’t have a band. At best, it has a band appreciation club. So for now, there are no plans to continue playing the trumpet once she graduates from high school. She failed to reach nationals in high school, so She feels it might be the best just try to graduate as soon as she can, and living normal life by join her family business. Mio is struggling with her college entrance exam and she can’t denied the fact that Haruto confessed to Hazuki and she likes Haruto. Eita doesn’t has any problem with his academics since he got a recommendation but then again he likes Mio, but Mio likes someone else, so he just trying his best to catch her attention.
Nevertheless It is safe to say that the characters is quite interesting in their own way and had some setup to be fully developed till the end of the series. Although it is worth to mention they don’t have loud, tropey, tsundere or ‘genky’ characters. So the series might not very ‘lively’ if you are the type to like some banter or comedy because there’s hardly any . But these character traits are not executed in such an overblown way that you end up thinking you’re interacting with zombies.
As for the visuals, it is worth to mention that the anime really likes to show its characters face exclusively and most of the time you can tell how the character’s feel or whether they’re lying or not which I think is quite interesting. As for the other thing in visual, the show does suffer from production issues.. a lot. The animation isn’t very quite standard of today. The characters perspective looks wrong and the backgrounds aren’t that amazing considering how many these guys are hanging out. Luckily enough, the anime doesn’t have the type of story that really demands any sort of visual fidelity and I don’t think I’ve heard or nor I did the studio behind this anime has much record on its names.
As for sound, I like the Opening, “Over and Over” by Yanagi Nagi who also sung for ‘Oregairu’ I think her song and voiced very suited with school drama and this one is no different. The ending is another story because I tend to skip it so I may miss something there. The soundtrack is good albeit not memorable enough to catch your attention but it does serve is purpose. The acting is too plain and uninteresting for my taste but at the very least I don’t hate it. All In all the sound does it best to complement the story but none of it will blow you away (Maybe the opening though but I guess that just me).
The very length of the series, which is just 12 episodes, also aids the story, as it is long enough to explore these characters to a point and not so long as to need more than what was presented. This made the anime simple and casual, giving the content of what was presented a bit more impact, without anything being stretched out for too long.
Overall I wouldn’t go as far as say the anime is unique; In fact, one could say that the story is a remarkably common one. However at the very least the series stays clear of many of the annoyances of romance stories and not throwing in all kinds of situations solely intended to add drama and spice things up. Added with the fact that the series keeping up with the sense of realism (which I think done a great job) but never feels to depressing considering how the series ended.
In this respect, I suppose I just appreciate Just Because!’s sharper focus. It’s far less ambitious, and far less grand in scope, but it did many many things correctly and easily became one of my favorite romance anime in recent years.
Yes, the ending overall is quite pandering and certainly flashback are needed for the romance part. But we can’t have all the nice things can we?
Pick a train to decide your future. You can’t say for sure what lies at your destination, but you know for certain it will take you away from your school and friends you made there. This is the theme that Just Because puts forward with its story of seniors deciding their futures and many train station scenes. However, it does not have the intimacy necessary for these themes to be believable.
Slice of life shows live or die on how intimate they are. And no, I do not mean romance. I mean the show’s connection to the audience. Without that crucial connection, you might as well be watching bugs run around for all it matters. A lack of intimacy is what prevents Just Because from being engaging.
I have no doubt that the show has subtle character interactions that allow the viewer to make their own interpretations, but when it’s so hard to give a damn about any of them it’s impossible to feel engaged to anything happening on screen.
After elementary school, you typically fall apart from your classmates. The story of Just Because is those kids coming back together in high school and meeting up again. Eita Izumi left his town after elementary school but now that he has transferred back to his friends’ town he is reconnecting with them. The story is as basic as it needs to be for the slice-of-life and romance genres. We’ve seen this structure many times over, and it is not at all improved upon in this show. It follows 5 high school students through their everyday lives. They study to get into universities, hone their talents, and try to get dates. The show jumps around at such an inconsistent pace between the 5 characters that it’s hard to get a grip on who they are and what motivates them, beyond a shallow description. Characters walk around or sit about with bored looking expressions on their faces, forcing the viewer to mimic their feelings.
Just Because wouldn’t be the first show I recommend to someone interested in a realistic young adult romance. I wish I could say that the characters make up for what the show lacks in story, but they don’t. In the first few episodes, the story moves at a snail’s pace, giving us a few small details about the central characters but also long drawn out scenes to establish atmosphere. Eventually, the pacing gets better. Once all of the characters are clearly established the final half of the show is made up of somewhat entertaining if overwrought melodrama over little petty moments. Moments like going on certain characters going out on dates then the effects it has on the third wheel who’s in love with one of the two on the date (trying to keep it spoiler-free, sorry to be vague).
I’d say I was disappointed by the ending, but it really is consistent with expectations the show instills in its audience. It’s a bleak and quiet moment that puts forth the theme one last time ‘there’s beauty in simplicity’, but it felt so undeserved to me. It felt like a contradiction to the build-up in the previous episodes and I couldn’t help but think “Why couldn’t this have happened six episodes ago?”. Very little of the melodrama experienced throughout the prior episodes felt necessary by the end.
Just Because aims to create realistic characters, yet it fails to develop them enough to even be believable. Sure, very boring people like these characters could exist in the real world, but who would want to subject themselves to watching their bland lives?
Some of them are sort of likable (if you can tolerate their personalities) but I didn’t care for any of them individually. The only time I was ever interested in the characters was when they were with one another. Whether it be their arguments, them making fond memories, or considering their futures. I just couldn’t get myself to care about them while they stare off into space trying to seem deep. We get it Just Because! Your characters are so tragic! They’re going to college, wow! Maybe you can tell us something else about them… like who they are as people beyond the fact that they’re going to college next year. For example; Haruto plays baseball and likes a girl, great, who is he though? Why does he like her? Is there anything more to his life than baseball and a crush? All signs say no.
This sentiment could be applied to any of the leads. I found them to be very one-sided and it destroyed the potential for Just Because to be an intimate slice of life. The show only takes it’s characters halfway to becoming good, then it stops leaving us half-baked hollow shells (filled with awkward silences and depression). In the end, I just couldn’t see the characters as the real people that they were intended to be. There was not enough believability. Even Komiya, the character I liked the most for her outgoing personality, had very little going on besides her camera and crush.
What makes me the saddest about the characters is that they were nearly good. We’re able to get in the headspace of a character and tell if they concealing their emotions, and sometimes if they’re lying through the abundance of close-up shots and a very consistent tone. However, the art is pretty bad so those close-ups are ugly and the tone so depressing that it seems to only want to pointlessly wear down your spirit. With a better writer and director, they could have had the believability to compliment their likable personalities.
At least I can say I got into each of the characters’ headspaces and became depressed just like they were. But that headspace was totally vacant of interesting details!! I can relate to the IDEA of high schoolers who are struggling to decide their futures at the crossroads of their lives, but no amount of relatable ideas will get me invested in these cardboard cutouts.
Pine Jam dropped the ball on this one. Their last show Gamers didn’t look nearly as rough as this. It’s plagued with weak character art and poor animation. I’m not sure if it was just a simple budget issue or if they couldn’t handle a project as intimate as this, but it to put it bluntly; it’s harsh on the eyes. If you want to make a quiet coming of age story then you need close-ups to get the audience into the character’s headspace. That’s not to say that Just Because doesn’t try to close-ups, but when it does they’re so ugly you’ll wish the camera would zoom back out.
The backgrounds look nice if a bit gray. I can praise how the mellow colors of the characters and backgrounds blend together. It makes the characters feel just as melancholy as the cold winter town, but keep in mind the show strives to make you feel this depressing atmosphere.
What weighs down the visuals the most is the lackluster directing. Most scenes have very boring camera angles, usually pulled far back from the characters making them feel very disconnected from the viewer. Rarely does the director create intimate moments that connect the viewer to a character, they usually feel like random extras in a greater story that has yet to materialize. Even during the scenes in the characters’ homes, there is very little detail to show who those characters are. Their rooms are devoid of defining details. So many opportunities to create believable characters were missed, it’s sad really, to see a director waste such great potential.
There’s a bit of CGI usage during the later episodes to no doubt to cut down on the budget (most notably that awkward and overlong first-person bicycling scene).
The opening song is quite good but it sounds very similar to Oregairu’s. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they’re both performed by Nagi Yanagi. I would feel more inclined to score it higher if it didn’t feel like a simple rehashing of an op from a better show in the same genre.
Most scenes have music playing which is nice to keep the show from becoming entirely empty during the simpler scenes. Typically it’s orchestral music with a piano at the core. It highlights the mundanity of life by being so basic and plain, but yeah that plainness is boring as hell so… If that thematic consistency sounds appealing to you then maybe it will add something to your experience with it. I think it does a decent job of establishing tone, but I couldn’t care less about how it actually sounds because there have been so many fantastic soundtracks of its kind in this year alone. This one’s just passable.
The voices are just as monotonous as you’d expect. I’d love to say this isn’t a waste of acting talent, but I honestly can’t tell if any of them are talented because they’re all forced to perform the same subdued style which gives them little opportunity to give the character some individuality/distinction. Excluding Haruto, his voice actor had a few scenes that allowed us to see his talent, but sadly he was just one of the ensemble cast. And due to the overbearing melancholy tone of the show, he was rarely able to be his peppy self.
It’s so disappointing that the comedy in Just Because is bad because in the creator’s previous work “The Pet Girl of Sakurasou” the humor was spot on and made me laugh a lot. There was plenty of good drama in Sakurasou which managed to come across fairly well in Just Because, if only it wasn’t so damn boring.
Its attempts at comedy are dreadful. Typically when jokes are said there is very little feedback and sometimes you can’t tell if it was a joke or just confused writing. The show also uses the social media application Line to show messages between characters. The messages are usually dressed to look like humor with emoticons and such, but the messages are so nondescript that it could be anyone who is texting, they don’t at all add to the characters or relatability.
The reason why I’m so tough on Just Because is that it has taken on a challenge. If Just Because strived to be just another one of the trashy romcoms that we get every season then I would treat it like trash and just move.
However, Just Because has a chooses to be realistic and mundane. I don’t believe the creator understood just how difficult it would be to make a compelling viewing experience with such a barren presentation. Instead of aiming to be great, it settled on mediocrity, which may have made for a passable show if it was just another harem romcom, but it makes this one feel incredibly underdone. No part of Just Because! is deserving of the exclamation point at the end of its title.
Boredom ≠ Good
[Overall Score: 4/10]
If you want a standard (and forgettable) high school drama/romance then Just Because has what you’re looking for. That is, as long as you can live with the alienating direction, subpar character art, and a crushingly depressing tone. The humor is cringe-inducing and never funny, but at least the melodrama in the second half is moderately entertaining. There can be beauty in simplicity, but nothing in Just Because is beautiful and everything is bland. While it has the bones of a good slice of life show, it fails to come together in an engaging way.
I’m a romance seeker myself. I love to experience either pure vanilla or train wreck romance stories. But then again, this one is neither of those two. The pace is non-existent and they seriously don’t even know what the hell is going on. Worse, it mixed up all kinds of aspects altogether, to the point that I can pretty much say a chimera was born. The potential is wasted and the current story is not even worth much. While this series is original, the premises themselves are just as generic as they can get.
It started with a bang and such, about how fate and red strings could bring all friends together to experience teenage love stories all over again. The main character, Eita Izumi, has come back to his hometown high school due to his father’s work and starts to meet his old friend, Souma Haruto, as well as Natsume Mio, his one-sided crush. To simplify, there is also a new junior, Komiya Ena, who is faced with a crisis that her photography club might be disbanded. This story is about how all of them crossed each other’s paths and lives, and they faced their hardships along the way. So where did it all go wrong?
The story itself is already a whack. Plus, the same generic triangle loves story troupe. Make the series as bad as it can be. There is nothing new at all that makes this series worthwhile. Spice it up with uninteresting characters and their bland personalities. I felt so sorry for them as their presence itself was so weak. To be honest, you can even forget all about them after one day. The development is not even worthy of praise. Straightforwardly, it’s very boring and slow. As if it wasn’t enough, the story pace is truly bad and the development between the characters is just almost nowhere. They don’t even make the characters feel alive. The show also tries to be both happy and sad, but what I just see is just the same cycle of unsolved problems and running away. This would be fine if it was just a couple of episodes, but this problem stood up until the very end. What the hell?
For goodness sake, this is the most annoying aspect of the series. They are so bland and childish, way beyond what teens do. Their stupidity level was just outrageous. I know everyone moves at their own pace. But I highly doubt that everyone can be that dumb. While it might be bad on some levels, I like some of them. It is just the way it portrays ruining the characters, for goodness sake. Eita Izumi, the only character that I do respect for his loyalty to his love. Although there is not much to see. Now comes the best pal, Souma Haruto, with his own love story. Needless to say, his character is so freaking bland, boring, not the best pal after all, and stoic. As the story progresses, his whole interaction does not leave any presence at all. Lastly, is our main heroine, Natsume Mio, who is indecisive beyond help without any little push. It’s okay to be a little indecisive, but her indecisiveness and running away are just plain torture. Where exactly are the unique and interesting traits? Kindness? Lovely? Her whole existence is just trash. The junior, Komiya Ena, is far more interesting. She’s kind and has the spirit to achieve her own goals and dreams. She is much more realistic and feels alive than the rest of the main cast.
Animation & Music
The animation is just so-so. If you notice, sometimes the characters’ faces can look weird. But it is fair enough considering all the trashier points we’ve accumulated so far. As for music, I love it. It’s inspiring, interesting and full of vivid colors. Other than that, there are no more worthwhile points to be pointed out.
I had my share of fun, but the series was far from good. The premise itself was interesting at first, but the actual story wasn’t. The flaws are just as bad as they can get, and the development is truly pathetic if I have to say. It could go further, but sadly, that path is just a loophole as of now.
8: Sousei no Onmyouji
English: Twin Star Exorcists
MAL Score: 7.31
Magano, a parallel realm filled with monsters known as “Kegare,” is a place where exorcists deal with all impurities. Benio Adashino is a prodigy exorcist who is recognized for her strength and is summoned to Tokyo by the Exorcist Union. On her way, she plummets into the arms of Rokuro Enmadou, a young exorcist with a troubled past.
But the impurities of Magano do not rest. When these two exorcists witness a couple of children stolen by a Kegare, Benio rushes to save them, dragging Rokuro along with her into Magano. Engaged in a fight she is on the verge of being defeated in, Benio is saved by Rokuro, revealing himself capable of being her rival in talent.
Sousei no Onmyouji tells the story of two talented exorcists who are destined to become the “Twin Star Exorcists” and the prophesised parents of the Miko—the reincarnation of Abe no Seimei—who will cleanse the world of all impurities.
“Cliche Archetype-filled Exorcist Shounen With Many Crappy Plot Twists”
I have very mixed feelings about this show…
– Sometimes I thought, “Oh, this is such a cool kiddy shounen!”
– Sometimes I became angry at how stupid and immature the characters were.
– I often skipped through some of the many slow scenes and flashbacks.
– Sometimes I even said, “Whoa! Didn’t see that coming! Is this really a kids show? wtf?” when some pretty dark things happened
– However, most importantly, by the end I thought to myself “Wow, this is pretty fucking bad.”
I honestly thought this show was going to be pretty average at first (5 out of 10). Then I thought, “Oh wow! This is actually pretty good!” from 9 to 37-ish (7/10). However, towards the end the show started pulling both random and shitty plot twists out of its ass, and then shooting them at us like it’s a “shit machine-gun” (2/10)…
TL;DR at the end
The story mainly follows two cliche and initially overpowered main protagonists named “Rokuro” and “Benio” as they overcome many hard trials thereby growing stronger and closer together displaying mild romance. They’re prophesized to be the “twin stars” or two chosen exorcists that will get married, have a baby, and the baby will be the most powerful exorcist called the “miko” (basically something like a baby Jesus that will save the world from all of the evil kegare monsters). The evil kegare monsters are sealed in an alternate dimension called “megano”, where the exorcists must go to fight them. Almost all of the characters are slowly introduced with background stories that are supposed to be tragic, but their backgrounds came across as overly done to the point where it was kind of just stupid-silly after a while. The story emphasizes that Rokuro and Benio both want to get stronger… and they do… At a snail’s rate anyways, but no worries because they often get sudden power ups out of nowhere. Mm~ sudden power ups. My favorite… (sarcasm)
The story really doesn’t have any depth, and it certainly isn’t realistic. For example, one of the main antagonists is basically just some psychotic kid with attachment issues. One thing that really pissed me off is that all of the villains kept saying phrases like:
“I am all powerful! and you are weak!”
“It is no use for you to try to win!”
“Oh, but it was all part of my master plan!”
“THIS TOO IS PART OF MY MASTER PLAN!”
and then the shitty plot twist that I mentioned earlier would be another antagonist saying,
“But your master plan was part of my SUPER master plan ALL ALONG! I have been using you, lesser antagonist, this whole time!”
I often just sat in my chair, apathetic to all of the bullshit that the characters kept pulling out of their asses.
I feel the story’s pace was much too slow, often dwelling much too long on the characterization and development of the twin stars. It wasn’t really exciting, so I didn’t feel like waiting to watch each new episode once a week. I actually ended up binge-watching once every four months. It had its ups and downs. It’s a pretty a pretty bad story overall. Towards the end, we randomly got hit with some pedophile plot twist shit, and I honestly don’t know what the hell to make of this anime anymore. It had its moments, but the story was actually pretty bad overall.
The art in the fight scenes sometimes looks like it’s from a game where they pause and call out the name of their attack with an epic pose before actually doing it. Everything freezes when this happens, so it adds a certain “style” to the art.
The art’s okay overall, but I feel that the series would be more appealing if the characters weren’t so… bright and cute…? Except there’s one thing that gets to me every time… It’s Rokuro… There are scenes when his art turns into something out of a horror movie. The animation is not the best with many still-frames and lack of dramatic camera angles. The art’s fine overall.
What can I say? They did a pretty good job on the sound. The OST is mainly dubstep, which threw me off at first, but I kind of like it now. The fighting works well, background music fits completely and enhances the setting. Openings and endings are also very fitting. It’s actually relatively unique, but it’s not special or powerful like something like something Yuki Kajiura or Sawano Hiroyuki would make. Only one OST was memorable for me until episode 27’s opening theme. But now that I finished the anime, I actually occasionally catch myself thinking about their OSTs! (I guess 50 episodes of an anime will do that to you).
The characters were okay, at best. However, towards the end, they ended up having little to no real depth at all. In general, they’re pretty much just average characters with nothing much special about them except for Rokuro’s shark teeth (main male character). I initially hated both Rokuro and Benio, but, I actually started liking the main characters around episode 14/15 after they unnecessarily spent all of that time developing the twin stars. However, they’re basically just kids with sad background stories tasked with saving the world from Kegare. Honestly, they probably could have made this series into about 24 episodes if they skipped the unnecessary development episodes.
There are a lot of side characters with the potential to be interesting, but they all got little to no development. The dynamic between Benio and Rokuro is pretty nice to watch, but there’s nothing too special here. Rokuro’s starts off as kind of annoying, fiery, not that smart, and overpowered, but the enemies do get much stronger and Rokuro matures quite a bit and actually becomes a pretty cool character. Benio is the typical smart, cool, amazingly strong, but lonely character. She too grows as the series progresses.
This show… is hard to describe in terms of enjoyment… At first, it was fun because it reminded me of a cool game (7/10). As it progressed, the initial excitement died down (5/10). It was very predictable up until a certain point, but things started becoming less predictable as it progressed (7/10). Some of the plot twists were cool, but the plot twists towards the end were just plain stupid (2/10). In fact, I was legitimately shocked by how ridiculous and incoherent it started getting. It’s definitely more suited to a younger less mature audience, but there are some aspects of the anime that are unexpectedly dark for a kids show. An older audience may still enjoy it because it’s somewhat entertaining (maybe), although you probably won’t be able to relate to it much as an older individual.
The story progressed too slowly, they took too long to develop the MCs, the characters were too cliche, but the anime wasn’t all that bad and actually had a decent amount of good moments. The show is bearable, but I wouldn’t recommend this anime to you unless you’ve already seen a bunch of the other top shounen out there. So basically, it was pretty bad and I think your time would be better spent elsewhere.
“Do I recommend this to you personally?”
Personally? Absolutely not. I could never wholeheartedly recommend this anime to anyone. It’s just something I watched to kill time.
However, if you like exorcists and shounen anime, are younger than 16, and like slow stories, then maybe you should give it a shot someday.
If you want realistic and mature characters, then no you should look elsewhere.
In fact, you probably should just look elsewhere unless you’re out of anime to watch.
I strongly recommend that you check out these other similar, but better exorcist/demon-related shounen anime first if you haven’t already:
1. D. Gray Man 9/10 (103 eps) The second season 8/10 (13 eps) came 10 years later
2. Bleach 9/10 (366 eps)
3. Ao no Exorcist 9/10 (37 eps between 2 seasons)
4. Nurarihyon no Mago 9/10 (50 eps between 2 seasons)
5. Shakugan no Shana 8/10 (76 eps between 3 seasons)
(if you agree or enjoyed reading, let me and others know by clicking helpful or commenting on my page~ If you disagree let me know why you disagree so I can do better next time! thanks~)
Story: The world we live in is a place that exists parallel to its antithesis, a place known as Magano. In it, the negative thoughts of humans merge together and form creatures of corruption and sin known as ‘Kegare’. Kegare feed off of the spirtual power of humans and are destructive creatures that threaten the world we know. In order to combat this, there are people known as Omnyouji with high spiritual power and battle the Kegare in a never-ending war to save humanity from their power. To save humanity, the power of the Miko, a being born from the twinstar exorcists must be brought into the world. Who are the twinstar exorcists? Some shithead named Rokuro and an equally prissy girl named Benio. Oh boy…
Omnyouji’s story is in short, arduous. Spanning 50 episodes of content, what we’re given as a plot is, in simple terms, a slew of shonen tropes that span from the power of friendship, all the way to wanting to save everybody, and sudden bursts of power because, plot convenience. Despite being an adaptation of a relatively popular series, Omnyouji doesn’t have much to offer. It becomes painfully easy to see what comes our way, and a lot of what it is boils down to ham-handed philosophies of two opponents fighting each other with fists clenched while shouting each other’s names. Rinse and repeat that process over twenty times over, and you have what roughly equates to the entire show’s runtime in a flash.
The main attributer as to why the show is so devoid of any originality or interesting developments is because, rather than following what the manga had already mapped out for Perriot to adapt, the studio decided to take a different turn and by Episode 20, change the show’s path down an anime original path that has no connection to its original source material at all. This proved to be a very big contributor as to why the show has such big flaws with its story, as the saga we’re introduced to turns the show into a display of power as our protagonists “get stronger” as more and more opponents get introduced for no other reason than to make the penultimate plot of “The end of the world is coming” a reality for the end so that the show would have some form of grand finale.
Another problem comes with how I feel as though the show had too much time. Most often than not, the case of screentime boils down to not having enough time for a series in order to tell the story that was intended. Many episodes felt like throwaway episodes, as the show would squander its screentime with flashbacks that have already been shown many times over, recaps of what happened in the last ten or so episodes, or would have episodes solely devoted to talking just to fill up the twenty-four minutes that were allotted for the episode. As such, episodes like this added to the weariness of how Omnyouji displayed itself, making the what was already tedious, even more tedious to watch.
Omnyouji’s problems arose when trying to milk what had already been drained dry. The show doesn’t try anything new in the realm of shonen anime, as the roughly twenty five hours it takes to watch this series can be described with just a tropes that almost every shonen anime uses in its plotline. That, combined with how slow some of the episodes feel, and how predictable everything is, ultimately creates a tiring experience that isn’t worth the time or effort to have.
– All the shonen tropes
– Predictable story
– Many pointless episodes
– Deviation from the source material did not work
Characters: Likewise, characters have the similar problem with being your run of the mill shonen tropes without what seems like little to no thought with how to make them interesting beyond what they’re given.
Both of our main characters, Enmado Rokuro and Adashino Benio start off the series hating each other’s guts. With the series intentionally pairing them up in order to bring the Miko into the world, it’s no surprise by what the end result of the series becomes. The pair of Omnyouji are as expected. You have the reckless, brash boy who listens to no one and wants to get stronger with his own strength and his own merits, and you have the girl who doesn’t like the boy (at the beginning) who also wants to get stronger and basically has the exact same goals that the boy does. The character progression for the relationship between these two is noticeable and gradual, which is something that I believe that the show does well on. However, as far as everything else is concerned, that’s about where the positives end. Their goals are nothing special, their progression is somewhat minimal, and the show makes it very hard for them to lose. They may struggle, but everything turns out extremely ok at the end. They’re boring. They’re boring because the show doesn’t even attempt to make their pains and struggles seem minimal when everything just comes to them so easily, and it becomes very hard to care for characters who despite everything, have plot armor so thick that not even someone who is virtually god can’t break through it.
As far as villains go, most if not all can be described as characters who have a single goal that serves as an obstacle that can easily be overcome once given enough episodes. Become the best, take over the world, destroy humanity; all of these goals have been done over and over again in more interesting ways that have been displayed here. It doesn’t help that the villains spend more time talking than executing their evil plan, or hell, let the protagonist live when they could easily kill them, so they become minor hurdles that the characters have to jump over to continue on with the story.
Side characters are a wide bunch that, like most long-running shonen series, are either the friends that the main protagonists are fighting for, and are the less than stellar characters of the same kind who will never amount to anything when compared to the feats that the main protagonists have achieved. They’re your standard group of side characters in a shonen series, and there’re very few if any noteworthy characters to talk about since they’re largely tropes like; the third wheel, the mentor, the annoying mascot, and rivals.
+ Character development for the protagonists
– Entire cast feels like a giant soup of tropes
Art: Perriot’s art shines as an example of inconsistency and quality issues. While normally the show has a lot of blunt and bright colors that are less than stellar in quality, the main problem with Omnyouji’s art is how consistent the company is with making their scenes.
When the show wants to, the lighting and the shadows can make the scene look good enough to actually look good. However, when the show doesn’t want to, the art looks like a mess of colors combined with clear flaws in the details when it comes to characters’ appearance. Fight scenes in a supposedly action heavy series are mostly characters standing and talking about each of their side and philosophies while not mercilessly beating the crap out of each other. A one-two punch, a lot of talking, some more punching, a lot more talking, and end the fight. The fight scenes hardly have any ‘fight’ in them, so they feel very disengaging and unexciting to watch.
+ Can look good
– Largely inconsistent
– Minimalistic fight scenes
Sound: Omnyouji’s soundtracks are not memorable. Being roughly 4 cours long, the show has 4 pairs of OPs and EDs that help run the show’s opening and ending bits to section off each of the four parts that the show’s in. Despite having watched all of the songs in full, none of the tracks stick out to me in my head as something that was both enjoyable or memorable. So if you ask me, the tracks are not worth your time.
Personal Enjoyment: It’s been about a year since I started watching the first episode, and I honestly can’t remember the reason why I even started it in the first place. Coming out of it though, Omnyouji stands as a show that ultimately was a huge waste of time. Nothing about it made me excited about watching the next episode, and slogging through episode after episode felt like a tiring excavation to find any glint of originality to make me interested in the series. The shift from the source material certainly didn’t help its case, as the random encounters with new anime-original villains didn’t do anything but make the series even more difficult to like.
Did I like this series?
For me, there’s nothing to like. You can find better examples of everything this show did elsewhere.
What didn’t I like about this series?
Though I’m tempted to say ‘everything’, the biggest problem I had was with Benio’s shikigami, Kinako. Kinako’s high screechy voice shouting at the top of his lungs was like nails on a chalkboard. He wasn’t cute, was extremely annoying, and became a huge hindrance to the series because his constant shouting and attempts at ‘helping’ had me in a tizzy on whether or not I should finish the show, or quit halfway.
Would I recommend this anime?
To me, Omnyouji is not worth it. Reusing almost every shonen trope that exists, Omnyouji’s adaptation has almost nothing original about it as its largely anime-original plot turns its 50 episode runtime into a bingo game to see if you can get a bingo from all of the tropes that they shove into the series. Its lack of originality makes it a tiring experience to have, and I for one am thankful that it’s over. Because there is no way I’m ever going to watch a 50 episode on-going series ever again.
~ If I had one dollar for every time someone said “I want to get stronger” during the anime, I would have been rich!~
Characters: I liked the affectionate involvement of the main characters, Benio and Rokuro. They grow and mature throughout the series, they support and motive each other in order to achieve their goal.
Story: The plot unfolds slowly and personally I got bored. It got a bit tedious and monotonous as we watch the protagonists “getting stronger” while more and more opponents appear. Unnecessary scenes and characters.
The comedy was funny. Maybe it was one of they best aspects of the series.
Art: The style and quality of the art change during the series. The characters design was really poor in some episodes, their faces looked like they were drawn by a child. However, other scenes were detailed designed with beautiful colours.
Sound: The music caught my attention! The #3 opening song is my favorite:)
The background music was fitting the atmosphere, very good work!
Overall, it’s 7/10. I suggest you give it a try!
7: Imouto sae Ireba Ii.
English: A Sister’s All You Need
MAL Score: 7.33
Itsuki Hashima is a light novelist obsessed with little sisters, strictly focusing on them when he writes his stories. Despite his personality, he is surrounded by a tight circle of friends: Nayuta Kani, a genius yet perverted novelist who is in love with him; Haruto Fuwa, a fellow male author whose work has seen considerable success; Miyako Shirakawa, a good friend that he met in college; and Chihiro, his perfect younger step-brother who takes care of the housework and cooking.
Together, they play strange games, go on spontaneous journeys, crack silly jokes, and celebrate each other’s successes. However, each individual must also deal with their own issues, whether it is struggling to meet a deadline or coming to terms with traumatic events buried in their past.
Probably not A Sister’s All You Need (AKA: Imouto Sae Ireba Ii) but it’s a pretty damn misleading name.
It’s definitely caused a bit of confusion for people deciding whether to watch it or avoid it like the plague, so before I start the review I feel like it’s necessary to say what this show is and what it isn’t.
This show isn’t…
-A little sister romance.
-A rip off of Eromanga-sensei.
-Ecchi, but there are few over-the-top lengthy fanservice scenes.
-A kids’ show, despite how the characters appear.
-The horrifying events that occur in the first 3 minutes. It gets better after that, I swear.
This show is…
-About the ups and downs of being an artist.
-A character study. Yes, as ridiculous as that sounds this show is about the characters, not the story.
-A (perverted) gag comedy.
-Unfiltered. Characters do and say what they please. Be prepared to laugh and possibly to be offended.
No time is spared in establishing the perverted tone. Within the first three minutes of episode one, the main character’s horrifying sister fantasy is shown to the audience in grotesque detail. Later it’s shown that the main character’s editor is reading then spitefully denying his appalling work as he drops the script to the table (not unlike how I initially dropped the show after only that first scene). The start of the show may be a bit alienating to anyone who isn’t prepared for a sis-con, but it does a good job of preparing you for the show’s absurdity even if no other scene reaches the heights of the first few minutes. Don’t take this as praise though. The show knows where the line is between too much fanservice is, and it purposefully crosses it to get you to think about how disgusting the whole fantasy is. It’s self-deprecating for sure, but that’s part of the charm.
A sister obsessed light novel writer, his younger stepsister, a perverted novelist, his plain jane friend, and a few more writers and publishers make up the cast. The story is small in scale, but it gives the characters plenty of room to develop. The main character struggles to come up with new material and jokes ensue around him in his distraction. He gets some absurd story ideas turned down by his editor. He spends a lot of time in his apartment with his friends playing games, telling jokes, talking about anime, and this all brings about plenty of funny perverted gag humor. If you can’t gel with perverted humor then I don’t think this is the show for you, but give it a chance beyond just judging a book by its cover.
Despite looking and acting like teenagers, the characters are used to adult life and often show their wisdom in conversations. They can be really perverted at times and seem like sickos but over time they grew on me. Through great moments of the character’s reflecting on themselves you’re able to get into their heads and understand why they are and what motivates them. For the characters to be so well developed it becomes easy to get invested in the ups and downs of their lives as they become adults. We learn about what formed them into the people they are through the many outgoing conversations they have with each other. They’re not perfect friends and their chemistry isn’t totally perfect, but the way they clash adds to their believability. I find myself justifying their actions no matter how deplorable by referring to the minor details that built their foundations as people.
All of their weird quirks just make them so believable, the weird insistence on sisters that Itsuki has, how Nayuta only writes naked, and Miyako’s jealousy of lives of her interesting friends. We know these characters for more than just their weird quirks. We seek how they interact with one another, not just the main character, we get a sense of what their lives are like outside of Itsuki’s apartment. Even the supporting cast of publishers, freelance artists, writers, mangaka, and just normal people all have expressive enough personalities to carry the show for the brief time that they appear to offer some wisdom or humor.
I don’t gauge characters based on how realistic they may seem, I gauge them on believability. Could the characters in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii exist? Probably not, but after seeing what formed them into the people they are I’m more inclined to believe.
[Story: 7/10] Practically a slice of life. No ending.
[Character: 8/10] Well written, they offer a lot to think on. Believable.
[Art: 7/10] Lots of sitting, not a ton of animation. Some hilarious imagination scenes.
[Sound: 7/10] Simple op that gets minor changes from time to time, very chill ed.
[Enjoyment: 8/10] Unfiltered comedy, surprisingly emotional drama, drawn-out fanservice scenes.
[Final Score: 7.4/10]
Not every joke lands, but enough do to keep it enjoyable. What had me coming back to it week after week was the realistic drama mixed in randomly with the zany comedy that would surprise me when my guard was down. The characters evolved into people I actually liked, not just the stupid pandering archetypes I initially pegged them to be.
A lot of you who just watched the first episode are probably bloody confused, the first 5 minutes in nothing but ecchi, and cringey ecchi on top of that. But thats where the protagonist fits in, his love is cringey/unconditional due to the experiences he has had in life, however this series focuses as much on the MC as it does everyone else, meaning that towards the end there is only one character who really brings forth these scenes.
The story itself is episodic and whilst there are buildups that helps with the flow, that being said its not one of those exciting ones, just a warm and fuzzy story which is why I cannot give it a great score despite my liking it.
The art is a bit more different from the usual anime, that is not to say it isn’t good, but its something to bear when watching the thing. There isn’t much to say aside from that, but I do know some who were slightly put off by this art style.
Opening was great, thats one thing all the new anime have in common this season. But the actual bgm/ost in this doesn’t really stand out. Once again simply because of the type of anime, but for the most part it compliments the story and doesn’t feel out of place.
This is where the anime stands out for me, with an anime like this the characters are the focus and the story is merely a means to compliment them. You have the passionate MC who as I’ve mentioned before is slightly eccentric, the reason for this was explored slightly too late for my taste, a mistake a lot of anime make, but even without the reasoning it should be too hard to empathize with. On top of that you have a small assortment of females, each with their own reason for being there and supporting the MCs. That being said there is none of the typical cat fights that go on in so many anime, instead its more of a slow paced romance that eventually falls into place.
The relationship between characters is rather dynamic and there are many small changes in the story that put said relationships to the test, which is always good to see.
I personally put 9 in my score, but 8.5 is probably slightly more accurate. A good one to watch if you have the time and managed to muddle your way past the first episode but for those who are expecting an ecchi incest anime its probably better to give this one a miss.
First off, ignore the first five minutes. As a writer, Hashima Itsuki is peculiar. After getting an earful from his editor for the umpteenth time, he goes off on his usual schpeel about the greatness that is the ‘imouto’, before being promptly told to take his work seriously and get his shit done on time, like any novelist with a deadline. And so, that’s…basically where our story starts.
Based solely on its cast, Imouto Sae (that’s my shorthand this time around) is a slice of life romp seen through the eyes of its literature-based cast as Itsuki and the rest of the main cast do what writers do. Each episode is focused on the character interactions between the cast, whether it be for research for someone’s book or spending time with one another through games that act more as a creative exercise for their brains. The show’s naturally lax nature exudes the slice of life genre, utilizing a brand of conversational humor with the main focus being what the oddities that are its characters and how they are as people as the brunt of its comedic prowess. On the outside, not much really happens since episode after episode, it’s basically the same thing, but slowly, we watch as more minute and complex matter arise.
At times, the show ever so slightly shaves away its naturally fluffy and slice of life feel and touches upon the ‘writer’s struggle’, or at least those relating to LN authors that adds more to the show. We sort of see the individual problems that each of the authors in the show face, touching upon different personal problems that add a nice subtlety to the overall story as the sunshine and rainbow of everything we see sheds away for that brief, sober moment amidst the characters’ happily drunk nature being published authors.
Yet despite that, the one problem I see from the show is that nothing seems to change. Sure there’re events that lead one thing to another, but because the slightly deeper moments of the show fade away once they’re over and leave but a shadow of their impact, much of what we get is the status quo which, while amusing, poses a problem when the moments of deeper thought were only just a few minutes ago. The ending also leaves a lot of loose ends that I’m not particularly fond of. Kind of like a ‘read the manga’ ending, but not so assholeish that they stop in the middle of some plotline that you’ll never get an answer to.
+ Provides a nice look into the ‘writer’s struggle’
+ Never melodramatic despite being a show featuring interpersonal relationships and such
– Tends to stick too much to the status quo
– A bit too many loose ends by the end
A connoisseur of the little sister, Hashima Itsuki is the writer of a magic academy series, or by its other name, ‘trash’. (I jest, I jest.) Initially seen as nothing but a pervert too prideful in his own work, Itsuki has many moments where his inferiority shows through the cracks, and the cheerful facade that we see through most of the show slowly fades away as he reveals his own insecurities as a writer. As someone who’s also been guilty of saying “I’m not good enough” to myself, I find Itsuki to exemplify much the internal battle inside someone who writes, with just enough of this hidden side of him to give us a proper character.
Despite that subtle complexity, the true star of the show (at least in my eyes) is Nayuta herself, the popular 18 year old novelist who from episode one has never stopped trying to get into Itsuki’s pants without committing a crime in the process. A natural prodigy at writing, much of her story lies in the events that led her to becomes the girl that we see her as now. It’s less of a writer’s struggle, and more of a personal struggle, but all the same is done in a way that adds just enough to her character to give us the viewer some more information. Aside from that though, Nayuta acts much like a supplementary character to Itsuki, giving him the drive to be the writer he always wanted to be. Their relationship is cute, and I personally really like the direction they went to explain why things between the two are the way they are.
To round out the quartet, both Miyako and Haruto act as similar characters with their issues, boasting a personal and professional struggle respectively that again, adds enough to their characters to bolster and solidify their problems as looming parts of their lives, like how normal people are.
Aside from them, the cast is filled with a cast of colorful weirdos that spice up the gaps that the main cast leaves behind. Everything from an accountant who takes joy in the squirming in others to a mangaka who wears a ribbon of questionable material provides us with a weird yet amusing spectrum that makes the episodes that much more fun.
+ Rounded main cast
+ Amusing side cast
Produced by Silver Link, the show replicates the original artist Kantoku’s style of the slightly muted color palette in conjunction of super shiny, almost reflective hair that’s commonplace in the works he draws for. Art quality is very consistent throughout due to the show’s severe lack of need for any taxing animation (since everyone basically just sits around), and stands as a nice relaxing sight without anything bad to note.
As far as fanservice goes, the show does have several choice moments that are certainly more risque than what the rest of the show is in comparison, but it’s super tame, and if it ever gets out of hand, the show goes to use its various colorful slides with text on the front for ‘censorship’. One of the most amusing ways to censor something if you ask me. (Though I will admit that Nayuta is the cause of most if not all of these so blame her.) Most of the perverted comedy is done through innuendos and spoken words, so visually, it’s not severely apparent.
+ Consistent quality
+/- Some fanservice, but not much
Chouchou’s “Ashita no Kimi sae Ireba Ii.” stands as a song that when combined with the visuals, harkens to the whimsy that authors feel when writing their works, the wonder than a person feels when they put their imagination on paper. Personally, I feel like many of her other songs are more memorable, but this is no way a bad song and given the placement and usage of this song in the series, certainly has its impact.
On the flipside, Aria Yuuki’s “Donna Hoshizora yori mo, Donna Omoide yori mo” is a more somber piece that ends the episode on a calming and closing note that compared to the slightly more energetic whimsy of its OP counterpart, gives us pleasing resolution to the episode rather than some seiyuu song or something that doesn’t have much impact
+ Nice and whimsical tracks
I think my first reaction to watching this show’s PV was ‘Yes’. Not for really any particular reason, but it just seemed like the show I was really going to like. And surprise surprise, it was. It has the quality of touching on the personal problems and the insecurities and stress of making a good story and making a name for yourself in the publishing world without succumbing to melodrama or any kind of super contrived storyline which is refreshing in a landscape where anything drama-based resorts to melodrama. It’s a show I watched because I was intrigued, but stayed because I genuinely resonated with the characters having had tinges of these problems myself when writing stuff in my own time. So for that, I appreciate this show and am really glad that this was something on my seasonal list.
Did I like this show?
If I haven’t sung enough praises about my enjoyment of this show, then yes, I did like the show. In particular, I really like Nayuta. I’m always a fan of girls who know what they want and earnestly strive for that person they love because often times you get tsunderes or some other stupid trope of girls undeserving of the happy ending they get in the end without rhyme or reason. (Abuse is not love, girls) But more than that, the relationship both professional and personal between Itsuki and Nayuta stands as one of my absolute favorite things of the show because there is reason why Itsuki doesn’t take the plunge and overall gives more depth to the protagonist.
What didn’t I like about this show?
Nothing particularly irked me, but my only wish is that somehow they continue this. The loose ends were vaguely irritating and given the setup that we were given in the last few minutes, a sequel is all the more possible from that. (We do not talk about the first five minutes of the entire show. That shit is repressed.)
Would I recommend this show?
Personally, I say yes. Though the show is infamous for the first five minutes of the first episode, if you do get past that gate (and trust me, there is an explanation), you are in for a slice of life adventure that really is more than meets the eye. It’s a lax show focused entirely on its characters and their interactions, taking time every now and then to expand upon its cast to smooth and polish them out a little more for depth. Plus it’s got a nice helping of wackiness that makes things a helluva lot more entertaining than it should.
6: Hitorijime My Hero
English: Hitorijime My Hero
MAL Score: 7.36
Masahiro Setagawa is a hopeless teenager who is often used by the neighborhood bullies as an errand boy. Defenseless, Masahiro knows that nobody will ever save him. However, his life drastically changes when he meets Kousuke Ooshiba, a man known as the “Bear Killer,” who takes down neighborhood gangs.
A year later, Masahiro and his former friend, Kensuke Ooshiba, attend high school, only to find that Kousuke is their math teacher. While the three grow closer, Masahiro starts to view Kousuke as his “hero,” and Kousuke develops an urging desire to protect Masahiro. However, their normal lives take a turn when Kensuke’s childhood friend, Asaya Hasekura, returns, seeing Kensuke as more than just a friend, much to his surprise. Will the three boys be able to live a regular high school life? Or will forbidden love keep them apart forever?
~ Setagawa, ep 4.
And that’s practically ever BL protagonist ever, isn’t it?
Anyway, if you aren’t interested in reading my entire review (because who enjoys reading long reviews, huh?), here’s a TL;DR version of it:
If you’re a fujoshi or someone who’s tired of the same tropes being used in BL (abusive seme, weak MC, cliché romance), then Hitorijime is something you’ll enjoy. But if you’re looking for something new, refreshing or path breaking in the BL genre, look somewhere else.
This review will contain my opinions on what I liked and disliked about the anime. If you’re interested, read on! Man, I remember when news of a new Shounen Ai anime was released. EVERY fujoshi account in existence went crazy over this development, and the Mystic Messenger fandom couldn’t get enough of the fact that one of the MCs totally looked like Jumin Han (which he really did from certain angles, honestly). My Insta and FB newsfeeds were littered with scenes and GIFs from episodes as and when they were released. But me being the kinda person who waits for an anime to finish airing so that she can binge watch it in a day, patiently waited for three entire months for Hirotijime to, you know, finish airing.
Now, since it’s Shounen Ai, the entire anime’s focus is on the increased closeness between our two MCs – Setagawa (the blond aka MC1) and Kousuke (the Jumin Han lookalike, aka MC2), as well as the doubts and trauma they both go through. The anime’s first three episodes, for some reason, were dedicated solely to the love story between MC1’s bestie (Kensuke) and his long lost friend Asaya (whose character design looks suspiciously similar to that of Sunagawa’s from Ore Mongatari). The dialogues were lackluster, the story had tropey elements and had certain aspects that I sincerely hoped the BL genre would have got rid of by now. The biggest sinners, ofc, are tropes where the seme kisses the uke WITHOUT HIS CONSENT and that’s portrayed as totally okay bc the seme is in love with the uke. Uh, no. Consent exists for a reason. But I digress. I did not like how this secondary romantic relationship developed – the seme gave the uke an ultimatum – bed me, or leave me. What the fuck?? That’s not what you say to someone who genuinely thinks of you as a good friend. And magically, this ultimatum made the uke realize his actual feelings for the seme and tadaaaaaaa!! They’re lovers. Again – what the fuck??
Also, the character responses were 1 second too late. So that was annoying.
However, things did improve for the better when the relationship between MC 1 and 2 was explored. But there were several things that were not explained. Like, at all. First, how does a ruffian like MC2 become a respectable teacher in a boys’ school?? How and when did he get such an education? What forced him to make the change? How was his violent past (and I’m assuming, his criminal records) NOT an issue with the principal when hiring this dude as a temp??? Second, when and why does MC1 colour his hair blond?? The change in colour isn’t even used as a plot device, so why bother changing his hair colour at all? If you really wanted him to be blond this badly, then why not make him a blond child, instead of a child with ginger coloured hair?? These two things confused me till the very end if anybody reading this review has an answer, do let me know. Third, and most importantly, how could MC2 be so chill about kissing MC1 so openly in the school hallways? I mean, I get that you don’t care about what people think and all, but DUDE. You could literally be jailed for getting physical with a MINOR. Fourth, why did MC1 have to be a minor? The setting could have easily taken place in a college instead of a school and literally everything would have remained the same, except for the fact that this anime wouldn’t have been normalizing paedophilia. Ugh.
So, anyway. Some of the dialogues were very well written, especially in the second half. My fav was when the dude who was ‘grossed out’ by MC1’s relationship (and was eventually shunned by his friend circle) said,“Nobody’s on my side. The one who speaks out is automatically the villain”. Not because it’s very deep, philosophical or ground breaking, but simply because of how REAL it was. I also enjoyed the little character details which made the show a little more memorable for me. For example, MC1 is a nice boy, yet he has ear piercings and wears rings on his knuckles (which nice guys absolutely never do in anime). His mother’s a prostitute, and it’s a miracle the boy turned out to be as normal as he is. Perhaps that’s also why he was totally chill when his bestie started dating a guy – you’re not exactly in any position to judge anybody when you yourself come from a pretty questionable place, you know. MC2 is a chain smoker (I didn’t like that, but it’s a unique quality nonetheless) and has big eyes, while it’s the uke who has smaller eyes. Generally, it’s the other way around, so this one thing that definitely stood out for me. However, MC1’s eyes were so beady (they reminded me of the eyes of the MC from Yahare Ore whatever the fuck its name is) that they actually made me not like him as much as I’d hoped. Why go for such an eye design? And he was the only one with such small eyes. Another breaking of clichés that I enjoyed was the seme encouraging the uke to take an initiative to kiss him. We don’t generally get to see that in BL bc it’s almost always the seme who’s the more dominant one (and by extension, the one more in control) in the relationship.
It was cute to see how one of MC1’s friend reacted (and handled) to his relationship with MC2. The friend then went on to join a different group of guys, and the way the group leader spoke to him made for an unnecessary (and yet more likeable) aspect of the details of the anime that I enjoyed about it.
Episode 11 was definitely the highlight of the series. It had raw dialogues, show cased the internal/emotional struggles between both our MCs when MC1 decided to call of the relationship, and both the boys reacted exactly like normal people would in such a situation. I believe that episode was handled quite well. The engagement at the end of Episode 12 was totally ripped off Yuri on Ice, but I liked how it was played out. Totally did not see that coming!
***End of Spoilers***
Art: 6 (basic)
Story: 6 (predictable)
Sound: 6 (Catchy OP)
So, why an overall score of 7? Because of late, this has been the only anime that I binge watched in two days. It was nothing path breaking, but it was definitely worth a onetime watch.
“you can decide, do you want to sleep with me or not have anything to do with me at all“ (couple 1)
“enough, stop pretending, i know you want me to screw you“ (couple 2)
“i didn‘t mean the relationship when i asked ‚so this is the end?‘.“ (couple 2)
does the art even matter if you hate the show’s concept of love?
my inner alarm bells were triggered so many times throughout this show. it is sickening to think about how many people are stuck in unhealthy relationships like these. seriously guys, i even liked Super Lovers, but this is a whole new level. make a reality check before you’re tricked into fangirl mode. DEFINITELY DO NOT WATCH IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED EMOTIONAL ABUSE IN YOUR PAST!
uke1 and seme1 haven‘t seen each other since elementary school when they meet again in high school and seme1 drops that „sex or not spending time“ line. let me remind you, at this point they’re strangers, they missed crucial years for anybody’s character development! while the anime suggests somebody who is in love would say something like that uke1 wants his old best friend back so bad that instead of punching him and moving on, he realizes he’s in love with that jerk.
WTF, this is emotional dependency at its best. you’re so afraid to loose an important person that you would do anything said person demands. and adults comment „they were close as kids, must mean they love each other“ – great, so this is the level of depth this anime has…
in their actual relationship this pattern continues. seme1 can’t stand that uke1 has a best friend and is constantly mean to him. uke1 complains but does nothing no matter how unbearable it gets. it is sickening that the show implies this is ok and what love looks like and obviously gets away with it, looking at all the good reviews. just to be clear, this is not seme1 „having a character“, but simply being shitty. if he had any character at least you‘d be able to say uke1 has a messed up taste, but nah, there’s just nothing they could actually love each other for.
neglected child meets man with helper complex. this dynamic of the main couple sounds dark and quite promising, both sides have a good psychological reason to fall in love. the gang history of both of them as well as the present teacher student situation feel a little like too obvious choices, but whatever, i like it, it‘s sexy. or so i thought. the problem is not the age gap but how seme2 behaves in this scenario.
uke2 lived in hell when seme2 lets him stay at his home. hero turns stray into housewife (eye roll), secretly feelings develop as familiarity builds up over the years. but ok, if the grooming a bride vibes don‘t turn you off, it‘s cute.
when the teenager finally shows signs of a crush but doesn’t make a move the adult gets impatient. deciding the time of restraint and patting hair is over because he might get some 15y old booty now he drops line 2 from above, in a casual conversation. eww. and to top his shitshow off he lies about not being able to return the teen‘s feelings, although he actually expects him to come forward afterwards.
WTF. we understand you can’t restrain your desires any longer, we know the drill, but is uke2 so unimportant to you, you didn‘t even think this through for 2 consecutive minutes? of course, not only does this crush self esteem, it destroys all the security you built up for him all. these. fucking. years. – for what? a quicker fuck? that’s just disgusting. how selfish can a person be? could this be handled any worse? is „l’m just not a hero“ all you got as an excuse for being an absolute ass? why don‘t you stop him from running away?
down falls the neglected child and with it all the likeability of seme2. but of course this is not the end of things, because… yeah, this is shonen ai.
future „romantic“ events include:
breaking into your student‘s apartment when your bad conscience is finally bugging you. not caring for the pace your 15y old is comfortable with, constantly telling him he needs to show more initiative. playing games about being found out at school although your partner doesn’t want it. knowingly hurting your partner for the sake of teaching him a oh so ‚valuable‘ life lesson. using your friends for a stupid loyalty test to further provoke the thought that the relationship is in constant danger. not seeking the healthy conversation immediately, making sure to trigger his insecurity problems, repeatedly, knowingly. seriously saying line 3!!!
all of this is painful to watch. because again – this is emotional dependency. when everything good that ever happened to uke2 is connected to seme2, then without him, he has simply nowhere to go. breaking up or even trying to avoid the other to think means going back to life in hell. and seme2 doesn‘t care enough to act a tad more responsible and prevent his lover from scarring. instead he is provoking the poor teenager again and again.
being in love is no excuse for totally misusing your position of power. don’t get me wrong, nobody’s perfect. but we’re talking bare minimum common sense here. seme2 could’ve easily taken the pressure from uke2 and given him the assurance he knows this boy needs. you don’t need to be a hero to tell your loved one that it’s ok to have doubts. that he can stay at home anyways. but he doesn’t. why this is considered love i don‘t know, to me it certainly is nauseating.
if i have to give the anime credit for anything then it would be that it is bold enough to pick the topic of being stuck in an unhealthy relationship.
i think it’s great that gay relationships in general are normalized by the characters. i like the artstyle. i like that it concentrated on an established relationship. that it showed how difficult relationships with big age gaps are for the more experienced partner.
but in the end i can‘t forgive that it‘s romanticizing emotional abuse.
actually nobody should.
the devil lies in the details stated above.
i don‘t want to overlook everything just because this is anime and the industry cannot overcome its tropes. or just because it is shonen ai and there is not a lot of better stuff out there.
i hope someday the quality of my favourite genre will change into something the gay community mustn‘t be ashamed of – No.6 and banana fish are a good start, watch them instead if you haven‘t already, they have an actual genre besides shonen ai. it’s quite sad that this show has almost a rating as high as those…
Story- basic concept that can be guessed from a teacher/student relationship. Common concerns and drama are present. If you’re tired of the cliches, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this. However for those you enjoy fluffy cliches in this genre, oh boy you’ll love this.
Art- It’s a bit lackluster. No explosions of color or movement. It’s relaxing.
Sound- romantic vibes all around. Gets repetitive in using the same fluff song. But the overall soundtrack is good.
Characters- Is there huge character development? Ehhhh not really besides some reconciling. There was potential in other characters like the barista and the mom (you’ll know what I mean). Our main character is conflicted the entire show and that’s what really drives it all.
Enjoyment- I will almost always enjoy a shounen ai anime just because it’s still uncommon compared to other genres. Still, the anime left a sweet note with me and lifts up the heart!
Overall- I would recommend this to someone who is new to shounen ai or just anyone who loves sweet conflict.
5: Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta.
English: Our love has always been 10 centimeters apart.
MAL Score: 7.49
Miou Aida and Haruki Serizawa might seem like polar opposites to those around them, but as the two third-years prepare to end their high school experience, they couldn’t have been been closer. While Miou is a shy and reserved member of the school art club that prefers to stay out of the limelight, Haruki is the boisterous and confident ace of the movie club, already winning awards for his directing prowess. However, after a previous chance encounter during their school entrance ceremony, they quickly become friends despite their stark differences in personality. But although their closeness might be growing, they’ve never become anything more than just that, much to the bewilderment of their friends.
As their time in high school draws to a close, Miou and Haruki, along with their friends in the art and movie clubs, have just one year left to face their hidden feelings and the daunting task of deciding their future careers. The two might always be only an arm’s reach away, but as Haruki chases his dream of becoming a professional movie director and Miou struggles with choosing a path for herself, they’ll learn just how hard it is to get past those last 10 centimeters.
Here’s the titles of the 2 movies
Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai
Suki ni Naru Sono Shunkan wo.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai
10 cm. Such as short distance. And yet it is too much to close this gap between these 2 people. No matter what you try, distance in love is not something easily explained. Although the person you love may be right next to you, you somehow feel that he/she is out of reach, almost impossible to ever meet to get closer. And when that person is on the other side of the world, you feel like you could reach him/her no matter what, holding on to your feelings. This is what ‘Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta.’ explores, the distance between people both literally and metaphorically. It is probably the best part about this anime.
The anime is pretty good in my opinion, unless you don’t want something a bit cliched. But even if it is, there are some anime series which do better on other things than just uniqueness. This is one of them, I think.
First of all, I wouldn’t say the story is the best part about this work. I think it was a bit too simplistic. A boy and girl seem to have a good relationship together. A few obstacles appear and this affects their friendship. They try their best to fix things up. That’s it. Nothing new about the story, this kind of story has already been explored in many other shows. If I was to pick something unique out of this, it’s probably the male lead’s hobby, which is film-making. Therefore I gave a 7.
In terms of characters, this series focuses on 1 main couple. They’re a very cute couple, whom I strongly wished to get more screen-time when I watched the other 2 movies. Other than the main couple there are other 2 pairs and we see some of their development too (and of course you would see them as well in the other 2 movies).
Miou is a good character, she is very honest and kind (too kind at times). The scenes when she’s shy were the ones that made me really like her, it’s a cute part of her personality. However her lack of confidence has been a slight problem. Miou was a bit too sensitive to the news about Haruki’s brother, blaming herself for the problem. Going a bit overboard there. It felt as if her weakness in perceiving certain things was deliberately made to be an obstacle in her relationship with Haruki, So I lowered the character score to 7.
Haruki is a very likeable character who is presented as someone who enjoys film making a lot, and is friendly to everyone in his club. I really liked the part where he doubted himself, people can always have a time when they’re not at their best and start to question their decisions. Maybe he’s a bit too good at film-making…
The art is really good, way above average I’d say. Very bright colors are used to create a joyful atmosphere throughout. 10/10. However I was a bit disappointed by the movements, sometimes it really looked forced and repetitive. Of course the sound is good thanks to Honeyworks, both the OP and ED are great. 10.
The merry atmosphere in the anime is something I must go over on. It’s the best aspect of this anime, and I’ve always seen ever since I watched the other movies. Whenever one or two of the characters are down, there is always someone who cheers them up or helps them out. It’s a simple yet essential part of the anime, forming a good development and only strengthening their friendship.
Overall, a 9 would be suitable. I’m the type who gives higher scores than most people so…
This is an excellent example of a romance anime done right and was definitely one of my favourite animes of fall 2017.
Our love has always been 10 centimeters apart is a good example of a normal high school romance with no extraordinary characteristics or tropes you normally see in these sorts of anime and it still managed to keep me engaged with the characters and their stories.
The art style and music is fantastic perfectly syncing to the scenes and made them all the more powerful. I began looking forward to watching the opening each week.
Characters were lovable and funny to watch making me wanting to support them and bridge that 10cm gap between them. The series keeps referring to that gap which is a nice touch.
The series is sadly only six episodes but is much better than most full series and was a great send off for 2017. If you want a quick watch masterpiece this is the series for you.
To be frank, I’d rate this anime for at least 3.5, given that the art and sound is kinda cool but story and characterization plays a lot on enjoyment, so you can see where exactly this story’s fall down is.
When I’ve actually watched the movie, Zutto Mae Kara Suki Deshita, I’ve given it an average score because out of the three couples it presented (which already gave way that there will probably be less development and progress within both characters and story line), I’ve actually liked Haruki and Miou the most. LIKED. This series burned that little respect I had away.
There are a lot of things I found awfully wrong in the anime like: (1) Why are they all friends (like I understand at least why the guys were but the girls were kinda meh), (2) How the f did those two even fall in love with each other? (the two main leads who are completely incompatible), (3) How can they be so effin unrelatable? and honestly so much more but I’m not writing a manuscript so I’ll stick with my major problem with this anime- Miou Aida.
Miou Aida is a shy, caring, tender, and loving female lead who has captivated the attention of popular aspiring film director Haruki (our main lead) because apparently, standing under cherry blossoms makes you all the more interesting. Look, I can’t even begin to explain why I don’t like this character. I know the intention of Miou’s character and all, but the way she was executed absolutely made me HATE her. Reading manga and watching anime for a while has made me numerously witness a writer’s attempt to make a female lead lovable, which is usually done by introducing it as shy and kind and completely unassuming. Let me explain: I mean, no one likes arrogant characters, right? Writers usually attempt to make their main leads humble to make them more lovable but that doesn’t always end up as the case as some writers overdo it, which results to dull and questionable characters like Miou.
Honestly, I don’t even get why a lot of people like her character. I personally prefer the purple-haired girl, she was, what I would like to say, the perfect female lead (I really wished she was). She was understanding, confident, and has a complete stand. Look, I get that some people have their insecurities and cannot be confident but it wouldn’t hurt for the girl to grow a backbone and actually own up to the compliments. How do I explain this exactly- imagine telling a model: “Wow, you’re so pretty” and getting “Oh no, I’m not pretty, no.” Makes you want to kick the model’s face, huh? That is just one of my problems with Miou.
The friendship was okay, but it wasn’t really that believable. I mean, if a friend of mine started jerking around with me and acted all cold with me and then even when I confront him/her says I’m better off not talking to him/her then SCREW HIM/HER. That’s kind of a jerk move, don’t you think? And yet Miou is somehow blessed with this great people who babies her even if she’s acting like a spoiled princess!
I also didn’t like how they butchered Haruki’s character. The boy was already fine as an ambitious aspiring film director but NO. Because Miou is going through drama after drama, somehow the writers thought that Haruki should too. I mean, the dream stuff at least was valid compared to my problem with the FL so I guess his character is a little developed than Miou? I don’t know. Either way, they weren’t really developed. But I’ll give props to the writers for at least making the ML a little decent. OMG, imagine if both of them were overly dramatic! Grrrr-
The art and sounds were really good, especially the music. It is Honeyworks after all.
To quip, I actually expected a lot from this series because they were my favorite couple from the first movie but I guess now, I’m questioning why the heck are they even still together? Like seriously, Haruki could do SO much better. I know I’m being a little harsh but I’ll take an arrogant tsundere over an insecure and completely boring FL. Like seriously, at least the former is a little empathetic than the latter.
Anyways, the story in my opinion was really dreadful compared to the two movies (which falls on average). Story and characters often falls in line and it would’ve been great at least to get some character development but instead we get drama, drama, drama. It would’ve been nice if they were at least relatable but to be honest, the only thing I found at least relatable was the dream conflict with Haruki, but even that was just a downgrade of his character but oh well. Judging from the first two movies, I probably shouldn’t have expected a decent story out of this. How I even finished this anime is beyond me.
PS. I also dislike how the major conflict (this went for like majority of the episodes) is Miou running away from Haruki because his (deceased) brother saved her? Like dude, she even got advise from that sensei that it was alright and it was not her fault (which was completely correct) and that she should live happily now knowing this and what does she do? Shut Haruki out completely (making him question what he’s done wrong and completely putting a lot of stress on his already stressed shoulders) and sulk about everything. Like if that isn’t being self-centered I don’t know what is.
Don’t get me wrong, I know survivor’s guilt and all but dude, AKI (HARUKI’S OLDER BRO) DIED BECAUSE OF AN EFFING DISEASE AND NOT BECAUSE HE SAVED MIOU OR WHATEVER. It really made me want to throw my phone whenever she monologues that it was all her fault and owns up the problem or whatever. I just find it so wrong and so unnecessary and a waste of time. That thinking was actually just toxic, TBH.
[END OF SPOILER]
PSS.I should know because I actually got to experience being friends with a Miou somewhere in my horrible life and let me tell you, it was a scarring experience. If you ever meet a Miou, run away screaming 😛
4: Tsurezure Children
English: Tsuredure Children
MAL Score: 7.61
Young love—it takes many unique and fascinating forms that flourish as children begin to mature into adults. From being unable to confess to not knowing what real love actually feels like, various obstacles can arise when learning about romantic attraction for the first time. But underneath all that, young love is something truly beautiful to behold, leading to brand new experiences for those young and in love.
Tsurezure Children depicts various scenarios of young love coming to fruition, along with the struggles and joys that it entails.
Except it’s not.
Tsurezure children represents an interesting pattern that no anime did before, instead of havinga main character, and the story around him/her, you have tons of pairs, and all of them are “main characters”.
Some of them get together early, some later, some don’t at all, you have so many options to see, that’s why it’s unique.
If you like one pair, it sucks when you know you’ll barely see them, as there are many more pairs, but if you dislike a pair, you know you won’t be seeing them much.
Overall I enjoyed Tsurezure children. I think the strongest point of it was the interesting and huge cast of characters. Instead of the usual “dense MC”, “Tsundere” and such tropes, you have more complex characters, each with his or her own tricks.
The only problem is that it didnt have enough time to really cover up much, if I choose one pair and take all the time together, they barely have even one full length (24min) episode. And Tsurezure Children’s episodes are only 12 minutes. While it was interesting seeing many pairs, at some point I felt like I want to just erase a few pairs so I can focus on the ones I love.
Some pairs just stopped existing, and I wish I could’ve seen my favorite pairs instead of the pairs that stole screen time. Each minute is important.
I RECOMMEND it, it’s also half the time of a normal one cour series, so it shouldnt take much time to watch, 9/10
As a fan of the manga, I originally had mixed expectations for this adaptation. The manga has over 140 chapters and ongoing. Each chapter is only a few pages long and it would feel like the show may have some difficultly to transform this into anime form. However, the first few episodes easily convinced me that this anime has what it takes to set the bar for a rom-com. At its core, Tsurezure Children is about relationships of young people. There is quite a diverse range of characters and some of the couples really stand out compared to others. What really made me appreciate the show is how smooth the story flowed with the characters. Despite just being half length, it doesn’t waste time to showcase character pairings. It mixes character drama, humor, realism, and romance altogether.
The show has a very colorful cast with all sort of characters. It has childhood friends, a tsundere, a delinquent, dominant guys, class representatives, stoic girl, drama club leaders, club members, etc. It’s like bringing together all the gimmicks you remember from high school days and stick them together. Of course, this invites all sorts of personalities into the show as well. What I find highly entertaining about the couple pairings is that all of them can be relatable. Think of your days when you were in school and the times when you had a crush on someone. If you look at the show from the characters’ perspective, it can feel like you’re there with them. And to be honest, I think that’s what makes this series really fun to watch. Romance is a very complex theme that has no real answer. Love is a very powerful emotion and this show explores that in many ways. Expect to hear confessions often and this show is not afraid to pull the trigger often between pairings.
Despite all the drama, the show is actually very lighthearted and comedy plays a big role to entertain the viewers. It’s very gimmicky with characters showing attraction towards each other in their pairings. Rather than forcing humor down viewers’ throats, it comes out very naturally. Individually, the characters themselves also stand out. For example, “love master” Shinchi Katori plays the role of an advisor and often gives advice related to love. Masafumi Akagi has a dominant personality and gets involved with Ryouko Kaji for his own personal reasons. Ayaka Kamine is the typical shy girl that can easily be found in most rom-coms. Her relationship with Gouda is one of the most normal ones you’ll probably notice. Kana has the role of a tsundere as she often does things that can be easily misunderstood. Chizuru Takano is the stoic girl that’s hard to notice. Saki Kanda, a member of the soft tennis club, is a normal girl with a relationship that began from a misunderstanding. The list goes on but the point is that all these characters has personalities that you’d expect to encounter at school. In one way or another, the show will easily get viewers to care about them because of their personalities.
Now I will admit, this show does lack a bit when it comes to storytelling. A lot of the same things happen in many episodes that can feel all over the place. Furthermore, the show feels very open when it comes to the character pairings and sometimes, it takes steps back with relationship development. Of course, this show isn’t for anyone. It has emotional drama but most of it is lighthearted comedy rather than melodrama that you may see in shoujo anime. Despite that, it’s engaging enough to keep the audience interested about the characters. It’s charming, clever, and seeks the make memories that will give viewers something to talk about.
While it doesn’t have the most impressive visuals for an anime adaptation, the show is still able to capture the essence of its themes. It’s simplistic enough to bring out character expressions and often times, it’s contagiously entertaining to watch with characters’ body language. It took me a little while to accept the art style of the show as at first, it felt lackluster. However, the more I watched, the more I realized how fitting the visuals are. It’s faithful to the manga and make the most of what it is.
Tsurezure Children’s soundtrack also plays an important role despite being overlooked. As a show with light comedy, it often is able to match the momentum of those special moments. On occasion, those moments feels like time itself stops and the OST brings out the feel of it. Theme songs is well choreographed with j-pop themes and catchy to hear. Character voices really carries the show together as it amplifies the personalities to make them credible.
This anime succeeds as an adaptation and is a terrific picture. It’s appealing and filled with personality that can easily get viewers into the mood. It’s hysterically humorous not by just its comedy aspects but by how every character pairing brings the most out from each other. While the storytelling occasionally holds the show back, it doesn’t cause its destruction because plot isn’t what this is anime is about. Rather, it takes these character relationships and makes it as whimsical as it can be. Looking for something to take mind off of and enjoy comfortably? Tsurezure Children is your answer and it doesn’t even need to be a full length show to prove it.
Tsurezure Children is a very simplistic anime on paper, but also a very satisfying and surprisingly original depiction of romance. For something with merely 12-minute episodes, it’s hard to find many anime better than this with similar time span.
Tsurezure Children is almost like the antithesis of the stereotypical romance anime. Instead of having a boy and a girl clumsily dancing around each other throughout the whole anime only to get a kiss and/or a confession in the very last episode at best, in Tsurezure Children all the couples are already established from the beginning in some way… and there are a lot of couples. So many I almost lost count of them.
Essentially it is an anime depicting various types of young couples with very different personalities in order to see how they interact and flirt with each other. It’s very cute but a lot of the time also quite funny to watch. But perhaps its biggest strength is that despite how many different couples there are and how little screen time each of them has individually as a whole, they all feel extremely believable. It is easy to understand the different characters’ thought processes without them feeling forced or rushed, making it feel like a very realistic anime overall. As a result, the end goal of Tsurezure Children is not to “hook up with your crush somehow” like it is in most romance anime, but rather just to portray different types of clumsy and innocent first-time relationships. It’s surprising just how much of a rarity that is in anime really.
Overall, Tsurezure Children is a very enjoyable and genuinely refreshing romcom, and especially considering its short episode lengths it is most certainly worth spending the time on watching. And I also think the fact that a mere short managed to become one of the most popular anime of the season is by itself a testament to its success.
3: Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka Isogashii Desu ka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka
English: WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world Are you busy Will you save us
MAL Score: 7.70
Putting his life on the line, Willem Kmetsch leaves his loved ones behind and sets out to battle a mysterious monster, and even though he is victorious, he is rendered frozen in ice. It is during his icy slumber that terrifying creatures known as “Beasts” emerge on the Earth’s surface and threaten humanity’s existence. Willem awakens 500 years later, only to find himself the sole survivor of his race as mankind is wiped out.
Together with the other surviving races, Willem takes refuge on the floating islands in the sky, living in fear of the Beasts below. He lives a life of loneliness and only does odd jobs to get by. One day, he is tasked with being a weapon storehouse caretaker. Thinking nothing of it, Willem accepts, but he soon realizes that these weapons are actually a group of young Leprechauns. Though they bear every resemblance to humans, they have no regard for their own lives, identifying themselves as mere weapons of war. Among them is Chtholly Nota Seniorious, who is more than willing to sacrifice herself if it means defeating the Beasts and ensuring peace.
Willem becomes something of a father figure for the young Leprechauns, watching over them fondly and supporting them in any way he can. He, who once fought so bravely on the frontlines, can now only hope that the ones being sent to battle return safely from the monsters that destroyed his kind.
I typed up probably seven different openers for this review before realizing that nothing I say can possibly prepare you for what’s to come. This introduction, or lack thereof, actually goes on to mimic the underlying themes of this series in more ways than one. WorldEnd (Which also goes by the incredibly long title of ‘What Are You Doing At The End Of The World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?’) is more than just the hyperdramatic adaptation of a light novel going by the same name, it’s a story about never being prepared; it’s a story about how everything in life comes and goes far too quickly for us to comprehend. But, at the same time, so much of the beauty in life can only be leeched from it due to its apparent absence in the first place.
WorldEnd is a series that can, by no means, be nailed down to one general concept. The scope of its meaning is as vast as the world it takes place in — a world in which humanity has all but vanished. The remaining life forms have taken to the skies, building civilizations upon floating islands and relying on creatures known as ‘Leprechauns’ to fight in a never-ending war. The leprechauns in WorldEnd, however, are not your typical Irish, fun-loving drunkards. Instead, they are girls born from children who died before having anything to live for, and the main leprechaun who we follow throughout WorldEnd goes by the name Ctholly Nota Seniorious.
Ctholly initially comes off as a sort of aloof, curious girl, struggling to fit in with a world full of disfeatured humanoids. The irony in this, however, is that those without extreme physical deformities (Or those who appear human) are actually the ones known as the ‘disfeatured’ in WorldEnd. Partway through the pilot, we are also introduced to the second protagonist, Willem Kmetsch, as he encounters Ctholly for the first time. After showing her around the island for a bit, Ctholly departs and Willem is left on his own. Having recently fallen on hard times, he reluctantly takes on a job as the caretaker for a nearby military facility. Of course, he doesn’t really understand what he’s getting himself into until he shows up and it’s less of a warehouse and more of an orphanage full of young girls. And while this seems like a pain to him at first, his attitude takes a dramatic shift when he realizes that these girls are the only weapons civilization has left.
This is the first sign of tragedy out of many. Yes, the idea of young girls being used as weapons is rather unfortunate and incredibly sad. But throughout the next eleven episodes, the series begins to steamroll down a path in which we grow attached to every single one of them only to have those relationships severed and beaten by the end of the series. The most dramatic of all of these relationships, however, is the budding romance that slowly begins to flourish between Ctholly and Willem.
Without giving away everything, something happens to Ctholly that begins to drain her sanity. Slowly but surely, her memories begin to fade and her hair begins to change colors, turning into a violent shade of red instead of her normal, subtle blue. The shift in hair colors is not just a shift in appearance, however. This physical change mimics the drastic mental change that is occurring within her at the same time. Ctholly is bombarded with confusing images and the voice of tortured young girl, speaking in eerie metaphors. And while none of what this voice is saying makes sense to us, the sheer manner in which they are said is enough to signify the deterioration of her psyche. The worst part of this is that Ctholly knows what’s happening to her.
Day after day, Ctholly remembers less of herself and clings tightly to the one thing she knows for sure — that she’s in love. She tosses aside her slightly-tsun outlook from earlier in the series and simply adopts the fact that she loves Willem, making it known to him every chance she gets. And while he spends a decent amount of time avoiding the subject, it’s clear that Willem feels the same way. The steamrolling tragedy that we all know is coming screeches to a halt and, for just the slightest moment, everything is perfect.
But then it’s not.
Willem takes Ctholly to a nearby military ship after catching wind of a weapon that could help her fading consciousness. When tuning one of the other leprechauns weapons, however, he discovers something that stays with him for the rest of the series. The monsters that these girls have been fighting have actually been humans the entire time. And while exactly how that happened remains open to interpretation for us viewers, it’s crystal clear to Willem. His vision and outlook become distorted and he begins to lose his grip on reality in a way both incredibly similar and incredibly different to Ctholly.
The final episode is like lightning — it comes and it goes quicker than we’re able to comprehend. Ctholly loses her grip on reality as battle breaks loose and slips into a coma. Willem, incapable of coping with the thought that this might be the end for her, erupts into a hate-fueled rage, slaughtering any monster he comes across as the rest of the army and several of the other leprechauns fight for their lives. One of the girls, Nephren, has a particularly harsh time with this, ultimately sacrificing herself so that a few others might live. Just as she collapses, however, Willem finds her. And, in a last-stitch effort so save something, he dives after her as she falls off of the airship.
The following five minutes go on to create one of the most heartbreaking and tear-inducing scenes I have ever seen. Ctholly manages to persuade the girl inhabiting her mind to let her come back to reality one last time — all so she could save Willem. Then, as she stands surrounded by corpses on the edge of the airship, her last strands of blue hair change to red and she dives. Freefalling thousands of feet in the air, Scarborough Fair and the endless barrage of strange, psychological metaphors from Elq assault our ears and our hearts as we watch this girl we’ve fallen in love with trade away her sanity for someone else’s happiness. A dual-monologue between Willem and Ctholly breaks out as she reappears out of thin air and desperately attacks the monsters surrounding him. As the monologue loses steam, Ctholly does as well. Her attacks slow as she is impaled by countless tendrils and lifted high up into the same sky she descended from just minutes ago.
The battle comes to a close and everything we have grown to love over the past three months is stripped from us quicker than it was given. The few scenes that follow only make it harder.
What an incredibly heartfelt and gorgeous series this was. The amount of love put into this project is palpable on all accounts and, thanks to one of the most well-written female characters in years, the mark that WorldEnd leaves will be a lasting one. The harmonious blend of intimate Celtic music meshed with tragic fight scenes and flawless acting creates something much more immersive than you would normally find in any visual medium. For a few seconds, it even feels like we’re there. Something that important is hard to put into words, but if I had to limit my description of this series to one, it would be ‘beautiful’. Please, set aside a night and watch this all in one go. You won’t possibly regret it.
This show can pass by as your average light novel adaptation with ease. Hella long title you won’t remember no matter what. A cast of characters with names difficult to read or memorize. Male MC that shoves up people’s ass his set of morals once in a while. MC’s love interest that goes melodramatic and cry several times. Yet you can find here the tragedy of a man. A man that lost everything, and ends up in some state of suspended animation until he is awaken many years later in a “foreign” world (Captain America, huh?). The cute heroine is actually a weapon of mass destruction that can die any time for the sake of the world. High stakes for the love interests and the risk of emotional loss could make this a great love story, right?
Problem is, the show couldn’t decide whenever it wanted to be a dull light novel adaptation or a good story. This leaded to a confusing presentation and lack of self-awareness. Say, they present you with a little depth of Willem’s character. It is reedeming and set him as a “not your typical LN male MC at all”. And, show a few seconds later one of the most cringe-inducing reactions that a plain tsundere girl can have. Breakdowns like this are destructive to suspension of disbelief.
But in the long run, the show saves itself from the mediocrity valley. Remember the love story? What blooms here is the most organic romance I have seen in anime, at least in a while. Never two people falling in love with each other felt so natural. Chtholly (I swear I didn’t look up the character list) slowly evolves into a housewife in hopes to become a better person for Willem. Willem in turn tries to overcome his own fears of another loss so he can give Chtholly the love she deserves. Both of them reach the stage of mutual love step by step. It’s simple, but it works.
The show goes up and down since episode one, between LN’s conventions and good writing. There’s a immersive post-apocalyptic setting. A well-tied set of emotional stakes, great OST and some gorgeous visuals. But there are one-sided characters, with single tropes defining them. Also a typical LN setup, and some crappy CGI.
As bad as this series might sound, it’s good enough. At least, the LN medium isn’t completely doomed. The guy who wrote this is talented, but needs to polish his skills and broaden his writing experience, which seems narrow yet.
“How do you fall in love at the end of the world?” – This alone would be a better name, although still long. Keep your titles short and easy to read they say. The name “SukaSuka” means nothing to me. So how I’m supposed to call for this show?
I have to admit, watching SukaSuka took me some time to accept the story. The first few episodes has an atmospheric feel with its world setting, characters, and plot. We meet Willem, the male protagonist who happens to be the last human in a post-apocalyptic world. The show makes it clear that humans are extinct as the anime opens up with a battle scene involving them and the Beasts. Flash forward into the present timeline and we see how the world has changed since then. Now there are floating islands that feel so isolated from each other despite being populated with otherworldly species. One of the most prominent of these species are the Leprechauns, characters who can wield ancient Dug weapons that can destroy Beasts. In the meantime, Willem meets Chtholly, a leprechaun with a mysterious past. The show establishes Willem as a friend, father figure, and comrade for the Leprechauns.
Right off the bat, I can say that SukaSuka’s characters are quite mysterious. Chtholly has a peculiar past that is explored throughout the show. Willem also has a past that I can say it’s too pleasant to remember. Then, there are the Leprechauns. The show creates an eerie feel as it blends them with child innocence and unsettling fear. It’s through revelations that Willem realizes what they really are and their roles in this series. Now, the more I got curious about the show, the more I wonder how the story plans to develop Willem and Chtholly’s relationship. Thankfully, this series doesn’t neglect their presence together and as each episode progresses, we learn more about the both of them. Character chemistry between Willem and Chtholly is also what I describe as charming that develops from friendship to romance. Willem also serves as a father figure for the younger Leprechauns. And in turn, the Leprechauns seems to grow really fond of him. This also brings a different side of the show as Willem realizes that the Leprechauns has a lack of fear. Because of this, the show makes it clear that Willem wants to avert any tragedy that can bestow on them. This goes to show how much Willem cares about the Leprechauns. It may also be possible that Willem doesn’t want history to repeat itself because of the way humans were wiped out. Regardless of how others treat him, he hopes to be a light of hope in this post-apocalyptic world.
As a show with many species, you’ll often see characters that are far from ordinary. Besides Leprechauns, there are also trolls, goblins, and many other type of characters with animal traits. This also brings a racial issue into the show. It puts Willem into a compromising position at times as certain races does not like his presence in their world. (for their own personal reasons) However, what I do find interesting about this series is Willem’s main role. Does he play the role of a hero or someone that just wants to avoid tragedy again? It’s hard to judge entirely based on the characterization alone so in retrospect, the show leaves it more open ended for viewers to decide.
Despite my initial impression of SukaSuka, I still find that the show suffers from several problems that holds itself back. First, the show really doesn’t avoid generic pitfalls you see in typical light novel adaptations. While the show has minimal fan service, it still has the cringe moments between Willem and various female characters. One particular trope (played out more as a joke) are the massages that attempts to make scenes sound much more lascivious than it appears to be. Not to mention, SukaSuka’s comedy feels really dry at times. It hardly make me laugh and although I realize the show isn’t built for that, it doesn’t even manage to ever draw a chuckle from me. Furthermore, I can’t really say the character relationship building outside of Willem/Chtholly to be worth mentioning. Oh and in terms of adaptation standards, the show does add some original content in attempt to make the story flow better. Does it really work out? That’s for me to know and you to find out.
Taking a look at the animation, I have to admit that SukaSuka captured the atmospheric setting right along with its world fiction. Essentially, the atmospheric setting brings a spiritual feel. The character designs also has variety with the wide range of different hair styles and colors; with a credible reason too beyond just being decorative especially for the Leprechauns. The action is captivating and feels magical with getting its point across. While the series doesn’t have graphic violence, it does contain blood to show the dreadful feel of its story. The Beasts are also designed with a malevolent nature and some of them reminds me of Lovecraftian horror fiction. Character expressions is realistic and very human like with most of its characters.
Soundtrack is distinguishable with a combination of being melancholic, haunting, and cheerful. As I had expected, the theme songs are very moody with its choreography. The character voicing acting also connects well with their personalities in particular with Willem, Chtholly, and Grick. As most of the Leprechauns are quite young, stepping into the shoes of these characters is not easy. However, I am proud to say that the show captured their roles pretty damn well and make you connected to them.
The tenderness of this show is what attracted me to watching this. I have to admit, SukaSuka has a sublime-like creativity with its world setting and story. I wasn’t too invested into the characters at first though over time, Willem and Chtholly’s relationship started to really grown to me. Still, like most light novel adaptations these days, SukaSuka falls into the trap of generic tropes. Furthermore, I don’t think this series is recommendable for anyone especially those that have less tolerance towards moody shows. I’d still give it a try though. It’s not a masterpiece but for a title that’s longer than 3 sentences, it does earn more attention than that.
2: Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
English: Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend .flat
MAL Score: 7.78
After finally completing the first route of his visual novel, Blessing Software’s producer Tomoya Aki is optimistic about the future of his team and achieving their goal of creating the best game of the season.
However, they still have a long way to go. For one, Megumi Katou still has an incredibly flat personality and is unable to fit the role of Tomoya’s ideal heroine. The other members of Blessing Software, Eriri Spencer Sawamura, Utaha Kasumigaoka, and Michiru Hyoudou, often forget she is even there due to her lack of presence and character.
Throughout the development of their game, Blessing Software learns the struggles of working in an industry where deadlines must be met and edits are made constantly, and the hardships of working in a group setting.
I liked the first season but to me it didn’t seem to be anything special or worth remembering, i mean you had the best girl fight like you have in any harem show nowadays, but this second season just raised the bar so high that it kept me waiting and hoping that thursday would finally come so i could watch this show.
Story – 9
-This story is very straightforward, you have the MC, Tomoya and his circle trying to make this game happen. Althought they sure as hell struggle a lot in the meanwhile, making the actual completition of the game a lot more rewarding in general.
Art – 10
-The art in saekano was just plain fenomenal, from the ecchi parts to the emocional parts, it was totally outstanding for the harem type of show.
Sound – 8
-The sound was good throught the series, i’ve seen better and i’ve seen worse. Nothing to complain here althought near the end there were some really good songs in the emocional moments.
Caracters – 9
-The main caracter oh well it’s your harem protagonist, has all the girls but since he is an otaku doesn’t really want any of them. That can sometimes get a bit anoying, but he is the key caracter in the story after all. The girls on the other hand, might have “cliched” personalities like the childhood friend tsundere and so on but the anime actually jokes with that a lot and that makes it really entertaning. All of the girls have interesting aspects about them and make the story was more interesting overall. And yes this is the type of show where everyone fights about the best girl.
Enjoyment and overall – 9
-This show for sure raised the bar and for sure is a must watch for those who enjoyed the first season, but speaking personally, mostly near the end, this series became something that i felt growing, the caracters, their struggles and everything arround them changed in this 23 episodes. I loved the ending and overall loved the series as a whole. This is not your average harem show with no plot at all, Saekano has a story and is really nicely executed.
Thanks for reading this far, and if you just skipped to see the end, tldr it was an awesome show and you should give it a try for sure.
I feel like Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata is one of the better anime in the Harem genre and it doesn’t really have many of the failings one might find when watching anime with Harem within it. The only perceived negative I can give the show is maybe the way it handles the fan service and even then it doesn’t bother me personally.
If you watched season 1 of this anime and you are considering giving season 2 a go, I can recommend you do it. You will enjoy just as much, if not more than Season 1!
I hope we can get a Third Season!
Story: Picking off from the first season, Saekano Flat (which I will refer to as ‘Flat’ for the rest of the review) continues the story of Tomoya Aki and the rest of Blessing Software as they complete the destined galge that the group’s members have been tirelessly working on.
Similar to its first season, Flat refines and solidifies the cast’s struggles and relationships with each other alongside the characters’ progress with the development of the game. In particular, the show focuses heavily on two of the main female leads, Utaha and Eriri, as they come to terms with their lives as creators and what it is they want, as many of the show’s conflicts and problems are centered around these two and the kind of goals they have for themselves and with Tomoya. As such, the story feels a lot more personal for these girls, and the screentime is used as such to dedicate moments and developments that center around them, thus giving the audience a better understanding of their characterization.
An issue with the story however is how much of an imbalance there is with the characterization. Personally, I feel like Eriri’s portion of the story is far stronger while Utaha’s feels muted in comparison. Utaha’s struggles just don’t seem as impactful when compared to how the series builds up Eriri and the kinds of things she deals with later on in the series. I chalk that up more on the series using Eriri as the series’ climax, but it still does feel unfair when looking at the two at face value.
Another is how the rest of the main cast, Tomoya and Kato, have their problems mostly have their problems shoved to the side. Tomoya kind of averts this problem by being a core aspect that influences the rest of the cast, and as such, gains growth and the ability to grow from that, but Kato mostly gets shoved to the side and only really gets to shine in 1-2 episodes as the main focus. The way they present her is nice, but I honestly wished that they did more with her than just do what they did with her.
With all of these factors in play, the show ultimately culminates into an ending that I would largely describe as ‘fitting’ given the kinds of factors put in play. It’s not the most dramatic ending, especially compared to some of the more high-tension scenes from previous episodes. But it is what I feel like is a very fitting ending for the series and ends on a high note all things considering, as the show still retains its comedic charm despite all of the drama that had happened before.
Overall, Flat was a solid second season that had many good and bittersweet aspects to it that culminated into a well-rounded show. Indeed the imbalance of dedication and time spent on the characters made some seem more important than others, but its usage of the artist struggle and personal desire to excel contrasting the struggle of personal vs. professional life made up for a good portion of the mistakes that the show ended up making on its journey to the end. (You know, despite it only having eleven episodes. Eleven episodes for a cour is weird.)
+ Finished story (because many anime don’t actually do this.)
+ Drastic characterization (with consequences and bittersweet moments)
– Imbalance with how drastic characterization is between characters
Characters: The cast itself doesn’t change much between seasons, so instead of a general rundown, I’m going to be talking more about the specifics on some of the cast shifts.
Most prominently for the series are Utaha and Eriri. As mentioned before, these two are Flat’s centerpiece when compared to the one arc they each got in season one. Compared to season one focusing more on them licking at old wounds, Flat shows the girls and their attempts at looking towards the future as the show asks the question: What happens once the game’s finished? I praised the show before for given a realistic spin on the idealistic ‘harem’ scenario, as each of the girls have their own separate lives and personalities apart from their involvement with the game and Tomoya, and Flat gives further evidence for that fact as the story progresses. You see these girls blossom by themselves as individual character, and it’s a really nice change of pace that in my opinion separates this show from other harem/drama shows, and as such, gives itself a positive identity.
Then there’s Tomoya. If I really had to pin down what Tomoya does, it would be riding off of the ‘character development train’ that both Eriri and Utaha forge ahead on. Most of Tomoya’s characterization and struggle comes off from those two girls as he sees the result of his actions and comes to terms with what has to be done with all of them. While yes he has a few unsightly moments, it results in a lot of genuine growth that is again, something that’s a nice change of pace. It sucks that it comes from a source that’s not him, but it doesn’t really hurt the series that much when you put it in context.
Kato however doesn’t do all that much. As mentioned before, she only has like…one, may one and a half episodes dedicated to her. She mostly plays a background role to all of this rather than the ‘main heroine’ as the series (namely Tomoya) made her out to be. The one episode she does get in the middle fixes several of the problems that we encounter, but doesn’t really justify her lack of involvement if you ask me.
Comparatively, the rest of the cast is hardly there. Because the show is so heavily focused on our main 4 characters, everyone else is basically shoved to the side and if anything, act as a slight instigator to some sections of the plot. It’s a shame too, because characters like the Hashima siblings and Michiru had potential; they just weren’t used much at all. (They do point this out in the show, however it doesn’t rectify the problem.)
+ Heavy main characterization
– Kato does very little (And that’s a bad thing if you ask me.)
– The supporting cast basically does nothing.
Art: Produced by A-1, the art for Saekano is the same light and gentle artstyle that it had back in season one. The red highlights on the eyebrows for the girls still bother me, but there really isn’t much different or bad in the way of the art department.
There are also quite a number of camera shots that’re intentionally framed for fanservice (mostly involving Utaha actually) however. I’d argue that it’s tasteful fanservice, since the circumstances that they come about could actually happen in real life to some degree. They’re not really that common, and if noticed, don’t really impact the story or anything of that sort to any major degree.
+ Pretty much the same art as Season 1
+/- Fanservice shots (Some people still don’t like fanservice no matter what it is.)
Sound: The new OP and ED for Flat, “Stella Breeze” and “Sakura-iro Diary” both share a similar style as being bright and gentle pieces with a slight bit of energy and a hint of somberness to them. Both of them are actually quite nice, and personally, I think that they’re a good reflection for the series that they’re a part of.
My only complaint is how similar the two of them sound. They both share such a similar tone in sound that I’d argue that you could switch the two around and you could achieve a similar effect in the series. Overall though, really nice tracks, though I’d also argue that they’re not quite that memorable? Yeah, I’ll go with that.
+ Good tracks that reflect the series
– Sound very samey
Personal Enjoyment: With the plethora of harem/romance shows that I have haphazardly slapped onto my list, it becomes an increasingly difficult trial for me to find many harem shows that I would not only actually enjoy, but also find interesting due to how samey many of them feel while watching. Saekano not only gives me that interesting harem story that I was looking for, but also speaks to me as a creator and gives me a way to relate to these characters. So for that reason, Saekano is one of my all-time favorites in the category.
Did I like this series?
I did. I really did. Despite it having a very, very bittersweet climax and resolution, I really enjoyed the characters and the story. Not only that, but I like how Saekano itself acts as a bit of a parody of the harem genre because all of the characters know and avoid the general conventions of the genre while also proving itself to be more than just a show with several girls chasing after him. The character interactions are also really, really fun to watch.
What didn’t I like about this series?
Personally, I just don’t like the climax. Not for how it was presented or how it was written, but for how it hits me personally. It’s very hard to make decisions like that, and as a fan of the series; it’s an understandably bittersweet moment to witness because if I may be honest, I like the entire main cast; maybe Kato more than anyone, but I still like everyone.
Would I recommend this series?
If you watched Season one, watch Flat. I promise you won’t regret it. (Or maybe you will because you, like me, have personal attachment to these characters. I don’t know.) If you haven’t, I would suggest this show highly. It’s has a lot of merit to it, and tells a complete story about the problems with personal life vs. professional life combined with the struggles with being a creator, a topic that not that many anime actually cover despite itself being an art medium.
1: Ballroom e Youkoso
English: Welcome to the Ballroom
MAL Score: 8.20
Tatara Fujita is a shy middle schooler who has no particular plan for the future. He has gotten through life by avoiding any kind of confrontation and blending in with the crowd. But blending in isn’t enough to get out of trouble, as some bullies harass him for money. Luckily, he is saved by a man named Kaname Sengoku.
Kaname invites Tatara to his dance studio. Although he would normally never set foot in such a place, Tatara is captivated by Sengoku’s commanding presence. Granted an opportunity to dance with fellow classmate Shizuku Hanaoka—who often practices at the studio—Tatara realizes there’s something about the idea of being put in the limelight and dancing where people will see him that keeps him coming back. With an earnest, passionate drive to improve, Tatara begins his journey into the world of competitive dance.
At first, you may be a bit skeptical after reading the summaries of this anime, the central theme is a bit unusual, a ballroom anime. Also, you can consider, a dance competition, another anime about some championships or tournaments that could be similar to any other sports anime, but you could be wrong. Ballroom e Youkoso is a fantastic adaptation that combines excellent storytelling with fabulous art design and captivates viewers by making them want more. Sadly, not all is perfect, the use of CGI could be weird and creates an ugly contrast between the characters’ art and the scene background but it isn’t a big issue.
The anime has two main story arcs. The first one, the introduction of Tatara Fujita, the main character. An important fact is the display of Tatara’s problems and insecurity. In addition, this arc presents the secondary characters, such as Kiyoharu, Shizuku, Mako, and Gaju. These characters enhance the narrative, the dynamics of the dance and the tournaments. They create an initial rivalry between Tatara, but the most exciting part is that they are still mates and support each other in their way. In other words, it is a healthy rivalry that is needed to help in the growth of Tatara and does not conceive the effect of a villain or a pompous competitor as we can see in the typical sports adaptations. Simultaneously, this arc reveals the differences that exist between the characters and establishes a challenging atmosphere among all of them.
The second arc presents the other main character, Chinatsu Hiyama, and you can feel the progression of Tatara. Chinatsu is the opposite of Tatara. She has a dazzling personality, is rebellious and very strong. She also has a lot of experience in dance, so on many occasions, she shows her displeasure about the way of leading proposed by Tatara. She can not understand Tatara’s personality. However, their relationship turned up due to Tatara’s personality. For my eyes, Chinatsu is the perfect complement for Tatara.
On the other hand, you can see a new secondary character, Kugimiya Masami. He is a shadowy character who could be Tatara’s antagonist. For several viewers, including me, Kugimiya could fit the description of an odious competitor with some secrets. This figure is very dark and mysterious. He hates Tatara, and even the art portrays him with a faint aura. However, after a closer look, this character has been affected by several “life” problems that could be a reflection of Tatara if he abandoned his passion for dancing and improving. Kugimiya even compared himself to Tatara, and that bothered him more. All those elements created a beautiful story with a good rhythm, excellent narrative and with outstanding characters that can feel real.
To conclude, the standard sports anime could not cope with Ballroom and Youkoso. The series has everything: A story of high quality, with a good pacing, realistic characters, sadness, joy, need, frustration, etc. The anime emphasizes concepts such as trust between couples, their understanding, and conviction. We can observe the constant need to overcome and the hard work required to achieve a change both personally and competitively.
This anime has two scenarios. The first, the interaction of the characters outside the “ballroom.” A rational world where the characters are beings with needs, problems, and feelings. The second world is inside the ballroom. A place with its own sets of rules where the score and the leader-companion relationship matter. This ambiance adds pressure and rivalry to the story, creates a dynamic where feelings of the characters bloom. Maybe my criteria could be biased since I have dance competition experience. However, seeing the relationship between partner and leader brought me many good and bad memories such as the foot pain after an event =D. To rephrase it, Tomo was able to convey those feelings to the audience, and that made me feel very happy because it stands out the realism.
There are still some problems with the story, however. The most visible is the lack of a real ending. Tomo fell ill, so she could not advance in the manga story. The animation exceeds the progress of manga story, so the conclusion of the adaptation could be original compared to the continuation of the manga, and it felt a bit rushed. Therefore, there may be reasonable speculation about when, or if, the date of the second season.
The adaptation has a good number of characters. Perhaps the most relevant is the personality of the couples in competition. For example, the pair of Tatara in the first arc is utterly different if compared to the second arc because the couple has a distinct personality and that reflects the way the couple dance and act. For example, Mako is more delicate and shy compared to Chinatsu, who is more rebellious and strong. I’m sure that Tatara will continue to grow in the manga, and it is likely that a relationship between Chinatsu and Tatara will arise, but we can not rule out a possible attraction between Tatara and Shizuku.
Tatara Fujita. He is a shy and insecure person who cares for everyone and, in particular, for his partner. Tatara was looking for a place to fit in, and the dance was a door of change for him. However, he is in constant development, his features remain constant, but explode during competitions. Maybe this character is a bit complex, but that is what makes it real.
Chinatsu Hiyama. Even if she was added halfway through the entire adaptation, her impact is gigantic. The personality of Chinatsu changed the dynamics of the narrative and directly affected Tatara’s character. She is a rebel, strong, and has a lot of experience in dancing. She does not visualize Tatara as a good leader, sometimes she tries to follow him, but everything ends in constant frustration. However, she gives Tatara a chance to the point that both fight hard and evolve. It is a character with whom I feel connected, and I think there is a lot to see about its complexity.
Kiyoharu Hyoudou: You can say that he is the best dancer in the series. He is very talented and may be Tatara’s main rival in the future of the story. He does not have any opponent that overcomes him. However, he helps and guides Tatara as he considers him as a rival with enormous potential and with a lot of raw skill.
Shizuku Hanaoka: She is the best companion. However, it could be said that she depends on Kiyoharu’s leadership. She finds Tatara’s unusual dance skills to the point that she decides to wait for his evolution and supports him. It is still too early to see if there are sentiments of her towards Tatara.
The remaining characters are essential as well, but I don’t want to prolong any further.
Art and Sound 8
Ballroom e Youkoso is quite impressive regarding sound and illustrations. The art follows the dynamics of dance and is quite clean. The movement and the characters, in general, is real. Usually, the scenes make the eyes focus on the pairs because of the color palette and the details. However, a high level of detail and quality isn’t maintained in the surroundings (CGI use). Besides, if the eyes change from the principal observation point, you will notice some awful disparity between the surroundings and the couples in some scenes, do not let that change your decision towards the anime. Several good animations do not have the budget to fill the whole scene with a high artistic quality; sadly this one is the case.
Lastly, some camera angles can give the impression of disproportion because the postures of the different dancing styles are complicated, but it must be taken into account that they are positions with a high degree of realism. The color palette is very vivid and uses a high contrast of colors where you can see the beauty of the couples, and this marks the details and character traits of the cast.
About the sound, it’s awesome. The series uses a vibrant score. In addition, it is listened to in a very soft way and keeps the rhythm and the action going. This helps the movement of the scenes especially the dances. The OPs and EDs are excellent and enjoyable. In my personal opinion, OP1 and ED2 are the best.
I can not complain about this show; it is very entertaining. The narration is very fluid with an acceptable rhythm, creating the perfect environment for any spectator. The characters are complex and stand out. However, for some anime fans, it is possible that this type of genre is not pleasant or will complain by the lame use of the CGI, but it is not a reason to overlook this fantastic adaptation. I’ll be waiting for a continuation of the manga, and I hope that in the next few years the animation of Ballroom and Youkoso will continue.
Watching Ballroom e Youkoso (Welcome to the Ballroom) feels like taking a journey down memory lane. I’m talking about the type of memory lane where you were once a kid and wanted to prove everyone you had talent in something. Academics, sports, art, acting, singing. Just anything in general that make your friend go “wow, I didn’t know you could do that!” As such, this anime is one that I found remarkably realistic and relatable. The first few episodes doesn’t take long to establish the principle cast along with its intention.
I’ll be honest here. Tatara is a character that won’t be very easy to accept for most people at first glance. He has a meek personality and seems to overestimate himself on certain circumstances. This is shown in the beginning when Tatara expresses to professional dancer Sengoku that he wants to be a pro rather than just to dance. His initial attitude makes him look like a fool as dancing isn’t just something that can perfected like a click of a switch. My impression of Tatara made me realize that while he sets high expectations for himself, he does have potential but needs the right people and time to unlock it. Luckily, Tatara gets the opportunity at the Ogawara Dance Studio where other talented dancers gather to perfect their work. From the studio, Tatara also meets the very talented and beautiful Shizuku. She becomes a source of inspiration for Tatara as he strives to improve and become a pro. Throughout this show, Tatara embraces the art of ballroom dancing and becomes very determined to prove himself. From an amateur to an inspiring ballroom dancer, his character can really grow to people as we see his progress.
The storytelling builds on many fronts although most of it still follows Tatara and his journey. He deals with personal issues, social problems, and also establishes rivalries with certain characters he meets. At the same time, an important part of this show involve him building important relationships with others. Two particular characters stands out the most: Mako Akagi and Chinatsu Hiyama. As dancing partners, Tatara’s relationship with both of these girls vary in attitude. Mako and Tatara has a friendly relationship that is based on trust, respect, and strong spirit. On the other hand, Tatara and Chinatsu’s relationship is more borderline towards competitiveness. Not to mention, Chinatsu already has a dancing background and doesn’t tolerate a weak partner. Throughout the anime, we see how Chinatsu begins to accept him more with their growing trust. In respect, Tatara also develops as a person as he crafts his own dancing style so that it’s not just his partner carrying their dances. Whether he realizes it or not, Tatara even has influence on others. This includes making Mako realize how skilled she really is, restoring Chinatsu’s love for dancing, and even influencing Shizuku to improve herself to be better. In retrospect, this anime steps over the line to make Tatara a more likeable character as time goes on.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say all the main cast gets decent screen time and development. While Shizuku is Tatara’s initial inspiration, she doesn’t get much highlight later on in this show. Don’t expect this anime to focus much on Tatara’s love life either. While it’s obvious that Tatara crushes over Shizuku from the beginning, the show makes it clear that she prefers dancing rather than finding a boyfriend. This also applies to Tatara’s other dancing partners so if romance is something on your mind, then look elsewhere. Also, be aware that this anime focuses a lot on dancing. By a lot, I mean a LOT with all types of dances, music, and style. If you’re not a fan of dancing, it may take some time to enjoy this show. Ballroom dancing is portrayed as a fierce competition on the dance floor with some episodes dedicating their entire time to it. Luckily, this anime is quite a faithful adaptation for what it had to work with. With only some minor differences, it’s an anime that really made me glad it got adapted. However, there are times that I wish the anime picked up the pace with its extensive background storytelling, especially in later episodes.
Adapted by Production I.G., this was really the number one choice. They are known for making other anime that involve competition come to life. (ex. Haikyu, All Out!, Kuroko no Basket) For this particular anime, they leave a memorable impression with the art style and character designs. The biggest selling point is the smooth camera angles and timings. When the competition gets fierce, it really draws out the talents of the dancers with their body movements. Each movement is precisely timed to show their potential with colorful aesthetics. It further amplifies them through clever facial expressions. The dancing outfits in this anime are also memorable for their coloring and hair style, in particular for the female characters. It’s not to be interpreted as fan service but rather a work of art. On the other hand, there are some body parts in this anime that can be distracting. The one most worth mentioning is the overly extensive necks that can make viewers point fingers at.
At the core of its technical feature is the music. It’s what makes the ballroom dancing come to life along with its vivid choreography. The anime mixes in a variety that includes jazz, latin, classic, and among others. Director Yoshimi Itazu really made an impression through his work by allowing the music to do the storytelling on many occasions. Without words, many of the dancing segments feels like a dream and as if time itself stopped to showcase the characters’ talents. The music supplements that with its directing. Voice character mannerism is also well performed with characters like Chinatsu, Hyoudou, and the Akagi siblings. Both the OP and ED theme songs are also worth listening to for their rhythm.
As a show with a fierce competitive energy, this one might seem to be intimidating to watch at first. However, it’s a show that I can recommend to anyone even if its selling points doesn’t hit all the marks. From its character cast to storytelling, Ballroom e Youkoso is a well-adapted manga that focuses on what it intended to without betraying expectations. Sure, some characters are not as well focused compared to the others. There are also times when you wish the story can just move its pace faster. However, it’s still a show that gives competition a powerful meaning.
Welcome to the Ballroom has the sleek character designs, clean art style, and sharp linework of Production IG’s previous standard setter of the sports genre, Haikyuu, but it has not nearly the same quality of animation. What made IG’s manga adaptations as of late so shockingly good despite having their roots in the most banal of shounen/shoujo tropes was the fact the studio bestowed upon them the first class animation fidelity no other studio could ever even dream of coordinating which they’d given to their most ambitious of originals, or at least something close. Be it a dime a dozen shounen sports anime like Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basuke or a dime a dozen shoujo romcom anime like Kimi ni Todoke or Ao Haru Ride, no matter what their producers saddled them with, Production IG didn’t let their name falter. As much as I poke fun at the cartoonish writing of the aforementioned Kuroko no Basuke, I’m still able to acknowledge how the over-the-top animation really made the athletic prowess, personal style, and spunky attitude of the characters pop, or in other words, what made the show itself good and at all worthwhile.
As a terminally inactive, frail nonentity of a failed human being who never leaves their home for leisure, I’ve never liked sports nor those who played them, but the detailed artwork and lavish animation of Haikyuu handily convinced me of and pushed me to respect just how taxing the sport was on the bodies of the players and how hard they had to fight to get as good as they’d gotten. By the intricately apparent strain and pulse of their shoulders and knees, you could tell precisely how exhausted the characters were becoming over the course of their strenuous matches, and not long after I came to see the love and care put into the animation, I gained genuine admiration for the teams and individuals working themselves to the bone for victory on the court which I now appreciate to’ve been a battlefield all along. Welcome to the Ballroom, on the other hand, has—from a consistency standpoint, at least—exactly none of this attention to detail found within the seemingly endless extra frames only studios the likes of IG or Kyoto Animation can deliver on nor the outrageously impressive IG sakuga, because they just weren’t there.
Most of the dance sequences resort to panning over still frames, and the background dancers are invariably CG, with movement cycles so unbelievably clunky and downright ugly, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m not so utterly moronic as to think any of this was done in-house, but the fact remains IG produced it, and that fact is deeply disheartening. The driving motivation of our main character, Tatara, was the fact he’d lived his life as a nobody, and seeing professional dancers do their thing made him realize just how much he wanted to be “seen” in the same glamour, himself. While this is a well written and widely sympathetic motivation anyone can invest in, especially given how good the writing in this show is, the fact we, the audience, are being sold on this desire of his by such a lackluster display of animation and out-of-place CGI leaves us thinking the unavoidable thought, “You were really inspired by THAT?” And it’s even sadder, yet, because when you watch either opening animation as well as the limited sakuga done by in-house IG staff from Takashi Mukouda to even Shinji Hashimoto, you can really see what could have been.
Though, what was—finally putting aside the constant reminder of animation quality unbefitting of Production IG—was actually a really, really, really good show filled to the brim with both narrative and directorial inspiration and a lovable, empathetic, vibrant cast of amazing characters. People are equally likable and hatable when they need to be, and the story progresses at a life-like pace which allows you to notice and gives you the time to appreciate the maturation of the characters’ respective dancing styles and moral outlooks on the sport as well as their interpersonal relationships with one another. And speaking of, the character chemistry in this show is usually as charming as can be, and whenever things do turn sour, your experience with each and every actor has you in such deep understanding of wherever they’re coming from, no drama ever feels awkward or manufactured. Even said drama, which is something usually responsible for ruining entire shows in my book, was some seriously compelling stuff and easy to empathize with thanks to all the aforementioned expertise of the script getting me so immersed.
I know turning around and saying I was “immersed” in the show I just spent nine millennia whining about the visuals of, visuals which are inherently required to make the presentation believable and able to be immersed in to begin with, may seem contradictory, but my word choice was accurate nevertheless. Sure, I can bitch and moan all day about IG taking themselves down a few pegs, but does this show looking average as opposed to stunning mean it looks as downright hideous as most anime coming out of most studios? Of course not, and even taking that moment to praise the show’s writing neglected to make mention of how every single aspect of the show’s production with the exception of the base animation was just as stellar as any other proper IG show you can think of. The voice actors and actresses are definitely not getting paid enough, and some of these characters, especially the cute girls like Mako, had me down for their characters on their voice performances alone. Be they delivering jokes, laughs, or tears, there wasn’t a single vocalist whose performance disappointed in the slightest, and their oh my god GORGEOUS character designs only pronounced the strength of personality even more, because despite being an underanimated show, it’s not like Production IG would ever dare to air something with off-model artwork. Rousing music, intricate sound, striking color, and beautiful backgrounds all make it so the more facets of the production I sit back and appreciate having accepted the lackluster animation just leaves me with more and more small things to easily and proudly praise, even if I’d call show as a whole a disappointment in the long run. There’s countless scenes throughout the show which wholeheartedly ingratiate you with the impassioned emotions of the characters and the modest themes of the show which both leave you feeling like you really understand the art of the dance and the craft of its dancers, and while most of these scenes can only come to life via the outstanding scripting as opposed to the raw visual flair with which other Production IG shows would arrest you with, the fact you’re feeling the inspiration stands firm, no matter how it worked its way into your heart. I suppose what I’m getting at here is Welcome to the Ballroom shouldn’t have been compared to likes of Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basuke to begin with, because while their production staff and animation team are the same, their content is not. Those anime and their tropic structures needed to be animated by the gods among men of Production IG to be worthwhile, and this one ultimately didn’t, even if the fact the lavishness in animation which they’ve made themselves famous for would’ve and very well could’ve made it so much more in motion than it was on paper.
Thank you for reading.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Ballroom e Youkoso
2. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
3. Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka Isogashii Desu ka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka
4. Tsurezure Children
5. Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta.
6. Hitorijime My Hero
7. Imouto sae Ireba Ii.
8. Sousei no Onmyouji
9. Just Because!
10. Kuzu no Honkai