Say It With Senryuu Shoujo
This is going to be a short review, which makes sense given the nature of the anime being reviewed. Senryuu Shoujo is about Nanako, a high school girl who doesn’t speak but communicates by writing poems. Instead of being a story about a lonely girl who is bullied, this is the story of a cheerful girl surrounded by supportive friends and a love interest who seems to enjoy every day.
While there are hints of a dark and lonely past, this isn’t the focus, and really this anime just wants to leave you smiling at the antics of these adorable dorks.
In fairness, it is hard not to smile. I’m not really into slice of life, or comedy, or anime set around high school clubs, and Senryuu Shoujo is all of these things and yet still hit the mark for being cute and fun to watch for me. There was something infectiously charming about the main pair in this story, Nanako and Eiji, and the support cast were stellar as well.
That isn’t to say this is a slice of life better than any others. As is the case with the genre, the appeal of slice of life is highly subjective. Without a plot driving forward to carry the audience along, it is left to the tone and cast to be the draw and what one person likes and appreciate won’t necessarily work for another. During the Spring Anime season many anime fans loved Hitoribocchi but that was pretty much a swing and a miss for me. Whereas, Senryuu Shoujo seemed somewhat underappreciated given just how sweet it was.
Visually this one leans heavily toward bright and pastel colours. They suit the tone and the characters just fine but make this one fairly unremarkable in terms of standing out from other similar stories. The exception is for Nanako herself. While her character design is fairly ordinary, there’s something truly striking about her smile and I absolutely loved how her whole face lit up. For a character who never speaks she is incredibly expressive even when not writing her poems.
On that note, characters who communicate in alternative ways is something of a theme as we also have the art girl in the story that comes in midway. She only communicates through drawing and regularly holds her art book over her face with a cute girl drawn to express whatever the girl wanted to say.
The acceptance these somewhat oddball characters experience in their group is astounding and while it is clear that not everyone in this anime universe is equally nice, all the cast members we spend any time with just take each character as they are.
It isn’t nuanced or subtle but it does add overall to that feeling of sweetness and the idea that this anime just wants you to feel better for having watched it. It isn’t wanting a deep dive into social commentary about ‘normal’ or ‘ableness’ though the themes are definitely there.
The one sour note on the cast is probably Nanako’s father who is just a little too over the top. Fortunately the family only feature in a few episodes and generally he’s fine in small doses.
There’s not a lot more to say about this one. Short episodes running around 12 minutes are the perfect length, the tone is very mellow and relaxing, and the characters are super nice and fun to spend time with. While Senryuu Shoujo isn’t about to change the world it is an anime well worth trying if you missed it.
Images from: Senryu Shoujo. Dir. M Jinbo. Connect. 2019.
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