A cute and delightful end to a cute and delightful show.
Senryuu Shoujo remains an adorable entertainment this season in the most calm
and relaxing manner and episode 12 showcased the best of what it had to offer
with a flashback of Nanako and Eiji’s meeting. Most definitely too adorable.
While we certainly don’t see these characters end up
together with a confession, seeing how hard Nanako fell for Eiji on first
meeting was an equally powerful emotional note to end the series on. Seeing
Eiji find his love of Senryu and work to express himself despite being judged
by his external appearance was also pretty good. Not so sure about his
hippo/cherry blossom poem though. It didn’t quite hit the mark the way he
seemed to think so.
While it is a shame the rest of the cast outside of Nanako’s
family don’t make an appearance in this final episode, episode 11 gave them a
reasonably solid show casing so it was nice to see Senryuu Shoujo narrow in on
the main two for its final outing.
I’m genuinely going to miss this little ray of happiness from my weekly line up and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants something cute and short to pass an afternoon.
I don’t usually directly compare two anime, largely because each anime needs to be viewed on its own merit. Whether the story is similar or a character follows a comparable arc, if an anime is enjoyable in its own right, let it be enjoyable.
From that point of view, I’m not going to argue that Senryuu Shoujo is the better of the two anime I’m discussing today, simply that I’m enjoying it more. However, I’m certain there are other viewers out there who feel differently and I’d love to hear your take on either show in the comments below.
For those who haven’t followed either show this season here’s a brief break down. Senryuu Shoujois listed on MAL as a Slice of Life/Comedy about a girl who doesn’t speak but communicates through poems and hangs out with another poetry lover, ex-delinquent Eiji as part of a club at school. It currently has a score of 7.34 and is a short anime format with each episode only lasting 12 minutes.
Hitoribocchi is also listed on MAL as a Slice of Life/Comedy and this time we’re following a very shy girl who has gone to a different school to her friend from middle school and now, for reasons, has to make friends with everyone in her new class. It currently has a score of 7.53 on MAL and each episode is a standard 23 minute length.
From the description you can tell that neither anime sits in my comfort zone of happiness. They aren’t the kind of thing that by nature I find entertaining. Yet each season I try a handful of comedy or slice of life anime and add a few to my watch list, because every now and then you end up with something likeMy Roommate is a Catthat just utterly charms me and I’d miss out entirely if I didn’t watch a lot of shows that are just fine for those who like the genre, but don’t do much for me.
Keep in mind that ‘March Comes in Like a Lion‘, an anime I regularly rave about, is in fact a Slice of Life. So while I don’t click with the genre as a whole, when it grabs my attention it really draws me right in.
That said, it should be fairly clear if you’ve been reading my episode reviews of either Senryuu Shoujo or Hitoribocchi that I’m not exactly loving either one. To be honest, both will be forgotten almost the minute the last episode airs with just enough lag time for me to write my whole season review. But, in the rank on MAL, number of viewers, and just the amount of blog coverage, it seems Hitoribocchi is the preferred show out of these two.
There are two main reasons why I prefer Senryuu Shoujo.
The first comes down to the run time. With both anime being limited in scope and content and being reasonably formulaic in their approach of setting up the scenario or gag for the episode and then running with it, I find that Hitoribocchi stretches each moment that little bit too far. I’ve mentioned it before in an episode review and on Twitter, but if the episodes were half the length and more tightly paced, I’d enjoy the content a great deal more. Particularly as I find my tolerance for Bocchi waning the longer an episode runs, if it ended at the 12 minute mark I’d probably find her sympathetic and adorable whereas by the 23 minute mark I’m more annoyed at her.
Senryuu Shoujo with its 12 minute run time perfectly hits the mark. The episodes are bite sized. Not much happens but nothing overstays its welcome either. As a result, the episode always ends when I’m pleasantly in the groove of an episode and so leaves me wanting the next one. They say timing is everything in comedy and to be honest a lot of my preference on the two anime comes down to this factor.
Then we have our two female leads, Bocchi and Nanako.
In a recent review of one of the Hitoribocchi episodes, I was pretty scathing of Bocchi’s character. She whines and whimpers her way through almost every encounter. While her shyness and awkwardness began as relatable and a sympathetic character trait, as the series has progressed there’s just no other aspect to Bocchi. She has no hobbies or likes or dislikes. She has friends now, who she is grateful for, but has no trouble abandoning them in pursuit of making another friend. She’s also incredibly self-centred and rarely thinks about the feelings of others because she’s so wrapped up in her own anxious worrying about how people see her.
Now, if her character wasn’t being played for laughs in a school comedy, possibly I would be more sympathetic toward her. Given I was that incredibly shy person who struggled to speak in the company of strangers, who felt sick at the thought of having to speak in front of people, and most definitely avoided encounters that I was not comfortable with, I might have really connected with Bocchi’s character had they made the tone somewhat more serious. Instead though, I mostly see her start to tear up and feel she’s just a little bit pathetic rather than sympathetic and I’m finding it hard to really connect with Bocchi or any member of the cast.
That said, for viewers that do find Bocchi sympathetic, or just like her or the supporting cast, the viewing experience of Hitoribocchi will be considerably more entertaining.
Nanako from Senryuu Shoujo is a little less relatable but a lot more interesting as a lead. She doesn’t speak at all but expresses herself through facial expressions, body language, and through her poetry. While the gimmick is definitely gimmicky, and you do have to wonder sometimes where she pulls the board out from to write a poem, and how she wrote it that fast, she is by and large adorable. More than that, she’s positive about things and it pursuing a ‘romance’ with Eiji while enjoying her high school life.
I did like that when we met her parents and got a bit of backstory, it was pointed out that Nanako was in fact bullied for not speaking when she was younger. While I would actually like the anime to delve into the drama a bit more and look at why she doesn’t speak and how this actually impacts on the day to day when she isn’t with those who accept her weird quirk, I get this one is a light comedy and wasn’t planning on being a deep dive into dealing with difference. Still, Nanako is an intriguing character but one who brings cuteness and light into most scenes and her interactions with Eiji are off the charts adorable.
While it might seem like splitting hairs, the shorter run time plus the more compelling, or at least less annoying, female lead makes Senryuu Shoujo my preferred slice of life/comedy anime from the Spring anime season.
However, I get this is an entirely subjective opinion based on my own preferences and interpretations of the characters and story (as is pretty much everything on my blog so business as usual). Which is why I would love to hear from my readers whether they are preferring Senryuu Shoujo or Hitoribocchi this season. Or is there another slice of life/comedy anime that got your attention this season? Let me know in the comments below and we’re almost at the end of the Spring season so remember to go vote for your favourite show of the season in my poll here.
They are very keen on this summer theme and this week we are
hitting the festival with a firework display in Senryuu Shoujo. I do have to
wonder if these last few episodes haven’t just been Haruhi Suzumiya’s endless
eight spread out over more episodes and not repeated. Either that or it feels
like the happy days of Higurashi before the slaughter. Or literally any high
school anime that has a summer vacation where they all hang out together.
None of that is actually criticism of what Senryuu Shoujo
has been doing. More just acknowledging that we aren’t getting anything new. If
you are after mind-blowing and original, look elsewhere. Here is the
comfortable standard for high school club anime and it is doing it with a
reasonable amount of care. Again, not redefining what a summer sequence is or
blowing the audience away with any kind of exceptional standard, it is just
like an old pair of slippers. They fit and they are warm and comfortable, and
that’s all they need to do.
This time we have ditched a lot of the support characters to
simply focus on the core of Eiji and Nanako with the third wheel of the club
president at the festival. We’ll get a fairly standard montage of festival
activities before the real ‘drama’ begins.
This is perhaps the first time the anime has really
acknowledged that Nanako not speaking is actually a problem. While she’s
waiting for Eiji and the president, some classmates find her and drag her off
to see the fireworks with them. Unable, or unwilling, to speak, Nanako gets
dragged away. In that situation, stopping to write a poem to express herself is
a little difficult, and more importantly she doesn’t actually really try to
resist the other girls. She simply goes along.
However, we do get a very pretty reunion, a firework display, and the usual saccharine conclusion to the episode that we’ve come to expect from this series. The one sour note is Eiji’s fierce denial that Nanako and he are together because with one episode to go that kind of shatters any hope that we might get them officially together before the end of the season.
We’re sticking with the summer vacation theme this week but
here we hit the super cute button as the characters make a plan to go to watch
real fireflies. Of course the club president isn’t happy just to let it rest
with that and makes alternate plans that involve scaring Nanako and Eiji by
creating a ghost tunnel. It is the usual summer break silliness from school
characters in a slice of life and yet there’s something just kind of adorable
about this episode that makes it work and feel memorable.
Part of this is the great chemistry in the cast. Despite
each character being a walking gimmick they each bring something cute to the
table and together the group dynamics are just kind of perfect. Art girl
continues to be a personal favourite (and I promise I will remember her name by
the end of the series, though we are running out of episodes) and the fortune teller
girl adds enough cynicis to the mix to take the edge off of the sickly sweet.
However, the real highlight of the episode, as is the case
most episodes, is the relationship between Eiji and Nanako. The two are very
sweet together and whether it is Nanako admiring the bug Eiji caught, their
genuine delight at the plan to look for fireflies, or Eiji’s efforts to protect
Nanako in the tunnel, they are just too cute to watch.
I’m really hoping these two become an officially acknowledged couple by the end of the season because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense not to acknowledge what has become very clear from watching these two. They have a genuine mutual like of one another and they are both sweet people. Now if only they would act on it.
Instead of following Nanako, this week we follow Eiji as he
goes about a typical day while on Summer vacation in Senryuu Shoujo.
Admittedly, I don’t think most of us start a typical day by dropping our phone
in ramen and then run into literally everyone we know while wasting time in
town before being invited back to our ‘not’ girlfriend’s place, but really this
seems pretty typical for these characters.
Honestly, there isn’t a lot to say about this episode as we
simply encounter Eiji’s ‘big-sis’ character, the fortune teller, the club
president and then the art girl in succession. Each encounter is cute enough
but not particularly note-worthy as it simply reinforces their standard characteristics.
Then Eiji runs into Nanako.
The highlight of this anime continues to be the adorable
nature of any sequence between Eiji and Nanako and even if this encounter ended
up being emotionally overblown when Nanako’s father met Eiji, it couldn’t take
away from how cute the two are. The conversation between Eiji and Nanako’s
mother was also cute, but now we know Nanako has just always communicated
through poem and we still don’t know why.
This was very much easy viewing but didn’t really bring anything new to the table for Senryuu Shoujo.
Another standard plot development for Senryuu Shoujo as we
move into Summer and of course that means the girls need to go shopping for
swimsuits. There’s not a lot more to the episode as the president takes Nanako,
the girl who communicates through drawing, and the psychic to a shop and they
all pick out a swimsuit, meanwhile Eiji’s childhood friend ambushes him by
turning up on his bed while wearing a bikini.
The usual eye-rolling follows. Why characters get bent out
of shape about swimsuits and the amount of shy fidgeting and turning red these
characters do in this episode is just beyond a joke. Worse, the episode doesn’t
feel the need to even try to string anything more together than Eiji sees
Nanako in a swimsuit for the punchline and then the episode ends.
Even for a short anime this episode of Senryuu Shoujo was
lacking substance. While the cute sparkles surrounding girls in swim suits
might compensate for some viewers, this one is a solid low point for the series
for me so far. There were just no actually cute interactions between the
characters and the standard routine of check out swimsuits and have jaws
dropping over the one that looks like strings and then the boob staring to
compare chest sizes just doesn’t appeal in any way.
Overall this episode didn’t actually do anything wrong but it didn’t do a thing to make me feel it was really worth the time it took to watch.
We are back to super cute this week with Senryuu Shoujo as
we get a standard girl wants to share umbrella with guy plot. Fortunately the
story begins and ends with this set-up and the middle section is a fairly cute
mission to build a rabbit hutch.
This episode does make me wonder why Nanako and Eiji aren’t
already together. It is quite clear that they are both into one another and
Nanako’s adorable concerns about her hair going frizzy in the rain is highly entertaining
as is her slight lie and manipulation in order to get to share an umbrella with
the endlessly clueless Eiji.
Where I’m less thrilled is in the club president
manipulating the situation by lying to Nanako about the legend and through the
announcement of the escaped bunnies. While her intentions might be fine it all
just seems a little too contrived.
That said, watching this motley group of characters – the delinquent,
the girl who communicates only through poems, the girl who hides herself with
her drawings, and the psychic – try to repair the rabbit hutch was utterly
adorable and honestly I think I’d happy watch that combination of characters
take on almost any task.
This anime is very average but in terms of being cute and light viewing it succeeds admirable and the half-length episodes are just right.