What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a shonen romance manga series… Actually, there seems to have been several iterations of the manga, with the TV series picking and choosing characters and storylines as it saw fit.
Kyoichi, our male lead, is a high school student with a distinct inferiority complex over his unfitness and “unmanly” hobbies (such as his painting). It doesn’t really help that his hormones are kicking in and making him notice…
Chiharu, his childhood friend, who has grown into an attractive, if athletic and tomboyish girl. Kyoichi thinks he doesn’t stand a chance, especially after her senior in the track team makes his confession. In any event, he’s going to keep quiet about his own feelings. And if this description seems like it’s all about him… well, yeah. We never get into her head, although there are signs she might not be as unreceptive as he thinks she is, and is also trying to test the waters.
Makoto, his lecherous “friend”, who makes a point of mining data about all the girls in school… aside from Chiharu, because he doesn’t do tomboys. He’s a slimy worm and proud of it, and happy to share his knowledge with his pals. (Who look more embarrassed than pleased by his “help”.)
Yoshihiko, the third member of this circle of friends, is a quiet dude who doesn’t leave much of an impression yet.
It seems the series is going for an ensemble/anthology format, as next episode seems to be about Makoto rather than Kyoichi/Chiharu.
Quite nice looking indeed ; the characters can act and convey more than they say through their body language.
Due to the content, there’s quite a lot of male gaze in the camera work whenever we’re put in Kyoichi’s position, but it’s more in the angles than actually showing anything. Which is why the eyecatches with live-action ass shots are especially puzzling.
Let’s be clear : this is a boys’ club series. It shows in detail how teenage boys see girls, with no room for the latter’s experiences. But once that is said, there’s a certain purity to this approach, and it’s not like the script can’t do nuance. The boys clearly have very different outlooks on the subject ; there’s enough variation here to offer proper depth and character development. (And there’s always the possibility of future episodes showing a female point-of-view, although I’m not holding my breath.)
And you know, it’s almost refreshing to see a anime romance show where teenagers’ lewd thoughts are front and center, instead of being shoved aside for their base unseemliness. It’s certainly enjoyable enough to watch, and I’m putting it onto the “to see later” list.