Number of episodes: 13
Production Studio: Kyoto Animation
Fansub Release Viewed: Coalguys
Likelihood of US Release: Medium
Yui joins the light music club hoping that it will be an easy way to play the castanets, the only instrument that she’s familiar with. Instead, she ends up playing the guitar, an instrument she might have unexpected skill playing.
Yui wakes up late for her first day of high school. After rushing in and sitting through the welcome address, she’s accosted by reps of every club at school, hoping to get her to join. Unfortunately, two weeks later, she still hasn’t chosen a club. In the meantime, two students, Mio and her energetic friend Ritsu, are trying to resurrect the defunct light music club before it gets taken off the club roster, so that they can form a band. To do so, they need to have at least four people in the club. A gentle girl named Tsumugi shows up one day and gets talked into playing the keyboard, but the group still needs a lead guitarist. Yui sees an ad on the school bulletin board for the group, and memories of playing the castanets in elementary school fill her mind with a wonderful nostalgic feeling, which causes her to want to join the light music club.
The members of the club are excited to learn that someone else is interested to join up, though when Yui arrives and admits that the castanets are the only instrument she actually knows how to play, she feels obligated to apologize and tries to leave. Desperate for members, the group tries to lure her with snacks and companionship, but what really gets her interested in staying is a short performance the three put on. While Yui, the straight-shooter that she is, admits that they’re not that great, she does say that she wants to stay, and the others pledge to teach her to play the guitar so that she can be a full-fledged member of the club.
Okay, sorry to put it so bluntly, but I am officially tired of Kyoto Animation and their talent being wasted on throwaway moe stuff. The studio has obvious talent — this series features some very natural animation that goes above-and-beyond what most studios spit out each season — but they continue to waste this wonderful skill on series that, frankly, don’t warrant it. And to be truthful, Lucky Star was at least funny and featured moments of action, while all this series seems to have are cute but bland characters that don’t stand out in any way. Though I may have issues with some aspects of the story, Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid features some of the most brilliant action I’ve seen in an anime series. Let’s have more of that and less cute brainless high schoolers doing nothing interesting.
The characters are one of the major reasons why this show fell flat for me. The three supporting cast members are pretty tolerable, though they all seem like palette swaps for characters from similar series (Ritsu could be the twin of Tomo from Azumanga Daioh, and Tsumugi is almost a perfect match for Miyuki from Lucky Star). Yui, however, is completely useless. She’s so clumsy that one wonders whether she’s suffering from some inner ear issue, and she’s often so distracted from what she’s doing that it seems as if she has a very bad case of ADD. And she has no guts whatsoever, taking the entire second half of the episode to admit that she can’t actually play an instrument. Her nature is so timid that I have this unnatural urge to yell at her to “man up!” every time something intimidates her. Of course, she’s very moe and that’s what the kids want these days. I, however, just counted the seconds until she wasn’t on the screen to annoy me anymore.
The animation, which is one of the brighter spots in this production, still seems lackluster in comparison to some of Kyoto Animation’s other works. The animators resort to a lot of chibi shortcuts in order to display emotion on the characters’s (mostly Yui’s) faces. It’s a choice that just seems shoddy and lazy to me, despite the nature of the show. On the flip side, the animation during the instrument-playing section was top-notch, with most of the on-screen actions matching to the beats in the song. Kudos to them for paying attention to those details.
I doubt that the music that appears eventually in this series will be anything to write home about, and the story seems like it will be neither humorous enough to actually elicit laughter, nor compelling enough to make it worth following, so unfortunately I will probably be skipping this one and waiting for Kyoto Animation to put their skill to good use.
- The animation during the music segment is well done and seems to match the beats well
- The show is neither very funny nor very compelling
- Yui is about the most idiotic main character I’ve watched lately