Even though a lot (and I do mean a lot) of anime is set in high school, I often feel that not a lot of them really do anything meaningful or thoughtful with that choice of setting. And don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy simple slice of life or CGDCT shows but I also think it wouldn’t kill the industry if they try to bank on the high school setting beyond simple marketability. That’s largely what made Just Because! a potentially worthwhile show for me. Shows like this rarely come into existence so I got optimistic and prayed that it would be good. And having now seen this premiere, I can safely say that my expectations were fairly met.
Just Because! appears to center around Eita Izumi, a quiet boy and former baseball player who is transferring to a new school on his third year. Transferring to a school, especially with graduation on the horizon, is awkward enough but even more awkward is the fact that some of Eita’s middle school classmates attend the high school he is transferring to. Among those classmates is Mio Natsume, the former council president and a girl who seems to have some history with Eita.
Even though this sounds very simple on paper, it actually took me a few minutes to follow the story of Just Because!. As it turns out, the story is following a couple of other perspectives, besides the two main characters’. In the first episode alone, we’re introduced to a baseball player Haruto and an aspiring photographer Ena and it takes a while for Eita to cross paths with them. It threw me off a little bit but fortunately, I found these supportive characters to be pretty likable, particularly Ena who’s pretty energetic and cares a lot about her hobby.
By far, my favorite scene in the episode is at the end where Eita helps Haruto bat a home run during practice (something that Haruto wants to do before he enters college and quit the sport). It’s a very entertaining scene that also serves to subtly inform the viewer Eita’s history with Haruto and baseball all while Haruto gets fired up to strike a home run. It’s made all the more enjoyable with Ena snapping photos of the practice session and a few members of a brass instrumental band playing some motivational music for Haruto. At the same time, Mio finds out Eita is now attending her school which prompts her to look out the window to see him and Haruto practicing together. It’s a nice way to have the gears turning and have all the perspectives begin to form one whole picture.
Overall, I thought Just Because! started off on a solid note. The characters are pretty likable so far and I do think there is a lot of potential to the premise. How well the show will make bank on its premise is something only time will tell but right now, I’m feeling very optimistic about the show. I’ll definitely check out a few more episodes and see if this show will live up to its promise.
- I’m really liking the voice acting in this show; I’m particularly impressed with the performances of newcomers Aoi Ichikawa and Karin Isobe as Eita and Mio respectively.
- The visuals are pretty good; a little rough around the edges (Pine Jam is admittedly a very young studio) but the lighting and somewhat subdued coloring really reflect the awkwardness of Eita’s situation, at a time where a lot of incoming graduates are doing a bunch of silly, fun stuff before they enter college.