It’s definitely easy to be cynical about Sanrio Danshi since it is very much a 23 minute, 12 episode commercial involving five guys bonding over the wonders that is Sanrio’s merchandise. That being said, it is pretty neat the show is taking some advantage over the fact that the cast is all-male. The main character himself, Yuu, finds the Sanrio characters appealing but can’t bring himself to be public about it after a incident in his childhood where bullies called him girly for carrying around a stuffed Pompompurin. At the same time though, Yuu runs into some classmates who happen to be carrying around some Sanrio merchandise and aren’t afraid to admit that they find it cute.
While I don’t expect Sanrio Danshi to get super deep about masculinity, I will admit that this is a far more interesting take than I expected and the fear of being ridiculed for your hobbies and interests is something I think a lot of people can relate with. The only thing about the setup I was mixed on was the stuff with Yuu’s grandmother. On one hand, I can buy him struggling to apologize to his grandmother for ruining the Pompompurin she gave him after he got bullied. On the other hand, killing the character off felt a little manipulative on the show’s part or at least unnecessary. Still, I’m a little curious to see how his world will get turned upside down as he gets to know these Sanrio fanboys so I’ll stick with it for a little bit longer.
I don’t really care much for trashy romance stories (I dropped Kuzu no Honkai after three episodes for example) so I had neutral expectations with Citrus. Still, I thought that the show could be worthwhile if it happened to be a genuinely effective romance and a mature enough depiction of LGBT relationships. But now that I read a little bit of the manga and have watched this premiere, I think that expectation has effectively been dashed. This seems pulp at best.
I don’t want to say Citrus is completely dumb. The characterization, in particular, is decent with Yuzu acting as a gal and Mei acting all mature when Yuzu is actually quite modest and Mei is the one instigating the sexual tension between them. But apart from that, a lot of suspension of disbelief is seriously required here. It’s ridiculous that Yuzu knows so little about her school and step-family from the get go and I’m confused whether I should find Mei’s actions seductive or borderline sexual harassment. Even the art direction feels silly at times. The school looks absurdly systematic (complete with creepy CG extras) and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that Yuzu’s side of the bedroom is full of color while Mei’s is muted and monochrome.
At the very least, Citrus isn’t outright offensive but I doubt it’ll get any smarter or more respectable from what I’ve seen here. I might stick around for a few more episodes since chances are, this will be the one of the most discussed anime of the season. That said, I can see myself dropping this if I feel the need to.
You know the plot of a CGDCT show is especially non-existent if the big plot detail is held off at the very end of the first episode. Was there really any reason to withhold the information that Hana enrolled a year late? That’s hardly “I am your father” material.
Truth be told, the appeal of Slow Start eludes me. I suppose there could be something interesting with Hana readjusting to school life but honestly, it’s not a big deal for people to enroll a year late. Chances are, her new friends probably won’t care all that much so I can’t imagine seeing much conflict out of this.
It also doesn’t help that Slow Start seems too reliant on the characters interacting together. A lot of the story in the first episode is dictated by random exchanges of dialogue and not particularly interesting ones at that. The character designs are pretty cute but I don’t really find any one of them particularly interesting or entertaining. I might give this show one more shot if I have the time but honestly, I think there are better CGDCT alternatives out there this season.
Pop Team Epic
Pardon my language but what the fuck is this?
Honestly, I just didn’t think Pop Team Epic was funny. At all. None of the references were clever and the surreal and incoherent story failed to merit a laugh out of me. And you know a comedy is so full of itself if it dared to replay the first ten minutes of the first episode but with a different voice cast. As if that’s supposed to make the experience any more entertaining. Why is this even a half-hour show anyway? This kind of content seems more suited for a short 2-5 minute format.
Comedy is admittedly a very subjective quality and I’m aware that this show does have its following (I can just see the memes flooding in as I write this). If you like how Pop Team Epic throws two middle fingers at any sense of logic or structure then more power to you. Personally, I’ll be staying as far away from it as humanely possible.