I’ll be blunt: I was incredibly bored with about 80% of Pastel Memories‘ premiere. In fact, I ended up doing other things before finally forcing myself to sit through the whole episode. There’s a lot of factors behind my disinterest. I guess, to someone, a future where most of Japan has forgotten about anime might sound apocalyptic but to me, it comes across as downright silly and not all that dire sounding. Most of the episode is just the characters trying to find an out of print manga for some random customer which could be cute but it ends up getting overplayed. And as for the characters’ personalities…what personalities?
That all said, I must concede that Pastel Memories eventually managed to grab my attention if only for its last minute turn for the bizarre. Turns out, this isn’t just a slice of life anime about the last group of otakus working in a cafe. There’s also a mysterious virus eating away people’s memories of anime and the characters are all magical girls, tasked by a talking bunny, who must venture into the anime to save them. I swear to God, this is all happened in the same episode. Think of it as a magical girl, poor man’s version of Kingdom Hearts.
The big problem though is that it all feels so jarring. There was no indication that this kind of thing could happen. Most of the episode was concerned about whether or not the girls would find the out of print manga in its entirety and that’s played entirely straight and grounded in our reality. Maybe that’s meant to lead into the reveal of the virus eating people’s memories but that’s quite the leap in internal logic if you ask me. So by the time you get to the ending, you watch a bunch of girls moping about their incomplete manga set and then! More cafe members get beamed back to the cafe from another dimension and a talking rabbit appears. This isn’t like, say, Revue Starlight, which subtly hinted at a surreal turn via a dream sequence that foreshadows important details surrounding the story. Plus, that show’s premiere also had the courtesy to show the magical girl stuff for a solid five minutes. In the case of Pastel Memories, you need to wait another week to actually see the same aspect in earnest. You’re not even allowed to let it sink in just yet.
Maybe I’ll watch more of Pastel Memories? I’ll admit that I’m morbidly curious about what entails in the second episode. If it can elaborate on the premise, that would be nice. Maybe brush up on the characterization too, especially since there’s twelve girls to follow. If you plan on dropping or skipping this show though, I really can’t blame you. The supposed gravity of anime disappearing from collective consciousness is really thin and the lack of lead in with the dimension hopping and magical girl aspects puts the show on a rocky start.
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