Adachi and Shimamura – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

I’ve heard really good things about Adachi and Shimamura‘s light novel source material and I’m all for more grounded and more earnest yuri anime. What really caught my attention however is the fact that this series was created by Hitoma Iruma, the same writer who created Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl. It’s been almost a decade since I saw Ground Control. The plot details are really blurry right now but I do remember finding it quirky and funny and it was, oddly enough, one of the first anime I saw during high school. Anything else from the same creator is naturally going to pique my curiosity.

The plot of Adachi and Shimamura is dead simple. You have two girls, Sakura Adachi (Akari Kitou) and Hougetsu Shimamura (Miku Itou), and the show explores the romantic relationship growing between them. Growing is the keyword as the show is definitely playing the long game here with the story beginning with the two titular characters as friends who are only faintly aware of their budding feelings towards one another. Even then, those feelings currently only manifest with some blushing here and some glances there.

A recurring plot that happens throughout the premiere is Shimamura’s friends Hino (Manami Numakura) and Nagafuji (Reina Ueda) learning about her friendship with Adachi. This first comes to light when the three of them come across Adachi by her lonesome and both her and Shimamura deliberately avoids making eye contact with each other, seemingly coming to the awkward agreement to stay quiet about their friendship. Eventually, Hino and Nagafuji correctly deduce where their friend is hanging out and this leads to Shimamura fearing that Adachi will start avoiding her. That fortunately doesn’t happen to be the case but it nevertheless does speak volumes about our two lead characters.

While very clearly in the early stages, I’m really liking the relationship between Adachi and Shimamura. There’s an interesting dichotomy going on in that they’re both alike and yet they’re also opposites attracted to one another. Both girls seem to prefer their alone time, even skipping class to do so, though Adachi is evidently more the delinquent (for what reason is currently unclear) while Shimamura is definitely the more sociable one as she does have friends besides Adachi. Another attribute greatly empathized is how much the two value each other’s company. They consistently hang out together and there’s a shared sense of concern when Shimamura’s friends butt into their hangouts. Both fear neither will want to hang out with each other as a result and yet both then assure each other by hanging out at a different time.

There’s a ton of great imagery throughout the premiere. That Adachi and Shimamura play ping pong during their downtime feels intentional to me. It’s a hunch but I see it as a metaphor for their relationship, how they literally play off of each other. In that sense, the recurring image of the ball dropping onto the floor serves to signal a potential and sudden disruption to their relationship. Another recurring image is the bench Adachi sits at when Shimamura and her friends bump into her. It’s later used as a rendezvous point for the two main characters to meet and inadvertently reaffirm their bond. The first time, it’s Shimamura meeting with Adachi time and later, it’s vice versa. A less recurring yet still noteworthy moment is when Shimamura imagines herself sinking down through a body of water. Her narration of how it’s a metaphor to one’s bonds with others is on point. It can be a lot easier for relationships to go down as opposed to up.

The show is also just pretty to look at. It’s far from perfect from a technical sense. The supporting characters sometimes look a teensy bit rough and I’d argue the use of bloom light can overkill. For the most part though, I find the art direction really helps carry the story. A good example is the scene where Adachi has Shimamura ride on her bike on their way home. The background transitioning to sunset is absolutely lovely and the cut to a more stylistic and imaginary version of the location is incredibly romantic.

About the only thing that confuses me is the inclusion of Yashiro (Iori Saeki), a mysterious girl seen wearing a spacesuit. There was a character by the same name in Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl though I want to say that’s a different character and she was voiced by Yuka Iguchi. Whatever the exact continuity is, I have to wonder what exactly Yashiro is even doing here. Is Adachi and Shimamura going to flirt with the possible existence of espers and aliens like Ground Control did. I’m having a hard time seeing that fit in with the yuri plot. Is Yashiro going to help Adachi and Shimamura realize they’re in love with each other? That could easily be fulfilled by just aby anyone else. Thing is, I can’t even chalk up Yashiro off as a cheeky cameo as judging by the OP and ED as well as the post-credit scene in the premiere, she’s going to be a recurring character.

Other than that, this is one hell of a premiere. Be it the writing or direction, it makes for a captivating experience and hopefully, the rest of the series will follow suit. We’re definitely playing the long game here and I’m looking forward to it.

OP: “Kimi ni Aeta hi” by Adachi (CV: Akari Kitou) & Shimamura (CV: Miku Itou)

ED: “Kimi no Tonari de” by Akari Kitou

Thanks for reading!

Adachi and Shimamura on Funimation

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