- Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life
- Studio: Pierrot
How ill the last of the Winter Games shows fare in comparison? Will my esteemed competition agree with my views? What in the world am I talking about?
Confession time kids. This was my pick and not my original pick at that. I had picked Darling and the FranXX (which I still plan to watch) but after it became clear that I was going to be sent to Yuru Camp, I switched my vote to this for revenge. It certainly was sweet. Maybe a bit too sweet?
Let’s not beat around the bush, Sanrio Boys is a Cute Boys Doing Cute Things Show. The opening scene is a red herring school play scene, complete with different art style and animation as well as conspicuous 4th wall breaks. The immediate impression is one of silly if somewhat shallow good times. A warm hearted but uncomplicated ode to friendship.
As the episode progresses, we are brought back to the happy school days before the boys formed their friendship. Visually, it is definitely pretty and the most consistent entry but also the least visually challenging. It is quite pretty but not as interesting to look at as Yuru or as ambitious as Grandcrest. It beats both of them on consistency of artwork by a mile. The look of it actually reminded me of Nozaki-kun, which being on of my favorite shows immediately scored points with me.
Also a Slice of life, this one is much more aimed at comedy as the episode was peppered with easy but warm hearted humor. We know that the boys will eventually form some type of strong bonds but the first episode concentrates on establishing Hase’s character through a glimpse of his youth with his late grandmother and his very first encounter with happy go lucky playboy Mizuno and strong and silent Shunsuke .
I was gearing myself to enjoy the cute if someone mindless romp when two unexpected things happened. The extended flashback to Hase’s childhood with his grandmother was treated with an unambiguously dramatic voice without slipping into melodrama. It was a surprisingly touching moment which is difficult to pull off in a first episode. From there the episode started weaving in some mild commentary on gender norms and expectations which proved not only progressive but surprisingly insightful.
I’m not sure if the balance can be sustained. The boys are all quite lovely, the humor is present enough to give you something to latch onto even when nothing is happening, and the apparent messaging give the show a sense of direction that can be lacking in slice of life series. On the other hand, it is threading a thin line and could get pushed over into preachiness or oversweet mush at any moment. I’m cautiously optimistic with this one.
Episode 2 Sadly, the second episode fails to keep up the momentum. It’s still quite cute but it’s starting to get a little cloying. After ending on Hase’s first meeting with Mizuno and Shunsuke, we get another episode devoted to Hase’s difficulting at reconciling his own preferences with societal expectations. The parallels are pretty obvious here but I’m convinced there’s nothing but the best of intentions.
Unfortunately, the episode itself is unfocused. The humor has been pushed to the side and random sight gags have been replaced with unnecessary shirtless boy fanservice and light hoyay. Let it never be said I’m complaining about shirtless fanservice but the designs are so bishi cute already that any extra fanservice seems like overkill and that time would have been better spent elsewhere.
We still no little to nothing at all about anyone other than Hase and the episode one again revisits his relationship with his grandmother. The emotional climax of the episode revolves around a scene where Hase is desperately looking for his stuffed animal (having been thrown out by his mom by mistake) in the rain. It was hilarious. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be though. These are the types of scenes that make me love boy idol shows and low budget z movies so much.
Ultimately, Hase is able to get some sort of happy ending thanks to a deus ex machina appearance by dynamic duo Mizuno and Shunsuke. If this was a different sow I would be highly suspicious of Mizuno. He would make a fantastic cult leader. The last few minutes were just a straight up Sanrio commercial. I guess I should have expected that really and I appreciated the completely unconcealed execution.
I’m really hoping that Hase’s emotional growth will mean a return to the more lighthearted and comical style of the first episode because this was a little too sappy for my taste, or at least a lot more shirtless boy fanservice. What can I say, in the span of writing the review, it grew on me!
Plot: We will find out the Student Council Prez also likes Sanrio charas (he looks like Nozaki-kun)
Character: Hase will remember his grandmother.