- Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life,
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Diomedéa
There are very few things that Chio wants out of life. A good computer and some peace and quiet to play video games. One long time friend to chat with at school. And avoid standing out at all costs. She has spent her entire life working out the perfect strategy to fly under the radar. Everything she does is in the service of living out her peaceful, uneventful high school life. But first, she has to actually get to school. That may prove more daunting than it sounds with a myriad of obstacles in her way. From roadblocks to delinquents, to the dangers of impending puberty, Chio must use all her skills and cunning to navigate the mysterious world between her front door and school. Is she up to the task?
Unlike a lot of my illustrious fellow bloggers, I quite like comedies. Primarily comedic anime are my jam and I am easily swayed by the promise of a few cheap laughs. When Chio was airing last year, I decided that it would be a lighthearted absurdist comedy in the vein of Hinamatsuri. Since I really enjoyed the latter, I was eager to see what Chio could offer.
I had to look up studio Diomedéa as the name didn’t ring a bell. Turns out I’ve seen very little by them. Only the first Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! which I quite enjoyed , and Mayoiga…..
This season, they are behind Domestic Girlfriend. Basically, they don’t traditionally create shows I’m drawn to so I couldn’t recognize Chio’s look and I can’t tell you if it’s a trademark of the studio. This said, everything seemed competent. Design, art, animation and voice acting where all good without standing out too much.
The one element I did notice was the use of Ben-Day dots for the backgrounds. It gave it a manga feel. Man that’s a stupid thing to say. Duh…anime is reminiscent of manga… I guess what I mean is that it had a quaint, sort of casual feel to the design that gave the impression of a little 4 koma strip, rather than some sleek expansive fiction. Which, of course, is exactly what it is. The former. I am not doing great with this review.
Basically, in structure these are short comedic vignettes. Each episode has about two stand alone story lines and a tag. There’s no overarching plot and the episodes are tied together mainly through recurring characters rather than events. As such, it ended up reminding me much more of The Daily Lives of High School Boys than Hinamatsuri. At least at first.
The humor in Chio’s School road is divided into three roughly defined categories. The first and by far my favourite, is absurdism. Outlandish situations and weird reactions happen throughout the series and are often amusing. Chio trying to imitate video games is a recurring gag that usually pays off for instance. Her interactions with the improbably gentle Andou are also quite successful in my opinion.
The second is what I am going to call cringe. Chio is very awkward and she is surrounded by socially inappropriate friends and weirdos. A lot of there actions are embarrassing either to them or to watch and as such you get that weird nervous laughter. It’s not mean spirited. Yes you are laughing at the characters for being losers but it’s clear that you’re also supposed to relate to them and as such are laughing a bit at yourself. WataMote used this type of humour a lot. In Chio it’s hit or miss in my opinion with the biggest problem being that it tends to get repetitive and the second half of the season had serious comedic diminishing returns for me.
The last is Fanservice. There is a lot of fanservice in Chio. Light versions with weird camera angles, childish potty humor or mildly dirty jokes permeates the series. But it also gets a lot more insistent with some rather overt nudity and needles undressing of characters and sexual aggression as humor. I don’t think I’m particularly sensitive in that regard, but some episodes got occasionally uncomfortable for me. Mostly though, the fanservice was distracting and I think it simply wasn’t integrated in a way that it added anything to the series. It’s unfortunate as it’s such a huge part of the show.
This said, for me it wasn’t a deal breaker. However, if you happen to be a bit less patient with fanservice in anime, you may find it annoying and if you are a big fan of fanservice, then other animes have done it much better. I do give them kudos for having their a least some of the Yuri in the series explicitly stated rather than mildly alluded to.
All things considered, I think Chio had some weaknesses. The jokes got repetitive, the comedic timing wasn’t always on point and there was little else of substance in the show. But it also wasn’t aimed at me so I have a feeling it will be enjoyed more by the demographic it was written for. I did enjoy a lot of the sketches but got rather bored by the halfway point. The fake bloopers at the end of the last episode were hilarious though. These little touches always get a big thumbs up from me!
Favorite character: Manana
What this anime taught me: the Japanese word for wild game is the same as the French one: Gibier?
Of course size matters, no one wants a small glass of wine!
Suggested drink: a Butterfly
- Every time Chio is super awkward – take a sip
- Every time Choi plays video games– take a sip
- she stays up all night to do so – get some coffee
- Every time anyone says “below average” – take a sip
- Every time anyone says Bloody Butterfly – take a big sip
- Every time we see yuri – fan yourself
- Every time Manana is a bad (great!) friend – raise your glass
- Every time we see Gouto-san – take a sip
- Every time Manana is way too direct – take a sip
- Every time anyone plays Kabadi – stretch
- Every time Andou smokes – breath in
- Every time anyone turns into a monster – take a sip
- Every time we see George – awwww
I took a million screencaps… I’m sorry.