- Titles: Kawaii dake ja Nai Shikimori-san, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie
- Genre: Romance, comedy, slice of life
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Doga Kobo
Yuu Izumi is a cutie. He really is, you can ask any girl. He’s sweet, a little shy but he gets it together when it counts. He’s very considerate, patient and understanding. He’s basically the world’s best boyfriend but he’s also the unluckiest boy in the entire world. Or he was until he got his girlfriend Shikimori. Now his luck has clearly changed. He has this beautiful girl by his side to protect him from all the pitfalls fate puts in his way… literally. This poor kid falls a lot. Can love win out over supernaturally bad luck? Of course, it can, silly! Besides Shikimori can do everything she sets her mind on.
Once in a while, I try out a romantic comedy and lately, I’ve been more pleasantly surprised than otherwise. It’s one thing when romantic storylines are shoehorned into a perfectly nice adventure or something, it’s another thing when they’re in a romance. They’re supposed to be there!
I liked the production of Shikimori. It’s nothing too impressive or unusual but it’s an art style that I dig and I enjoyed the character designs pretty much across the board. Except maybe for Kyou’s hair. I’m sorry if that’s rude. I just didn’t get what was going on there and it felt like the artists occasionally just winged it so the shape changed a lot.
One thing I did notice, however, enough to write it down and all, is that scenes would occasionally be still for a second too long. The camera would go to a character for a reaction shot and the image would be completely still for a second or two. And it doesn’t sound like a big deal but on a couple of occasions, I actually thought my playback had frozen.
A variation of this would be the main characters talking in a classroom full of students for example, and all the background characters don’t move at all in a scene that lasts several seconds. If it was just a flash and the camera was swinging from one character to another, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the static backgrounds. But because they left it on the image just a bit too long, it started looking eerie. Like it was going to switch to a horror or something.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some huge production faux pas that will stop you from enjoying the show. It didn’t for me. But it was noticeable.
On the other hand, I really liked the contrast in facial expressions whenever a character became “serious”. This mostly happens with Shikimori but other characters do have some scenes like that from time to time. I thought it was very visually impactful.
Story & Characters
I think the best way I can describe Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is that it’s a classic romcom. Like an American romcom from the ’90s.
All those specific tropes are there. You have a main character who is essentially perfect except they’re clumsy. The classic romcom-approved character flaw. They also don’t realize how desirable they are despite having people regularly tell them and occasionally try to seduce them. Because they’re humble and quirky like that!
You have another main character who is all cool and composed. Always there to save their loved ones from trouble and keep them safe. But behind the scenes, they can be goofballs and are completely smitten. Because that makes them cute.
These might as well be romcom archetypes. The slightly outdated 101 of character writing for romantic comedies. The only hook here is that they are gender-flipped. And you know, that kind of worked. It’s not a huge change but it is a change. And the formula is so beaten down by now that even a tiny change like this brings a bit of fresh air.
Moreover, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is a romcom about a happy couple. If you know me, you might have noticed a pattern where I will be much more likely to appreciate a romance if they manage to avoid manufactured conflict and drama. And Shikimori is good at that. The conflict comes mostly from Yuu being the unluckiest man ever. There is a slight jealousy/love triangle subplot but it never goes anywhere and actually manages to make the women supportive and kind to each other instead of caty. That was a wonderful change as well.
All in all, I would say that Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie managed to do exactly what I wanted out of a romcom. But that means it also doesn’t have much drama or grand gestures. It’s a fairly calm little show that might be a little dull for someone wanting flowers and tears.
I also saw a lot of complaints that the main characters are really lame and well. Like I said, they’re archetypes. But they’re also very nice which is not a popular character trait at the moment so I’m not sure if some of the backlashes may be because they are failing to keep up with character trait trends of the time. If you are the type that gets annoyed with goody-two-shoes, this show is going to be rough to watch.
Honestly, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is very similar to My Dress-Up Darling in a lot of ways, but the latter is better on many levels which I think will bring down audience appreciation a little. And if you just want to watch one anime romantic comedy with a strong female lead, then I would recommend the latter. But if you enjoy comedies and don’t need them to be filled with drama, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is a decent anime.
You might like this anime if:
You are a hopeless romantic
My favourite character:
Hachimitsu, she needs her own show
- Every time Shikimori goes into serious mode – take a sip
- Every time Shuu and Kyou bicker – take a sip
- Every time Yuu’s clumsy – oh no!
- Every time Yuu is a supportive boyfriend – gawwww
- Every time Shikimori has no cool – raise your glass
- Every time anyone alls Yuu cute – take a sip
- Every time we see Shikimori’s brother – cheer
- Every time Shikimori gets jealous of Shuu – giggle
- Every time anyone says “lovebirds” – take a sip
- Every time Hachmitsu is unathletic – feel her pain
- Every time Shuu’s crying – oh no again!
- Every time anyone calls Shikimori “mi-chan” – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.