Muse: Some teenage girls start high school and occasionally make out. That’s it. That’s the whole show.
I would leave it at that, but I’m obligated to write 400 words on the guide, so… This was not exactly what I was expecting. The word “relationship” in the preview synopsis made me think that it would be about an actual relationship. I assumed wrong. The camera loves to linger on their thighs and skirts, thinks that close-ups on chests count as scene transitions, and teases every panty shot that they could’ve taken but didn’t. There’s even a moment where one of the main characters has a random, unwarranted fantasy about the girl who sits next to her for no apparent reason. It’s admittedly pretty tame as far as fanservice goes, but there’s still enough to make it clear that this is a series for the male gaze. “Look! Underage teenage lesbians! Isn’t that hot?! And there will be more of them! Just look at the OP! Lesbians everywhere!”
There’s not much of substance going on here, even by school life 4-koma adaptation standards. The girls go to school. The girls kiss. The girls get stuck on the veranda. More kissing. It does deserve some credit for getting right to the point and delivering what people are watching it for, but aside from the kissing there is nothing in this show to distinguish it from the tons of other “girls in high school with homo-erotic undertones” series out there. Other shows where “lesbians” are the main draw at least have some comedy or drama to make things more interesting, but Sakura Trick does neither. There were moments when I think it was trying to be funny, but didn’t work very well. The boob grab joke has been dead and buried for decades now guys, it’s time to let it go. Everything seems to be an afterthought to getting back to the kiss scenes, which have most of the animation budget as well.
That said, the animation itself is pretty decent. Aside from two of the girls in the main group who immediately blended together in my mind, the character design was well done. I liked the art direction as well–substituting in daisies for one of the main characters in some shots was a cute choice, as was the recurring circle pattern. But the rest of it is so bland and forgettable that I couldn’t help but feel that this would’ve worked better as a five-minute short. It’s harmless fluff, but its such boring and obviously pandering fluff that I don’t feel any incentive to keep watching it. This is a series for somebody, but it’s not for me.
Naru: Hamatora is actually an odd jobs business composed of three members: Nice, Murasaki, and this one little chick that loves food. Like most odd jobs businesses, they aren’t exactly swimming in cash – or have stable salaries. But they are badarse people.
Hamatora the Animation promises many good things, with its cast of eccentric characters whom we haven’t had the chance of seeing all of their attributes, and it’s striking art. Personally, I’m not really into the character designs of this anime – I find it impressive yet too sharp for my tastes, and I can’t stand how the eyes of the characters are done – but it does manage to distinguish itself from what I’m used to and is a fresh and colorful change, especially if you take notice of all the various colors used in the animation for highlighting a character’s hair, their accessories, and for the most important things in a shounen, the battles. The fights shown in episode one were gorgeous and…candy for the eyes. If there’s one thing I’ll be looking forward to in the next episodes of Hamatora, it’ll be the animation during the fights. Because they’re beautiful. And I’m going to watch them again. And again.
Okay, I think I’ve made my point.
The story seems just as good. Having a simple plot (at least it looks simple) leaves a lot of room for drama, betrayal, suspense, and all the other good stuff we love to see in anime, so I believe anyone who has time to squeeze in one more anime into their To-Watch this season can find a reason to watch and expect things from Hamatora. But I might be speaking too soon.
There will surely be a few slow moments for the sake of the plot and also to show-off the many characters, since we know they all are very special people who obviously hold dark secrets and have reasons to do such an unstable job. I’m particularly curious about Mr. Eyepatch and his monthly salary because usually you can’t get a fancy car with that kind of job.
I should stop bashing Odd Jobs people. Or people who aren’t like the Get Backers.
One thing I’ll also be paying very attention to in Hamatora is the main mystery we’ve found out about, the Minimum. For those who haven’t seen the episode yet, Minimum are humans with special powers which can be locked following certain conditions. It’s a weird idea, but it passes. Plus, the powers discovered so far are pretty awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing what other powers Minimum can have.
Hamatora better not disappoint me.
These series are streaming on Crunchyroll.
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