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Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou

April 5, 2014

One of the first new spring series on my watch list that started to air is “Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou”, the anime adaptation of the original comedy manga “僕らはみんな河合荘” by Miyahara Ruri.

Although it is officially titled “The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour” in English, the dormitory’s name ‘kawaisou’ as used in the original Japanese title can be seen as a play on words since かわいぞう can also mean pitiful.

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That play of words in the title seemed rather odd when looking at the lively and colorful illustrations used to advertise the series. After seeing the terrific visuals in the promotional trailer, wanted to try this show and after the first episode, am definitely watching the rest!

In simple terms, based on that first episode alone, the show feels like a mix of classic anime “Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~” with last year’s “Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo”, all with stunning animation from Brain Base whose use of lighting effect and subdued color palette do somewhat remind me of Makoto Shinkai’s work.

While the core story and overall comedy seem nothing to be excited about, the irresistible cuteness of main female lead Ritsu and the particular animation style have reeled me in.

Am unsure how she is rendered in the original manga, but there’s no doubt that the studio and writers know that Ritsu’s cuteness is one of the show’s selling points and they’re hamming her moe factor up for all she’s worth. At first glance Ritsu is a quiet, distant girl, totally absorbed in the endless books she constantly reads, she is no meek girl devoid of personality though, but seems rather strong willed.

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Just having a cute female lead character alone isn’t enough though, luckily for “Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou”, the excellent performance of voice actress Hanazawa Kana adds an entire dimension to Ritsu, she’s the perfect candidate to voice such a character.

Animation by studio Brain’s Base is very good. As is usual for most anime, key scenes and character close-ups are well cared for and have lots of detail, but in comparison some of the more plain scenes do have rather lackluster animation.

Where the studio really seems to pull out all the stops is in rendering the lighting and luscious backgrounds, especially those of Kawaisou, with its classic Japanese architecture it strikes the viewer as an enchanting place.

As mentioned above, bookworm Ritsu is voiced by Hanazawa Kana, she also voiced Nadeko in “Bakemonogatari”, Charlotte in “IS: Infinite Stratos”, Ruri in “Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai”, Kobato in “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai”, Yokoi in “Tonari no Seki-kun”, Roka in “D-Frag!” and Onodera in “Nisekoi”.

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Satou Rina voices Mayumi, she previously voiced Misaka in “To aru Kagaku no Railgun”, Haruka in “Minami-ke”, Kaoru in “Amagami SS”, Saki in “Genshiken Nidaime” and Nagi in “Eve no Jikan”.

Kobayashi Sanae voices landlady Sumiko, she also voiced Lucy in “Elfen Lied”, Akira in “My Hime” and Satsuki in “Ichigo 100%”.

Although she has yet to appear, Sayaka will be voiced by Kanemoto Hisako, she’s tackled roles like Makoto in “Gingitsune”, Kanata in “So-Ra-No-Wo-To”, Amy in “Suisei no Gargantia”, Haruka in “Kotoura-san” and Ika Musume in “Shinryaku! Ika Musume”.

Really enjoyed the first episode, will keep on watching and do hope that “Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou” turns out to be a lovely, heartwarming comedy like “Mahoraba ~Heartful Days~”.

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