This will be my first ever episode review, and I’m really excited to get it started. I really wanted to make these interesting for everyone, not just those who have seen the episode. It’s a hard thing to do, but I gave it my best try.
So to do that, I plan to break it up into three parts. The first is almost like a watchalong. I will type various important parts of the episode and my thoughts on them on the spot. I will literally type it on my laptop as I’m watching. It will be a good way to get my pure reactions, and not just me analyzing something you haven’t seen.
The second will be my more complete thoughts after the episode is finished and has sat with me for a bit. And lastly, will be the portion where I say how I would improve the episode, if at all, because I think it’s good practice to offer up ways to make something better if you criticize it. Anyway, let’s go. This one’s a doozy.
So we begin with some bum sleeping on a train in August 2016. Now, I know that’s a little harsh, but he himself says how he has no girlfriend, job, can’t pay rent, and is moving to his parent’s house. I don’t want to be mean, but that sounds like a prime bum. But I do relate. The guy just wants a job in the anime or videogame industry but is crushed by the reality of life. I get it. Why I’ll never get a job in anything like that. I hear how bad it is.
Still, he’s a bum with a reason, at least. Back when Protag-kun (what’s his name?) was going to college, he had two choices. Either an art school or a regular college. Despite the fact that’s he’s talented in all sorts of fields considered “art,” this guy has big confidence issues, so he picked the safer bet. He’s not happy, so now’s he wishes he took the other option. Being stuck in the past doesn’t get you anything, guy, but you’ll probably learn that.
But things turn around for him when he tackles a girl in the dead of night who ends up working for a company that develops games, and she just happens to need a person with Protag’s talents. So she sticks him on clean-up duty, but being the excitable bum he is, does the job wonderfully and quickly becomes the likable errand boy of the whole company. It is like that, sadly. Also, sadly, the project gets frozen, and everyone’s laid off because life is fun. But don’t worry, Protag, you’ll be back in time soon.
And that’s exactly what happens next. It’s almost like I understand pacing, but in reality, I’m just good at guessing. Side note: it’s canon that he likes The Familiar of Zero, Haganai, and No Game No Life and that he also owns a PS2. I like him more already. I do have a prediction that this story will end with the whole thing being a dream, and the lesson is that you can’t have second chances, and he uses it to impact his current life, but that’s just a guess. Maybe another good guess?
So he goes to art school and is shown right away that it was a good decision when he wakes up beside a cute girl the next morning. They have shared housing because, of course, they do. I bet something like this didn’t happen in the bum’s life before. His name’s Kyoya Hashiba, by the way. They probably mentioned that. We also meet his suitors- I mean new friends, Shino Aki, the aforementioned cute girl, and Kogure Nanako, the violent girl that definitely won’t be the popular N@NA we keep hearing about in the future, or present? How does that work? And there’s the sleazy guy, Rokuonji Tsurayuki, who has one of the harder Japanese names I’ve typed.
Assistant Professor girl comes out and gives one hell of a speech to the students about how anyone getting an education on how to make entertainment is an idiot that likely won’t make any money but caps it off by saying enough stupidly can earn you money if you go all-in on it. That’s my motivation in life. Stupidity and stubbornness are all I’ve got.
It turns out (unsurprisingly) that Kawasegawa Eiko, Hashiba’s boss in the future, was part of the same art school, and she’s just as loud and diligent as you’d expect. Now he has three friends. It also turns out that Tsurayuki is a good student, too, despite sleeping on the job. Our poor protag needs to step up his game, or he’ll go full bum again.
Shino is pretty much in the same boat, though. She has an interest in photography but seems to be pretty normal, just like Hashiba. They seem the best together, and she’s also best girl currently. She further cements this as Hashiba carries her home because, of course, she fell asleep. He pours his heart out to her about being worried everyone is so much more talented, and she tells him that everyone he really looks up to is just as worried as him. It’s a good message and something I, myself, keep in mind a lot. Best girl.
And in a pretty good twist, I didn’t actually see coming, Shino is the artist that Hashiba loves in the future. Did I say she was best girl? Because she, in fact, is. And finally, it ends with our ex-bum-potentially-future-bum looking up at the night sky, making a promise to work harder. That’s a wrap. Good episode, really.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room first. This first episode was 50 minutes long. That’s a big meaty episode to unpack. When I think of longer episodes like this, I usually look at one thing: whether or not it needed to be that long. Whether it actually felt like one necessary prologue and not just two episodes slapped into one.
I’m thrilled to tell you it was a very good first episode, especially for being a long one. I couldn’t imagine this being less time. Everything it showed, with the exception of maybe the weird movie film dream Hashiba had, felt important. They used the longer episode to really slow things down and let us experience the story.
The first almost 20 minutes are dedicated to Hashiba in the present/future and all about his life and the decisions that led up to his bum status. The whole portion of him actually joining a company before getting laid off was great. It really hammers in that depressing everything’s pointless mentality Hashiba has. That he could give up, have hope, and then have it ripped away yet again. It’s cruel but good for his character.
Really, it just did a phenomenal job with setting up the story. We got introduced to Hashiba, had him go to the past, meet all his new friends, and renew his determination. It really gave a taste of everything. The 50 minutes flew by, really, and I think they used pretty much every second of it well.
Many of the twists were somewhat predictable. Like we knew he’d go back and meet a lot of the people he admires in the present, I don’t think that was a surprise. The whole way he went to the past was pretty convenient, but I have my dream theory. Still, I never expected Shino to actually be really impressive, too, at least not the way they did it.
What I love the most is this show is giving me heavy, heavy Sakurasou vibes, and as some of you may know, that was my first and one of my favorite anime series of all time. This is also about a bunch of talented art students and seems to be going down a very similar path, with Hashiba needing to pull himself together to catch up to them, much like Sorata.
It also seems to have a similar emotional maturity in the way it handles all of the characters’ feelings. Even Shino was much more caring than I expected her to be. I can already tell that this show has great characters. I can tell they’re all deep, that they all will struggle with many complex emotions, and I know I’ll probably cry. I can just tell. Much like Sakurasou, this seems to be telling a story of never giving up despite any struggles life throws at you.
It’s a beautiful story and one that speaks right to my heart. I, too, have thought about what it would be like to go back to the past knowing what I do know. I would probably go back to like 15. If I could with the person I am now, I think I could make my life something amazing, but I don’t exactly dislike my life now, and I’m also too young to have such pointless pessimistic thoughts.
Something equally beautiful is the art. It’s great. I love the eyes. You know I always look out for my anime eyes. They’re amazing, and did you see that image above? What the hell is something that beautiful doing here? And that’s kind of the way I felt about this anime in general. It’s surprisingly beautiful so far. I mean, we’re very early on, but as of now, I’m in love with it, honestly. It feels like it was made for me.
I have a policy in life I try to follow: I never want to have a single regret, and if I do, I want as few as possible. This anime is very much painting that picture for us. You know Hashiba should have gone to the art school, but he didn’t for his lack of self-esteem. That gave him a future he didn’t want or deserve. While we can’t quite go back in time, we can make the decisions we feel are right in our hearts and not be controlled by negative thoughts to do the opposite, like our bum was. A good lesson, and one I hope the series keeps pushing.
As for what I’d change: almost nothing. I think the episode was paced wonderfully, had good art, good music, really solid writing. I’m very impressed, and it makes me look forward to next week. My only possible complaint is I hope it doesn’t get fanservicey. I doubt it will, but there was the part with Shino and questionably placed droplet of yogurt. But overall, I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Thank you very much for reading
What was your favorite part if you watched the episode, and how is the structure of these reviews? I’m still open to improving it.