After the second episode I feel exactly the same way about Mashiroiro Symphony as I did after the first. This has been done before many times over, so the only thing that matters is whether it’s done well. And in this case, I think it is.
I see some nice little touches here that tip me off that this is something more than completely standard-issue stuff. Apart from the fact that Manglobe has done a very nice job with the backgrounds and BGM, all of the tropes we’re used to in these adaptations are tweaked just enough to be interesting, and so far the show has a good heart. It’s treating everyone with a certain amount of respect, finding humor in their situation without humiliating them are overplaying the scenario for cheap laughs. The boys are boys and the girls are girls, and while they’re certainly different neither group is judged as idiots or sadists – they’re just dealing with an uncomfortable forced integration as best they can.
I like the fact, for example, that the blonde male friend isn’t a sex-crazed buffoon, but a model student who happens to be the student council president. I also like the fact that most of the girls at the school basically want to get along with the newcomers, but they don’t really know how to interact. I thought the sequence in the cooking class was quite deftly handled, understated and low-key but still funny, and it did a nice job of gently satirizing the difference between boys and girls. Yes, there are gender stereotypes being played to here. But I’ve certainly seen it done a lot worse – and with a lot meaner spirit – in countless other series.
Of course this being an adult VN adaptation we have to have a harem, and the rest of that is falling into place. We have the maid from last week, Angela (Ichimura Oma) who doesn’t seem to like Shingo so much as like everybody. We have the beautiful and serene senpai Miu (Rikimaru Noriko) who gambols in the garden with her odd bouncy cat Pannya (Sakurai Harumi). She likes the boys just fine and urges Shingo to keep his head up, and be himself. Finally there’s Sana (Yoshida Mayumi) who’s also much more open to the newcomers presence than her near-namesake, Sena. With Sena and Shingo (naturally) selected as the class reps, fireworks are sure to follow – and as the first girl to enter the contest, Sena is presumably the strong favorite to come out ahead – if this doesn’t (and please don’t) go the incest route.
This is about as low-key as I’ve seen one of these adaptations. The pacing is leisurely, the settings and BGM lilting and pretty, and the cartoon theatrics are kept in-check in deference to relatively believable everyday interactions. I could see it being too low-key for some tastes, but I rather like Mashiro so far. It’s entertaining, relaxing and above all, very likeable.