Mashiro Iro Symphony – 02

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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.

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  1. F

    This show is agressively pleasant. Its just so goddamn nice all the time.

    Really enjoying it a lot, as you said, its not doing anything new, but its doing it well, and in a good natured sort of way.

    Sana looking exactly like Sakura Kyouko freaks me out a bit, but I like her a lot, and the other girls are all quite nice. Really enjoy all of Angie's scenes. Miu was an interesting addition as well.

    But of course, this will be a Sena end, and at the moment she's coming off as acting just a bit irrationally, intentionally I feel.

  2. 0

    I'm amazed how much this improved from the first episode to the second. Guess my reluctance to drop shows that I like the art for pays off on occassion. The handling of gender relations in the cooking class scene elevated the show from boring to interesting for me.

    Oddly for this kind of show, I actually like the guys better than the girls so far. The only girl we know very well at this point is his sister, and she has to be among the dullest haremettes I've ever encountered. If I take the average harem show, almost any girl I care to name will be more interesting. And it's not even a matter of archetype, Kotomi from Clannad isn't the sharpest tool in the shed outside her book smarts and she's one of my all time favourites.

    Actually, that probably explained why I thought the first episode was boring.

  3. L

    A bit disappointed that RandomC didn't blogged this series tough I somehow expected it… And the series will follow Airi Sena's route, which I wouldn't be spoiling since I've played the VN.

  4. I actually liked the first episode too – it had some of the same charm for me that the second did. Familiar situations handled in a slightly unusual way.

    As of now I plan to cover this here, though that's not a dead-lock cinch yet.

  5. b

    It's predictable and cliched but not overly done.
    And the art is beautiful. It's not one of the best but definitely not the worst. It's okay for me. Need to find if the VN is already translated somewhere…

    I shat bricks when I read that that cat was voiced by Sakurai Harumi.

  6. d

    @Enzo: I would say that it is actually closer to a bunny cause it is so cute, round and hops around; but I would not want to start the same BloodC cat/dog routine.
    So far am getting Clannad vibes in the sense of a guy trying to fit in with his environment and the sweet & slow pace.

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