I’ve watched many adaptations of romance games and VNs over the years, not to mention countless school-life series and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as low-key as this one. It’s nice, but not is an overly sweet or cloying manner – just, you know, normal. It really stands out that there are no idiots in this cast. A few oddballs, no doubt – does every Japanese high school come with its own maid? But nobody is especially stupid or lacking in common sense. Shingo is refreshingly direct and unaffected – he doesn’t get too high or too low. He rarely raises his voice, doesn’t overreact to things, and calmly refuses to jump when Sena baits him.
Sena is the closest thing to a cliché among the main cast thus far, and there’s no question her obstinate refusal to meet Shingo halfway is a little trying. But even she’s not especially obnoxious about it. She’s not physically abusive, she’s moderate with even the verbal abuse, and tends to restrict herself to dignified indignation and self-doubt. The romance flags have been obvious since the first three minutes of the series and they’re certainly cemented now, what with her comments about how it’s not the boys generally but Shingo specifically that makes her uncomfortable. But as anime tsunderes go, I’ve sure seen far worse. The twist about her being poor (if I read that scene correctly) should start the exploration of her deeper motivations.
For all that, she remains my least favorite among the girls at this point. Sakuno hasn’t turned out to be quite the helpless basket case and brocon I feared – just a little helpless and a little brocon. I quite like Miu actually, though I wonder – since her “Nuko Club” is focused on rehabilitating injured wild animals, just what does that make Pannya? She might be my favorite, but really, they’re all fine – perfectly nice and reasonable teenagers trying to get by. Mashiro-iro Symphony isn’t the most exciting series ever, and I could easily see where it might be just a little too normal – and slow-paced – for some tastes. But I enjoy it just the same, because it’s so different for an anime to be normal.