I won’t dispute that the series has suffered a bit from the recent focus on Sana and Angie, who are probably the two weakest cast members. Angie’s whole presentation is a little bit absurd, and Sana comes the closest to being a stock anime cliché. But it’s a testament to the show’s quality that even here, it stands out and doesn’t lose its charm. Every time I think things are going down the rabbit hole of tsundere nonsense with Sana, she – and the show – redeem themselves by being just different enough. I’m not in love with her character, but she’s a cut above most of her ilk.
Things started out looking like this might be a little bit of a Miu arc, which is my fondest hope. I know it’s unrealistic, and that Airi has this battle won, but Miu has completely wormed her way into my heart. She projects a grace and sincerity that may be more ideal than real, but is no less irresistible to me for that. As an animal lover (especially cats) I was pretty much a sucker for the whole notion of a girl who’d start a nuko club anyway, but she takes it to the next level. Still, even Miu seemed primarily interested in shipping Shingo with Sana. That’s odd in that Sana seems to be resolutely anti-male and warm for Miu’s form, but Miu sees an opportunity to steer her friend past her unreasonable hatred of boys. And seriously, if she can’t warm up to Shingo it’s pretty hopeless – he’s dangerously close to too perfect, but he does make a nice contrast from most anime males in that he’s completely kind and considerate, but not neutered – he has a libido like any guy, it’s just not out of control.
The irony is that while Airi and Sakuno – whose feelings I chalk up to normal sibling affection rather than brocon tendencies – grow depressed over the appearance that Shingo is becoming sweet on Sana, Sana herself is depressed by the impression that he’s actually sweet on Miu. Her façade is already full of cracks, and she’s having a harder and harder time keeping up the charade that she’s a blanket misandrist. But there seems no hard evidence that either Miu or Shingo have those sorts of feelings for each other. Am I the only one hoping against hope that they’ll get together? For now I’ll have to content myself with lovely scenes of Miu releasing her rehabilitated charges back into the wild, with Shingo fraternally by her side – and take minuscule hope from the last scene of the episode.
Mashiroiro Symphony is fast becoming one of my favorite romance VN adaptations, and it’s doing so without any flash whatsoever. I’d have a hard time selling someone on why they should watch this series, but for me it’s completely charming and likeable because it’s completely kind-hearted and lacking in exploitative humor at the expense of its characters. Too much niceness is normally anathema for me – it’s one of the reasons I can’t move beyond mild affection for Tamayura – but with this show it somehow works. Things are not perfect here, there are real problems and the characters feel real sadness and angst. But there’s no sense of judgment in the writing, and it always feel as if the cast is being used to tell a real story and not just to generate hackneyed situation comedy. And I admit, even Pannya is wearing me down with cuteness.