The inbox is packed with premieres today, so this one is going to be pretty short because there really isn’t a whole lot to say. Photo Kano comes off as more generic than anything else in the first episode. There are worse things that could be said about a series, but it doesn’t speak much to the show’s ability to grab your attention.
What we have here is a very standard harem situation, with the requisite imouto nonsense and a school full of potential mates showcased in soft-core ecchi situations. The hook here is that the lead, Kazuya Maeda (Shimazaki Nobunaga) has just been given a camera by his Dad, which will serve as the linking device between all the girls. The first ep is mostly concerned with the school’s two rival photography clubs (split mostly on gender lines, though the “Photography Club” is basically two girls, the younger of which has a crush on the older) vying to get Kazuya as a member, and with the seemingly endless introduction of the female cast.
I like Shimazaki-san as a seiyuu, and Kazuya seems a perfectly sincere and not especially annoying harem lead. The cast is full of big names (remarkably, Sawashiro Miyuki comes out of seclusion to join the cast) of both genders and we have Madhouse behind the wheel. But nothing in the first ep was especially interesting – the whole enterprise felt very scripted and predictable. Created by the same company (Enterbrain) as Amagami SS, I expected something of about that quality, but Photo Kano definitely isn’t as grabby out of the box. It occurs to me that Amagami was brilliant in starting out with Haruka, because I can’t say with certainly that I’d have stuck with that show through two seasons if she hadn’t hooked me from the beginning. There’s no sign of an omnibus format with PK, but so far none of the heroines really stands out.
I would be very tempted to bag this now, but given how much the premiere gave itself over to introductions (too much) I’d like to see a story-driven ep before I decide. Besides, it is Madhouse – and the director, Yokoyama Akitoshi, has worked on an astonishing number of good anime in various roles – Moribito, Summer Wars, Cowboy Bebop, Dennou Coil, E7, NGE, Piano no Mori, Tatami Galaxy… I’ve scarcely seen a better batting average in a resume. And then there’s the promise of Nakahara Mai having a significant role at some point. So Photo Kano gets at least one more chance to show – something.