Mashiro-iro Symphony – 01 Review
Yeah, because that way he gets more screentime, that self-righteous bastard…
Man, I totally forgot about this series… I don’t know why, perhaps because the synopsis alone can bore a sensible mind – to death? Or is it that after the first episode you’ll think ‘What the hell is all the fuss about?!’ or is it that one thought it funny to make a failed attempt at drawing a cat a running gag? There are many reasons why one can forget this series – and sadly there’s barely one to remember it.
In an age before GPS was invented and a world where women generally don’t know the difference between left and right, our protagonist has to run through a rainy night to get his stupid little sister. As she does everything wrong that someone who got lost could do wrong she meets another girl – who also got lost. After some navigating where the girls seemingly don’t even know how to walk normally through a park they stumble upon the main-protagonist and thus the brother and sister get reunited.
The next day it’s explained that as the old school closes all the students from it (boys and girls) go to another school which was until then an elite-school for elite-girls without any boys but this will change from this day on. But as the new students from the old school assemble a girl appears who by the mysterious workings of fate actually is the girl the main-character met last night. But now her demeanour has changed as she angrily proclaims that she won’t tolerate boys in ‘her’ school. And despite everyone except the main-character not giving a fuck about what she thinks, the series ‘problems’ start like this – and you’re expected to care about how they get solved…
Really, if he hadn’t laughed in this moment I’d have seriously considered him to be a brain-cancer-candidate…
It is the kind of series that has a problem as it tries to make something out of nothing. The premise sounds pretty stupid and yet you could see the struggle in this series. It actually tried to be dramatic and decent enough to not be ‘another one of those’.
But I guess, there’s only so much you can do about a stupid story that begins with two girls getting lost and meeting each other. While the situation was certainly more a kind of idea born out of a strange attempt to create a sitcom-situation the series treated it as a way to characterize. It’s baffling how one could use the lack of orientation for women as a characterization to show their role in the plot and make hints about the future. Because the girls are actually just the side-show…
It’s the main-character who has to pick up his little sister with an equally little brain (you have to imagine, when someone asks you to take a picture of your surroundings, why the hell would you take a picture of yourself with the hint to where you are being barely visible…?). The atmosphere is really quiet in the first half of the episode and it’s good enough to make an acceptable entertainment. There are no frantic fanservice-scenes and everything progresses naturally even though the characterization at this point is bland and the setup of the plot seems boring. And I think it was really good how they tried to make something decent out of a really stupid story using ambiance and storytelling.
Actually, she’s just really crazy but I guess her having a period doesn’t help that much either…
But where this series then fell apart is the second half or perhaps one could say there’s only so much you can do with ambiance and storytelling. An elite-school full of girls admits boys and girls from a different school now. Well, it’s crap, you know. Not only that I have seen this story-concept before in the same season (which is never a good sign for how original the series is) but why it should matter as a dramatic event is in this case is beyond common sense. It’s even more ridiculous than in Maken-ki for example. Yes, Maken-ki is better in that regard because it never tries to be anything but crappy in the way it handled this stupid plothook. But this series makes a certain girl the plothook who simply can’t acknowledge boys at her school. And that’s just… nothing. Practically there’s no plothook because it seriously doesn’t matter.
This first episode actually ends with this girl getting herself worked up about this thing with the men and I was like ‘Whatever, get over it.’. Done. Problem solved. She’s just another lunatic child raised the wrong way, no reason to pay her any attention. But seemingly it matters to the main-character who just has to be this empathic kind of bastard getting all sentimental and cheesy about this raving girl.
That you shouldn’t expect any ‘real drama’ is already obvious because of the way the new students with the main-character step into the school greeted by a maid. A maid! For God’s sake, can’t they use normal people to work there? I don’t need to see a bunch of moe-like characters at this school for the sake of giving the series a cute appearance. But I guess it’s enough to look at the main-characters sister to know what kind of genre the original actually lived in. Already in the middle of the episode you get a scene of the sister trying to take a bath with the brother much to his embarrassment. This is one of these series trying to avoid being too ‘ecchi’ becomes a type of goofy romance-series full of idiots and other calamities lacking any common sense. And it will try to make you cry with the way it fusses over trifling matters – and fail.
Mashiro-iro Symphony is a series that shows a quite good use of ambiance and storytelling in the first half but no matter what the series does in these departments, it’s hard to hide how unimaginative the concept of the story is. The characters also remain as bland at this point as the story appears to be which makes it hard to see how this series could truly become something interesting.