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.

Synopsis:
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…

Review:
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.

Episode-Rating: 5/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on October 11, 2011, in Anime, Mashiro-iro Symphony, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Reviewer, you do know that this is based on a game, so they can’t really do anything major changes to the plot and characters

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    • It was one of the points of my review that it seemed like the series actually tried to save some face by trying to have a nice atmosphere in the first half. In the second half, though, the typical tropes of the genre got too obvious and it ended up feeling rather mediocre and disappointing.
      Concerning your point that they can’t change much… Well, it was their choice to make an anime out of it and if the story isn’t that good, then it’s simply not good. The creators of the anime made their choice. I don’t think the fact that they can’t change the story that much at the point of choosing to adapt it can be used as an excuse for the flaws of the story.

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  2. I’ve read your whole review. Is the fanservice unnecessarily prevalent? I mean, would you call this an ecchi series?

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    • It is certainly there but in a rather subtle way. Although it’s nothing as blatant as one would expect from this kind of show. Like I said the series seems to try to alleviate some of the flaws of the story by trying to evoke a nice ambiance. That way the fanservice wasn’t really an element that bugged me that much. But thinking about the story, one can’t help but notice that it’s basically a ‘been there, done that’-story even though it’s told very well, I think.

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  3. Ah, ok. Yeah, it is kind of obvious just from the summaries that it seems to be a little trite. However, I often find myself drawn to such things even though I know it could be better.

    A lot of series in this genre are now becoming overrun by fanservice – all the same situations we’ve seen again and again. Now, Fortune Arterial was as run-of-the mill harem as one could get, but I found it refreshing that many of the “sexual situations” that the characters found themselves in were rather tame. I almost feel as if Mahiro-iro Symphony will be that way (although I still have yet to watch it).

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  4. Crunchyroll just picked up this series! Let’s hope it doesn’t get too ecchi now!

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  5. I’m not sure what to think about this obvious harem anime mostly because Harems suck! most harems aren’t even really harems! their just a bunch of other girls who have a crush on the same guy that the main girl loves it usually goes like this:

    first girl he meets-he/she start a crush on the other-every other girl falls for him-he ends up with the first one he met
    or

    first girl he meets-he/she start a crush on the other-every other girl falls for him-he ends up with his (usually adopted)sister-first girl vows to never give up and becomes love rival
    or
    first girl he meets-he/she start a crush on the other-every other girl falls for him-child hood friend comes to town- love quadruple happens- he ends up with child hood friend

    you know it’s really unfair to all the other girls especially if you have a favorite because you know they never had a chance from the get-go and you can usually tell who the guy will get with by either the opening or ending credits. the girl with the most attention is the prom queen and everybody else is just a back up cheerleader. they take away the mystery that way because it’s no longer a “who will he choose” but more of a “dude, just kiss her already”.

    that is exactly how I see this anime turning out to be.

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    • from how it go until now you can forget about he end up with the first girl i almost sure he going to end with the girls who love animals since they become lovie dovie every single moment

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  6. that it miu is the winner shingo cofessed to her in episode 10

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