Even if one is not impressed with Kawaisou’s characters and plot, it’d be crazy not to at least give the show credit for its impressive visuals. This week, let’s start there, then move onto the plot.
Brains Base is not a studio to laugh at in terms of artistic execution. Shows like Isshuukan Friends, Natsume Yuujin-chou, or Oregairu have kept faithful to their original material while still having a distinct quality of animation that rarely appears lazy. The same can be said of Kawaisou, except I’d like to add a note–Brains Base has actually enhanced the story with its improvements. Yes, there are some artistic liberties taken in making the outlines rougher and slightly changing some character designs but other than that, the core style is fairly preserved from the source. What is actually added though–the color and the animation–makes watching Kawaisou so much more pleasing to the eye, even more so than the manga. There are vivid colors to help emphasize the time of day, as well as well-placed transition animations to illustrate the passage of time. Throughout the show, there are exaggerations to the color palette to emphasize either Ritsu’s emotions or the exaggerated antics of the rest of the cast, usually accompanied by a manga-like drawing style for dramatic effect or simplified art for a comedic one. It’s just such a treat seeing how much effort is placed into the art that one can’t just help but feel that this show has…life. Lots and lots of life, just from the visuals alone. Good animation isn’t just for being pretty–it tells one half of the story while the dialogue is running. In this case, it gives the much needed life and energy that makes a romantic comedy successful. Brains Base does this well and makes no scene go to waste–if there can be a colorful background for a specific scene, there will be one to see.
As for today’s actual episode, it was a pleasant setup episode that gave us important hints as to the direction of the overall plot. While it was nice to see simultaneous development of Mayumi and Sayaka’s characters, the topic worth discussing this episode is the thought processes going through Kawai’s head right now.
It has been established that Kawai doesn’t always speak the truth. She won’t easily admit when she’s amused, scared, or concerned, but eventually her actions and body language speak more than her speech. The new factor that plays in starting this episode begins with Kawai’s actual disposition towards Usa. What does she actually think of him as? It’s clear enough that she at least has respect for Usa as a fellow apartment mate, which explains why she’s always conscious of her actions towards him, but there are certain actions of hers that have yet to be explained. The bike and library incident and Usa’s thanks toward Kawai are both puzzling responses that don’t indicate malice towards Usa, but rather some sort of character trait we have yet to see in Kawai. This clearly leads us to wonder about Kawai’s backstory, since it seems all of the floormates are onto something that Usa isn’t aware of himself. Strangely enough, even though all the characters pretty much support Usa getting closer to Kawai, they all seem to agree that Usa will have a very, very hard time getting as close to Kawai as he actually wants. Even Shirosaki, who usually acts as the comedic foil, showed a face of concern this episode when he commented on Usa’s low chances. What those low chances are continue to be a cliffhanger.
Thus, I look forward to seeing whether this exposition happens sooner rather than later, if at all. I have a guess that Kawai’s actions tie in somehow with her immersion with novels, though it most likely runs even deeper than that. All in all, I’m pleased with today’s episode–though not as funny as the second episode, it still was pleasant to watch. It had all the strengths of good character interactions, all while still setting up a potential character development that’ll bloom later on.