OP: 「ベストフレンド」 (Best Friend) by Sonar Pocket
It’s a story of four boys and their girlfriends—they hope. Combine half a of shot idealized male friendship, half a shot goofy romantic fun, mix with something sweet and serve with a smile.
Idealized Male Friendship
Some are going to accuse this of being fujoushi bait; I don’t buy it. Prince of Stride, certainly, actively courts the fujoushi demographic, but here any interest from BL shippers is incidental, or a bonus—like people who get into Love Lab mistakenly thinking it’s a yuri series (as I first did). What this is, instead, is a story of idealized male friendship. And it does it well.
Look—most of us don’t find friends as close as these four. And if we do, we usually do it in high school or early college (I find), where we’re all broadly at the same life stage. But what’s wrong with painting an idealized picture once in a while? It’s nice and fluffy and fun, and I was smiling broadly throughout this episode. That was aided by each of the main characters being goofy and fun in their own right. Hashiba “Natchan” Natsuki (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is tied for my favorite, with his heart-on-his sleeve, hopeless romantic, quick to cry and quick to get excited personality. Matsuoka Yoshitsugu really brings him alive. I also like Naoe “Tsuyo-pon” Tsuyoshi (Uchiyama Kouki), just because he’s depicted as quiet and cool and … is actually cool. Matsunaga “Mattsun” Tomoya (Eguchi Takuya) is solid in the cool ladies man role (while still liking to tease his friends), while Katakura “Kei-chan” Keiichi (Shimazaki Nobunaga) is … odd, with his sadistic tendencies, but perhaps that’s just personal preference.
Regardless of the specifics, I like how they depict male friendship here—of teasing but helping, of throwing friends into the fire but trying to cheer them up, and of abandoning them mercilessly but still being there when it counts. It’s idealistic, sure, but it’s also fun. I like fun.
Goofy Romantic Fun
Maybe the goofy aspect arises mostly because it’s Natchan’s romance that’s the focus this time, and he’s a goofy guy. But it had that right mix of doki doki romantic possibilities and goofy setbacks that sends a hopeless romantic like myself gibbering in ecstatic glee. I laughed out loud multiple times, but as with Dagashi Kashi and Ojisan to Marshmallow, this belongs in fluffy romcom territory that I dearly enjoy. So your mileage may vary, as always, but if you’re a romantic, dive right in.
I also appreciate that each guy appears to have a girl who will be the focus of their romantic stories (d’aaawww!). That means we don’t have to focus on one couple, and can enjoy a variety of romances from all of them! I almost referred to this as a “love web” like Hatsukoi Limited or School Rumble, but it doesn’t look like any of the romantic relationships will intersect. But we’ll still get that platter effect, of enjoying many different romances, and I’m already excited sign me up!
This is some good stuff. If you enjoy romance or romantic comedies, I suggest it. I also like how each episode is half length (~13 minutes), but it will be lasting for two-cour—that means we get the same amount of content, but divided up into smaller chunks that probably better suit the light and airy fare we’re dealing with. The animation is all right, I can’t especially praise it, but it gets the job done.All in all, I’m looking forward to more.
I don’t know if this will get blogged weekly, though I can say that there was a fair amount of interest among our writers. I’d give it even odds that you’ll see another post next week. Please comment and tell us what you thought of the first episode, so we can gauge if there’s interest in continuing with the show.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Combine idealized male friendship, goofy romantic fun, & sweet, sometimes embarrassing setbacks. Mix & serve with D’AAAWWW #rainbow_days 01
- There’s something satisfying about a girl wearing clothes you gave her. Especially if it’s something you’ve worn (there’s just something about it, I could explain it but I probably shouldn’t), but Kobayakawa Anna (Tsuda Minami) wearing the scarf … I’ll be honest, I can’t blame the kid for getting his hopes up a bit.
- Oh yeah, and Katakura-sensei is definitely not dating Anna. I haven’t read the source or anything, but everything from his words to the general atmosphere of the episode points to a misunderstanding. I bet it’ll be funny when Natchan figures that out!
- Don’t creep, dude. That’s a little too close when she’s sleeping. Boundaries, yo.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: $%&@* cuss words, Stephen, what is best in life?, It depends, and Momentum & mental space.
ED: 「Rainbow Days!」 by Uchiyama Kouki, Shimazaki Nobunaga, Eguchi Takuya, Matsuoka Yoshitsugu