OP: 「Sweet Sensation」 by Murakawa Rie
“Kiss ・ Hate ・ Kiss”
The Unwatched Gem of the Season:
I’m not psychic or anything, but it seems that 12-sai will be a forgotten series in a few week’s time. Shojo anime are rarer than they should be, and don’t attract the same numbers as an action showstopper or a battle shonen, but 12-sai is likely to receive little to no attention, which makes me rather sad. I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be a short or full length adaptation, and I didn’t know if the production would be lackluster (as the PVs didn’t give much away), but this first episode proved that there’s more than meets the eye here. And sure, those eyes may be googly and massive (like how non-anime viewers think every anime character must look like), but if you can get past that aesthetic, then there’s a lot to enjoy here. This season has quickly proved to be one of the best in years, but its the under appreciated series like 12-sai that fill in the cracks, remaining reliable in case the main attractions start to crumble part way through.
Sweet Shojo Romance:
It seemed that some were concerned about a romance anime dealing with 12 year olds, but let me just say there was nothing skeevy about this premiere (which, according to those who are familiar with the series, was basically all the material from the OVA that finished airing last year). While I doubt many had a primary school experience like this (I sure didn’t), that doesn’t matter too much especially if you’re a fan of shojo romances. It’s plenty of what you’d expect, but there’s a sweetness here that is not parceled with an arrogant, irritating, or abusive male lead that we’re supposed to assume is lovable despite common sense.
The character designs are somewhat similar (just don’t stare at their eyes for too long…) but the four main characters are distinctive enough that I quickly found myself liking their personalities and the various interactions they had with one another. This week was mainly focused on Ayase Hanabi (Kakuma Ai) and her falling in love with her classmate, Takao Yuuto (Saito Soma). It was filled with shojo bubbles, teary eyes, and confusion over a young girl’s pounding heart, but it was rather surprising to me that they actually kissed midway through of the episode. And it seems like their relationship is now official. What I thought would take the whole series ended up resolved in the premiere, which has me looking forward to wherever their relationship goes from here.
Overview – First Impressions:
It’s classic shojo with a younger cast that many aren’t used to, but that’s what makes it distinctive enough to give it a shot. It’s an endearing first episode, and more mature than you may expect, as puberty and adult love are touched upon as well. Of course, it’s all through the eyes of these children (and they are children, not matter what the opening line states), which makes it all the more interesting. I just hope this little gem gets more attention than it is likely to receive. Give it a shot and see what you think; it may just end up on your watch list, even in a season as packed as this one. It’s a definite keeper as far as I’m concerned!
ED: 「Cotona MODE」 by AOP