OP:「Bitter Sweet Harmony」 by Megumi Nakajima
「はるかぜ 上京 管理人さん」 (Harukaze: Joukyou – Kanrinin-san)
“Spring Breeze: Situation – Miss Caretaker”
Summer memories are all about love, heat, and youth, so the Spring breeze of Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san is surprisingly a natural fit for this season as the hottest new series about being young and in love. Sure, the love is with the voluptuous proprietor of a lodging home, but as one proverb states, “that’s the best part”. For those into the warm and welcoming embrace of a motherly-type woman, Sunohara-sou is shaping up to be the perfect anime with equal parts fan-service and heart.
Artwork is make-or-break for any saucy anime, so Sunohara-sou alleviates any concern there is for sloppy-looking character models that distract from the visual wonders the show has to offer. The anime’s aesthetic steers towards a soft, vibrant, and poppy color tone that is visually lush and polished. It’s color tone fits like a glove with the series as its pastels bring out the show’s playful side with its quirky, fun cast of characters. The model for Ayaka, the proprietor of the Sunohara-sou boarding home, is significantly thick, and although some shots of her breasts can amplify how large they can be, it’s part of the appeal for her body to be curvy and exciting. We’re still only one episode in, so we haven’t seen everything the show has to offer with how the fan-service can get, but at the moment, it’s modest enough to not go overboard, yet forward enough to tease the viewer with a lot of promise for what’s to come.
What helps Sunohara-sou go beyond its premise of a boy pining for a flirtatious older woman is the heart that comes with the characters as they are far more complex than what’s on the surface. Our main character Aki is given his backstory and motivations early on as his interest in commuting to school from a boarding home and the budding desire he has for Ayaka stems from the irritation he has over his appearances. In his attempt to be independent and show affection to Ayaka, he pushes back against the past mistreatment he received for his feminine looks as his older sister instilled insecurities about whether he’s even being perceived as a man when everyone wants to dress him up as a girl or treat him like a little kid. Ayaka, while seeming like the antithesis to Aki with how much she gets into the pervy okaa-san role, is actually perceptive and mindful of those around her. She does often push boundaries and can be forgetful of others’ preferences, as we see with the other students in the lodging home, but she also actively tries to amend how she approaches him after the first instance of noticing Aki’s distaste in being treated like a kid. From then on, she decides to help Aki adjust to his new life and gain confidence in himself, whether that involves skinship or not.
Sunohara-sou is a fascinating show that is mature in both its well-developed and its well-developed characters. It took some time for it to be noticed, but hopefully, it picks up enough momentum to get wider exposure. The tasteful ecchi aids the anime in being flirtatious without getting into the creepy vibes that some shows can dabble into with older women and younger guys. At the same time, it’ll be interesting to see how the show shapes up with its cast expanding further to include other women and girls that show interest in being a part of Aki’s new life at the Sunohara-sou lodging home.
ED: 「そんなの僕じゃない。」 (Sonna no Boku Ja Nai) by Shino Shimoji