★Writer: Richard K. Moe
“Rei is a 17-year-old professional shōgi player who lives by himself. He is estranged from his family and has scarcely any friends. Among his acquaintances is a family which consists of a young woman—Akari Kawamoto—and her younger sisters—Hinata and Momo—who also keep several cats. As the story progresses, Rei deals with his maturing as a player and as a person, while developing his relationships with others, especially the Kawamoto sisters”. (Wikipedia)
Behind The Anime:
★Original Creator – Chika Umino (Honey and Clover)
★Director – Akiyuki Simbo (Bakemonogatari, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
★Animation Studio – Shaft (Monogatari series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica series, Gourmet Girl Graffiti)
★Series Composition – Akiyuki Simbo (Nisekoi, Owarimonogatari) & Fuyashi Tou (Bakemonogatari, Nisekoi)
★Character Design – Nobuhiro Sugiyama (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Nisekoi)
- Even though Rei is a very cliche protagonist, he is likable and relatable.
- The Kawamoto sisters are the most fun, nice, and lovable characters in the show.
- There’s some unique writing you generally don’t see in anime. (E.G. Kyoko is in love with a man 20 years older than her.)
- When Rei is with the Kawamoto sisters, everything feels comfortable and warm.
- The problems that Rei goes through and how it’ll be resolved makes the story intriguing enough to finish.
- Some emotional moments are convincing. (E.G. When the Kawamoto sisters were mourning for their mother. Or when Hinata was unable to give a lunch gift to a boy she liked.)
- Some of the struggles that Rei and the other characters face in life are relatable and authentic. (E.G. As a child Rei was never the most likable and spent a lot of time alone. Kai truthfully didn’t enjoy traveling as a teen to the city to play Shogi but he didn’t want to disappoint his supporters so he’d keep going.)
- Many of the characters acknowledge that Rei is a push over.
- The silly and comedic moments are funny and delightful at times.
- The ending expresses Rei’s emotions well and wraps things up smoothly.
Directing and Music
- Lots of variety when it comes to camera angels.
- Lighting, music, and special effects are perfectly cued when convening a dramatic or emotional scene.
- The pacing for the first part of the show (Episode 1-11) moves at a good speed.
- The first opening theme, “Answer” by Bump of Chicken, is a perfect fit for the show.
- The second ending theme, “Orion” by Kenshi Yonezu is a toe tapping song that also fits the show.
Animation, Illustrations, and Character Designs
- Some scenes have nice animation.
- For most of the part, character illustrations are great.
- Backgrounds look splendid.
- Very nice colors are used.
- The art style alone separates the show from other anime.
- Character designs are different looking but appealing as well.
- There’s inconsistency when it comes to the tone of show. (E.G. One moment the show is full of melancholy but then it takes a abrupt 180 and becomes a happy go lucky show.)
- Rei’s constant cycle of contemplating for a long time and being depressed can grow repetitive.
- Many of the characters, especially Rei’s fellow shogi players, are not interesting or likable.
- Many of the side character’s moments of spotlight and conflict aren’t very interesting or worth caring about because of how unlikable and uninteresting they are.
- The Kawamoto sisters seem to be main characters but they aren’t, instead they’re more like reoccurring characters.
- The second half of the show cannot balance the moments Rei has with the Kawamoto sisters, the difficulties he faces in life, his problems with his sister, and shogi.
- The show can be a bit too cutesy at times.
- Although nice, when Rei is with the Kawamoto family the story feels too different and out of place.
- The story grows stale the further it progresses.
- There is cliche and at times cheesy writing that isn’t convincing. (E.G. When Rei was angry at a shogi opponent who vented his anger at him, he ran across town just to shout. Or the time when Kyoko was crying while talking about how she’s been abandoned by her father and Rei.)
- Most of the comedic and silly moments aren’t really funny and feel like they just drag on.
- During one of the last legs of the show, the focus begins to go to Kai who isn’t even the main character.
- Some serious moments are destroyed due to how cutesy it turns. (E.G. There’s a scene where Rei sees someone he really detests and becomes so furious to the point a friend had to pull him back. That scene was meant to show case how angry Rei was but the scene becomes unconvincing due to Rei, his enemy, and friend becoming chibi characters. There’s another moment that destroys the wickedness of Masamune Goto when he faces Kai Shimada due to how cute the scene becomes.)
- There’s some unnecessarily long scenes. (E.G. There’s a scene where Tatauyuki is eating breakfast and practicing shogi for too long. Or the time in one of the beginning episodes when the characters are watching a cat shogi show.)
- There are moments that aren’t convincing due to how they are presented.
- The shogi segments that take a lot of the show’s time aren’t engaging.
- The show moves very slowly after episode 11.
Animation and Illustrations
- The animation grows noticeable worse throughout the show. (E.G. There is a moment in episode 13 where Tatauyuki is eating breakfast and the animation for his movements are choppy and laughable.)
- Characters begin to have less detail the further the show goes.
❀7.2 / 10❀
Engaging and intriguing at first but grows stale the further it goes.
(Reference Source for “Behind The Anime” – Anime News Network)