Akebi's Sailor Uniform
Komichi Akebi is looking forward to attending Roubai Academy, the private girls' school her mother attended; she's even had her mother recreate the school's sailor uniform for her to wear to school. But how will the school's prim and proper young ladies react to an exuberant, cherubic extrovert?
"It's a slice of life, four-panel comic"
Tim's going to review that show, but I had some synchronicity with the exchange from My Dress-Up Darling above. My own taste pretty much runs to shows where things DO happen- SciFi, Fantasy, etc.- so I was unsure about whether I could do this show justice, since the Slice-of -Life genre, and its subgenus of Cute Girls Doing Cute Things (hereafter CGDCT) are not usually among my favorite choices for viewing. BUT, I DID enjoy Maria Watches Over Us, even though the most stressful thing that happened to protagonist Yumi (at least before the arrival of Toko), as I recall, was losing her umbrella. And I did love the one season of Hidamari Sketch that I saw, though that one was much heavier on humor than the show currently under review. But when we get to rating this show I'll try to put my personal prejudices aside, using Yoda's advice about Jedis ("Adventure! Excitement! A Jedi craves not these things!").
...But not JUST yet, I'm afraid; Yes, There Will Be Snark first. The first thing I noted was Komichi's mom; I couldn't figure her situation out. She's apparently an expert dressmaker, and always seems well (if usually casually) dressed herself. Did she work outside the home at all, or was she a 24/7 homemaker? She's always good natured (though it helps that her kids, Komichi and a younger sister named Kao, can't manage any insult stronger than calling someone "Not cool anymore!"). Give her some pearls, and Mom could be the Japanese Mrs. Cleaver. Dad's situation is also a little ambiguous, in regard to his employer's policy on releasing him to his family: I wasn't sure if he was home every night, or was only allowed occasional overnight stays with his family. In any case, his work means he arrives late and departs early; THIS seemed pretty authentically Japanese. (They live in a neat cottage in a rural area.)
It turns out that Mom and the kids are not the only Gosh-Darn Nice folks in the show; ALL Komichi's new classmates seem to be as well. They're Gosh-Darn Nice about Komichi's (now nonstandard) school uniform. They're Gosh-Darn Nice when Komichi pulls a stunt an order of magnitude even MORE embarrassing during Introductions. And they're not just Gosh-Darn Nice to Komichi; they're Gosh-Darn Nice to each other as well. One of the girls tries to learn to play a musical instrument, but her dormmate is not only fine with her practicing in the room where she has to study and sleep, but is even encouraging about it. At Roubai Academy, there's not a Mean Girl in the bunch.
Still, it's hard to do drama without a struggle of SOME sort. (You don't need one for comedy, but see below.) So the struggles the girls have are with their own limitations, AND HERE WE GET TO THE CORE OF THIS SHOW; through her endless bubbly exuberance, Komichi inspires the girls to either develop new skills (e.g., the girl trying to learn to play the musical instrument, above), or to further hone a skill they already have. (Komichi, by the way, is a pretty athletic girl, the equal of the best the school can field it seems.)
So Komichi is, effectively, a cheerleader for her whole class- a point the show makes later in the most explicit (and maybe a little heavy-handed) way possible.
So I had to decide how I would assign a star rating to this show: do I rate it according to my rather curmudgeonly take on it, or do I rate it as a fan of Slice of Life/CGDCT shows might? After all, the girls ARE cute. (The show's art, including its character art, is movie quality- though the girls are just doing typical "school stuff".) In the end, I went ahead and conceded to the tastes of those who really enjoy an "affirming" show that gives one the warm fuzzies-
-With one reservation. I'm retaining one complaint: the show really NEEDS a strong oddball/comic relief character, or at least more idiosyncrasies among its leads. (The thing I loved about Hidamari Sketch was that it had BOTH.) While the show makes brief stabs at humor- with more minor characters Minoru Ohkuma (budding science nerd) and Hotaru Hiraiwa (EXTREMELY short girl)- there are no good comic relief characters among Komichi's "posse" (which I'd identify with the classmates who accompanied her to the mall.) I'd guess that this is because no other character is being allowed to upstage Komichi. And since I AM naming the show's characters here, I might as well do her Inner Circle:
-Erika Kizaki is the first girl she meets at Roubai, and the one who becomes her BFF. She's a twintail blonde, apparently from a wealthy family, and can play both violin and piano.
-Touko Usagihara is the girl with the personality most similar to Komichi's own- talkative, gregarious, playful- but she DOES like to prank the naive Komichi, at least at first.
-Tomono Kojou is a reserved girl who loves reading, the sort who can never be distracted by the rest of the world when she's absorbed in a book.
A few other things that I noted:
-The school officials who interviewed Komichi, had, I thought, a VERY weak excuse for letting her get in a situation where (in any OTHER show) she might suffer public humiliation.
-Some have called attention to the show's apparent foot fetish. All I can say is, if it's real (MIGHT be), it's extremely mild, and not a bit sexual.
As I said, I'm rating this as a fan of the genre might; but for myself, I kept feeling like I was visiting a Japanese version of Pleasantville. And Pleasantville might have been a nice place to visit- until you needed a bathroom... — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: Mild fanservice (partial undressing). I'd go no more than PG on it.
Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Akebi's Sailor Uniform © 2022 CloverWorks
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