The Junkyard presents a review by Daz of the anime series Smile Down the Runway:
When I saw this show announced last year sometime, I was thrilled. I have a soft spot for the fashion industry (models in particular) and it was finally going to be represented. Much like Yuri on Ice, I feel like these niche areas have yet to be explored. It’s odd really that these kinds of subjects haven’t been dealt with before but then maybe it has something to do with the fact that anime is bigger than ever. I can see shows like this being popular in certain countries instead of just Japan which helps the global anime market.
We start off with Ikuto a boy who dreams of being a designer. He has the usual protagonist life in this situation: a dream that he can’t realise as he has to look after his family of three sisters and his mum. He gets a part time job with a designer and has a chance to show off his work in a make or break situation and his story begins. The other main is a girl called Chiyuki, a model for her father’s company who has dreams of walking at Paris fashion week. The thing is, she’s too short. She doesn’t fit the height requirements for high end fashion. This girl has everything going for her except her height and is determined to show the world that she will get there despite her flaw. She models for Ikuto in that chance encounter and thus their stories are woven together.
Now this is where the show went full throttle and raced to the end with no regard for pacing at all. As with most modern anime, I’m seeing a horrible pattern emerge which is to just “get something out quick”. This show, like many others, would have benefitted from a longer season. 12 episodes wasn’t enough for what they crammed in. As if having two mains wasn’t enough, we then have side characters who are just as important and these guys all have people in THEIR lives. It gets a bit much and left me not really being bothered about any one person in particular and that’s bad. I’m supposed to at least be bothered about the main but does this show really have a main? I totally wasn’t sure at the end to be honest.
We had the wannabe designer, his family, his enemies, the enemies’ desires, the model, the model who wants to be a designer, her agent that won’t let her, the famous designer and his struggles to break free from his famous designer elder. All this in 12 episodes is a bit much. They did manage to come full circle but it didn’t feel like all these people were necessary, especially with so little time.
The soundtrack I felt was a little off and didn’t seem to fit well with the scenes. This is definitely something rare for me. I cannot remember seeing something with a soundtrack that didn’t fit. Sometimes I hear forceful or lacklustre but never something that didn’t fit. It certainly added to my overall experience with the show.
As this is about modelling, the characters are all very well designed and the clothes are awesome. Animation is very clean too which again is expected from a show about modelling.
I felt kind of lost at the beginning of this show as there were two main stories. This isn’t something that I’m familiar with at all and I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to fully round off each story to a fulfilling conclusion and I was kind of right. It turned into a show about multiple people each with their own problems.
I’m gonna give this a 7/10 because although it exceeded my expectations, I feel that it fell flat at the end. It’s clearly set up for a season 2 and if not then it’s a travesty. I did actually like this show but feel like it would have been better had it just focused on one character and made the story around that. Having so many characters going through problems left me caring about the collective endgame rather than any individual. DT