Eruna Ichinomiya makes her decision about which school to attend based on a picture of a hot girl in a brochure. I’m sure at her age I would have considered that a perfectly valid way to make life choices. So this is a yuri anime (i.e. one that focuses on attraction between girls), but we are definitely not in the same league as Bloom into You, which offers an insightful exploration of first love between two girls. Instead this is a fairly familiar approach to lesbianism in anime, with the main character basically perving after all the girls. However, there is clearly something different about Eruna’s attraction to Seisa (the girl in the brochure, who attends the Academy), which goes far beyond simple physical attraction. There is something about her that fascinates Eruna, and she ends up spending her time at the Academy trying to impress Seisa and make her happy.
That really gets interesting later in the season when the third of the trio of main characters is brought into the mix. Otone is a lonely, antisocial girl, who has never had a friend. Eruna manages to break through her barriers, and Otone eventually becomes completely devoted to Eruna. That might sound like all her dreams come true for a cliché yuri anime pervert character, who goes after anything in a skirt, but Otone is just desperate to maintain her first ever friendship, and that’s where the Eruna/Seisa relationship gets interesting, because Otone identifies how much of Eruna’s thoughts Seisa occupies, and is terrified about the implications of that. It leads to a breathtaking conflict, which is a pivotal moment in the series.
Speaking of conflict, this is one of those school-based anime series where all the students have special powers. There seems to be loads of these, and they can be quite fun, but your appreciation of them will probably depend on how much you enjoy the battle scenes. I’m not a big fan of that stuff, and prefer it when the series focuses on the relationship dynamics or even the comedy, but I must admit there is an originality about this one that makes the battle scenes a lot more palatable. The students all (or nearly all) belong to a club, and their special powers always reflect their club, and therefore their interests in life. So, for example, there is Asuhi Imizu, who is a member of the Astronomy Club, and shoots stars from a telescope; there is Kyoma Kuzuryu, who represents the Art Club and attacks with paint; and there is Sadamatsu Minatogawa, who runs a Flower Arranging Club and is able to manipulate plant life. You get the idea. That all makes the battle scenes quite inventive and entertaining to watch, but there are still a few too many of them for my tastes.
One very weird thing about this series is that Eruna is followed around everywhere by a flying cat. The explanation for his origins is given piecemeal throughout the series, so I won’t spoil it here, but I think he’s one of those love-him-or-hate-him characters. He probably has his fans, but most of the time I could have done without his presence in nearly every scene, especially with his irritating habit of ending every sentence with “ryui”, and that happens in the dub as well. I’ve no idea why he does it, but it’s annoying. But his back story is interesting, and in fact this is a series that gets stronger towards the end, when more is revealed about some key characters. Seisa is of course the central mystery: why does she behave the way she does, isolating herself from everyone? Why is she so miserable all the time? We do get the answers, and they are good ones, but also she goes through a very enjoyable character arc throughout the series, thanks to the persistence of Eruna.
The other characters are generally disposable and forgettable, and in a couple of cases highly irritating. The worst of the lot is Eruna’s cousin, who is obsessed with her. She’s not interested in him and it’s creepy, although again some context towards the end of the series does help. But my favourite character was Otone, who comes into the series frustratingly late in the game. There is a sense of resolution at the end of the series, with a nice montage of the characters enjoying their future school life together, although this does still feel like a second series would have been worthwhile, at least to bring some maturity to the yuri proceedings by moving Eruna and Seisa’s attraction beyond comedy perving. Scratch the surface, and there’s a lot more to this anime than that. RP