Dang it Saekano! Why do you do this to me!? Sigh… Okay, so I was maybe a little off in my first post about this show. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still find a lot of what I said pretty valid. The plot is wonderbread generic, the characters are all archetypes (Except for Megumi, of course), and show has a disrespectful attitude towards its quality. However, and I say this quite begrudgingly, I liked these past few episodes. GASP!
This really surprised me, considering in between posts not much has really changed about the show. In fact, barely anything has changed! All that’s happened are a few character development scenes, and a healthy dose of interaction between the cast members; and yet already the show is so much more interesting and entertaining than it ever was before! I feel like this really all comes down to that previously mentioned screentime given to the characters. After all, one of the few things I liked about the first few episodes was the writing behind the dialogue scenes. Every character felt distinct and memorable, and the dialogue, while pretty heavy, had a lot of voice behind it; and these episodes really showcase that dynamic front and center.
The date between Megumi and Tomoya is a prime example of this, since throughout the entire episode we are able to see a bunch of great little character moments. From the way Tomoya was nervous in the crowd of the shopping mall, to Megumi’s gift for Tomoya at the end of their date, everything was just so adorable. The combination of his otaku awkwardness, and Megumi’s passive but kind nature really sold these scenes, making it all the more annoying when Tomoya abandons her after visiting the final store in the mall in order to talk to Utaha! Seriously how could he!? Megumi is still probably the best character in the show, even if her passive personality is mostly used to make snarky comments about the show’s content. While I don’t usually like these kind of jokes, I’ll admit there a couple of ones that made me giggle here. Such as this scene, where Tomoya is complaining about Megumi’s new hairstyle:
Tomoya: If you have to rely on curveballs like that, you’ll never be a first-rate main heroine!
Megumi: Protesting that much about a girl’s hairstyle means you’re paying some attention, right?
That feels like karmic payback for Tomoya ditching Megumi on their date,and in general the humor lands much better in these episodes, at least for me. Yeah, it hasn’t really evolved much comedy wise, and the jokes are pretty generic character gags, but at least it isn’t trying to endlessly mock its generic plot while doing nothing about it. Instead the show is focusing on making fun of character habits, or placing the cast members in some awkward, but funny situations. Then again, this could just be me having a random change of heart.
Of course, none of these good points probably would have raised my opinion of the show that much. Yeah, I definitely would have liked it more, but it certainly wouldn’t have made me change the score I’ve been giving it on MAL. But goddamnit, I liked episode 6– no, I loved episode 6! That was just a cold hard slap in the face of good writing, the kind of stuff the show had otherwise not previously offered. Yes, the episode did have some issues, the flashback scene got pretty cheesy, and there was a sex joke that felt awkward and gross in execution. Otherwise though, I was hooked.
Utaha, while basically still being Hitagi Senjougahara-lite, really owns this episode alongside Tomoya. Watching her growth from the origin of her relationship with Tomoya to the present is really intriguing, but better yet, makes her feel more fleshed out than she did before. I don’t look at her anymore and think, “She’s just Hitagi without the backstory,” instead I think, “She’s got a rough past from relying on Tomoya in the past, and she uses her cold sarcasm to brush him off and show him that she’s capable on her own.” The same can also be said of Tomoya, who is probably one of the better harem protagonists I’ve seen. Sure, he’s quirky and a complete loser in some regards, but underneath all of that baggage he’s a caring guy who seems passionate about his work and friends. Basically he’s the kind of self insert protagonist who actually feels like a real character, not some empty cipher with no discernible traits except for “being awesome.”
Sadly while Megumi, Tomoya, and Utaha thrive, other characters like Eriri and Izumi don’t. Izumi is just a boring moe kouhai character, who seems to solely exist for starting a conflict between Tomoya and Eriri; and Eriri is just a textbook tsundere without any good execution to back her up. I guess her childhood friend backstory with Tomoya could work, but there just isn’t any drive to it. This probably mostly comes down to the fact that Eriri is the most generic member of the cast, and doesn’t really have many redeeming archetype traits to her. Unlike Utaha she doesn’t have any funny lines, and she definitely doesn’t feel unique like Megumi. However, they have been setting up a conflict between her and Tomoya which, while petty, could lead to a somewhat interesting twist with her character.
In general though, I have enjoyed these past five episodes of Saekano. Sure, the plot is generic, and yes, a few of the characters need more development time; but I still like it nonetheless. It isn’t anything groundbreaking or respectable artistically, but it offers a nice light watch in comparison to some of the heavier anime this season; which is all I really want from it. Sometimes shows don’t need to be excellent in order to be fun, and that has definitely been the case with Saekano. I still don’t think I’d wholeheartedly recommend it, but if you’re looking for a decent harem series, this one will definitely get you covered.
And with that I bid you adieu! See you in the next post!