Back in May, I gave my early thoughts on Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie – one of the rom-com anime series I’d decided to watch last season. It’s time to follow up on my early thoughts to discuss how the complete show fits with my earlier assessment.
So, Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie does follow up a lot with my earlier takeaways – that this was a show that was deliberately inverting some of the concepts of the moe romantic comedy, and playing with gender roles in the process – Shikimori being a girly girl with a “cool” side, beyond being a “cute” girl, while her boyfriend, Izumi, is very much the “clumsy moe character” – with both characters also being aware of what their socially expected gender roles are, and in turn are dealing with how they want to handle that role – Shikimori becoming comfortable with being a “cool” girl with a “cute” side on one end, while Izumi on the other hand grapples with discomfort over not fitting into what is normally perceived as “masculine” (even if his peers beyond his immediate friends are absolutely used to it).
What I also appreciated over the course of the series is that the relationship between Shikimori and Izumi was stable over the course of the series. Their relationship progressed, albeit slowly, but there there was no harem, no hypotenuse to the relationship, or other form of third wheel to add that particular variety of drama to the mix. The most drama they have is with the three other friends in the group – Yui Hachimitsu, Shuu Inuzuka, and Kyou Nekozaki. Specifically, it’s not that Shikimori perceives any sort of romantic chemistry between Izumi and the two girls – Yui and Kyou – but rather that Shikimori is somewhat jealous of the level of casual comfort that Izumi and his male friend, Shuu have, because both she and Izumi are aware of their own self-consciousness they have with each other when they’re alone.
The later portion of the season puts a lot of attention on the other three characters as well, giving them a fair amount of character generation and giving them some additional character traits beyond being there to setup comedy beats. In particular, the episode covering the lead-up to the Athletic Festival does a really good job of of putting more of a narrative focus on Yui, and her contending with her lack of athleticism, as all 5 characters are put on the class team, and Yui finds her desire to not be athletic, with her wish to not let down her friends, while her friends are also aware of her limitations and are accepting of them.
It’s not the best rom-com anime of the Spring 2022 season – that would be the second season of Komi Can’t Communicate, which I’ll get to later, but it is a solid series, and something that makes for a nice pleasant watch.
Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
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