Kawaii dake and Nai Shikimori-san – The Outerhaven
Romantic comedies are my jam, so when I saw one where it involved a girl protecting a guy who has the world’s worst luck, all I could imagine was tons of gags that were guaranteed to entertain! That was the premise behind it Kawaii dake ja Nai Shikimori-san (Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie). In my first reaction, I gave this a resounding YES for the way it started, but kept the rest of the series up as well as the first episode?
Izumi has a problem … he’s the worst luck he’s ever seen. From falling into bushes to becoming a prayer in the head of a cicada, a black cloud follows him around wherever he goes. Fortunately, he has his girlfriend Shikimori by his side. She’s there to catch the baseball before it hits his head, pull him away just before Truck-kun can ice him, or kick a falling sign out of the air before sending him into the shadow realm. In this sense, Shikimori is a sweet girl, but she also has the strong “do not mess with me” attitude as she immediately becomes jealous when someone gives Izumi a bunch of attention … even if that person is a guy.
All this is mixed together in an episodic anime where you see them cope with everyday events from shopping to watching a movie, to going to the river with friends, even the typical cultural festival… the latter serves as a nice story about how Shikimori and Izumi met and even elaborates on the short cast. Beyond this, there is not really much in the way of the general story, as the show is dependent on building the characters more than the general plot.
When I think about it… did we ever get to know her full name? Nevertheless, she is a sweet teenage girl one minute, a bit of a tsundere the next, and then a tomboy to all other times. She is good at sports and gets very jealous when people pay too much attention to Izumi … who is immediately contradicted during her story and the crossing with Kamiya. One of the big complaints about her from the anime community is that she just does not live up to the hype. Her gimmick of being Izumi’s protector disappears very quickly, and she is reduced to being a mixture of comic relief and forced emotions. Everyone fell in love with her in the beginning, but it quickly became clear that she was not even a candidate for the season’s best girl, let alone, this year.
In terms of personality, she is not SO bad, but as a character she is very flat and does not really do much to stand out. In fact, she is not the only protagonist suffering from this problem.
Here we have a very shy, yet daring protagonist. Wait … how does it really work? So, Izumi is not really afraid to do things. He has accepted the fact that he has the world’s worst luck and is just trying to roll with it. In that sense, he is quite brave enough not to let life trample on him. Heck, he was brave enough to even have a girlfriend like Shikimori, so he’s not completely spineless; but when it comes to love or even talking about the subject, he turns into a bunch of sweaty pudding.
The best thing about Izumi is his accident because it was the backbone of the show. Seeing him tortured to death and rescued by Shikimori was the highlight of this show … until it stopped. About a third of the way in, Izumi’s bad luck was almost forgotten, and he turned into a normal, generic male protagonist. His personality and overreactions are what sold the comedy in the beginning, but they became few and far between as the show continued. Not to dive into any spoilers, but in the last episode he was far from the character he was in episode 1-4, and it clearly showed how much they sucked the air straight out of him.
Also known as the pacifist Katsuki Bakugo, he took the anime world by surprise. Everyone with his design is meant to be a hot-tempered, short-tempered, loud-mouthed man whose only good quality is to complain about literally everything, but Shuu was not. Sometimes he raised his voice, but for the most part he was a really relaxed friend of Izumi … and that’s pretty much all I can say because he did not get much screen time at all. One would think that something like that would be a problem, and in Shuu’s case it was. The show took the limited screen time of other supporting characters and made them incredibly relevant while Shuu was made to be completely forgettable.
Here is a shining example of a background character that you cared so much about. Like Shikimori, she is good at sports, but she is also a loner. People do not expect much from her because she never likes to go anywhere or do anything with anyone. We later learn about how she first loved Izumi, and when she found out he was going out with Shikimori, she shut herself off so as not to cause problems. All the while, she wished she could just bury her feelings and move on. What ended up happening was a beautiful friendship between her and the rest of the crew developed, and in my opinion she became the best built character in the entire show and stole almost all the spotlight from the lead role.
When a side character can do that … you know you have a serious character development problem.
What can I say about Yui? She wears the same creepy smiling facial expression at all times, speaks with the same monotonous voice anyway, or does not care if Nekozaki leans over her knee and plays her like a guitar (yes, it happened). She’s just really weird, but it’s that weirdness that makes her so entertaining. She definitely attracts attention despite the fact that she is the type of character who is usually quite subdued. Even with her limited screen time, she was much more interesting than the main characters.
Kyou “Neko” Nekozaki
Yes, I love some boys and Kyou is the PERFECT example of what I love about them. She is energetic, cheeky, witty, a little on the stupid side at times, outgoing, in-your-face and carefree at the same time. She even went so far as to pull Kamiya out of her shell, and I thought the friendship that developed between these two was the biggest highlight of this whole show. Hell, I could watch a whole series just on these two alone! I’m not much for spinoffs or OVAs, but this is one I would definitely look out for! If I ever had a boyfriend, I would want her to be just like Neko!
There were other characters like Izumi’s parents and Shikimori’s brother, but apart from a couple of episodes, they were not really prominent enough to be worth mentioning.
Art, animation and sound
In terms of animation, this was about as typical as things get with a slice-of-life romcom, but we do not produce a big movie with tons of CGI, fight scenes or action set to a Hiroyuki Sawano soundtrack, so it did not have to have massive production. Everything was good as it was.
The same can be said about the artwork. It was obvious that in a show like this where Dago Kobo chose to use his budget … Fireworks and the last episode … especially the gondola scene. They looked great while everything else was about what you would expect from an average TV anime. The character designs were nice … although a couple were “borrowed” from other series. Each character stood out and matched their personalities while staying within the realm of life.
Like most romcoms or slice-of-life shows, the cheese was not memorable and was simply used for background ambiance. In that regard, it worked excellently. The OP theme song was a bit catchy, but still fell into the realm of a generic, optimistic comedy-anime theme song. The same can be said for ED, and unless you are REALLY interested in that kind of music, then I would say that these can easily be skipped when it comes to legally buying them through a legal site like CDJapan and not pirating them from a torrent site (because WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD EVER DO IT !?)
I’ve never seen an anime before that went from the season’s personal show to a show I can easily forget. Usually it’s the opposite where something starts off pretty awful and ends up being this year’s anime candidate (I’m looking at you Shiki).
Wait… Shiki… Shikimori… Is it the opposite effect to add the word for forest at the end of the name? Hmm…
Anyway, this show started just as the synopsis promised it would, and it was great! I loved watching Izumi get into bad luck just to get Shikimori to the rescue! The problem with this formula is that repeating it could get old fast, and it did … so the show had to do something to change gears to keep people interested, and when it did … it did the worst thing. could … it left its identity and developed into a romantic comedy with a standard price that in the end was nothing special or something to write home about.
Sure, the show is good enough for marathons, since some of the romantic aspects are sweet and can make you get diabetes, but if you get into this waiting comedy, then do not. You only get a good, healthy dose before the comedy dealer on the back street wants ridiculous amounts of cash that makes you go away and look for your next solution, only to discover that there will never be one.
Hmm … buying illegal drugs … who would have thought that would be the perfect analogy for this show.
So much promise. So much potential, and yet … so much falls flat. It’s Shikimori for you in a nutshell. See it if you want a basic room com … if you do not … then skip this one.
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Kawaii dake and Nai Shikimori-san
Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie starts to swing heavily by giving you exactly what you expect from a synopsis, but it goes downhill from there as this degenerates into just a standard romcom that you can watch if you get bored and skip if you do not. will take you time.
- Great secondary character development
- Great first four episodes
- Some sweet romantic moments
- Izumi is dumped by life.
- Show goes over to standard romcom
- Secondary grades are more developed than main grades
- The main characters lose steam / identity halfway
- Passable show at best.