Mikakunin de Shinkoukei | Time for a slice of life #Anime

The concept no doubt comes firsthand as being cliché. We have the golden trio of the show that plays on the norms of the normal, popular, and cute girl. Then, there’s the main male protagonist Hakuya with an apathetic outlook on life. Taken for granted, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei comes off as a show that isn’t particular outstanding judging from its outer shell. It’s a romantic comedy with a simple premise involving an arranged marriage. There’s certain degrees of development between the characters as we learn about their true origins. By their origins, it’s noticeable to point out that some aren’t actually humans. More importantly however is how they fit into society and demonstrates human behavior.

Being a romantic comedy, there’s a presence of romance developing. Unfortunately, Hakuya tends to be a character that lacks any exquisite attributes. He’s not the bachelor type or someone people see as a hero or sex idol. Instead, Hakuya is a quiet young man that often keeps words to himself. Yet when the situation calls for it, he is able to enter a conflict and tries to formulate a civil solution to bring peace. Of course, his past is a big point to the story involving him and Kobeni during their childhood. A love triangle also develops in later episodes involving a supporting character that causes trouble. She brings not only drama but some nuisance for the family because of her obsession with Benio, minor feelings for Hakuya, and rivalry with Mashiro. But as far as romance goes, most parts is still lighthearted and somewhat realistic. However at the same time, it’s predictable judging by Kobeni’s interactions with Hakuya. We also get unusual responses from Benio, the oldest sister of the family. She breaks out of her usual comfort zone and displays of annoyance towards their engagement. Hakuya also shows more of his character as he becomes more and more involved with his decisions rather than just being a standard yes man.

Comedy exists throughout the series in a variety of ways. They can come with mixed bags depending on how one perceives its execution. However on most parts, I find the comedy to be cleverly executed. Thanks to our main characters, there’s a fun mood in the show despite the tense premise. Mashiro is the mascot with her attempt to act like an adult despite being a kid. She can yell, wear adorable outfits, has a huge sweet tooth, and can dance melodiously in front of a television. Her fear for Benio is what really brings out the humor of the show. Yet, this can also become drawback for viewers who sees Benio’s tactics to get Mashiro’s attention to be repetitive. It’s hard to not see Benio going full lolicon on Mashiro. Also, fan service is minimal and there’s not much of it with even the absence of a beach or onsen episode. Camera angles aren’t suggestive and neither does skin show for any of the girls except in perhaps the main opening sequences. Rather, the series brings together more of an unusual romance comedy rather than an asinine sweet 16.

Despite the bizarreness of the presentation, there are some parts that can be dull. Hakuya in particular is a character that is hard to get used to or be relatable mostly because of his little presence. The love angle between him and Kobeni can also come off quasi with lack of sensation. Even with development, the duo doesn’t stand out much mostly because of their silent personalities. Most supporting characters only play minor parts with only one girl that makes quite the drama. Additionally, most episodes doesn’t take itself outside the home or school setting. It lacks a degree in diversity as to other locations being explored in their neighborhood. And even so, neither is their home or school distinctive in any way.

There’s also interesting aspects to the artwork style. Characters are designed with cuteness and simplicity. Mashiro in particular is a girl that stands out with her short stature and hair that seems to almost have a life of its own. Kobeni’s innocence is also portrayed well for a young girl that doesn’t go with social conformity such as putting on heavy makeup or spending hours in the bathroom doing their hair. The backgrounds are also aesthetic and comedic scenes adapts itself with clever usage of its visuals. 

Soundtrack has a casual tone with its OST. It’s easy to take notice of the slice of life tone with director Yoshiyuki Fujiwara, previously involved with GJ-Club. Hence, experience some of the lighthearted background music that is coordinated with various scenes. It’s also noticeable that on many occasions, there is no OST playing in the background at all in order to illustrate a sense of realism. On the other hand, embrace the OP and ED song for its catchy tone and bouncy sequences.