Where in holy hell did that come from? I thought we were getting some goofy sacharine comedy with all the emotional depth you normally expect from a 4-koma adaptation. I was expecting possibly some half-decent jokes from the crew who did Minami-ke’s first season and Mitsudamoe. I wasn’t expecting CRUSHING DEPRESSION!
The first 10 minutes of the show is an endless barrage of non-stop depression, a constant spiral of a human fear and suspicion causing the innocent to be crushed beneath her ostracisation. Bullying, never-home fathers, alcoholic mothers, child abuse, divorce and complete disownment. Also a cat. Normally this kind of thing would have me rolling my eyes non-stop throughout the entire thing. It’s not even the best delivered melodrama, being incredibly heavy-handed with its delivery the entire way through. Sure, I did roll my eyes a little bit, but it somehow it passed by my usual strong cynical defence barriers and actually got to me.
I’m trying to work out why Kotoura-san worked on me. It might be because I wasn’t expecting it to come, so my natural barriers weren’t erected. The other reason might be because it happened right at the start. A problem I often have with melodrama is the intent is to build up characters being happy for the sole reason of then having terrible things happen to them so I cry like a bitch, which never really works on me. This way around, it feels like it was more about setting the scene for later rebuilding, otherwise known as the Good Kind of feel-good anime. It’s laid on way too thick, particularly that dumb part with the cat, but it does its job of setting the scene and made me genuinely care about the possibility of Kotoura making friends.
The relationship between Kotoura and the goofball are only as charming as they are because they did that silly level of melodrama. The timing on the jokes actually works pretty darn well. The very deliberate use of mood whiplash when she reads his mind for the first time is fucking funny, and as cheap as the show looks, I also like the crashed glass effect they pulled with cutting down the grey filter of her flashback. I guess the whole thing works because it has a very deliberate story its trying to tell and knows exactly how it wants to tell that story. Sure, they have basically no budget and don’t appear to be necessarily the most talented writers or animators, but its very deliberately put together and has a clear purpose. Apparently that’s enough for me?