Mashiro-Iro Symphony is embarrassing. Sometimes when these sorts of VN adaptations slather on clichés, they do it in a self-referential fashion, wallowing in the tedium of their own genre. Not Mashiro-Iro Symphony though. Yes, it is covered in cliché from start to finish, but it’s so earnest about it that it’s fascinating, as if it doesn’t realise how generic it is.
The episode starts off asking what are girls made of, similar to how Wandering Son started. However, where Wandering Son was asking this because the main character was wondering why he was born a boy rather than a girl and signified the direction and tone of the story from then on, in Mashiro-Iro Symphony in means absolutely fucking nothing. Something got to do with love and girls being absolutely full of it. Because that’s all girls are. So full of love that they’ve removed their brains in order to fill it with even more love, all of it just waiting to be unlocked in one of the games various character routes you can take.
The next 10 minutes consist of the main character’s kawaii imouto being lost in a town (her sense of direction being one of the many casualties when her brain was excavated to make room for more love) and her talking to her brother on the phone so they can meet up. 10 full minutes of them going “no no, wait there, I’ll come get you, wait crap there goes my battery”. It’s quite shocking how much nothing happens in this scene. The kawaii imouto picks up another girl in this time, who also had her sense of direction obliterated to make room for even more love. She doesn’t add anything to the conversation either, bar “here’s your sister, we met up”. Half the episode over and all we’ve established is that the girls in this series have no sense of direction. So far, so tedious.
The second half of the episode is a perfect storm of cliché and dribble. First we have some token incest. Then we meet the pervy wingman, followed swiftly by the maid, the sexy teacher and the bossy student council president, who just so happens to have been the girl from earlier on in the episode. Woah, shocking revelation! Oh boy, how embarrassing for her to meet the boy she met earlier that day. Well, she thinks it’s embarrassing, for some reason or another. I’m not sure why, when the extent of their conversation was “here’s your sister, sorry we both got lost, kay bye now”. It’s hardly embarrassing that she has no sense of direction, since none of the other girls in the series have one either.
After giving this some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Mashiro-Iro Symphony must be one of two things. Firstly, it could be a love letter to eroge adaptations. I find this hard to believe, because that’s like writing a love letter to brain tumours. The alternative is that the creators simply don’t know how generic they’re being. This is slightly more believable, considering Manglobe *used* to just do ambitious and creative anime originals, like Samurai Champloo or Ergo Proxy. Hence I can’t blame them for, when one of their staff burst in and proclaims “I have a great idea! The school he attends should be a girl’s school that just turned co-ed so the main character will be surrounded by almost all girls”, not knowing that they should instantly punch him in the face.