When boys suddenly get into places where they've never been allowed before, some girls tend to get upset. So when the decision is made to merge the elite Yuihime Girls' Private Academy and the coeducational Kagamidai Private Academy, everyone wants to take extra care in avoiding trouble while bringing the two Privates together. Therefore, rather than just bringing the Kagamidai boys into the Yuihime girls' school all at once, a plan is concocted in which a group of test males will be inserted into the Girls' Private Academy first.
Thus, poor young Shingo finds himself being thrown as a sacrificial lamb to the lionesses of Yuihime, who aren't exactly waiting for him with open arms. Will Shingo manage to survive the estrogen soaked death pit that is Yuihime? Can the girls learn to be more receptive to the boys? And just how long until something involving panties will cause emotions to flare, sparks to fly and the battle of the sexes to explode?
Once upon a time, I was browsing through My Anime List, looking for a new anime to watch. That's when I found Mashiroiro Symphony. From the look of it, I guessed that it was based off of a visual novel. I've been a big fan of visual novels being turned into animes, I guess that's why I liked A Bridge to the Starry Skies, The Rose Madder Colored Hills, etc. So, I decided to try it. I didn't expect to find such a masterpiece.
So, story wise, nothing fancy. It's your typical harem anime that starts out with a boy coincidentally meeting what appears to be
the main character of the story when looking for his sister. After that, he meets a bunch of other girls, and boom. He has his own personal harem. What I was thinking at the time was "This is almost a cliché harem anime". I mean, this is basically how all harem animes start. HOWEVER, as I started getting further into the show, my opinion changed. The thing about harem animes is that 99% of the time, the first girl he meets in the show is the girl he falls for in the end. 99% of the time, and that's a fact. With Mashiroiro Symphony, it pulled the carpet out from under me, and halfway within the series the main girl changed. I wasn't expecting that. That's when the story started getting good.
Artwork was excellent. Actually, the artwork was why I fell in love with this anime. When visual novels get turned into animes, there's just something in the artwork that tells you "I used to be a Visual Novel". That may just be me, but either way, stunning. Absolutely beautiful. I loved the character art and the scenery. Gorgeous.
Sound-wise, I feel like I've heard a lot of the voice actors play in other animes, and by other animes, I mean other animes that used to be visual novels, so I was fairly happy that I recognized some of the voices in the show. Despite my love for the voices, there was a single voice that irritated the crap out of me. Sure, I liked the character, but when all he says is "Pyu" over and over again, it will seriously bug the hell out of you. I know it's a cat/alien, but at least let it have other things to say then "Pyu".
Finally. I've spent years trying to find a harem anime where the main character isn't either:
A) A Pervert
B) Someone who get's flustered easily.
What I'm trying to say is that Uryuu is the one lead harem character that doesn't annoy the hell out of me. Not only is he cool, but his choices in friends is 5 Star material. That brings me to the second thing I've been searching for for years in harem animes: The male role's best friend isn't a pervert either! Along with Uryuu, we got a bunch of other characters that made me happy to see. Sure, we've got a couple tsunderes, but we've also got an animal lover, a cool younger sister, and a hyperactive maid. +1 for the character designing.
I can say that I enjoyed the show. I really liked it a lot. It took me a few episodes to really get into it, but I feel like I've found a treasure in the harem anime/visual novels that get turned into animes vault. Definitely worth watching.
When I first took a look into Mashiro-iro Symphony I never thought it would drag me in as much as it did. It took hold of my attention when I was watching, and didn't let go of me until I got though the whole anime; and yes I did marathon the anime for me it was that good.
I've always been a fan of romance animes, they're what I go to when I need an uplifting story or a sad one; this anime does it that bill of being one of
the higher end romance animes that I've seen (and I've seen a lot of them). It may have had those slow moments, and those slightly inappropriate moments but over all I thought the storyline and character progression really overshadowed those moments making it a very good anime. Especially one that can throw around your feelings like it was nothing.
The story and how it progressed through each character is what I think make it worth watching. Each storyline per character had it's own story to tell, each one had their own part in the story that just made the anime, and it's characters click. It wouldn't have been a romance if it didn't have it's ups and downs right? The way those problems and resolves came in truly made this story very, very enjoyable for me.
I thought the character was really good, the uniforms were well designed and well executed in color. Each character had their own unique part of their character that made them different from other character designs I've seen in the past. Also the character expressions were really on point. Though there were little design mishaps, I believe in my mind that it did not effect the anime at all.
I thought the intro was amazing, I even downloaded it because I like it that much. The sounds in the anime were well place during certain parts which really added to the mood of the setting. The only problem for me was there were some parts where a song or two would have played well, but were just blank leaving for some awkward moments but other than that I thought it was really good.
Each Character have their own story, which adds to the mood of the story. They all have their own backdrop that pulls you in quite a lot. To be fair, each character were individually good at playing their part in the story that it is without a doubt one of the harder times you can pick out your favourite (couple/person) because each one has their own good qualities.
Overall this anime will forever be one of my favourites!
Mashiro-iro Symphony = MUST SEE
This is quite possibly the best anime that I've ever seen that has harem listed as a genre.
I'm sure that you will all agree that the most annoying thing about any harem anime is the perverted characters who tries to hit on everyone/ gets hit on by everyone. Thus, I have more or less given up on the harem genre and steer well clear. However, this anime is like hope at the bottom of Pandora's box.
I really like how the protagonist is not just a decent person for once but he cares so much about everyone around him. All he is ever trying to do
is help (leading to a number of misconceptions). The story line is not about him and every other girl falling in love symultaniously but rather, it focuses on the development of a single girl's feelings... before disregarding them for the next. He takes everyone's feelings and attitudes to heart, and is always trying to help.
I most certainly did not expect the ending of this.
Plot: (Warning Spoilers)
As I'm sure you've gathered from the synopsis, the series starts with our protagonist looking for his lost sister and when they find one another there is a girl, our other main character, from the presteious girls highschool with the sister. This makes you think, oh no - here we go again.
There is a merger plan between the girls highschool and the protagonist's co-ed school and our protagonist, his sister and his (not perverted) best friend are enrolled in the experiment.
Our main girl instantly makes the boys feel unwelcome and from there on its tsundre. The character development is mainly centred around her rather than every girl. But then suddenly, about half way through the series the main girl switches. Completely unexpected. The new main girl is also tsundre but more heavily so (if you know what I mean). She loves the protagonist but he doesn't seem to love her back. Instead he is falling for her best friend (who is the only one whom he actually loves).
Judging by the cover of Mashiroiro Symphony: The Color of lovers, I thought this was just another typical cliche harem, you know, high school environment, different females for the male lead to choose. As I was progressing through the anime, I realized the plot was very "unique" and was driven by "unique" characters. Mashiroro Symphony does not follow the typical harem outline. Does that mean this anime was outstanding? exceptional?
Personally, I don't mind if a harem is cliched or not, i was not expecting a unique plot, just your typical average harem. even if it was different I wouldn't mind it. So what went wrong?
I found the plot of this anime to be very "special", and when I mean special, i mean retarded special. It is not centered on one plot, rather it follows different routes (personally I don't like this). This anime starts off like a very typical harem. You are introduced to your protagonist Shingo Uryuu along with his sister and another girl Airi Sena whom you can easily deduce will possibly be the main female lead. The first half focuses primarily on the relationship between Shingo and Airi. I enjoyed this half very much, as watching the two leads interact, I established a very fond connection for the couple wishing to see more in the later episodes. However after the first half, Airi whom is our female lead is no longer the center of attention, instead the anime focuses on two characters who are already introduced in the first half: Sana Inui & Miu Amaha and this is where the anime truly becomes "special". I found this to be very weird, the first half was good but why change routes? Even so, it was not subtle, I was totally not prepared for it, the next episode, they just threw the spotlight on Sana and gradually onto Miu. Personally I didn't mind this change as long as the story somehow developed a strong relationship between the characters but unfortunately this never happens and it was a disappointment. The ending was one of the most disappointing endings I've seen, it was not the original purpose of the anime and felt more of a filler episode. As I watched the end, despite being a very touching moment, I lost my sense of touch with the characters and I could no longer appreciate what I was watching. If i had to relate a color, it will be black, confused to what I was watching and seeing no light.
I will outline the characters:
Shingo Uuryu - Male Lead, a hardworking, caring diligent student (Main)
Airi Sena - Female Lead for the first half, a rude posh girl who seems to have a huge dislike towards the opposite gender, she does not want to show her weakness and is willing to do whatever to be seen strong among her peers. (Main)
Sana Inui - A tsundere girl who's always picking on Shingo. Even so, she will go out of her way to support Miu (Main)
Miu Amaha - Loves animals, is extremely hardworking in what she does and will do everything possible to protect injured animals. (Main)
Sakuno Uryuu - The younger sister of Shingo, unlike typical harem animes she does not have a brocon. Quite mature for her age, has a very good relationship with her brother and the other females. (Support)
Angie Sewell - The maid of the academy, she has a huge passion for being a maid and is happy to perform chores for her master. (Support)
The male lead: Shingo Uuryu is very different from your average Harem lead, instead of the lazy, negligent or pessimistic character, our lead is quite the opposite, hardworking, diligent and caring. The very same can be said to most of the female characters however this leads to one problem: lack of character development. Not to say that there were any development, I believed Airi was developed extremely well coming off being hot-headed and rude to someone who could open up and depend on others when needed. However this is the only strong development seen in the anime. For Shingo himself, the already hardworking diligent student, how can you develop him? The fact he was perfect already flustered me, there were no flaws about his character which really was annoying to me. Even more so, he is dense.
The story focusing on Miu and Sana was not developed well and thus has affected the way I perceive both characters. The first half of the story had left an impression on Airi and the immediate change of routes had caused me to become confused of the characters. The fact that there 6 episodes left and they were trying to develop 2 characters, it was not enough to help establish a connection with the characters, had the anime went 2 cour, this might not have been the case. Also looking at the character outline, it seemed difficult to create any STRONG development. There may have been development for Sana, but the story did not choose her to be the winning female thus her character was wasted. While there was development in the anime for those 2 character (Sana and Miu) it was extremely weak. The plot-structure of the anime also contributed to the weak development of these characters.
Likewise our 2 beloved supporting cast, Angie and Sakuno had no character development whatsoever.
For Mashiroiro, it was rushed, there was excellent character chemistry between Airi and Shingo mainly because together Shingo helped Airi overcome obstacles, it brought out both characters really well and at the same time made the anime enjoyable to watch. This is the only highlight of the anime as when the route switches over to Sana and Miu, we never see a glimpse of proper action, the fueling desire to help someone overcome obstacles. Sana and Miu's character while developed weakly never satisfied me while I was watching the anime. Their weak development also led to me not being able to connect with the character thus feeling no sorts of empathy during the touching moments of the show.
ART & SOUND (7/10)
Nothing wrong with the art, infact I liked the way how Shingo was designed, a very mature looking person, something that looks quite different from the tradiational "half-ass" look of typical anime characters. The female leads however do follow the cliche design, cute-looking, innocent and beautiful.
Not mucht to say about sound either, I love the ED personally, not so much the OP. The music during the anime was mediocre.
If you want to watch an anime that breaks away from the cliche stereotypical harems that the industry have been shoving in our face for the past err im guessing 10 years or so then you might enjoy this anime. However, be aware of the sudden plot-change and lack of character development, it may leave you disappointed.
As a genre, romance has been one of the few constants in anime history - fashions and styles may change, but love stories always find their way onto the schedule. But finding a great one is a lot harder than you'd think.