Kazuya, a mild-mannered high school sophomore coming to the end of a very average summer break, receives a digital single lens reflex camera as a gift. His nerdy fascination with its design soon turns to wonder when he realizes this little gadget could really give his social life a shot in the arm!
#1: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Utakano♪ (eps 1-4) #2: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Haruka Niimi (Kanae Itou) (eps 5-6) #3: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Hikari Sanehara (Kaori Mizuhashi) (ep 7) #4: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Aki Muroto (Mai Nakahara) (ep 8) #5: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Nonoka Masaki (Chiwa Saito) (ep 9) #6: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Mai Sakura (Hisako Kanemoto) (ep 10) #7: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Rina Yunoki (Asuka Oogame) (ep 11) #8: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Tomoe Misumi (Miyuki Sawashiro) (ep 12) #9: "Smile F (スマイルF)" by Kanon Maeda (Mariya Ise) (ep 13)
Before watching this anime, you should know the definition of "omnibus format". The omnibus format main purpose is to dismantle harem genre anime such that the protagonist is able to have romantic developments with the multiple different chosen candidate without having a dispute between each other. One famous example would be the Amagami SS.
Amagami SS was the first anime that adopted the style "Omnibus Format". Each heroine had 4 episodes arc in which their romantic confrontation was completed. By each confront's conclusion, the universe would reset to the initial world for the next heroine's romantic confrontation to begin. All memories of moments that happened during
the 4-episode arc are also wiped. Photokano was successful in doing the same style.
However, Photokano which was aired in an omnibus format, used a different approach compared to Amagami SS. It used an introductory arc to let the viewers know more about the characters. Then, it approaches to appeal the viewers using the omnibus format.
Many would think that one or two episodes for each character may be too short. I might have to disagree with that.
The few episodes duration was enough. Even with the short duration, they've managed to deliver a well-developed character progress. Each heroine has drastically improve their relationship with the protagonist. Remember, at the end, the anime only has 13 episodes, with about half has been taken off for the introduction arc. If you're looking for a fully developed romantic anime, this place is not for you, please leave.
One thing I would like to mention which is the introduction arc. It's not very appealing and is superficial in expressing the show to its viewers. When I began watching this show, I was expecting this show might not produce great results. Although the omnibus format truly surprised me, the introduction arc didn't cause a great impact on me to continue watching it. In the end, one would think it's just an introduction. If the introduction were juicy, will it affect the main story and the climax? Ultimately, the decision lies on the viewers. For me, I'm fine with the advancement they used.
But again, this anime doesn't have many advantages. The only think I like is that they surprised me with using the omnibus format and the acceptable character development within such short duration. Other than that, I wouldn't say I'm very interested in the most other areas of the show.
In a nutshell, this anime is designed specially for people who are looking for an omnibus format style anime. If you like Amagami SS , this could be a wonderful gem for you. However, if you prefer a fully detailed romance anime, I suggest you drop this anime immediately.
Please note: You're suppose to give your feedback whether this review is helpful or not. Even if this review has its flaws but is helpful, you should choose the appropriate answer. Well, I'll leave that up to you. Good day, peeps!
Well, what do we have here. It's PhotoKano, a series based off the dating game of the same name. The series focuses on this young boy named Kazuya Maeda who happens to be a high school student enjoying the youth of his life. Perhaps he is enjoying it too much though with that little toy of his. It's a camera and used to capture memories through its lenses. With imagination, you can discover magic through a camera. But that's just all an imagination because in PhotoKano, magic doesn't exist. Rather, there exists many girls who wants to pose for you in lascivious positions just wanting
to capture those 'memories'. Honestly, this series is definitely something that I don't want to be part of my memories.
Now for starters, the anime series is adapted from a dating sim developed by Dingo and Enterbrain. The way it structures its series is a bit bizarre as rather than a linear storyline, it focuses on our lucky protagonist-kun who is involved in several arcs each with a different girl whom gets acquainted with him. But hey, that's just high school life right? It's all about teenagers getting involved in romance angles and creating drama. Well, the thing here is that Kazuya, the protagonist becomes the chick magnet who somehow is not only be able to attract the various girls in this show but also get them to do pose in seductive positions. Talk about having a lucky life.
Well, there are some basic merits to this show. For instance, there's the Photography Club who invites Kazuya to join as a member. The club itself is made up of guys who likes nothing more than capturing those seductive photos of girls and making them worth a thousand words. Kazuya on the other hand seems to be the easy-going guy who is able to make friends with both guys and girls like a day in the park. The catch here is that as a bonus, he is able to take pictures of girls with his camera. It's making friends, taking seductive photo-shoots, and striking relationships all in one package of this lucky guy.
For some reason, the girls of this show only allows Kazuya to take pictures of them in those seductive poses. Why? That's probably a magical question beyond what I can comprehend. Perhaps it's because of his easy going personality. But wait, the guy doesn't seem to have a clue what to do with the girls he hangs out most of the time. Rather than just 'hanging out', the girls of this show all seems to be interested in the boy for reasons beyond just 'taking photographs'. Kazuya on the other hand plays the follower and goes with the flow. Sometimes, this lands him into trouble as he is accidentally labeled as a 'pervert'. Despite Kazuya trying to negate these situations, they just happen to come by like pouring rain with the compromising positions, accidental kisses, and even other situations where he doesn't want to be in. Ugh.
The series falls under many of the cliched themes of an ecchi/romantic romance. There's the childhood love, the beach episodes (more than just one of them actually), various confessions, and the obvious fan service. Speaking of which, the fan service of this show is thrown at your face literally every episode. There's the panty shots, the suggestive poses, the swimsuits, and camera angles. The OP song even focuses this as if it''s some sort of art. Then, there's the camera shots that focuses more than just painting a memory. Rather, it points at the various angles of the camera at suggestive body parts. Again, Kazuya is having the fun of his time.
At some point, I just decided to watch this series for the sake of a possible deeper story to develop. Unfortunately, the plot of PhotoKano is more dry than sands of the beach. It doesn't progress and makes little sense. For whatever reason, Kazuya is like a bachelor and whether he likes it or not, he gets the attention of the girls through his charms. At many points, the boy isn't even trying and girls are allowing him to take suggestive photographs of them. Then, there's the love confessions and lovey dovey scenes that follows. Oh and no one is safe either. Whether you're a class president, an athlete, a school beauty, an imouto type, childhood friend, or the shyest girl on Earth. No girl is safe from Kazuya's 'charms'. NO ONE. Once you're part of the route, expect romance to pop out of nowhere.
Well at various points, I try to dig out something out of this series. I mean, there has to be something that can attract the viewers right? The artwork might be part of that from what I originally thought but it's nothing at all attractive. Rather, it's generic, standard, and poorly constructed. The school uniforms are all generic and nothing stands out. It's not even unique in the sense of being attractive. Rather, it's typical and hardly memorable. The soundtrack isn't any better as the OST itself hardly makes an impression. The OP song "Koisuru Lens" by Kaori Hayato clearly matches the theme of the series through those lens of the camera. Only problem is that it seems Kazuya isn't getting any highlights in it. Rather, the girls are the main course of the dish and gives those delicious poses.
To conclude, this series is something crafted out of a weak plot, with weakly developed characters, and a lackluster premise that makes it a dull experience. The main male protagonist is dull anyways so nothing else new to see there. It doesn't help with the lackluster soundtrack or the artwork. On a positive note though, the series does have a variety of characters to watch and see how they interact with Kazuya. Unfortunately, it all ends with predictable results that spells out what a cliched series this is. I can't recommend PhotoKano to anyone, not unless you enjoy photography or something in animated form. But then again, it makes fun of that in a lascivious way of an attempt to spark interest. It tries too HARD and this was one series that I had a HARD time getting through. But if you really want to try this out, then the ball's in your court.
I've made another review. The original one (the one I wrote at six episodes out of ten) is below.
~ Completed Review ~
Photo Kano was definitely a disappointment. The first few episodes led me on, it suggested potential that was definitely never realized. And that, makes me sad. It makes me sad because Photo Kano was something that I had actually looked forward to watching - that implementation of photography, actually really interested me. The art and character design, were actually appealing. The opening, wasn’t amazing, but it was better than average. It was potential. From the very first episode, I felt some, if any potential.
Aand, it’s gone.
Originally, I was going to blame the series’ lost potential on what I thought was a stupid idea. Doing one character arc per episode, omnibus style, is just a horrible idea. Everything gets so packed together and compressed that it’s just a massive outflow of information and emotions, and nothing is really developed, information is just being thrown at you. Ironically, this came to mind not after I had finished Photo Kano, but halfway in, at the sixth episode. Seems like my prediction was right. It was a bad idea. This series, is a great example of an anime that had too little time to voice it’s story, and I know for a fact that had Photo Kano been given more time, it wouldn't have turned out as bad as it did. But with nine heroines, what can they really do? Two episodes per heroine, like what we say with Amagami SS+, would be alright, but that would make the anime 18 episodes long. And that would have been great, if they had 18 episodes to work with. But they didn't. And that’s a shame.
Because the story was a good concept. I know that’s ample praise for a story that spawned from a dating sim, but it had decent potential as a story - it was just poorly executed because of a lack of time. Granted, it’s not an awesome story, but it wasn’t terrible. The photography element is really what made the anime interesting for me. It’s mildly rare to find photography posing itself as a major plot point in any anime, so Photo Kano caught my eye. What’s unfortunate about this though, is that the element of photography, is rarely seen properly expressed in the anime. It’s like it’s an excuse for the anime to show lewd scenes of Kazuya’s lady friends. It’s really only there to connect the hero to his heroines, in some form or another. But then again, I suppose this is exactly what Photo Kano wanted to do, and in this, it serves it’s purpose well. As a guy with a soft spot for cameras and photography, I was kinda disappointed in the fact that photography isn't really a main element in this anime, it just kinda opened up the stage for the love stories between the hero and the heroines. The thing is though, it’s not like the arcs were even that good - they were just average, like the rest of the anime. The love stories were at best, rushed and executed poorly. And although it’s mildly bad to stuff a character’s arc in a single episode, it’s even worse to introduce said character in their debut episode, finish their arc, and never show them again. And it’s not like these were short-but-sweet stories either, they were basically supercompressed versions of what they should have been, a very summative conclusion of a story that should have really lasted two to four episodes. What makes it worse, is that even if these arcs did last two to four episodes, they would be alright at best.
And that, is pretty unfortunate, because the way that these said heroines were drawn, is actually quite good - they’re all really cute (sorry) and adorable (again, sorry), and I really feel like I want to set them as my wallpaper. They’re all well realized. But then again, this is 2013, and it’s not uncommon to see an anime that has been drawn quite well. The BGM and theme songs were alright too, and like the animation, were pretty average for today’s time. The opening didn’t really strike me as being excellent, but it’s not terrible. The ending, is pretty generic, but I suppose that’s alright. It’s hard to judge an anime on it’s music, as if you screw that up, you’ve failed hardcore. The same goes for the BGM, it’s alright, but nothing more.
If there was one thing that was generic, it has to be the cast. Lets face it, every single friggin anime has a childhood friend heroine, and Photo Kano isn’t any exception. Let’s do a quick checklist. Cute imouto? Check. Tsundere? Check. Quiet girl who rarely smiles? Check. Childhood friend? Check. Athletic, over the top, enthusiastic sports chick? Check. Shy girl with massive tits? Check. There you have it, the most generic friggin cast of heroines I have ever seen, at least at face-level. They’re not too bad once they’re developed. Oh yeah, totally forgot, I can't remember anything about them because Photo Kano merely threw facts at my face for nine episodes. But what I find definitively weird, is the fact that despite having a really generic cast, I still enjoyed them. I still liked the execution of their respective stories.
In conclusion, it’s pretty easy to quickly summate Photo Kano. It’s a poorly executed slightly-above-average story. That’s all it is. And had it been given say, a nice 25 episodes, it would still be slightly above average at best. And what’s unfortunate is that it didn’t get 25 episodes. It got 13. What emphasizes it’s poor quality, is the fact that it had a decent start. It led me on, brought my hopes up, and crashed them down. But what I still can’t understand, is why I enjoyed it too much.
Maybe I’m just a pervert.
~ Original Review ~
I feel like I'm enjoying this show way too much for what it is.
Because really, the plot is pretty average, the humor isn't really funny at all, and the development of the characters is just straight-up not there. It's pretty average. So, I guess you could assume that the rest of the anime is pretty bad too - which is where you'd probably be wrong. For some reason, it's really quite well animated, everyone is drawn really cute, and everything flows pretty nicely. Not only are the characters drawn really well, it's not the stereotypical fanservicey type of art where you basically have a face and various styles and colors of hair, the characters are genuinely drawn pretty well. The soundtrack's alright as well, it's not bad, but in some places, I've found myself surprised at how decent it was.
But, I suppose, I should have seen this coming. This is an anime adaptation of a dating sim, and really, the only reason why you would be playing a dating sim, is to stare at really well drawn cute girls that you would probably never get a shot at anyways. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Photo Kano is full of moments where I felt like I was literally playing a dating sim. But if there's one thing that I am surprised about, is how much I found myself enjoying those moments.
I'm not really sure what I enjoy Photo Kano, really. Maybe it's the fact that I can see so much of myself in the main character. Then again, that's probably a selling point - the dude is practically an everyday normal guy, anybody could paint themselves onto him. That being said, I suppose you could call this a fault, because like Photo Kano itself, the guy really just doesn't seem to have anything interesting about him. That's probably why the most interesting thing about him, is actually that he gets to take lewd pics of all his cute high-school classmates.
I suppose I should be called a pervert then, because I've enjoyed all I've complained about in the above.
But really, what else is there to enjoy? Because let's all admit that any plotline adapted from a dating sim is probably going to be bad. It's a shame too that it's not all to great, because the idea of using photography as a central theme is something that hasn't been tried very often, and when pulled off right, could probably make a decent storyline. It's too bad they didn't seem to even try, because the photography element is what really makes this anime what it is, or rather, what it could be. If Photo Kano was actually well produced in terms of a story, it would probably be known for highlighting photography in it's storyline.
Of course though, we're only halfway through, so it could get better. Hopefully the storyline takes a departure from its current generalisms that Photo Kano has attempted to build it's storyline on thus far, and makes use of the unique nature of it's central theme.
But unfortunately, with the direction it's taking, it seems like Photo Kano is going to take the approach of telling the story of every single girl in the anime one by one - and what's bad, is that we're 6 episodes in, and we've only done cute Niimi-san, and to an extent, the student council president. That basically means the show is either going to skip half the cast, or do one girl per episode - which is going to be terrible. However, it does mean that we'll probably get to the main character's little sister soon - which I'm sure will please some viewers. She cant be that cute, right?
Have you ever had that situation where you love the beginning of an anime but the rest of the series doesn’t turn out too well. You get disappointed and just want to forget all the things that were bad. That is how it was with Photokano for me.
This series is about Maeda Kazuya, a normal high school boy that receives a digital camera from his father. He starts to get interested in photographing which opens a lot of doors for him. During the series he comes across people he would never had talked to if it wasn’t for his newfound hobby.
The structure of
this series is pretty simple. It starts off with four episodes of introduction where you get to meet all the characters. Then the series becomes arc based. This is when it becomes problematic. Every arc is focused on one of the girls that Maeda meets. During these arcs Maeda helps the girls with their problems and also starts a relationship with them. The problem here is that the arcs are very short. Most of them only last for one episode. This makes them very rushed. This structure also makes it feel like the story doesn’t progress so much.
The photo theme is very interesting and was the reason for me checking this series out. They did handle it pretty well although they could added a bit more of it. Again the bad structure prevents from doing this.
The main characters Maeda Kazuya isn’t that special of a character but he is likeable. He doesn’t have so much development or a backstory, but this works because the focus is more on the main girls. The girls are many. So many that I won’t take the time to talk about each one of them. The good thing about them is that even though they are so many they still have interesting and unique backstories. But then we do also have a problem with the amount of girls. As I said before the arcs is only one episode and that’s because every girls is going to have one. The lack of time makes them really rushed and the main character barley gets to start a relationship before he has to move on to the next girl. I think the series would have been better if it had a smaller cast of girls.
The series also have few supporting characters. These characters don’t get so much screen time because of the focus on the main girls. This is pretty disappointing because some of them were really good and funny. My favorite character of the series is Kudou Hiromichi, the leader of the photo club Maeda joins. He does only appear a few times during the series and most of his appearance comes from the previews which he narrates.
I don’t have so much to say about art and animation. It holds a good standard. My favorite part was how they did the photographing. It looked nice and beautiful. One of my favorite things about this series is the great feeling you get. You feel calm and relaxed. The biggest reason for this is the background music. It is always used at the right time and set such a good tone in the scene. The voice acting was good. There weren’t any performances I didn’t like. My favorite performance in this series came from Midorikawa Hikaru who played the character I talked about earlier, Kudou Hiromichi.
Photokano is a series that sets high expectations that it can't live up to. It follows the classic dating sim structure which is not a bad structure, but it has to be handled well. Photokano has a great intro but has a really bad structure. In this case it's the structure that decides if this series is very good or just good. This series would have worked out a lot better if it just were longer or had a smaller cast. Even with the bad structure the series has some interesting characters and it gives a really good feeling which is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think back on Photokano.