Shinobu Oomiya once left Japan to participate in a homestay in England. During her time there, she became close friends with Alice Cartelet, the daughter of the family she was living with. However, when it was time for Shinobu to return to Japan, the two were able to express their sorrow despite the language barrier between them.
Five years later, now a first year student in high school, Shinobu receives a letter by air mail in a language she does not
understand. This letter is penned by none other than Alice, detailing her own homestay in Japan. In fact, Alice will be attending Shinobu's high school and living with her! Alongside their friends Youko Inokuma, Aya Komichi, and Karen Kujou, the five girls attend school together and learn about what their different cultures have to offer, day after day.
It is known for a while that the cute x (girls + things) formula can either be the salvation or the damnation of an anime. While some Slice of Life shows tend to emphasize the characters and leaving out every other elements, ending up failing their purpose of entertaining, other shows manage to use the right dosage of cute elements and comedy to bring out the best of the Slice of Life genre.
As heartwarming as they come, Kiniro Mosaic (Golden Mosaic in english) was a surprise in the 2013 summer anime line up. Sometimes being simple is the best way to bring entertainment and
relaxation to the viewers and Kiniro Mosaic did just that and ended up being a heartwarming, funny and yet entertaining and relaxing show that anyone can enjoy. Forget fanservice and complex storylines, you will not find any of that here.
As I watched episode 1 I wasn't really sure what to think when I see 90% of the characters speaking english (Also known as Engrish which is the result produced by most seiyuu when trying to speak fluent english, still not as bad as some I've seen though) I started thinking the entire show would be about the protagonist Shinobu, living in England with her newly made friend Alice, which honestly would be an extremly painful thing to witness as one would have to endure to poor english through out the entire show. Don't be frightened by this though since it will not be the formula the show goes by.
After the first episode it became clear that the main focus of the anime is gag comedy. The type of humor that relies mostly on the character's comeback to certain puns or just out of the blue questions or sentences. It follows through the ordinary lives of 3 japanese high school girls and 2 english transfer students and their quarrels. With no other elements besides comedy and somewhat cute main characters this show could have failed miserably. However by focusing on the simple comedy and leaving out unecessary elements and utilizing great artwork, Kiniro Mosaic manages to be entertaining for most part.
As far as an actual storyline goes this show does not posess one but I do not think it'd fit with what the show's intention is. Even each episode is divided into sections and each section focuses on either one character's point of view or just a certain gag, although each episode itself is indeed linear which is something well done, the connection between each episode is not that present. But the viewer can still enjoy each episode seperately and I personally don't think it needs a linear storyline as this is a show one can watch and feel relaxed while doing so.
The characters are very interactive and unique, some might even give out a certain Shoujo Ai aura similar to shows like A-channel or Yuru Yuri, although this is never really emphasized so if you think such things are inappropriate I don't believe Kiniro Mosaic will bother you. The comedy mostly revolves around Shinobu being obsessed with foreigners and blonde girls, thus leading her to want to hog Alice all to herself, Aya being the tsundere type of character around her best friend Youko, and Karen who with her broken japanese and eccentric personality manages to cause either hilarious or extremely awkward situations. And so the show goes on with these 5 friends and their everyday lives filled with humurous situations.
Something else that is captivating for me was the art, in particular the character designs, for someone who is a fan of cute girls doing cute things and slice of life, this show has the perfect share of adorable and loveable characters, with bright colors everywhere, each episode manages to bring a cheerful aura and bring out the cuteness of each character which is a plus for any slice of life lover, the artwork is similar to Yuru Yuri with short almost middle schooler like characters but there's still some really great images, especially in the opening and ending sequences with the ending in particular, depicting the 5 girls in several different situations with a variety of scenarios all beautifully designed and bright. The opening and ending themes on their own aren't anything out of this world but I still enjoy seeing the opening and ending sequences with such cheerful art.
Overall Kiniro Mosaic is for me a gem for Slice of Life lovers, it was an unexpected anime for the 2013 Summer but it fullfilled its role in my opinion, bringing out the best of the cute x (girls + things) formula and making me relax while enjoying the humurous and yet heartwarming tale of these 5 high schoolers and their quarrels. If you my dear reader enjoy Slice of Life, Kiniro Mosaic is a show I definitely recommend as for me it was an enjoyable experience through out and was one of my favorites for this summer's line up. It was great to know that the Slice of Life genre is not slowly dying out and shows like these are still being produced.
-Charming, amusing characters, rendered with delightful art and voices
-Tried-and-true premise with a peripherally novel twist
-Missing that special spark of excellence
Kiniro Mosiac is another take on the boundlessly popular “cute schoolgirls” genre.
The first episode engagingly presents the main twist on the formula, mostly through an extended flashback—the two main characters are ethnically contrasting childhood friends who reunite when the British national transfers to a Japanese high school.
The fish-out-of-water antics of the foreigner, and her fellow countryman who eventually joins her, make for some enjoyable incidents as the featured group of friends navigate the everyday situations that are common to young students. The diverse, but very
familiar temperaments of these friends will likely evince a feeling of deja vu in you depending on how familiar you are with anime of this nature—and will play a great role in determining whether or not you will be entertained.
Superficially secondary, but not to be ignored are the inter-group relationships that augment the cute and amusing occurrences that make up the “plot” of the show. Rivalry for affection, innocent envy, childhood friendship and more are explored in various engaging segments, along with typical targets like studying, body issues, common sense, and others.
Kiniro Mosiac is a thoroughly entertaining show, which I mention in the hope of diminishing my main criticism: most of the positive aspects mentioned could apply to a heaping number of similar works.
There is no single magical element that lifts it to the annals of anime legend.
That said, it is a rather generic criticism that could be leveled against an endless number of movies, games, ancient mythologies, and nearly any other form of art or entertainment that can be categorized.
A lack of distinctness should not prevent you from enjoying this otherwise lovely show.
Colorfully imagined, cleanly drawn and well animated, the art is excellent. The voice actors do an admirable job of portraying the assorted personalities, including some amusing spoken English from the “native” speakers of the group.
My personal enjoyment of the show warranted an “8” rating, though I must mention, barely so. Some of you may find this slightly inflated. Regardless, if you are a fan of the genre, you will likely find it to be one of the better offerings, one that you'd be hard pressed not to find some level of pleasure from.
If you enjoy the genre and temper your expectations, you will likely be captivated by this sweet, charming show.
Don't you just hate it when an anime looks like it'll be good and then turns out to not be so?
Seriously, I really want to like this show. I really do. The first episode was so sweet, so charming, and reminded me so much of Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, I didn't mind having a nice little slice of life anime to watch. I didn't have any expectations at first as I didn't know much about it, but when I saw the first episode, I thought it'd be a nice exploration of cultural differences similar to how Ikoku Meiro no Croisee was. I thought it'd be
a really cute and sweet and interesting serious, without getting into borderline saccharine and moeness. I thought it'd be different from those other cute girls do cute things anime that have been swamping the industry lately. Boy was I wrong. After the first episode, it just basically said, "you wanted an interesting slice of life anime?! Ha ha! Tricked you! Well, too bad! Here are some unfunny moe blob antics where everybody acts like idiots over the stupidest things!"...yeah. Thanks for stomping all over my expectations, Kiniro Mosaic. Now I feel like I went through the second season of K-On again, and THAT in itself wasn't a pleasant experience!
The story is about a girl named Shinobu who, as a kid, went to stay with a family in England for a while. She knows no English but that doesn't seem to bother her. She meets a girl named Alice (Seriously, what's with Japan's obsession with the name Alice? If they really had that much trouble coming up with a name for her, they should have gone on some websites or something! I would have named her something more English, like Adriana or Amy or Jolie or Cassie!), who at first doesn't like her due to being ridiculously shy, but soon warms up to her. After spending time with her, Alice soon finds a very good friend in Shinobu. After Shinobu leaves, Alice vows to learn Japanese and go to Japan someday to meet her friend again. Years later, Alice gets her chance and manages to transfer to Shinobu's school. Her Japanese is fluent and she stays with Shinobu during her stay in Japan. Soon, her other friend Karen joins the picture, along with Shinobu's friends Yoko and Aya.
As far as the animation goes, visually, its pretty and very beautiful. I like the soft colors it uses on everything, like flowers on trees and the insides of houses. It really looks like a watercolor painting come to life. But as far as character movements go, it's rather minimal, looking just like any other anime that just focuses on looking pretty and having characters do stuff nobody in real life would do. Personally, the animation is pretty much this show's saving grace mostly because it's easy on the eyes, though at times some things do look a bit blurry. I do like how skillfully it uses a lot of pinks and yellows, and not just for hair colors either. Unfortunately though, the character designs are really bland and uninteresting. Normally this would be a good thing, but everyone here just looks like a bunch of moe stereotypes, made to act like moe stereotypes too, which certainly doesn't help.
The music is nice too, and surprisingly varied for a moe show. It doesn't limit itself to just one tune, and for the most part, it does its job well. There's soft piano tunes, nice classical tunes, comedic pieces, etc. They all do their job well...but not even this could save the show from derailing into stupid moe antics. I'll discuss the first one one seriously glaring flaw that's really starting to bug me: what's with Japan and their belief that any and all English/American people are blonde with blue eyes? Not all Americans and English people have blue eyes and blonde hair! I'm American and I have dark brown hair and green eyes. I actually read somewhere that back in the forties or fifties, the Japanese asked Osamu Tezuka to make Japanese people in his stories have blonde hair and blue eyes, and this was after World War 2 ended! Seriously, talk about doing a complete 180! I don't know if this is a cultural thing or not, but the Japanese really need to see that not all Americans and English people have blonde hair and blue eyes, or even foreign people in general. Gunslinger Girl took place in Italy, and not everyone in that anime had blonde hair and blue eyes, save for only a few characters.
The characters...oh God, how the anime flanderized them over the course of the anime! In the beginning, Shinobu just started off as an innocent girl in another country, but later on she became a full on, squeaky voiced ditz! All the other characters are bland and don't change over the course of the anime, and they all fit their molded stereotype. Shinobu is a straight up ditz, Yoko is perky, Aya is a tsundere, Karen is loud and hyper. Heck, even the teacher is a moe stereotype! No teacher I know acts the way she does! Alice is the only one with some depth to her, but even then it's forced and superficial. Oh God, I HATE Aya. She started off as the level headed one of the group, someone I'd actually like, but later on all she does is blush and jump to conclusions about everything! I wanted to bash her head in every time she reacted to something or even opened her mouth! And as much as I like her seiyuu, her voice wasn't helping matters. Heck, for that matter, EVERYONE I know has a squeaky voice! No teenagers I knew sounded like they did! God, by the time the third episode came around I wanted them to just shut up, their voices were that grating! Seriously, I hope Sentai dubs this anime and gives them all realistic sounding girl voices! One thing I love about anime dubbing is that English dubbers often give girls in moe shows realistic voices, Air and Kanon being the best examples, and it works. But yeah, they rely too much on their assigned gimmicks to be funny (which they aren't) and they're completely shallow and uninteresting. Plus, trying to act like five year olds clearly doesn't help here, and the forced, artificial voice acting just makes it worse.
So yeah. Kiniro Mosaic is just yet another unfunny cute girls do cute things like idiots show meant to rake in some cash. The characters are boring, the voice acting is horrid, the jokes got old fast, and the show in itself is...well, if you like moe girls, give it a go. Otherwise, give it a miss.
Overall, not a bad show, but not a fantastic one either. Let's get into it!
~Art & Sound~
VERY cute/moe/sparkle-y art. Nothing breathtaking, but no real problems. Has some cute moments in alternate art styles.
OP and ED were pretty good, but nothing really special. Not much to comment on. However, it is worth noting that sometimes, the ED would randomly play, like, 8 minutes into the episode. Then there'd be ~13 more minutes of content after it, and THEN the episode would end. It was weird. Why did they do this? WHO KNOWS.
Both Art and Sound
~Characters & Plot~
The characters are supposed to be the shining, glorious star of slice of life. This show didn't really have that. The characters weren't BAD, but for a slice of life show, the characters have to be SUPERB. Why were they not superb in this show? Well, that ties in with the plot.
The plot was by far the biggest problem for me. This is because, well, there was ALMOST ENTIRELY ZERO PLOT. Of course, this is slice of life, so that's sort of the point, but this show seemed to deliberately avoid/defuse any situation that could have lead to development.
This show (like many other slice of life shows with cute girls), hinted at yuri pretty often. But this show did it A LOT. Almost every episode there's a romantic moment that could easily end in some sort of loving embrace, but instead ends with someone (normally Alice) smiling with twinkling eyes, and saying "okay!". And then 2 minutes later they pretend like it never happened.
Most slice of life shows use tiny touches of yuri implications for comedic purposes. However, in this show, the feelings felt a lot more real and grounded. Yet, nothing ever goes anywhere. Obviously, Alice likes Shino. DOUBLE OBVIOUSLY, Aya likes Yoko.
"You've shown up in my dreams a lot lately." .~*sparkle-y image of yoko, and blush*~.
-Aya, to Yoko
REALLY? That's full romance. Don't bullshit me. Don't worry though, this isn't really a spoiler, because all the feelings are pretty evident early on- even from the first episode. I mean, I'm not asking for another freaking Sakura Trick here, but come on, give me SOMETHING. You could literally watch the first episode, and then watch the last episode, and you wouldn't even know that all those little romantic moments happened.
It's pretty clear why things were done like this. This way, the creators of the show can say "well, teecchnniicallllyy, there's no yuri in the show", and that makes the show less weird, and therefore more easily accepted by the general public. Yaaaayy. By staying in the gray area, sure, that problem is solved, but the show feels a little bland as a result. Now, I see there's going to be a second season, but I'm fairly certain nothing will actually come to fruition in that, either.
There's always the comedy though, right? Sort of. The comedy isn't all that great either. The humor is pretty repetitive, and it was very rare for a funny moment to actually be genuinely laugh-able.
Character - 7/10
Plot - 5/10
The romantic set-ups got my hopes up and then went nowhere. I was always waiting for that MOMENT of feeling realization that never came. I knew it wouldn't come, since this is slice of life, but I COULDN'T HELP IT OKAY I LIKE ROMANCE AND IT WAS TEASING ME. The relatively lackluster comedy that often defused the romantic moments probably added to the frustration a bit. Of course there were quite a few entertaining portions, but certainly not enough.
Enjoyment - 6/10
Cute art, good-ish comedy, half-baked romance, and a partridge in a pear tree. If you want something cute and easy to watch, without too many crazy laughs, check this one out. Just don't get too hooked into the implied yuri moments (like me), or you'll be disappointed. It's certainly a passable slice of life show, but in my opinion, it's not much more than that.
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