Reviews

Jul 8, 2013
Aiura (Anime) add (All reviews)
Zee530 (All reviews)
Anime shorts are quickly becoming a new trend in the industry, and while quite a few people see them as nothing more than annoyances and most times space consuming drivel, it really isn’t the case, as they more than in one way help to promote the industry. They can be viewed as akin to indie developers, there are a lot of animation studios in japan but not all of them have the manpower or prowess to continuously dish out 24 minute episodes for 12 weeks. Shorts give a chance for the smaller studios to make a name for themselves using very limited resources, and just as ‘The Walking Dead’, an indie game, won the 2012 VGA, some smaller companies are capable of producing something special.

One of the rules of writing is never to use a single word several times in your work in relation to its length, so I hope you’ll forgive me as I’m going to use the word ‘adorable’ several times in this review.

This 4-Koma adaptation follows the lives of 3 high school girls; Saki, Kanaka and Ayuko. At first glance Aiura doesn’t seem to have much going for it, the 3 lead girls are indeed adorable in both design and personality but it looks like something that can get old pretty quickly, delve a little bit more into this show and you’ll find that…..it’s actually more than enough.

‘Slice of life’ from the name itself we know entails something inspired from everyday life but most of these shows use a ‘dream approach’, inserting characters in situations where very few normal folks actually get to experience, but Aiura is surprisingly something that is seriously rooted in real life, the sheer relatable scenarios and interactions between characters give it an extremely natural, casual and life like feel that makes it a times seem like a reality show shot with hidden cameras. The jokes and antics are also extremely adorable and heart-warming but unfortunately I can’t claim if it’s something that will be up everybody’s alley, luckily enough the length of the show ensures that 2 episodes (~6 minutes w/o OP/ED) is more than enough for you to decide if it’s something you want to continue.

As far as production values go, the show performed well above average than most of its other anime short counterparts, a lot of resources were put into character designs resulting in an art style that more close to adorable than moe. Animation was also surprisingly something that wasn’t cut back on, characters are always in motion but the over budgeting of some scenes may result in characters performing rather over extravagant movements. As a lot of effort was put into the design of characters and animations, it’s no surprise that everything else was sub-par; in particular the design of the environments and landscape was unfortunately quirky and poor.

A HELL of a lot of praise has to be given to the seiyuus, they really bought the girls alive despite all three making their debuts in this show, they are really prospective star seiyuus that we will hope to hear more from in the future, I will be lying if I said I didn’t have a nosebleed a couple of times, in short, the seiyuus were adorable. The animation and series of montages shown from the OP is something extremely unique and memorable as it features several alluring designs of doting crabs and Steve Jobs striking several gestures and poses of world domination, not to mention the several adorable chibi designs of the girls.

Despite the very natural feel of the show and main characters, the supporting characters kind of brought the show down a bit, most of them had quite farfetched personalities, from a teacher that dresses as a student to one that gives very a little damn about what she says and how she acts around her students, it all adds up to the shows biggest backdrop, it hardly has any serious moments. This may sound like a strange thing coming from a comedy show but the show is over excessive in its use of gags and jokes and rarely ever shifts to a serious tone for even a second.

The interaction between the girls is prime example of the phrase ‘fun to watch’; when all three are on screen the show truly sparkles, a lot of kudos has to be given to the writers for coming up with a script that flows so seamlessly and natural from line to line. Kanaka’s gags and pranks are a joy, with Saki and Ayuko’s response even more of a heart warmer. However it’s not always perfect in tinsel town; Kanaka’s baka personality isn’t always solemn as always intended, Saki’s cold attitude seems a bit antagonistic a times and Ayuko seems from time to time a bit out of place in the group, making up for a cast of slightly weak characters.

However,

In my opinion, the characters are purposely flawed, another impressive note the writers have managed to introduce is how one character is able more times than often, to balance or cover for another’s weakness, usually in one person’s response to another’s show of weakness. The result of this is an almost complete concealment of an individual character’s flaw and a further improvement to characterization than if the character already started out without any flaws at all.

The first sentence of the ED reads: “They were pointless conversations, but they were fun the nonetheless”, this more than explains the whole ethic of the show, a directionless tale of everyday life driven by a very interesting cast of characters, slice of life has never been so Adorable.