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.