Nobuhiko OkamotoSaori OnishiHiro ShimonoEmi Shinohara
Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie
Also known as: Kawaii dake ja Nai Shikimori-san
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Ryota Itoh
Writer: Yoshimi Narita
Original creator: Keigo Maki
Actor: Ayaka Fukuhara, Emi Shinohara, Hiro Shimono, Misato Matsuoka, Naomi Kusumi, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Rina Hidaka, Saori Onishi, Shuichiro Umeda
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24811
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 4 March 2024
Shikimori is Not Just a Cutie
It's a warm, happy show. Right from the start of ep.1, Shikimori and Izumi are in love with each other. (We will see how they came to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but only in flashback.) Furthermore, they're completely devoted to each other and the show doesn't bother with Rival Drama even when a character pops up who might, theoretically have been a rival.
Obviously, though, it's not just that. What's the draw? Why are we meant to be watching this show? Answer: because we like the characters and because we're watching them explore each other and themselves.
1. IZUMI YUUKI is theoretically an accident-prone boy. In practice, the show sidelines this after a while. In the early episodes, you wouldn't be surprised if he got killed by a meteorite. Your heart is in your mouth whenever he steps into the road unaccompanied. (Also, sometimes it's his own stupid fault. In ep.2, even Shikimori tells him he'd been a klutz.
He's also, though, a gentle boy who worries about everyone else in the world except himself. We don't see much of this, but he'd been a bit depressed in his lonely years of junior high school. He has girl skills (e.g. cooking) and he's like catnip to a certain kind of beautiful, physically almost invincible supergirl.
2. SHIKIMORI MIYAKO has an inner and an outer personality. Her classmates think she's the perfect girl and probably way out of their league. She's ladylike, well-spoken and of course devoted to Izumi. All that is, to some extent, a constructed facade. Underneath, she's a tough karate kid who gave herself the goal of becoming a cute high school girl with a boyfriend she loved. (A cynic might see room to debate her initial motivations in getting involved with Izumi.) She's done impressively at turning herself into the perfect girl... but get her jealous or worked up (which is easy) and you'll see some scary faces. (These are brilliant, sometimes to the point of being laugh-out-loud funny. I particularly liked her faces when she's pouting, e.g. getting jealous of Izumi's male best friend.) She's appointed herself to the position of Izumi's bodyguard, e.g. not letting him walk home alone because of flying threats that need karate-kicking out of the air.
I loved Izumi and Shikimori, but some of the show's strongest episodes are when Izumi's sidelined. Shikimori's relationships with Kamiya and her brother are both interesting and cast a lot of light on her. (Kamiya's story also manages to be both bittersweet and heartwarming.)
One oddity: there are two recap episodes, but it seems that the traditional kind of recap episode is out of fashion. One is a DVD audio commentary version of ep.1, except broadcast on TV. (It's quite good, but you'll be convinced for the first few minutes that these people are morons. I learned a bit about what the voice actors are like and found myself with a better appreciation of the slightly bizarro character of Hachimitsu.) The other recap episode is basically just the main two main voice actors talking us through some favourite scenes from earlier in the season and I skipped that.
It's refreshing to see a romantic anime that skips the courtship stage. It's a love story that's never uncomfortable or frustrating. There's no idiot plotting. No one makes stupid decisions, tells forehead-slapping lies or inexplicably conceals crucial information. The show's civilised and gentle. I'd definitely watch a second season.