The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mashiro-Iro Symphony – The color of lovers

Title: Mashiro-Iro Symphony – The color of lovers
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Manglobe
Format: 12 episodes
Date: 4 Oct 2011 – 21 Dec 2011

Synopsis: Uryuu Shingo is a mild-mannered student who, together with his sister Sakuno, studies at Kagami Academy located in the New District. The school has accepted a proposal to merge with the prestigious Yuihime Girls’ Academy in the nearby Old District and become a co-ed school. Shingo and Sakuno are among those selected for this educational experiment, which isn’t getting the full support of the students from the all-girls’ school side. In particular, a girl named Sena Airi is not for the initiative as she is strongly against having boys in her school. Why does she hate boys, and more importantly, why does she behave so differently from the one Shingo met the night before?

The Highlights
Premises: Predictable… just like any other VN adaptation.
Story: Unexpected conclusion; plot veers off into the most unlikely of directions.
Characters: Cookie-every type of girl you see in VNs, you’ll get one here too.
Series as a whole: Forgettable; nothing about it is even remotely original.
One question: Why do the girls all look the same?

Mashiro-Iro Symphony is a series that can be classified alongside the likes of Clannad and Kanon, one that involves a story about young love and a setting where a male protagonist is surrounded by cute girls who aren’t amorously linked to him often in comical fashion. That being said, it is the kind one may consider giving a shot and watch to kill some time. But like all VN adaptations, the storyline and characters are very predictable: the plot is simplistic and straightforward, and the characters are all molded from archetypes commonly found in VNs. Sweet and charming it may be, but the show is a dime a dozen and it doesn’t set itself apart from other similar shows, resulting in being yet another run-of-the-mill high school romance.

If one has read many visual novels, identifying all the character archetypes in Symphony would be a walk in the park. Every character belongs to one to an obvious extent: male lead Uryuu is the textbook Mr. Nice Guy who is sensitive towards the feelings of those around him, Airi is the classic tsundere, Ange is the klutzy maid, Sakuno is the younger sister, and the list continues. Each lacks idiosyncrasies or quirks that make them memorable, coming off as run-of-the-mill and uninspiring. In particular, Uryuu is a spitting image of Lester from Shukufuku no Campanella for their gentle demeanor, but at the same time, that’s what makes both of them equally dull. Same goes for Airi, whom her transition from “tsun” to “dere” was too hasty and the explanation for her disapproval for boys was too trivial for my liking.

On top of that, the story is all too familiar: boy meets girl, girl gives cold shoulder at first, but her heart eventually melts. Along the way, the boy also meets and befriends all the girls around him. It’s a tried and tested plot synonymous with every other high school romance out there, so in order to be better than the rest, the anime needs do something to make itself stand out. Symphony unfortunately has nothing to show; it instead resorts to all the stereotypes in the book and therefore rendering itself utterly generic. Perhaps more significantly though, a jarring twist is thrown into the fray: the girl whom Uryuu ends up with turns out to be the one least expected. It’s quite uncalled for because the girl Uryuu would eventually choose is strongly hinted from the start, so the change in direction doesn’t seem to make sense in the grander scheme of things.

I was quite disappointed to see Symphony not trying anything different with its formula, since I don’t hate the show at all. I credit it for being at least a decent romance with no obnoxious characters and pleasant OP and ED sung respectively by Choucho and marble, but such shows are a dime a dozen so in the end, it’s nothing more than temporal enjoyment meant to be watched and forgotten. It’s a Kyoto Animation title with a more puny production budget, and an example of how saturated VN adaptations have become to the point that being watchable doesn’t suffice to be seen as a good show. Anyone who has free time may consider watching this like what I’ve done, but I would recommend watching something else… at least something better than this.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: AC

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