What’s the show? Not a whole season review this time, just one episode.
Oh, this is new, since when do we talk about a single episode of a show? Since I have many thoughts on an episode that just aired and I needed to talk about them. Like seriously need.
Right, so we have to start somewhere, we can’t just go barrelling into an episode review without a little background, what’s the show? Slow Start.
And what’s it about? It’s an adorable slice of life anime about four high school girls, the protagonist Hana took a gap year before high school due to an illness and is now a year older than everyone else, which gives her a bunch of anxieties on top of her already nervous personality.
And the other three? There’s Tama, the hyperactive, always happy one. There’s Kamuri, quite possibly the cutest thing on earth, who despite looking like an elementary school student is indeed in high school. And there’s Eiko, a kind, tall and charismatic girl who everyone loves.
So why the panic to write this episode review, it’s very out of the ordinary for you? So the show began airing in the Winter ’18 Anime season. And as of the writing of this episode 7 of 12 just aired and it shot if from simply being, “a really cute and great and fun show that I look forward to every week” to “all that plus omg I need to know where they are going with this particular subplot it better not just be a throw away thing!”
Not like a slice of life to have a plot. I know you’re making a joke there but you’re partially true, especially for this show. But episode seven kinda threw a spanner in the works, in a good way, assuming it at least continues with the subplot in some satisfying form or function.
You’re going to have to be more specific. Spoilers ahoy? Aye, spoilers ahoy. If ye don’t want episode 7 spoiled completely this is where ye jump ship, matey!
Why are we pirates all of a sudden? You started it…
Go on then. So after a seemingly inconsequential pre-credit scene of Eiko (the kind, tall and charismatic one) picking out some blue paint she likes the look of the episode proper starts with Eiko receiving gifts from her school friends in the form of hairpins, it’s a very quaint and sweet scene as her three best friends wish her well on her birthday and exchange some remarks. Their homeroom teacher Kiyose Enami walks in and gives her a paperclip instead of a hairpin and the two exchange some cheeky sparring words. See, Eiko’s always been a bit of flirt, to almost anyone, especially fellow cute girls, and this certainly doesn’t stop just because her teacher’s one too.
Sounds pretty normal so far. The next morning Kiyose wakes up bleary eyed and worse for wear as she nurses a hangover, only to find her student Eiko bound by the wrists asleep on the floor of her living room.
WHAT?! I know right. Thankfully, the show hasn’t decided to go full dark side as Eiko explains the previous night, which, due to the alcohol Kiyose has completely forgotten.
Well, what happened?! So Eiko, bumped into her teacher and a friend at the tail end of nights drinking, the friend has to go back to the bar to collect some things they forgot so Eiko says she’ll walk Kiyose home, almost unable to stand in her drunken stupor. Back at the apartment, Kiyose confuses Eiko for her drinking buddy and the two talk. It’s obvious from her body language that Eiko is ‘hot for teacher’ and tries to get her to confess anything for her but the teacher is stubborn, perhaps too stubborn to admit anything. Still sure that Eiko is in fact her drinking buddy Kiyose insists Eiko’s hands be bound for fear of having lewd things written on her face while she’s passed out.
Just a misunderstanding then, that’s good. Back out of flashback mode, Eiko offers to make Kiyose coffee while she freshens up. The two talk, Eiko persistent with half flirtatious remarks half witty criticisms. Then as Eiko is about to leave to get ready for school, Eiko offhandedly worries that she might smell if she doesn’t have a shower before school, Kiyose leans in and simply says, “you smell good”. Upon leaving the apartment Eiko leans on the door, flustered, all sorts of unfamiliar feelings rising up inside her as she tries to process what just happened.
This sounds problematic. Ignore that for a second, and let me just gush over how much I loved this scene, unlike so many others in the show, it’s without accompanying music, it’s colours are more muted than the rest of the show, regardless of how ‘contrived’ the situation they got into was, it felt dramatic and real and honest, and honestly romantic, even if it is something as ‘problematic’ as you say as the burgeoning relationship between a student and teacher.
I know how you like your complicated anime relationships; let’s just hope we don’t find out their related too. So is that all? There’s a bit more actually. Later, back at school, Eiko sees Kiyose in the hall and after some playful teasing from Eiko she notices her teacher has a necklace on that she immediately recognises. Playing it off as nothing, Eiko asks to meet her friend and the show’s protagonist Hana on the hill after school to confide something. Eiko tells Hana that it was she who made the necklace, because her mother owns a ‘Variety Store’ and she occasionally makes accessories for it. Eiko expresses her joy that someone bought something that she made, and that she’s especially glad it was her teacher who liked it so much as to buy it without even knowing who made it.
Well that’s very touching. I was moved, I admit it, there was a tear or too!
So is this just you being excited about some ‘shipping’ fantasy coming true or is there more to this blog post? It’s about the fact that a slice-of-life show that I thought was content to play it safe suddenly decided to do something daring, at least as far as my experience with the genre is concerned. Certainly previous to this episode it’s not been completely without surprises to the ‘norm’, there’s always at least a couple of dirty jokes or innuendo per episode and in the previous episode we learned that Tama is raised by her two grandmothers, which was rightly treated as the most normal thing in the world. But here came a certain risk that I didn’t expect and I guess I was just so pleasantly surprised I decided to waffle on for 1200 words about it.
And we’re not talking about whether this is problematic or not? Nope!
Fine, so how do we end a review like this, bit hard to recommend just watching a single episode halfway through a show? Simply, if you haven’t watched Slow Start yet but think it might be something you could enjoy, I say go for it! Because right now, I have no idea where this show is going to end up but I’m so excited I can barely contain it!