High school student Mitsuyoshi Tada is taking pictures of cherry blossoms when he encounters a cheerful blonde foreigner who seems very excited to be in Japan. He encounters her several more times throughout the day, during which she admits that she has gotten separated from her traveling companion. She proves to be sweet but a bit airheaded as well as a huge fan of a historical drama called “Rainbow Shogun” (specifically, she relates everything and everyone she encounters in Japan to Rainbow Shogun characters and situations).
When it starts raining, Mitsuyoshi takes the girl to his grandfather’s coffee shop. She reveals that her name is Teresa Wagner and she is from Luxembourg. At the cafe, she meets Mitsuyoshi’s grandfather, his little sister Yui, his attractive but self-obsessed friend Kaoru Ijuin, and the family’s adorable pet cat, Nyanko Big. Teresa’s traveling companion, a hot-tempered foreign woman named Alexandra, finds her at the cafe, as it turns out to be right next door to the building where they are staying. Alexandra is wary of Teresa’s new friends, especially Kaoru, but Teresa is over the moon to have had such positive experiences in Japan already. The next day, it turns out that both Teresa and Alexandra are new transfer students at Mitsuyoshi and Kaoru’s high school.
Man, what is it with romance anime having first episodes where almost nothing happens? It’s really rare that you see a full 20-minute show able to be summarized so succinctly. I get that it’s important to take time introducing characters and to focus on the omnipresent “meet cute” scene, but really, this entire episode felt like one long extended “meeting” scene between the obvious future couple of Mitsuyoshi and Teresa.
That isn’t to say that the episode was completely awful, though. The characters – except Kaoru, who makes an immediate strong (and humorous) first impression – come across as a little bland, and the plot is thin and predictable, but at least the scenery is downright beautiful. This show makes great use of light, soft pastel colors in both the cherry blossom photography and cafe scenes, and was thoroughly pleasant to look at. I also enjoyed the contrast between the art styles used for the show itself and the sequences of Teresa watching or thinking about her favorite show, Rainbow Shogun. (Which in itself is pretty amusing as an obviously over-the-top parody of typical samurai period dramas.) It also has nice background music and a catchy opening theme that I could definitely see myself listening to more even if I don’t pick up this show.
And of course, how can I not talk about the greatest part about the episode – Nyanko Big! I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for any show which features a cute animal companion, and Nyanko Big was definitely an amusing one. He is a chubby cat who alternates between being friendly with some characters one minute while trying to attack the others (mostly Kaoru). And he has his own blog online where Mitsuyoshi posts pictures of him! That part of Mitsuyoshi’s otherwise fairly bland character I could at least relate to! (Although, I did have one complaint about Nyanko Big – was it necessary to have that scene of him licking his weirdly defined testicles??)
All in all, a pretty bland but overall decent romance show. It looks like it will be fairly slow paced with a focus on the characters going to school together as well as scenes at the cafe. There might be a larger plot (as Alexandra’s behavior towards Teresa seems to imply that she is possibly royalty or nobility in her home country) but it otherwise seems fairly cliched. At least the first episode was refreshingly fanservice-free and the “awkward first meeting” focused on Teresa’s spacey behavior and being lost rather than a shoehorned in boob grab or upskirt.
Not my personal cup of tea, but I think fans of romance will be happy with this offering. Still, an overall pleasant watch, so out of 5 Dios, I’ll give it: