Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jinsei Review

"Everyone knows that handles are the weak point of any closet"

The quote above properly depicts the deepest moments of the slightly glorious anime that is Jinsei.

Jinsei, directed by Keiichirou Kawaguchi (Hayate no Gotoku/SKET Dance), immediately throws its audience into the world of Yuuki Akamatsu, the newest member of the Kyuumon High School Second Newspaper Club (One newspaper club was just not enough). Akamatsu was placed in charge of the club's "Life advice" column and was assigned three girls with extremely differentiating social standpoints to help address the concerns of Kyuumon students looking for help of some sort.

That's it. There really isn't much more story to it. It's just a day-in, day-out look into the second newspaper club and the outrageous tasks they must undertake in order to help a specific student get over their fears/problems/anything else that burdens high-schoolers nowadays. But that alone doesn't stop the anime from being loads of fun. 

What makes Jinsei great (Kind of) is that it is spontaneous, hilarious, and self-aware. It knows that it is an anime, and you just don't get to see that often. The characters aren't complex, the situations are outrageous, and the dialogue is so fast-paced that there is never a dull moment on screen. With a few tweaks, this show could have gone somewhere. And so I will break it down into a few key components to better detail what went right and what went wrong.

Music: 6/10
There really isn't much to expect as far as music goes in a slice-of-life school comedy. And I'm not saying that background music doesn't matter for the genre, I'm saying that it doesn't make much of an impact. It was fitting, but it wasn't memorable. The opening was as fast-paced as the dialogue contained within the shows, and the ending songs were fun and filled with dry-humor for viewers to chuckle at as they dragged their cursors to the X on their media players.

Characters: 8/10
Don't misinterpret this -- the characters in Jinsei are not particularly unique. They can even be viewed as carbon copies of characters from other shows to a certain extent. Each one fulfills an anime stereotype of some sort. There is the rambunctiously sporty girl (Who is also the best), the quiet, yet extremely smart girl with glasses, and the girl with huge boobs whose only character trait is that she has huge boobs. And so I'm not directly handing each character a score card with the number 8 on it, I'm handing them a giant 8 to share based on their interactions with each other. The conversations exchanged between Ikumi (Sporty girl), Rino (Smart girl), and Fumi (Boobs) easily craft an enjoyable experience for anyone that doesn't feel uncomfortable engaging in young-adult humor.

Art: 7/10
I have no complaints about the art of this show. I also have no good things to say about it. It's all just normal. Considering a good 90% of it took place in a high school, I can not commend the artists for painting a memorable landscape. I can also not commend them for character design considering the characters were limited to school uniforms and looked essentially like characters from any other slice-of-life anime you can find out there. The art was nothing above or below average, and because of this it does not deserve to be demeaned or praised in any manner.

Story: 6/10
The main problem I had with Jinsei is that there just wasn't a story. And without a story, character development ultimately becomes extinct. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed almost every episode of this show, but I never felt the drive to watch another one. Problems were announced on a piece of paper in the beginning of the show (Like, for real. Akamatsu held up the paper and read it to the girls), and were then resolved in the last scene. It wasn't until the last four episodes where there was an actual problem the second newspaper club faced. Even then it wasn't a problem big enough for viewers to care about.

I feel like Jinsei forgot what it was supposed to be somewhere down the line. If it had stuck to just quirky dialogue and irrational high school problems, it would have most likely been received a lot better than it was. It isn't often that I actually find myself laughing at anime, but Jinsei succeeded so many times that I would need to grow around three more hands to be able to count those times.

Jinsei is an anime with minimal plot and maximum comedy. And because of that, if you go into it with expectations higher than the arm on a "You must be this tall to ride" sign, you are going to be let down. But just because it lacks in plot doesn't mean that you can't pick it up and have yourself a damn good 24 minutes.

Overall score: 7/10

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