I Have No Crush on 'Nijiro Days' (Review)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nijiro Days (Rainbow Days)

Studio: Production Reed
Producer: YTVTokuma Japan,DaiichikoshoShueisha
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Romance, Shoujo
Episodes: 24
Episode Length: 13 minutes


Nijiiro Days follows the colorful lives and romantic relationships of four high school boys—Natsuki Hashiba, a dreamer with delusions of love; Tomoya Matsunaga, a narcissistic playboy who has multiple girlfriends; Keiichi Katakura, a kinky sadist who always carries a whip; and Tsuyoshi Naoe, an otaku who has a cosplaying girlfriend.

When his girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him on Christmas Eve, Natsuki breaks down in tears in the middle of the street and is offered tissues by a girl in a Santa Claus suit. He instantly falls in love with this girl, Anna Kobayakawa, who fortunately attends the same school as him. Natsuki's pursuit of Anna should have been simple and uneventful; however, much to his dismay, his nosy friends constantly meddle in his relationship, as they strive to succeed in their own endeavors of love.

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Nijiro Days is as fulfilling as watching someone else eat delicious cake. It's taunting you with something amazing, something that you could have. But ultimately you're let down.

This anime had so many problems. I can't help but get angry because of it. On the surface, it's a quick, fluffy romance anime with male leads instead of female ones. This is a unique twist on the shoujo romance genre, but this twist is wasted on Nijiro Days. This is no better than a boring shoujo with female leads.

My major problem with the series is the characters. They are a lackluster, meaningless cast, and I felt no attachment to any of them, even though I've gone through the hardships of crushes and unrequited love before.

Let's go down the list of couples, analyzing each.

The Main Couple is Bland Anna Kobayakawa and Typical Shoujo Girl Natsuki Hashiba. 
Anna is a typical Mary Sue. She doesn't figure out her feelings for Natsuki until the last moment. She has little to no emotions; one of the four main characters even mentions her emotionless face. I rarely got to see her smile. I can deal with detached characters, but she really was empty. Her character had no depth. She was nice but in the way that everyone is nice. She works at a karaoke place. Other than that, I can't tell you a single one of her likes or traits. She was a boring character; that's it.
And Natsuki...sigh. He had real potential, you know? He could have been a heart-on-your-sleeve, comedic relief, lovable guy. What we got was less than average. He was more like the typical shoujo manga girl. As if the creators wanted to make him relatable to the females in the audience. I've met guys who have unrequited crushes on girls. They don't act like that. They're defensive at times and make jokes. Natsuki ended up being more of a squealing typical shoujo character. I liked that the main characters were guys crushing on girls; I thought that had real promise, but Natsuki ended up way too stereotypical for me to care about him.
And the romance between the two is innocent and kinda cute, but Anna takes way too many hints and throws them out of the window. It took way too long for the main romance to even become a thing in her eyes. Way too long.

Then we have the couple with the next most screen time: Tsun-Girl and Creep-Boy. 
Tsun-Girl, or Mari Tsutsui is way too much tsun and not enough -dere. I've seen many tsundere characters done right (Toradora's Taiga and Maid Sama's Misaki come to mind first), and Mari is a perfect example of how to do a tsundere wrong. The most glaring thing about her is that she is annoying and bratty. Most of her lines are screaming "Annnaaaaa" loudly into my ear, and the ear of her surrounding classmates, and while having a loud, mildly dependent character is fine for a tsundere, Mari never gets any development. She is, forever and always, the Tsun-Girl. Most tsunderes have a redeeming moment. Something that makes you realize "Ah, they aren't so bad after all." Mari almost had that, but that scene didn't follow through, and she didn't change because of that scene. She was a static character, even though she had the chance to change. Plus, there is no explanation for why she hates men. Oh, sure, her brother moved away. How did that affect her? She's an angry teenager for absolutely no reason. There is no backstory to her; there is no reason why. 
And Creep-Boy, or Tomoya (That's his first name?? It's never mentioned) Matsunaga is a playboy. But he's really not a playboy. Nijiro Days might try to trick you into thinking that he is with a few scenes of girls fawning over him, but he really isn't. When he meets Mari, he's smitten, even if he acts like he isn't. But there's not meaning for him liking her. She hates him with a fiery passion, and not in the tsundere way. He says she's cute, but what does that mean? He even talks to her and gets to know her a bit, but he can't rustle up a reason for why he likes her? Then maybe it's not meant to be.

Sigh. The best couple had barely any screentime. 
I'm talking about Otaku One and Otaku Two: Yukiko Asai and Tsuyoshi Naoe. Wow. These guys seem very incompatible: Yukiko (Or Yukirin as she is known by the entire cast) is cute, bubbly, and loud, and Tsuyoshi is quiet and brooding. They are both otakus, which seems to be why they bonded. 
While most of the couples are off trying to realize their feelings for one another, Yukiko and Tsuyoshi are sitting in someone's room playing video games or out at a concert or cosplaying. 
They're the perfect example of opposites attract, personality-wise. I like how Tsuyoshi is very subtle in his romancing efforts. He doesn't seem like he's trying too hard, but we know he cares.
These two are barely seen, though, and they get little to no development. Their relationship, while more interesting than the other ones, doesn't change with the seasons, as most relationships do.

Last but not least, Sadist Keiichi Katakura and Fangirl Nozomi Matsunaga.
Keiichi showed a lot of promise, much like Natsuki. But he wasn't developed at all. I wanted to know more about him. Why was he sadist? Where did he learn these things? I wanted to see his dark side, and Nozomi was perfectly able to be introduced to Keiichi's dark side. He even showed it to her once. But, alas, he is boring too much he has no screentime, except maybe as a cheerleader to the Main Couple's adventures.
Nozomi was a fangirl. Obsessed because of, what I'm assuming is, his princely looks. Thanks, we're putting great ideas into the future generations. But that really is all I know about her. She likes Keiichi, is his fangirl, and is Tomoya's little sister. I wish she had more development, more character. But, again, she's just one half of a barely-seen couple.
These two were the last couple to be introduced, so that makes sense. But I start questioning why there were four main characters to begin with. The last two couples to be introduced would have little screen time because they're deemed 'not important enough'. We could have seen an interesting S&M dynamic, but, no, we were shown innocent first love, as if we haven't seen that time and time again.

I'll quickly touch upon the character designs because I am angry about that as well. But what I say will have as much effort as the characters had interesting character designs.
They were not interesting.
Long story: they were bland. Boring, stereotypical anime characters. We had cotton-candy pink (Red?) hair and blue and cream school uniforms. Nothing new. On YouTube, someone commented that the main characters (Especially Natsuki, Tomoya, and Tsuyoshi) looked like Free! Iwatobi Swim Club members. At least with Free!, we get mildly BL elements. Nijiro Days doesn't even give us that.

The plot itself is unfulfilling as well. There aren't many 'events' even though lots of time of passing. (The whole anime covers slightly over a year of these characters' lives.) We have a school festival, Christmas, and, of course, the requisite Beach Episode. (Admittedly, there are some amazing Beach Episodes, but this one doesn't work out because of the character interactions and lack of comedy that typical Beach Episodes contain.) Nothing new.

If I had one positive thing to say about this anime, it would be the complex, possibly yuri relationship between Anna and Mari. Yes, Mari the man hater is in love with Anna. I thought this was interesting. I wondered about what type of love she meant for the longest time, but she basically confirmed it during the one of the hot spring episodes. But, again, it's never developed, so I'm left struggling to find anything good about this anime.

Overall, there are better romantic comedy animes to watch. I already mentioned a few with tsunderes. If you want to see a playboy character like Tomoya done well, Maid Sama works too. If you want to see innocent love like what was supposed to be between Anna and Natsuki, Snow White with the Red Hair is good, or if you're in it for the long haul, Aoharu x Machinegun is a great anime where two characters like each other and never figure it out (Read the manga, though. Masamune takes forever to figure it out.) If you want a romantic comedy, Clannad is amazing, albeit a tad sad. Want male main characters? Daily Lives of High School Boys has a great male cast and is hilarious. There are so many amazing animes that better than this one. Just ask for a recommendation. I have plenty. 

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