There’s no better way to start off Spring season than with a show that seems to truly capture the perfect essence of the meaning of “spring time”. You have the trees and flowers blooming, the lack of any sort of “hey, it’s cold and miserable” mood that always seems to come with many anime based in the winter months, and most importantly (for anime at least), the general school romance that seems to always flourish during this time of year.
Senryuu Girl is the sort of anime that I think captures all of these elements of spring in a positive way, and it couldn’t have chosen a better and more fitting season to air with the sort of romance mood and happy-go-lucky theme it strives for in its 12 minute run-time. There’s not much to it; Nanako, a girl that isn’t the greatest at vocalizing her feelings expresses herself via haiku, hangs out with (and is framed to have feelings for) Eiji, a guy that apparently just looks likes he’s going to beat up everyone in sight. It may not be the most original or creative premise out there, but making the most out of the short format is part of the challenge, and the show manages to deal with this half-sized time-block aspect quite well compared to others from the season.
One of the first things that I noticed from the show was that despite it being a short, CONNECT and other coordinating studios seem to have given some of these cuts their own personality into making the anime fit into this motif of “spring bringing new opportunities” in a simple, but rather creative way. One of these noteworthy moments for me simply consisted of a simple walking to school scene with Eiji as the focus element and everything else fading into an outline-only version of the image instead of the fade to white background typically used in shoujo and other romance anime. It’s these subtle, yet noticeable differences that give the anime its own charm, despite the moments being few and far between in the grand scheme of the show.
With these sorts of shots being utilized though, it’s definitely apparent that the “spring motif” is deliberately a part of this show, considering the amount of cherry blossom trees, sun rays glistening against the characters and scenic backgrounds, and just general feeling of life that spring tends to invoke within us, and I think Nanako is a great character to try and inject this sort of mood right into the plot of the show, considering her anxieties about her awkward mannerisms and way of “speaking” to people that she cares for, such as Eiji, who also has plenty of awkwardness in expressing himself properly to others.
While it’s still unapparent and hard to tell from the brief interactions between Nanako and Eiji from episode 1, it seems that the romance aspect will be a main focus of the series, which could go either way in terms of how lucrative the series will perform among other shows of the season.
As much of rom-com fan that I am, it will be difficult for a show such as Senryuu Girl to meet expectations that something as recent as Kaguya-sama managed to exceed and surpass for many, at least coming from the same angle. What Senryuu Girl lacks in comedic timing and romantic qualities though, could potentially be made up in pure aesthetic and tone, similar to other comfy romance-adjacent series’ such as Tanaka-kun is Always Listless. However from episode 1, the show seemingly has issues committing to either side though, ending up somewhere in the awkward middle between the two.
A prime example of this would be when the show sets up a perfect segue for the start of a romantic relationship and decides to actively fight against that in the rest of the scene, falling back to the more stereotypical “do they like me or not” type of scene. While this isn’t a deal-breaker for the show, nor do I think that the show’s strengths would benefit from this sort of relationship being established, it does set the level of expectations of what sort of show this will be from the get-go. This could become a problem for myself and others that desired a bit more from the show than just yet another school rom-com series with a unique character gimmick.
However, I do think this show could become a more refined thematic product with a more intense creative push for the “spring” elements to be used within these romantic scenes between Nanako and Eiji. Using symbols of spring, romance, and starting on a new footing and intertwining those with the show’s peak animation and art could easily make this show a lot more into something that’s memorable beyond the character gimmick that it’s currently known for. You may say that it’s a bit optimistic expecting something similar in tone to the grade of Hyouka for a 12 minute show, but I don’t think it would have been out of the realm of possibility and could’ve made the first episode a lot more captivating in its key moments.
What does this all this mean for the likes of a show like this? It’s always a question that everyone wants to know the answer to, yet becomes complicated for shows in a short format with such a limited time window to detail out a somewhat complicated emotion to be conveyed. Keeping the sorts of possibilities that I mentioned, this show could easily turn into the quality short of the season like Tsuredure Children, or it could fade into mediocrity as many other short shows do; it’s hard to tell from a single episode.
Personally I see Senryuu Girl as its own “spring motif”: a cherry blossom. Blossoming to show all of its beauty and wonders within the first few weeks, only to become a fleeting memory to those that witnessed its bloom as the season draws to a close.