Cross-Cultural Comedy from England to Japan
We’ve already had one 4-koma adaptation in Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku, and now we get another one this season with Kiniro Mosaic. So how does this story of cross-cultural confluence come through the first episode? Let’s take a look!
Is this an OVA?
The series starts off with this beautiful scenery of London, what’s not to like so far?
I was actually pretty shocked as the show opened up, because the opening sequence just had a gorgeous look. And really the first 15 minutes, maybe even the whole first episode, really give an OVA feeling. Telling the story of Shinobu’s past trip to England for a homestay, it gives us the introduction of Alice and Shinobu, which really doesn’t go very well due to Alice’s shyness and self-consciousness about not knowing Japanese. The show actually does handle the British / Japanese language divide pretty well, with Alice’s mother seemingly fully bilingual, but interestingly, she never translates for Alice and Shinobu. Instead, they’re left to try to figure out how to communicate on their own, and although they never get much past “Hello / Konnichi wa” and “Arigatou,” Alice and Shinobu do end up as good friends.
Alice and Shinobu
So with Shinobu now in high school, she gets a letter from Alice, but can’t read it. Never mind that, tho, because that’s the day that Alice transfers into her high school. Oh, and she’s going to be staying with Shinobu and her mom! Suprise! On top of that, Alice has learned Japanese, so much of the language barrier is now gone, but thankfully we’ve still got the cultural barriers.
And now reunited
Gorgeous, Fun, and Touching
Does England like this even exist any more?
Perhaps the only other show to touch me as much in the first 10 minutes was Kotoura-san. But while that was in service of breaking down the main character, and setting a mood of sadness, this one is almost the complete opposite. The soft animation, well integrated CGI vehicles (the opening shot is a perfectly done shot of a landing jet, followed by an airport walk), warm color palette, orchestral score, and even the choice to animate it in wide-aspect really made it look like a movie or special. And it tells a happy story of growing friendship and familiarity, the kind of experience I think everyone would love to have, as Shinobu and Alice work through their differences. The mix of English and Japanese while Shinobu is in England is really well done, and even the English parts aren’t too bad, although the pronunciation is typically just off a little bit. But more than everything, it just is a happy story. When the story returns to Japan and High School, it does move away from the cinematic aspect, but stays lighthearted and nice, with the reunion between Alice and Shinobu a lot of fun.
The best representation of Shinobu that Alice could come up with was a Japanese doll
This is where some of the bigger name VA’s have gone for this season, with Tamara Yukari, Satou Satomi, Taneda Risa, and Touyama Nao all contributing, as well as some less well-known actresses like Nishi Asuka as the lead with Shinobu. In the music department, besides the excellent orchestra score, there’s also some jazzy song thrown in (which may be the ED), and an upbeat song Jumping for what may be the OP. This is really the most I’ve taken note of music in an anime in a long time, and it’s for the good. Usually incidental soundtracks are something I don’t care about, but this one’s working for me.
I had to stop myself from taking a thousand screenshots, but I just love the bedspread on this one
This opening episode was tremendous. The OVA style of it really took me away, and gave the series a great start. The art was beautiful, really evoking a British countryside that may be almost impossible to find these days, but still exists in our hearts and imaginations. The culture clash was played down a little, and the English never lapsed into engrish (mostly because Shinobu never said anything in English besides “Hello” and “Guts Pose!”), which really helped the atmosphere not turn campy. I really hope that the format doesn’t change too much, and that they can keep stories working, rather than small vignettes or skits like they did at the end of the episode. They were really good to walk the show out, but I doubt they could carry a show. It was pretty neat to have so much after the ED song, however. And since I can’t really think of any other way to end this post, I’ll end with this: I hope you like this show as much as I did!