This is review number two hundred and forty six. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup. As it would seem, I only have three more regular series left before I close this lineup. Thank the almighty Pikachu that it’s almost over. I now moan in pain for the Fall 2013 lineup which has a ton of anime as well. Anyways, the anime I’ll be reviewing is called Kiniro Mosaic or Golden Mosaic. It’s a twelve episode anime adapted from a four panel manga about four cute girls doing cute things in a slice of life wrapper. It’s the obligatory slice of fluff anime every lineup strangely has. This one is pretty good though. Let’s read on.
The anime is about a girl named Shinobu Omiya who was part of a homestay program where she got to live with a family in England. There she meets Alice Cartalet. Alice is a shy little girl but Shinobu really wanted them to be friends and they eventually grew closer despite not understanding what the other is speaking. After years pass and Shinobu is now attending high school in Japan, she suddenly receives a letter claiming that Alice will be going to the same school as her. Shinobu is elated because she now gets to spend the rest of her days with Alice with her whacky friends. Her high school life is guaranteed to be a fun one.
Taking the Pants Off
This is the obligatory cute girls doing cute things anime for the Summer lineup. I’ve got to be honest with you. I’ve seen way too many cute girls doing cute things anime that I’ve grown a bit impatient at them. I once said that these anime are meant to give the audience a relaxing experience and I’m finally at that point where my life is busy that I need something to relax me. These shows don’t do it for me. I felt tremendously impatient for some reason and I found myself not enjoying the format I usually found entertaining a year ago. Boy, life sure is iffy. The selling point is still the same though. This show is about a group of girls enjoying their simple life together doing activities and talking about anything under the sun. The thing that sets Kiniro Mosaic apart is that it has a premise to focus on. The idea that one character is totally in love with European culture while another one is totally addicted to the Japanese culture is the main appeal of the show. It’s certainly a charming concept that made the show a bit more interesting. It’s still under the guise of a slice of life foursome girl show though and the little theme the show has can only carry the anime so far. It’s a wonderful anime though and it’s very well executed. If you enjoy the cute girls doing cute things genre then you’ll definitely love this anime.
The show is pretty straight forward. It has a very lovely first episode though highlighting the wonderful experience Shinobu had when she was in England. She was very young and she lived somewhere in this old school England place. She doesn’t speak any English but she was still very enthusiastic staying in the place. She stayed with a husband and wife and their cute little daughter named Alice. Alice only speaks English while Shinobu only speaks Japanese yet the two of them bonded quite easily. It was a nice way to start the anime. It featured the relaxing tone the genre possesses while also serving the main premise of the anime quite strongly. The show is very much full of fluff but the way Shinobu lights up when she experiences the English culture was a really interesting thing to watch. This kind of bright eyed curiosity would also later appear on the rest of the episodes and it’s this nice cultural element that makes the show different from the rest of the cute girls doing cute things show. It is only a slight difference though since the show still has the same format despite the unique premise. Like most four panel adapted anime, the show has the familiar format of episodes being composed of a lot of skits. Once Shinobu moved back to Japan, the actual show commenced. She goes to high school with her two friends and her new friend, Alice. They do a lot of random fun things there and talk about a lot of random things as well.
Most of the skits highlight the different culture of Japan and England. It’s often through the perspective of another person though. There is no cultural lesson in this show. The idea is that the English girl loves Japanese culture and the Japanese girl loves English culture. You see the cultural display from the perspective of someone foreign. It’s often fun seeing Alice join in on Japanese culture because of how she reads about them but often over generalizing most of them. One example is when Alice thought that a school festival would be the same as the ones where you dress up in a kimono and go to a shrine at night. It’s a fun idea because I think the concept is not that far off from real life. Most people new to a culture would definitely go about the same way as Alice does and I find it pretty cute. Opposite her though is Shinobu. While Alice displays the fascination for Japanese culture and curiously engages in them, Shinobu would be a bit extreme at how she displays her love for European culture. She has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the culture to the point where it just doesn’t seem normal anymore. She would obsess about having blond hair and her choice of outfit would be long frilly Victorian gowns that she claims people in England would wear. Much like Alice though, I love Shinobu’s interpretation of a culture because most people in real life act like this as well. You don’t have to scratch deep, Shinobu displays heavy culture mentality that I think most weaboos and Japanophile share. I’ve hung around with a few of them and they’re pretty extreme. The show does things light heartedly but there were enough unique elements to truly capture the obsessive personality. These two kinds of cultural love give the show a unique spin.
As I said before though, the cultural element is just a small piece of the show. This is still very much a cute girls doing cute things show. It’s still about four girls spending time together in a fluff filled high school life displaying their cute kind of friendship. The things you’d expect from the genre are all here. The girls poking fun of each other, the girls talking about a lot of things and the girls spending time together outside of school are all here in this show. The girls would do sleep overs, hanging out at the beach and attending school festivals. They’d play random sports that accentuate their cuteness and they’d do some childish things to each other. It’s your typical slice of life affair. I’ve seen so much of these anime that I’m slowly getting sick of them but there is no denying that seeing the girls act cute makes me keep watching this thing I’ve already seen countless times before. It’s a nice thing to watch after a stressful day, for sure. It’s not something to marathon though after a hard day because you’ll just get bored with the things the show does. It gets repetitive fast but most slice of life show like this usually does get tiresome. I’ll admit though that the comedy of the show is really well executed. The way the punch lines are presented is really well done and the characters really made the show special.
The characters are all pretty interesting and they certainly carried the show. Shinobu is the typical air headed lead character you’d expect in a cute girl doing cute thing kind of show. Her cuteness and her deep love for European culture is something the show loves focusing on. Most skits involving her obsession is really fun to watch because she does things a bit extreme that the reaction of the other girls is really funny at times. She also loves blond hair and she clings to Alice so cutely that it is pretty adorable to watch. Alice is the typical short cute girl. She has this tiny voice and she is really cute when she gets angry. Her love for Japan is also a nice addition to make her a really well rounded character. The show even pokes fun at how much she knows about Japan more than the locals and that’s something I really enjoyed watching. Shinobu and Alice also have this cute bond the shows love to showcase. They really love each other. It’s along the lines of a cute puppy dog love and a cute type of girl on girl teasing that the show adds on top. Most of the skits would be about the wonderful bond the two characters have. Most skits would be about Alice getting jealous at other people for being around Shinobu as well. Other skits would be about Shinobu obsessing so much about blond hair that she hugs Alice a bit too much at times. It’s a cute relationship the two has that the anime loves to present a lot.
The other characters are Yoko, Karen and Aya. Yoko is the energetic character in the group. She is a bit laidback and the sporty type tomboy with the way she acts and talks. She is very close to Aya. I love Aya. She is the most feminine character in the group and the resident tsundere. Aya often acts tsun tsun dere dere in front of Yoko. I think the show also plays the same puppy dog/girl on girl teasing angle with Yoko and Karen. It seems that Aya has a major crush on Yoko though and would easily blush when she thinks of something involving Yoko. She is really special though with the way she gets shy and act all innocent. Most of the skits are focused heavily on the relationship of Yoko and Karen. It’s often some sort of romantic flag that sets Aya off but Yoko would often be clueless as to why her friend is acting like that. They also do a good job of portraying their really cute friendship with the use of flashbacks and the dialogue often about the fun times the two characters have when they were young.
Karen is the other blond girl in the show. She is the loud type and also energetic. Her main selling point though is her broken Japanese. She has an accent and her Japanese is clunky. It’s really cute. She is a close friend of Alice that came to Japan simply because Alice is there. She may be the only character without a pairing but I really think that she completes the group. Their interaction becomes whole whenever Karen is around. When she’s not in the skits, the show would often just showcase the pairing between the four girls. Karen is there to truly brighten up the scenarios and help make the other characters look good while also making herself stand out. It’s pretty awesome how complex her role is. I also love her really vibrant personality is and how she often leads the random conversations.
The show has a limited cast. Along with the five girls, there are only two side characters in the show. The first one is their homeroom teacher. She is basically much like the rest of the girls. Despite being older than them, she also has some quirky personality of her own that makes skits about her pretty fun to watch. She really does nothing more than deliver the same kind of gags as the rest of the girls. The other side character is Shinobu’s sister, Isami. She seems to be the most mature character in the show but she enjoys being around the girls despite being older. She is a model and the contrasting personality between her and her little sister is a nice part of the show. She acts as a big sister not just to Shinobu but also towards the rest of the girls as she enjoys being in their company and taking their pictures. She’s a little playful as well and skits involving her are really good.
The cultural aspect of the show is really interesting and the slice of life elements are really well done. If I had the same bright eyed enthusiasm like when I started this blog, I’m sure I would’ve written this review more positively. It’s a really good show. It’s balanced and well-paced with a really engaging cast to make the whole experience pretty worthwhile. Studio Gokumi really know how to make a great cute girl doing cute thing kind of show. I remember that they also did this anime called “A Channel” with the same format as Kiniro Mosaic. It’s as great as this show and it’s because Gokumi really know how to handle these kinds of shows. I liked A Channel so much that I gave the show a nine. Studio Gokumi really knows how to entertain. They’re a slightly unknown studio though. They’ve been making some significant wave but they still need that one show to truly make them famous. They’re good but I hope they can soon be even better. As long as they keep producing good stuff then I’m sure they’ll one day make a bigger statement. A show like Kiniro Mosaic is a good start.
Sight and Sound
Yui Hara’s (the author) design is really great. This is one of the best aspects of the show. The character design is really great. The characters are the typical big headed girls with big bug eyes. The characters all have really expressive eyes that make them even cuter. This is complimented by the roundness of their face and the cute hair they have on. I love the way the hair of the characters are designed. They’re often the focal point of each character. I specially love Karen’s twin tails that is a bit slim to give more focus to the rest of her body. Karen’s blond hair with a bun on top is also a nice touch. It really looks cute yet pretty at the same time. The design is then completed with a subtle skin color that accentuates their cuteness and a little bit of blush to give them an innocent look. The characters often look simpler though during certain skits. When a character is confused or holding back a reaction, the show would make them look chibi to suit the mood. The faces might be cute but the bodies of the characters are definitely a bit more sexy. They’re tall and slender with long limbs. This is accentuated by their uniform and the short cut of their skirt. The uniform they have on has a simple design but it gives the girls really nice curves to balance out their design. Yui Hara knows how to make the girls look cute but also keeps in mind their potential eye candy appeal and the design is very mindful of that.
The animation is pretty great. Granted, there aren’t a lot to animate in the show, it was still able to give enough details in the animation to make the experience pretty worthwhile. The expressive faces of the characters are the clear stand out. The show was able to make sure they look cute at every skit and the way it transition from normal to angry or blushing is really great. The animation was able to capture the personality of the girls really well. I especially love it was able to capture Karen’s rambunctious personality. She doesn’t sit still and she would often dance around when there is time. I love how the animation was able to add enough detail to make her movements precise and great to look at. Another great part of the animation is how the hair sways. Most show doesn’t even bother but Kiniro Mosaic made sure the hair of the girls is bouncy and it moves independently from the character. I also love the background of the show. Most of the scenes are faded white backgrounds with a nice sketch like effect to them. It gives the show a nice laidback feel that is great for a slice of life anime like this one. I don’t like the CG on most scenes though. It’s very stiff and it lacks details to hide away the stiffness. It looks a bit half assed and it doesn’t look good for the show. It’s a good thing there aren’t a lot of scenes with those stiff CG.
I love the English dialogues of the show. It’s not much but, for once, I am finally hearing good English in an anime. Most shows have awkward Japanese accents speaking English but Kiniro Mosaic was mindful of that and made sure the English sounded good. I respect that little added detail. While most dialogues are a bit stupid, I’m glad to see the white kanji subtitle and the cute English voice in the show. It’s not much but it certainly makes the anime a bit special. The also does a cute segment in the preview. They would present a four panel scene complete with Yui Hara’s actual design and a colorless panel. It has a little bit of animation but it captured the authenticity of the four panel manga and I appreciate that aspect of the show as well.
The anime’s OP is “Jumping!!” by Rhodanthe*. It’s a really energetic song and features some really cute voices from the main cast. It appears that a girl group was born with the main cast and they now call themselves Rhodanthe. Well, you learn something new every day, I guess. The song has a nice chorus with a really cute beat to it. The song’s wonderful personality is accentuated by the great voices of the singers though. The OP sequence features all the characters acting all cute and a small montage of the daily life of the girls. It also features the great animation the show possesses.
The anime’s ED is “Your Voice” by Rhodanthe*. It’s sung by the same girls and it has the same cuteness as the OP song. This one had a more mellow tone to it though compared to the highly energetic beat of the OP. It’s a lovely song as well though with a really nice chorus. The OP sequence features all the girls lip synching some lines of the song as they pose and dance in a field on top of a hill. It’s scenic but the lip synching is off a bit and it threw me off the beauty of the sequence. It also features the girls doing some random things together like eating ice cream or baking bread all included in a montage.
6/10 “The cultural element is intriguing but it didn’t do much to truly elevate the show. It was a nice segment for a nice slice of life show that is sadly a bit forgettable.”
This is a really good cute girl doing cute things slice of life kind of show. The cast is vibrant and engaging. The skits are executed well and the jokes had me laughing all the way to the end. It’s you standard slice of life show full of fluff and stories about friendship. It starts and ends there. If you enjoy these kinds of shows then you’ll definitely love this show. If you like cute girls in your show then you’ll find the ones in this show really adorable. If you prefer a laidback anime then you’ll like this one. I recommend it.