Mashiro no Oto

Title:Mashiro no Oto
Those Snow White Notes
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Shin-Ei
When Setsu's grandfather died, so did Setsu's "sound"—his unique creative spark. Grieving, he goes to Tokyo to find himself...but manages to become totally, literally lost on his first day. Only a chance meeting with Yuna—aka Yuka, the hostess—saves him from being robbed. At first glance their lives seem totally different, but they're both striving for their dreams—hers, of being an actress, and his, of developing his talent with the shamisen—and it could just be that life in the raucous, unfeeling urban sprawl of Tokyo could just be what binds their fates together.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

TV anime that premiered on April 2, 2021.
Animated by Shin-Ei Animation.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 8 8 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:4280#1552]
Mashiro no Oto follows similar recent high school anime in its focus on a series lead attempting to overcome personal issues for his involvement with a school club, in this case Setsu's issues of inferiority and feeling directionless with his shamisen playing following his grandfather's death. Setsu's situation is complicated in the fact he is dragged into returning to enrollment in high school by his mother pushing him into becoming a worthy heir to his grandfather's legacy and trying to maintain cohesion with the amateur members of said school's shamisen club. The series devotes enough time to explore the backgrounds and personal issues affecting its relevant characters, both major and supporting, and shows some gradual growth with Setsu in what direction he wishes to take his shamisen playing. Like some recent titles focused around a musical instrument, Mashiro no Oto does a great job with giving the musical performances of the characters nuance and mood to reflect the capabilities and emotions of their music. A major issue with the series is that it does abruptly end during a major dramatic point within its storytelling involving a major hump in Setsu's character development and its manga source material is still ongoing as of the time I type this review. There is the possibility of a second season, but whether or not one comes along will likely come down to audience reception.

In short, Mashiro no Oto doesn't offer much new to recent titles similar to it in terms of premise and its lack of a conclusive ending is rather disappointing. But it offers a strong foundation for exploring and developing its characters and the musical performances of its characters are a highlight to the series that would make it worthwhile to check out.

Last updated Friday, June 18 2021. Created Friday, June 18 2021.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:4280#628]
(Five episodes watched):

Episode one of any new show has a problem it must overcome: since I don't know anything about it, it seems by default uninteresting at first. If it can't pique my interest within 23 minutes or so, I'd rather it just be over. Mashiro no Oto managed to pass this first test, probably by making main characters Setsu and Yuna likable and interesting. They seem like good people and they've each got a problem they need to overcome--Setsu feels 'empty inside' since his grandfather's death, and Yuna has been obliged to engage in degrading sexually oriented performances to make a living. As a result I'm curious to see if they will. One thing that impressed me about episode one was that as much of a jerk as he is, apparently Yuna's two-timing ex-boyfriend Taketo won't just be dropped from the cast after he is taught a lesson (which is what most shows would do) but rather will continue to play a part, and not just as a two-dimensional villain. He says a few intelligent things. I was sure that Taketo would offer Setsu a job as an ongoing opening act for his rock group after his impromptu performance was well received, but that didn't happen. It did take a little suspension of disbelief to buy that an audience that was waiting for rock music would be moved by some of the traditional sort. In some ways this show seems formulaic, like Setsu needing to invent his own unique sort of music rather than imitate his grandfather's. But things remained interesting at the end of episode one as yet another colorful character, Umeko, appears.

Maybe it's my fault, but the impression I got from episodes two and three was that I was having a hard time keeping up with the plot. Numerous new characters are introduced, and it seemed that we don't really get to know one and understand his/her significance to the plot before yet another appears. For example, there's the virtuoso Shamisen player whose only telltale action (so far) is that he warns of jealousy. Didn't Setsu have a sort of domineering mother not long ago? As a result, I'm having a hard time keeping track of who's who. And early on I had thought that Yuna would play as big a part in this series as Setsu would, which seemed intriguing, but in fact she had virtually disappeared (and so has her boyfriend). Maybe I'm taking too long between watching succeeding episodes. But I like the humble girl who single-handedly keeps the Shamisen club at Setsu's school going. Why did Setsu suddenly lose a good chunk of his talent in episode three? I don't get it. Maybe there are too many plotlines running at once. Maybe the problem is that I don't understand the basic conflict: Setsu wants to imitate his grandfather's style, but he can't, and it seems he'll have no choice but to invent a new, unique one. I don't really get why he is so devoted to duplicating his grandfather; it seems like a simplistic goal that anyone can see was doomed to fail. Basically, his personality consists of this determination and little or nothing else, which is kind of boring. It's time to trim the less exceptional shows from my overloaded Spring 2021 viewing schedule, and that does not augur well for Mashiro no Oto.

Last updated Saturday, May 29 2021. Created Monday, April 05 2021.

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