Apparently on my anime kick, I decided to sit down and watch the Tokyo MX produced, Sentai Filmworks distributed series Just Because. This series is hard for me to review because man did it fuck me up, but at the same time boy is it also incredibly ‘not good’ in some regards.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the hell out of this show but it’s a hard recommendation because it is such an appeal to a soft palate that a lot of people are going to find it incredible boring. I think that’s fair, a lot of the discourse of the show seemed to heavily rely on the audience being invested through character empathy rather than the occurring action. However, a lot of media today is very “loud” in its presentations: action having constant fight sequences, comedy having constant laugh tracks, horror flooded with jump scares, etc. that it’s a refreshing change of pace to experience something so tranquil and authentic in capturing raw human nature. I’m trying not to sound as though I’m perpetuating the fallacious argument that different equates to good; Just accrediting the show for its reserved execution providing a very soothing and appreciated alternative selection from the norm.
I felt that the tone of Just Because makes it relative to choosing to listen to Sufjan Stevens or Bright Eyes than a more commercial artist. The design of the show is more tinted colors giving it both a softer and flatter look. Overall, it’s pretty easy on the eyes and a pleasant style but is kind of a shame when more exotic locations are explored that I’m not very awed by them. The end credits look gorgeous though, I love the use of the outlines changing colors to represent the light reflecting onto the person it’s a neat concept and a beautiful execution.
The characters are an interesting point of discussion. Earlier I said the investment was sort of based on empathy than what’s particular happening to these characters, well they come across through their designs and more grounded personality traits that it’s easy to see them as real people. It was with that and the cute sort of youthful innocence ingrained into each character that it started to become a matter of I don’t want to see these characters being sad, please nothing bad happen to them, than actually connecting and growing fond of their actual character. It’s a very weird dynamic that I don’t know if the characters exist in a sort of vessel of projection but at times it was like “don’t start crying, because I’ll start crying” and then other times it was like “I’m literally rooting for cardboard”. Everyone was kind of headstrong on their motives and whether it was entrance exams or pursuing their crush or winning a competition it became that one-note thing that assumed their whole identity. I would disclaim that I did have to watch it subtitled and wondered if maybe the language barrier prevented me from comprehending the subtle charm of the characters, but other reviews seem to agree that overall, it’s sort of lacking in personal characters and knowing them beyond the means of function in the plot.
This show’s highs aren’t spectacular necessarily, but they do win me over. The baseball scene in the first episode is a well-done use of parallel editing that finally begins to merge the characters together and create a very cathartic triumphant moment. It’s a show for your feelings and through the cliffhangers and the some of the sweeter/bittersweet moments of the show that at least connected with me. Maybe it’s partly do with that I’m in that part of my life where I really relate to being anxious for what the future may bring and am considerably on the social introverted/reserved side (cardboard) that seeing this sort of portray that end of high school with an appropriately raw sense of somber and melancholy that it does resonate with a niche audience. It’s a similar attempt to what Eighth Grade is achieving at right now and would be a worthy recommendation to anyone looking for a similar coming of age story that’s slightly more mature.
And with that it comes to the point that whenever I review an Anime, I must decide upon who is the “best girl” why do I do this? …Just Because. Now without further ado I’ve dubbed the best girl to be.
I really wanted to say all of them because I did really want to see anyone be sad despite realizing the inevitability of it because the math doesn’t add up. I ultimately decided to highlight Komiya because I feel that she exhibits the most stand out personality. Komiya is the most outgoing and forward personality which is refreshing considering how closed off and secretive literally everyone else is. Komiya’s passion to keep her photography club is commendable. Komiya’s upbeat nature is a spark to screen and definitely the one who earns the title of best girl. Skip to the Final Statement because the next piece is going into spoiler territory.
Oh man when she was crying I don’t know about you but that sort of twisted a knife in me. It was such a nice moment when it was revealed the photo she won the competition was not what we expected, and the year book just further proves that Komiya deserved better. It was obvious at that point that things weren’t going to end well but damn when it happened it was really sad. Especially with the detail the went into portraying it kind of getting a shaky voice when talking to Izumi, the tears running and then the red eye discoloration afterwards. It’s okay Komiya we can all cry together and watch as things do eventually get better.
This show is good if you want to catch the feels. It’s a little to rudimentary for something to passionately praise and I certainly understand why people are not fans of it, but I don’t regret that I decided to check this one out. It’s currently available on Amazon Prime and if you’re in the mood for something blissfully cathartic than this sweet little Anime might be what you want to watch.
What did you think of Just Because? Why do you like/dislike it? Thanks for stopping by and as always I will see you at the movies.
Images are from: Just Because (2017) Credit: Sentai Filmworks & Tokyo MX
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