Season 1 of Go Toubun no Hanayome was one of the worst things I’ve seen in my life.
When the anime was announced, there were a lot of doubts whether the animations can match the beautiful artwork of the manga. When the key animations were released, there were doubts whether the artwork would work out. When Tezuka Productions was announced to be the studio responsible for the animation, I worried if an unknown studio like this could make something great.
Of course, I was foolish; I shouldn’t have even been hopeful.
There’s a lot of problems with the show but most prominent was the visuals. The colours in the show are extremely bright to the extent where it hurts my eyes, the backgrounds look extremely plain and boring, and, most blasphemous of all, art down right breaks down in many scenes. I understand the show having one or two scenes like this. But this is a problem that continued to show up multiple times in the first episode.
A lot of the directing choices that they make are downright out of style. For example, there are scenes where there are bright backgrounds with flowers sparkling. These types of scenes, the way it was mixed with the coloring and music, makes it feel like 90s kids shoujo show that looks horrible to today’s animation standards. Even if we look over how mad the backgrounds look, with the characters already too bright, over using these shots just look messy and unnecessary.
And I’m sure we don’t even have to talk about character designs getting nerfed extremely. Especially Ichika, who lost almost all of her attractive features in the anime.
What’s really funny is the reaction of the original author, Haruba Negi. Before the show aired he tweeted “I am running around my room because I can’t sit down.” and after the show aired he tweeted “It has finally started… I hope nothing bad happens till the end!” To me this just looks like he was excited at the start but after watching it, it was so horrid he just wished there were no problems. Usually original creators talk about how it turned out well, even as empty words.
The only thing that the show has really going for it is the stacked names of the voice acting cast which I don’t even think are that good at times. Itou Miku feels wooden in early episodes and matsuoka’s voice doesn’t fit Fuutarou very well. But hey, I’m sure that exclusive voice actor event in the blu-ray was interesting as hell with Hanazawa Kana, Sakura Ayane, Itou Miku, Taketatsu Ayane, and Minase Inori!
But season two changes that quite drastically. Surprisingly, the first volume of the Blu-rays of Go Toubun no Hanayome Season 2 sold close to 7000 copies in its initial sales (which shows how the anime community cares more about cute characters and voice actresses rather than the quality of a show). This gave season two the power of budget. Or some pressure to actually produce something good since so many people are buying it.
The colors that I criticized earlier on became a lot softer. This really shocked me especially when the series of illustrations popped up in the start of the episode. The main part that I was shocked in was the removal of the glaring highlights in the first season which became soft highlights in the edge of the hairs in lower saturation. On some of the close ups there are these thick lines times to timesat in edges where you would put emphasis on for illustrations which makes the characters look more bolded which is great to see.
The room also looks a lot more interesting with better texture especially on the furniture. I don’t know if this is because of the change in color or texture or a different modeling technique but nevertheless, it feels a lot more natural compared to the previous season. Talking about backgrounds, the director finally decided to stop using old looking flower shots and replaced them with colorful polkadot, pop art like bumpers or just a gradient of simple colors which are a lot more nicer to look at.
The animations, while funky at times (like the movements of arms which look like they are animated in 8s or 4s), aren’t moving too unnaturally. Whereas walking scenes looked like someone was manually moving the characters up and down with their mouse, the second season actually looks like the characters are moving. (I swear I’m not being sarcastic, I was like genuinely surprised that this show became normal)
And hey! Look at that! The faces are all attached properly this time!
While the directing isn’t even that outstandingly good, they do a few interesting things here and there to make the pacing and flow of the episode feel like an actual story rather than a manga panel slide show. The bit in the first episode with the camera and the younger version of the quintuplets, or when the quintuplets were filling out the test and the show was going through their mindset. Again this isn’t even anything that special but the fact that it’s not noticeably bad makes it surprisingly interesting.
It’s not to say that the show suddenly jumped to a classic. There’s still a lot of problems. I mentioned the animations being slightly weird from time to time and the music is either outright bland or doesn’t fit the atmosphere most of the times. Of course, the plot is still the same plot that it always was.
But at least by making the pace a little faster and smoother and having the visuals look normal, you can actually start to intake the show’s plot properly.
Go-toubun no Hanayome wasn’t even that special of a manga. It has a normal harem plot with normal harem appeal of characters. The only reason why people really read the manga in the first place is the beautiful art (or the voice actress in the case of the first season). But when you take this art from an otherwise normal harem manga, it really loses all that it has going for it. Thankfully, season two restores that quite a bit.
Will I be watching season two? Probably not. I watched season 2 to see what other ways I can criticize the show to write a blog post about but hey good thing it ended up being pleasing to my eye the 20 minutes that I consumed it!