A bonus review for you, Just Because!

I apologize if you feel somewhat tricked by the image of Just Because!
That’s because the show will be given a special treatment, by me!

 

Get ready for a real treat because this is the longest review I have ever written this year.

I will admit to believing that in each coming anime season, my views of upcoming shows have been heavily influenced and in some cases, overshadowed by big names in the anime industry, be it a director, animator, artists, musicians to even voice actors/actresses. They are like powerful brands which serve to mostly pre-lift a show’s potential quality in my mind. This leaves very little of my impression towards shows that say, lack many to all of the above.

From the eyes of many, this may look simply like a romantic drama show with heavy slice of life sprinkles; from my eyes, I see Just Because! as a work of collaborative newfound talents. It is studio Pine Jam’s fight against many kinds of anime production barriers that could otherwise be easily relieved by the convention we know today as ‘budget’.

The show has almost none of the big names, let alone ‘experts’ working in their respective/well known fields; they are rather people — experienced in something else and are trying out new things, working alongside some others who are absolutely new to the anime industry as a whole. Unless your name is Yoko Kanno, you are most unlikely going to be noticed by anime fans when the show you work on has yet to be aired. Sound and music directors simply don’t bring enough impact into the hype, at least nowhere as much as the visual side of the medium.

So, what brought me into watching this show?
I have already answered this somewhere but here it is again:

The Visuals!

 

It instantly came off as something straight out of a light novel which struck another chord of surprise.

 


 

Type: TV Series
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Slice of Life and School
Source of adaptation: Original!
The time it was aired: Fall 2017, October 5 to December 28
Studio responsible: Pine Jam

 


 

MAL’s Synopsis:

As another school year begins drawing to a close, the third-year high school students move steadily toward the next milestone of their lives: graduation. Among them are Natsume Mio, a girl burdened with lingering feelings; Morikawa Hazuki, a member of the concert band but distant from the others; and Souma Haruto, an athlete obsessed with baseball. Meanwhile, second-year student Komiya Ena seeks to revive the photography club to its former glory, refusing to let the organization be disbanded. Though this group lacks a strong connection with one another, their lives suddenly cross paths with the arrival of a third-year transfer student.

While a transfer so close to graduation is unusual for most, it is business as usual for Izumi Eita. Due to his father’s work, he has never been able to stay in one place for very long. But as luck would have it, their most recent relocation has returned Eita to his hometown for his final semester of high school. For better or worse, it also sparks the rekindling of old relationships left behind in the past.

With graduation already causing its own share of anxieties, Eita’s sudden arrival brings these students’ carefree days to an abrupt end. Long-forgotten memories, deeply buried emotions, and inspiring new passions—everything is brought to light in their bittersweet final semester.

 


Story and Plot

 

Remember when I said that the show has almost none of the experts working in their respective field?
Taking the script writer for example — Just Because! is Kamoshida Hajime‘s third attempt at script writing because before that, he has been writing out Sakurasou light novels.

Just Because! probably has one of the most ambitious first episodes in all of school romantic drama shows out there.

I would still consider the starting point of the show to be rare if not unique. There sure are a hell lot of high school romantic drama shows out and about but how many actually set their timeline at near graduation?
I will vouch for the choice of timeline as it is quite nice to have the tranquil feel of winter for a running background theme; winter’s weather suits the cold and slow drama very much, so when drama intensifies there is guaranteed some heat coming from the viewers’ heads—from you.

Everyone has yet to kick their high school bucket list; they are all still making up to their high school regrets and coincidentally falling in love happens to be one of the big ticks. I can totally see that Pine Jam has learned some valuable lessons from their preceding title, Gamers!, as the story is still about characters finding a place they belong. This time however, the ‘place’ I’m referring to is always changing—it’s in transition as obviously noted by the premise on how they are soon to be graduating from high school.

You just know that situations call for drama when the presence of a single person has major overall impact to everyone else involved. That person could have been named anything so I’m sure that there is a hidden intention when he is given the name Izumi Eita (please do a post on this guy, Kyra-san!).
Eita is definitely on the ship of students with past wounds/regrets and by coming back from Fukuoka, he is vulnerable to having his wounds reopened.

I’m writing a lot of bullcrap for you to read and later on lose concentration. Majority of Just Because! can be summarized by Mio’s signature face.

A happy-worried Mio.png
That’s a lot of happiness for someone who is worried to death.

 

Should you be worried, though?
It’s actually a rhetorical question, just because, look…
…a show like this is not for everyone.

 


 

This will be just a pre-entry wall I set up for those who haven’t actually watched the show before reading this review:

Because it is a show with a tolerable amount of pretentious drama…
Yes. You can really expect a vast amount of things to make your head spin in frustration, if not confusion. You will always be made to think as Just Because! is most definitely not your time-killer type of show which you can enjoy while dozing off. As a straightforward warning — skip this show if you absolutely cannot stand watching characters constantly, uncomfortably stare at each other in various gloomy situations only to follow the script with a few words that really sting one way or another (in other words, drama).

 


 

If that is not you then welcome to a section where I voice my reasons as to why this dramatic show is worth your precious time:

For a supposedly standard fare for drama, the story as described earlier, is rather interesting. To have reality influence the writer enough to the point that they create a script for this anime, it goes to show that there are still quite a considerable amount of people who enjoy last minute experience.

Look, I may have been giving drama in general a bad name (actually I think that I really am) but Just Because! does the magic of dissolving conflicts in nearly every ‘next’ plot; there would be almost none of the bullocks from beginning of each episode left hanging until the next unless they are cliffhangers.
I’m sure that anyone who is familiar with visual media knows what cliffhangers are and how great they can be when properly used.
This show does use cliffhangers properly. I will not be specific about them because that would be full on spoiler, even for the first episode.

As a rare move, Just Because! conforms to a near-true slice of life method of presentation. Because there are five main characters, this show takes on the challenge of giving all five of them equal attention for most part while at times going all out, focusing only on certain pairs in order to satisfyingly thin the plot whenever it gets too thick from the build-ups. It is kind of like alternating between a jog and a sprint, if you know what I mean.
I feel as if the choice of attention for each character in any given episode is damn near-perfect; there is literally only one way to improve this aspect and that is to have the show run for longer. I am not saying that Just Because! needs a sequel as it could have been perfectly concluded within 20 or so episodes.

A heavy amount of drama gets shoved out while a similar amount of romance sneaks into the final third of the series, and it was all surprisingly enjoyable as the sacrifice is well executed. The pure slice of life element remains which means the show’s pace got slower — an audacious direction for any show near its finale.

 


Characters

 

The show has definitely decided that its characters would be the forefront of everything; these ladies and gents would leave biggest impression for the viewers. And the production team should be happy about that very decision because as it turns out, it would not be Just Because! without any one of the five main characters.

You will either discard Just Because! as some plain and unoriginal character-driven show or get emotionally and psychologically worked up over the characters’ vigorous chemistry. At the beginning, what could have easily been a small scale drama tripled in size when right people join the club.

Ena is not happy.png
You’re never alone in the ’emotionally worked up’ boat — Ena’s worked up as hell.

 

All of these people are your average high school students; no Godly traits to exaggerate any kind of importance they may have within the show. They are all looking for a way out—for a definite future.

The graduating gang members Eita, Mio, Hazuki and Haruto all have unique minor traits which makes it really easy to tell one from the rest, however they also happen to hold onto their unique points in shyness—in better words—the lack of confidence. I personally find each and every one of them amusing when the show goes comedy route, otherwise it can get irritating when the show gets serious.

Natsume Mio is the person this show is trying to get us to look at, first and foremost. The show indeed employs a very basic usage of absolute main heroines and that is fine.
Mio would easily come off as, ‘that b*tch who really needs to talk and more importantly, stop being a pessimist.’
And that is actually her point for lack of confidence; she is always seen to be underestimating herself here and there. This type of people would normally not survive on their own so never had I thought it is a coincidence when her character is set up to have many friends from her class compared to others. Though, I will always have to question (even after having finished the show) each and every one of their origins; they all seem to just be there. Even if she had been a different person back in her younger days, what caused the change?
See, I am already complaining about show’s lack of story in the character section. Just Because! is truly a character-driven show.

Next up we have our supposed protagonist Izumi Eita. He initially gives off a very strong ‘Hachiman’ (congratulations if you have seen OregaIru) vibe to the show. Other than that, he keeps everything to himself really well in a melancholic manner which surprisingly impacts the show in its entirety. Eita’s lack of confidence comes straight from his past emotional wound which happens to also be a pin in the haystack of a story. We are really supposed to follow his sad journey to graduation and it swerves left and right — hardly going straight ahead as he keeps on meeting new people that would later change his views on everything.
That part is fine—you may have thought, but what do you think would happen to anyone who has to confront their bitter past?
And that, my friends, is Eita at a core and I will have to note on how he is a ‘final package’, meaning that he was already pumped with many hidden traits and they slowly get revealed throughout the show; he barely developed.

Best man Souma Haruto represents all things youth in this show. He is very hyperactive and tackles every damn thing head on like a real child. He has all the confidence a man would ever need to take on life challenges which makes his lack of it a more relatable instance when compared to the others’. It happens whenever his beacon of hope gets slightly to devastatingly crushed by what you could call reality. We are supposed to believe that he is Eita’s wingman given how the show has an element of romance, but Haruto fares much better as a powerful side character, even more so than a main character.

Morikawa Hazuki is ultimately the odd one out. To me at the very least, she would most represent a person of old traditions—out of fashion. There are many instances where you can really catch her moments with the group, while everyone else are really acting like high schoolers, Hazuki for one acts way too responsible. Her traits can easily be associated with adulthood as she seems to be the most calm and collected main character. This is where her lack of confidence acts as a double-edged sword as her demeanor basically gives off the vibe to everyone around her that she is ready for any kind of obstacle when she really is not. She has good friends and acquaintances that can help her through most of her struggles, which leaves me to wonder what would happen had she not been given any pushes to her back when it comes to vital life decisions, relationships included.

The MVP has to really be Komiya Ena; she is probably the reason anyone would want to stick around in this show after halfway through. Described by the protagonist as ‘powerful’, Ena’s lack of confidence is not even unique to her because being excessively flustered when falling in love is a trait shared among nearly every characters in romance anime. Other than that she is basically the perfect spice to Just Because!
Her easygoing and headstrong attitude make her a character that is always ready for your instant attention whenever she gets her screen time. It has really been a while since I have last seen the third person of a love triangle being so well crafted. Ena may as well have her own spin-off series and it would be an equally interesting straight-up romance show; she has a pleasing amount of  background information and even settings to go with her own character, it all makes Just Because! better than most other shows employing the same love triangle cliche.

This show is definitely a patience test as pretty much all of the main characters are one-dimensional at the beginning. I think we both can agree on the part where one-dimensional characters can really kill an anime show’s quality, yet anime creators stick their talents into that taboo hell.
They later become ‘alive’; they become so human-like to the point that I am unable to stop using the term relatable every time I see them getting into dramatic yet heartfelt situations. Everything from their mental reactions to little body and face movements illicit the same impact as if I am watching a hardcore comedy gag or a tearjerker. Though, the feeling I get from having emotionally resonated with these characters, especially Ena, is everything that make me feel alive, hence my praise about them becoming exactly that. I feel emotional pain, anxious, uncertain, frustrated, and embarrassed yet I am also able to feel delighted, relieved and sometimes invincible (thanks, Haruto).

Character developments for this show are not exactly brightest stars in the sky so you will have to take many hints. And once you put pieces of the puzzle together, they really do make a very appreciable aspect of the characters, especially for Mio. I was really on board with the majority, having claimed that Mio is exactly how I have described her earlier. It actually took a few times of rewatching for me to feel confident enough to write this paragraph. With my thumbs up I can happily tell you that behind every sad person is the image of their happy self and they will need all the help they can get to make that image a reality. Mio is somewhat like that and it has been a very interesting ride for me as I watched her break free from those bindings—what she had initially considered as friendship.
This opinion of mine is obviously biased so if I have your interest right now, please do hop in on the show and witness the remaining characters; they are equally interesting in completely different styles.

Just Because! is very comfortable with its character placements, given that it is a single cour show. Supporting characters are well used with the intention of either strengthening up the main characters’ backgrounds or being a safe place for them to fall on. And there are only two people for the latter aspect: Inui Yoriko and Natsume Mina. They would be my acceptable case of front-line support characters as they act as bridges for the two dramatic heroines, Hazuki and Mio, to cross away from the land of emotional uncertainty. Then there are two of Haruto’s close friends who really only acted as props to his background, because it would have been weird if the baseball club only has a single member. This very notation goes straight to Ena and her photography club as well. The portrayals of different family circumstances simply based on the amount of characters present is one hell of an underrated move even for slice of life anime genre. Right from Hazuki’s cozy, six member to Ena’s detached, familic atmosphere; seeing each of the main characters’ time with their families really make me feel connected to them to a surprisingly deep level. From here on I was not really just looking at them for their unique personalities anymore; good families raise good children and that very difference is what makes one character unique to the rest by default.

I could be even more harsh about this section and say that the large amount of characters present in the show makes a disadvantage. But then again, I still do think that the show has serious confidence in its concise character department.

 


Art and Animation

 

Studio Pine Jam really tried. And I will applaud despite being absolutely torn between wanting to praise them all the way to heaven and burn their lacking parts to hell.
The visual department for Just Because! is unsurprisingly limited as the news regarding production issues have been on-line as early as the time of first episode’s airing.

Say, they were allocated exactly a hundred dollars to set up a great family-sized feast:
In reality, there were just too many choices of quality which they could pick — right from meats, veges to even drinks, side dishes and snacks. They clearly cannot go for best of the best in every option so just like this anime show they have produced, they have made sacrifices instead of hogging all of the the show’s potential by lightly ‘balancing’—where every part about the feast would in the very end—come out average at best.

The overall art quality gets a mixed appreciation from me. It can be difficult to nitpick but I will do it anyway:
Background arts can be really breathtaking at times, otherwise they are lackluster for the most part. This may have to do with how nearly all of the more detailed background art is actually portrayed from real life locations, as the anime’s official Twitter would suggest with all of those comparative posts.
Take this for one.

 

This source has also done God’s work for me so please, look at the comparisons:

 

Most of the background art gets rendered to create tranquil yet very gloomy scenes, as if there can never be a bright, sunny day in the middle of winter. Just Because! seems to want its viewers to look at many little things. Many objects in any given scene are far more detailed than their counterparts (ground and sky) and even the characters on-scene, which give a serious realistic impression on how we do not really have to always look at the big picture; each scene has enough details to go around so you do not have to always think outside of the square. Just Because! will endure the ages of anime revolution as another great example of substance over style for a show.

Now I think that I am making fun of many budget-blowing studios.

Just Because detail 1.png
Everything but the pole feels saturated.
Just Because detail 2
Even from that distance, the show really wants us to know that behind most Japanese houses are gas tanks.

 

Character art is not as bad as I initially thought. I have considered the possibility of the artists’ intention of wanting to make them look more like light novel characters. A lot of sacrifices have been done however, as there is a huge decline in quality whenever they are drawn from a distance further than the usual close-up shots.

If anything, the parts with most detail are the pets, with a lot of emphasis on Mio’s dog.

 

Animation side is no different as the production team is still feeling the pain from that budget slap. Though I’ll be frank on how Pine Jam surprised the hell out of me because this show literally proceeds Gamers! right in the next season. For a tiny studio to come out with two consequent shows where the difference in visual direction quality is so clear, is something I have yet to fully take in even at the time of writing this review.

The show has an ambitious goal of getting all of the key frames on point while absolutely bailing out on the quality of in-between frames. It may come off as humorous but the actual result is rather pleasing; additionally through visuals, Just Because! relays the importance of direction when the odds are against. Sakuga use was minimal but well placed in wherever viewers’ emotion response would complement for the best impact. Though, all of the derp animation moments are equally memorable. The mixture of 3D CGI for moving objects with hand-drawn background is nice and not overbearing. But then again, there are also some horrible 3D stuff going on somewhere in there — there is no need to look since you will notice them almost immediately.

Train of Progress.gif
“The train of progress” — this is seriously one of those very nice shots done in CGI.

Getting all technical, we are looking at 30+ FPS GCI train moving in almost parallel to a possibly 23.9 FPS hand-drawn Haruto. The camera itself moves smoothly so there is a lot (of budget) to consider in these few seconds. I also had to consider the fact that uploading this GIF takes 53 MB of my storage allocation.

 

A lot of frames in Just Because! are actually spent on near-still images where we see the characters feel lost in their world. It is very melancholic and depressing but that is the reality the show wants its viewers to see.

Mio is the protagonist.png
Is nobody going to tell me that Just Because! made fun of the ‘protagonist sitting by the window’ trope? Because here we have the main heroine doing it instead while the real protagonist gets cucked somewhere else.

 

Character animation takes on a slow pace which adds to the slice of life feel where most things do not move faster than humanly possible, that very detail goes as far as the machinery where not even cars and Ena’s scooter travel fast. The aim for a realistic atmosphere is clear with the animation direction, it only makes me want to see more as if it would be an extra day’s experience added to my own life. Sometimes a show is there for you to relate, some other times a show would be there for you to simply learn. At least for me, Just Because! does both visually.

Ena going all out.gif

 

Much needed emphasis can be seen in specific character animation, where parts of their face and sometimes even limbs move expressively.

Mio is jealous.gif
They may have little budget but that little amount is very well spent.

These few seconds of Mio’s reaction leave an extremely strong impression on me.

 

I certainly have not forgot about how the production issues led to dip in quality, all the way until the eighth episode. The show looks horrible then but I hope the Blu-Ray version would at the very least fix that issue.

 


Sound

 

For the one person who is actually an expert working in his field of expertise, the sound director Aketagawa Jin has so MANY great titles under his belt, a lot of them being tear-jerker at that!
Seriously. Check his portfolio out — it may stop you from wondering why the audio side of Just Because! is unsurprisingly fitting for its theme. This lad is basically guiding a first-time-ever music director Fukusawa Erika to the wide-open doors of talent.

There are a lot of parts to consider when music is brought up in a discussion for Just Because! since all of them are emotion-evoking at best. I have not mentioned anything about this show being a tear-jerker or being capable of hitting you with feels and such, but perhaps the music alone may be able to change that for you.

 

The Opening and Ending Themes

 

I am combining these two for this time because I have pretty much similar kind of comments for both of them.
The choice for both themes is clearly final and wholehearted. As a standalone, the opening does not bring much hype into the show which is only natural; Just Because! is a character-driven drama show—just what would we want from an opening song, really?

 

Yanagi Nagi is very experienced in making tranquil pop songs and this could only be more fitting.

The ending gets my much anticipated seiyuu treatment, because why wouldn’t you want to make use of their talents?
It fares much better for a drama genre and actually sounds like an ending to  show. The vocals in unison are also amazing.

 

The theme songs are definitely not the selling point of this show and it is okay. Let us continue to the better parts now.

Since In Unison does not actually count as an insert song, I do not think Just Because! has any legitimate use of such.

 

Background Music

 

Aketagawa Jin’s talents were definitely put on the record, with each and every one of the tracks being able to inspire my own humanoid feelings from loneliness to fulfillment. A lot of them are of piano solo’s but the range in tones is large enough, not every single one of them is made with the purpose of making me bawl my eyes out. Concert band’s In Unison and some other tracks featuring usage of concert band instruments were perhaps the audio highlights of glamorous moments within the show. I’d thought that I couldn’t be any happier from feasting the show’s visual talents; the trumpet and snare drum soundtrack packs satisfaction to my ears just as much. I think that’s what it feels like to come across a ‘buy this and get that free’ deal.
Though, I bet at least half of you not being fond of having to pay for Anime Strike.

 

Voice Acting

 

The no-name committee is still going strong even for the voice acting department. With both Mio’s and Eita’s seiyuu being absolute newcomers to the voice acting industry, I say we give them a very warm welcome as both have done stellar jobs, breathing human speech into animated characters so well I am left for words. This praise is especially true for Isobe Karin and her role as Mio.

Eita’s seiyuu, Ichikawa Aoi, lands the job at a pretty late age (for a typical seiyuu standard) yet he has done a pretty convincing job, people were struggling to believe that such an adolescent man’s voice would belong to a “female”?
Of course they were freaked out by his face reveal in Episode 6.5 (which was only aired in Japan when production crashed really hard mid-way).

Doesn’t Eita’s seiyuu look too much like him?

 

Lynn is back to lend her energy to an extremely energetic Komiya Ena. Notice that she usually voices girls of the same bold, loud and carefree type as Ena which makes this instance of her job predictable. It was known by her fans that Ena would really come out as fan’s favorite.

Taishi Murata is one of those supporting characters underdog of a seiyuu. This really makes my comment regarding Haruto being much better seen as a powerful supporting character than a main one sound. This lad has some seriously wide range from deep serious to full on meme mode like the role of Haruto himself.

Unfortunately I do not have any insightful comment for Hazuki’s seiyuu since I feel as if it is either that her performance is average at best or maybe she was strictly tasked to voice act as the most average girl in the world.

Yoriko’s seiyuu comes as a hilarious surprise for me, really. Having had a role in hardcore ecchi (or perhaps hentai in the uncensored version?) before, Yoriko was still naughty—just different kind of naughty.

 


Going further with the templates

 

Just Because! is not entirely new. But I do not think that anything should be entirely new from now on; it is simply better to just focus on improving the already existing ones—what we have always been doing for pretty much everything else.

The show, without a doubt, has a considerable number of ties to the underdog of Fall Season — Tsuki ga Kirei. There are enough of the ties to have people start comparing the two shows literally.

I appreciate the show for trying to focus on two pairs of lovebirds but even some of the best shows couldn’t properly conclude their romance stories within a single cour while focusing one romantic pair. If you have actually read all the way up to this very sentence then please note that Just Because! is literally not a straight-up romance focused show where you are guaranteed smooches here and there but is rather a character-driven drama show where you are instead guaranteed to see them swim in the confusion pool as they wriggle their ways through the very last phase of high school.

Got that in mind?
Good, because let me talk about a few things this show has taken to the next level:

None of the malice

 

You would really expect drama shows to drive you crazy with all the jealousy and under-the-hand tactics in winning one’s heart over. Well good grief, Just Because! does it away with most of the maddening tropes found all over many shows of the exact same genre.
Curious how it plays out? Dive in!

 

That LINE Overlay!

 

Just Because! makes no subtlety in their partnerships; the show works with the photography company Canon, LINE and a few others such as Yamaha (Ena’s scooter). However I will be putting the emphasis on this online messaging application.

This show makes part of the application’s user interface a literal part of itself, meaning that we spend less time watching the characters move their fingers and type out the nonsense and more of their reactions in those few valuable frames of animation. The characters’ reactions to text messages and stickers nicely make up parts of relatable comedy—I mean, do try and look at yourself in the mirror whenever you happen to read pleasant messages from the ones you love.

 

My God, HarutoHaruto is a lad

 

If you have read my post regarding LINE’s presence in anime industry (thank you!) then this section comes as a repeat:
FOA community for Just Because! goes hands-on and designed all of the stickers used by the main characters minus Ena. Not only does this makes communication via the application from an anime show unique, those stickers are not limited to being usable by the characters but also you, the viewer!
Yes! It is true! If you do have access to LINE then feel free to purchase them here!

 

Speaking of partnership; who wants a piece of Ena’s camera set, with signatures by the three girls’ seiyuu?

Ena's camera!.png
Source

I do.

 


Going further also means more obstacles ahead

 

The focus of having a comparison between the two shows happens to also be where a concerning large amount of people start going off tangent when they attempt to grasp any substance for their criticisms.

I do believe that most of the little things in Just Because! worth criticizing can be nicely criticized without having to mention Tsuki ga Kirei at all because they are actually common among school dramatic romance anime shows.
And the fact is, Tsuki ga Kirei is not a show of drama genre! It is a straight up middle school romance show with a very little amount of comfortable drama, just not enough to guarantee a drama tag. If you are still looking for an argument as to which show is better, please halt before you end up looking stupid for literally comparing apples to oranges.
Oh and that is actually funny because purely based on genres (while emphasizing the romance tag), the two best candidates for comparison to Just Because! are Orange (an anime—not a fruit) and Nagi no Asukara. Though, when the drama tag is emphasized, I can’t stop thinking about the show’s slow-paced aesthetics being similar to Hibike! Euphonium.

Now, back to the part where I will actually criticize — let us look into the awkward moments of romance within the first half of the show. It is only natural that my criticism is aimed towards the characters because Just Because! is a character-driven show.

I swear that I am not being snarky or anything, but when having to deeply think about it, for all of the serious and awkward moments of romance—the characters act irrationally; they always chose to react in dramatic ways JUST BECAUSE.

 

Maybe I have—by pure chance—cracked down the meaning of the show’s name: YOLO is not exactly the right description for the characters’ actions; they are mostly intentional to the point that even Eita admits to loving a part of it.

 

How the main characters react to awkward (non-romantic) situations always end up creating even more drama on top of the already existing layers it, and eventually resulting in more awkwardness. Well thank God it ain’t a pile of misunderstandings because that kind of drama makes me cringe hard.

When it comes to awkward little (romantic) seconds between a ‘couple’, some things could have easily been avoided with a pair of balls. There has been so many of those moments from the first seven episodes, they have made me thought about, ‘what if he didn’t chicken out’ or ‘what if she actually opens her mouth and say something instead of fearing the potential regret’.
It’s that simple: the main characters are already regretting about their past yet they fear about saying/doing something that they will potentially make them regret in the future.

These ‘flaws’ are employed just because they have to be done that way. They are not so much of flaws but actually the accumulation of a technique used in vast majority of main characters in anime — I personally call it ‘blank slate’. It is a surefire way of easy character developments as going from one-trait personality to five is definitely easier than adding an extra trait into an already strong personality — just take Hazuki’s hair as one big example of it. She was just your plain girl and all it took for her was to cut her hair. Then the boys go…

MORIKAWA!.gif

 

Having many almost blank slates sure have impacted the show in a way I would not consider to be surprising. The result?
I received a full frontal assault by Komiya Ena.
She is the definition of a character with strong personality right off the bat. To have her personality work in a typical romantic drama recipe, everyone else has to be somewhat weak compared to her. Taking account in the number of people on the Komiya ship, I consider it done successfully.

Why do I still feel like criticizing this aspect?
Imagine this: replace either Mio or Hazuki with Ena; you will actually see no dramatic moments as she will basically go with the flow with everything. Ena has yet to have regrets.
The other two ladies are mostly there just because the show needs to upkeep the drama tag.

Although, even if this is my sole major complaint, Just Because! actually handles the mess far better than most other shows of the same genre.

 


The Miscellaneous, from me!

 

This section is back after having disappeared from two reviews in a row!

 

Favorite Episode – 8: “High Dynamic Range”

This is the episode where series director was furious and anxious about not having been able to fully complete the script for. But as it turned out, the lad has indeed outdone himself big time. Not only I got to see the main characters further open up themselves, there were a considerable amount of changes for them, it was too much of a wow factor for me. This episode worked as a throwback (not exactly a flashback) as well. And with some surprising philosophical human interactions (especially that between Eita and Ena) added, it was a truly heartfelt experience.

 

Favorite Character – Natsume Mio

I know this is not a popular opinion. While Ena is definitely the MVP of the show, Mio on the other hand is nearly everything I want to know of a typical high schooler. The already existing trope of doubtful heroine is masterfully applied onto her, but with an exhilarating, progressive story for our main heroine, Mio has definitely got into one of the better rides of character development. I really love looking at things that keep me thinking and Mio is really that one person who I eventually refused to look at with my judgmental personality.

 

Favorite Soundtrack – A yet to be named, beautiful piano track!

I will not deny on how this track screams Kimi no Na Wa. at me.

This was played in episode 8 as well, adding to the heartfelt experience.

 

Favorite Moments At Any Given Time

The first one is right in the debuting episode. It is that quick baseball match between Haruto and Eita.

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Everything about this scene portrays ‘youth’, right from Haruto’s ulterior motives hidden away from Eita until the very last minute to the cheerful sounds of physical and emotional encouragement from a concert band piece ‘In Unison‘. It was a high point of the first episode and most definitely one of the most memorable climaxes of the show in its entirety.

Next up I have Puta being MVP.

Because leaving a cat to be your wingman is really possible.

 


 

Just Because! has proven that a collection of newfound talents can indeed create something not even veterans could be quick enough to imagine, and by that I mean you would have really expected another high school drama cliche where romance does not really have a place to fit in between. These people however, turned the anime taboo of cliche on its head and actually cook us an entirely different meal of the same bittersweet flavor. The production may have gone through some issues in its early moments but what matters is that they have tried; what matters even more is that they have gone further to actually succeeded. For a character-driven show with strong character chemistry, Just Because! should easily be unmissable to long-lasting admirers of drama genre, no matter if it is for anime or not.

 

Thank you for reading my final anime review from 2017. And for those who have watched the show before reading this review…

Just Because! End Card
Artist : Strangestone
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16 thoughts on “A bonus review for you, Just Because!

  1. To be honest, I was expecting this to be be something like True Tears (which I really do like) when I decided to pick it up “just because”, but I was pleasantly surprised. That is to say I loved how it all played out (regardless of who won). I’m now left wishing there was more to it and not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know right?!
      This is one of those few shows which I never cared about who wins in the romance game. But that could be mainly because of how this show doesn’t really boast romance tag as much as other romance shows; it has always been drama first and foremost.

      Like

  2. While this isn’t my usual type of story I found it oddly compelling for the most part. The ending worked enough but I don’t think this grabbed me enough that I’d ever rewatch it. Still, I enjoyed watching these characters go about their lives for a season and found a lot of the story oddly true to life.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the show.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s right! I haven’t talked about how this show doesn’t guarantee a rewatch from me, as its durability is weak compared to other ‘classics’.

      Thanks for reading and maybe I should talk about rewatchability in for anime shows…

      Like

  3. Well as usual I can’t see this one (yet) as it isn’t available for me here (yet) You see how I try to give myself hope by adding the word yet? 😂😂 This may have been a long review, but it was well written and great to read. I also loved what you did with the real life pictures vs the anime. Well done! It’s been a pleasure reading your blog this year. Looking forward to all the posts you will write in 2018! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Drama is usually thought provoking. And by having me write this much for a show, I could say that Just Because qualified as a decent drama.

      And eh, sometimes you HAVE to go pirate if licensor is inflexible. I’m lucky enough I didn’t have to for then most part.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your post was long but it was really good. I am new to the world of anime and manga so I am glad I found your blog because I want to know more. I have made sure to follow your blog to read more! Great post! It’s well written!

    Like

    1. Thank you and I’m glad that you enjoyed reading the post!
      Also, I do humbly welcome you to the borderless realm that is AMLNVN (Anime, Manga, Light Novel and Visual Novel because there is definitely more to anime than those two). Do check out others bloggers who drop by this blog too, as they are probably better if not equally great.

      Liked by 1 person

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