Welcome back to the part where I would love to let you in on the reasons Adachi to Shimamura was chosen as the show I am keeping up with in Fall 2020.
It is technically a slice of life show with additional shoujo-ai sprinkles and subtle yet viable comedy. By all means this screams relaxation. A tried and true wind-down formula in anime medium can be once again seen exercising its attributes from start to finish. The show can and will most likely be energetic at times but is laxed for most of its run.
Now let us move onto the most important reason; the driving force of the show.
As the name suggests, the anime is about Adachi and Shimamura and it could not have been more sincere than that. The last time I was played the titular couple card by anime, I was left with a less than impressed feeling for years. I am not even going to save its face and tell you that Haruta & Chika did me unwanted injustice.
Back to Adashima — the show is really about them!
It is needless to add any other cheesy lines behind that title as far as the story in concerned, because whatever Adachi or/and Shimamura does/do, it is about them through and through.
So far I have only noticed two things that are going forward at a constant rate, one being the chemistry between Adachi and Shimamura and the other being that alien‘s (potential) involvement in the plot.
A little digging and I’ve found that she’s a crossover character of another work from the same author. Yashiro Hoshimiya can be found in Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko where she serves pretty much the same purpose.
Now. The chemistry between two main characters is a very strong standalone content. You can throw everything out of the show and just leave the two girls — it will still make up to half the reason anyone is here to watch at all.
Because it is common knowledge that a slice of life show means little to no plot, however any good show should be able to tell a story, to demonstrate the journey from start to finish even if the traveling distance is comparatively short. And no better way to do that than having characters that we can emotionally rely on to take us; it is like having your favorite vehicle on a trip.
And speaking of a trip, it started along the lines of this synopsis:
The second floor of the gym―this was where we always met. It was class time, but of course, there weren’t any classes going on in a place like this.
This was where Shimamura and I became friends. We hung out here―talking about TV shows and cooking, playing some ping pong… This is where we fostered our friendship.
Keeping my head propped against the wall, I let out a small sigh.
What was this feeling? Yesterday, I’d dreamt of me and Shimamura kissing.
Not that I’m like that. I’m sure Shimamura isn’t either. It’s not even something worth repeating myself about, but really, it’s not like that.
It’s just that when she hears the word “friend,” I want her to think of me first. That’s all.
The girls hit it off in a unique way, I’d say.
There are many reasons to skip class but playing Ping Pong is not among my top choices for sure.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is pacing, which the show is not at all subtle about being slow. Pretty much the entirety of the first episode gave me this tingling, romantic feel. Slow and steady yet transparent and assured. The girls, especially Adachi, is taking one step at a time…
Ah, that reminds me of a song by Jordin Sparks:
One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen and it’s
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time
Yuri is no exception to whatever things shall happen in real world and/or anime romance. If a couple wants to hug, the two people will hug; if they want to kiss, they will kiss. What makes Adashima “bearable” to me is the toned-down romance. I am not saying that straight-up couples-having-a-fuck yuri is gross but there is definitely more to a relationship you tend to find mostly in girl to girl friendships. Boys on the other hand are just soooooo simple and straightforward, though you will find some unicorns that can bend over at will.
Even though I am no homo and in a hetero-relationship with my girlfriend, I still feel as if homo-relationships hold extra meanings to them even if they are not in the slightest more special than the former. In the case of Adachi and Shimamura, they are not entirely set into the typical trope of a girl-girl couple in relationship where a obvious expectation would clearly be between a tomboy and an overly-girly girl.
And that is just about their possible relationship through rigorous chemistry. I have to yet tap into their simple and complex characters…
Adachi and (ambitionless) Shimamura
I will have you know that Adachi is not wrong for the most part. The anime adaptation takes narrative for a serious spin, giving us what even the original source material couldn’t convey. Most of it is in the form of inner dialogues.
I will have you know that I went to read eight volumes of the light novel after having published the previous post!
And my gawd. My instincts about the anime adaptation having pulled ahead is true. The novels were a dull read at best, with at least 70% of it being Shimamura’s dialogues to herself about what she thinks of her every actions and others’, like she is some beautiful narcissist. I really should not have spoiled myself like that. I was really going to write that I like Shimamura much more between the two.
Well, I now like her less, but still more than Adachi.
Not that there is anything wrong with Adachi — there is not.
Adachi is definitely going to be your “heroine” in the case of their alleged relationship. Trust me, you can see it in her red faces.
That said, it is only natural for fans to side with her and root for her. And the anime adaptation is doing her massive justice by giving her more narrative space, equal to that of Shimamura’s. So, apart from just being shy out of love for another girl, there is really nothing wrong with Adachi Sakura as a very simple character who grows to know more love as days go by.
Complexity lies within Shimamura Hougetsu. A quick google at her name (島村 抱月) will link you directly to a real life Japanese as the name is an intentional copy-paste!
Shimamura Hougetsu (the real person, at least) was a shingeki theater director, playwright, translator, critic, and one of the foremost leaders of the modernist movement in Japanese theater in the 1910s.
Once again my Japanese friend jumps into the blogging scene! (Actually I called for his help, hahaha…)
Without Kyra here anymore I am having trouble guessing the multiple layers within Kanji names. And believe me when I say that even a typical Japanese person cannot figure out naming conventions used in anime. He was however able to tell me that seeing that name made him say “hug” and “moon”, so take that as a (romantic) hint if you will.
Interestingly, this show can also be about Shimamura learning to accept a girl’s love as she had always been passive to just about everything in her life, hence the need for Adachi to call her out for lack of ambition.
Well, that is funny coming from a delinquent indeed. Aren’t they supposed to be the tomboyish ones?
Adashima is really pulling my leg big time.
And for someone with no ambition, Shimamura slapped the delinquent Adachi back with some hopeful reality when being asked to skip more classes.
The anime adaptation of Adachi to Shimamura is up in the impressive level. It remains only partly predictable due to alterations made when transitioning from the light novel to anime medium. Just when I thought it would be long until I see the next work putting up same level of satisfying adaptation as Saekano, a low-profile studio surprised me.
Thank you for reading my early take on the show.
Let us anticipate the incoming feels.