If you thought you’d have to wait for another season of Kiniro Mosaic to get your fix of Alice, Aya, Karen, Shino, and Youko, I’m happy to tell you that you’re wrong. Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days brings the girls to the big screen, but is it enough to quench the thirst of moe fans the world over?
With the school festival on the horizon, Shino is tasked with writing the script and designing costumes for a play involving Class A. This is a tall order for someone like Shino, so the rest of the girls rally around her and offer their support. It’s during this show of support that Aya starts to reminisce about how some of these friendships first started.
As you might be able to surmise from that synopsis, Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days‘ focus mostly lies on the long-standing friendships between Shino, Youko, and Aya. We get to see the beginnings of their friendship in middle school, how they banded together to pass their entrance exams, and how their friendship ultimately kept them from drifting apart. For a series not really known for its seriousness, it’s a welcome departure that strikes a nice balance of sweet nostalgia mixed into the typical lighthearted playfulness that we’ve come to expect from KinMoza. The story culminates with the “Your Hair is Gold” play (that’s so like Shino), and even though I don’t think it measured up to season one’s mini musical or season two’s magical girl battle, it was still a pretty nice way to close out the movie. Thanks a lot for your contribution, Karen. 😛
Speaking of the format, I’m somewhat disappointed that this movie is a mere fifty minutes long, which sort of makes it more like a glorified OVA than an actual anime movie. I hope we see a full-fledged Kiniro Mosaic anime movie at some point, and here’s an idea. In the future, perhaps the girls can all travel to visit Karen and Alice’s old stomping grounds in England, K-On! Movie-style? Until something like that happens, we’ll just have to be content with Pretty Days, which gives us a cute story of friendship that I think fans of the series will enjoy~
With the whole cast back for another go-round, it’s predictably another very good score in the ‘Characters’ category, but let’s discuss these characters in a bit more detail.
Let’s cut right to the chase. There isn’t nowhere near enough Karen in this movie. One of the easiest ways to gauge fan interest in specific characters is by visiting their character page on MyAnimeList. I’ll save you the time and let you know that Karen, far and away, has the most member favorites out of anyone in the series with 1,170. Aya (260), Alice (110), Youko (65), and Shino (35) combined can’t come close to the love that Ms. Kujou’s been given on there, so it’s really a shame that she doesn’t have a bigger role in Pretty Days. She—in addition to Alice—are all but excluded during the extended flashback scenes, and even though she has a few memorable moments, for me, they’re few and far between. Needless to say, this also negatively affects the number of scenes with the girl that everyone loves to ship Karen with, Honoka. There’s hardly any interaction between the two, and after seeing their burgeoning friendship in Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, this is a bitter pill to swallow.
Moving on to something a bit more positive, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think Aya is cuter than ever, and that’s saying quite a lot. She’s always been my second-favorite character in this series—behind the one and only Karen Kujou—yet this “starring role”, if you will, just hammers home what a great character she is. Unlike Karen x Honoka, there’s no shortage of Aya x Youko, even if Shino is present for most of their scenes together. I wouldn’t say that there’s any actual progression in their relationship, but seeing a bit of their backstory was nice, as is realizing the extent of their friendship. And because of the Ayaya love, a lot of people overlook Youko, but she’s a pretty good character, in her own right. Like Aya and Shino, I think Youko’s as likable as ever here, and I never get tired of her interactions with Aya~
The one remaining pairing, Shino x Alice, probably fall somewhere in between Karen x Honoka and Aya x Youko in terms of screen time, and personally, I don’t really have a problem with that. Remembering those MAL numbers that I mentioned earlier, I guess I’m in the minority when I say that Alice is my least favorite character in KinMoza, and I find her as annoying as she is adorable. I like the fact that she’s so hung up on Shino, but to me, those two just pale in comparison to Aya and Youko. I definitely prefer Shino a bit more than Alice, and just like how it was with Aya and Youko, this movie helped me appreciate Shino a little more. She’s still as into blondes as she ever was, and when we’re not seeing her in her middle school years, that her love of blondes gets a decent amount of play, which is always welcome.
As for the final two remaining important characters, Karasuma-sensei and Kuzehashi-sensei also make appearances in Pretty Days, but since they’re both high school teachers, their roles are somewhat limited, and that’s especially true in Kuzehashi’s case. That’s unfortunate, but I guess it can’t be helped, given the way that the story is told. So overall, all of these characters are as great as ever, but with the amount of screen time given to Aya, Shino, and Youko, I don’t think everyone will love seeing less of some characters that they might have grown to love. It’s probably not as big an issue as I’m making it out to be, because, Karen and Alice included, there are still plenty of very fun moments that further the notion that this is easily one of the most enjoyable casts in the slice of life genre~
Visually-speaking, Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days is pretty much identical to Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, so don’t expect much, other than critical levels of moe, of course. Barring a change in studio (like what happened with Yuru Yuri), I doubt that the general look of any future installments in this series will look much different than what we’ve grown accustomed to, which really isn’t a bad thing at all. This is all about cute girls doing cute things, and what it may lack in visual punch, it makes up for with adorableness~
One thing I’ve always loved about Kiniro Mosaic are the OPs, and Pretty Days adds another one that features the horns, just like every other KinMoza OP. It’s a sound that’s instantly familiar, and I can’t help but enjoy the hell out of this one, too. The music alternates between cheery and melancholic, and like fellow slice of lifer GochiUsa, the music from this series is just really pleasant to listen to. You don’t really see much variation in the production values of the slice of life genre, and that applies here as well. Luckily, this series has always been above average in that regard, and this movie does nothing to change that.
If you’ve enjoyed either season of Kiniro Mosaic—or just cute girls doing cute things in general—then you’re going to like Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days. It’s really as simple as that. With the format change comes less time to feature everyone and everything that people have come to love about the series, so the streamlining of relationships, as well as the budgeted screen time of certain characters, may prevent some from loving this as much as the excellent second season, but it’s still very much a satisfying experience that further adds to the franchise’s positive reputation.