Let’s take a minute to look back on a time long, long ago when we actually had some yuri anime to look forward to every week. Okay, so it wasn’t really that long ago, but given how bare the spring anime season is, it feels like it. 😛
Synopsis: One day, fifth-grader Hinata Hoshino brings her friend Hana Shirosaki to her house, and Hinata’s sister Miyako, a college student, falls in love with Hana at first sight. Miyako manages to get along with Hana somehow, but her clumsy behavior and shyness make Hana wary. Even so, Hana gradually opens up to Miyako, who wants to become closer to her.
I feel like we’ve talked about this many times before, but let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat. WataTen follows the perplexing trend of an age gap romance between an adult and a child, and I suspect that for most people, that fact is bound to overshadow everything else about this anime. Because of that, it’s incredibly easy to lump this in with Happy Sugar Life and UzaMaid, yet compared to those two other shows, WataTen is a little more subdued and mild. That doesn’t magically make the situation okay, but over time, that relationship isn’t the sole focus of the show, so there are other things going on with the story.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about how surprisingly enjoyable it is to see Miyako have to deal with all of these feisty little girls. We rarely see Miyako away from the girls, and given how shy she normally is around others, I guess that’s understandable. The relationships between Miyako and the girls help give this anime a little bit of heart, so the everyday activities that the group does together sort of gives them a dysfunctional family vibe.
The fun and games the girls play are enjoyable enough, and I tend to like it when these types of shows do something a little different, and that’s what happens during the final episode when the girls perform a school play. It’s a really cute scene, and it goes to show that there’s more to this show than just “grown woman preys on child”, and if need be, it could survive without that just fine. So aside from the obvious set-up, this story more or less resembles your typical slice of life anime, and that’s enough for me.
Okay, now we that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about the characters. To me, they’re probably the best thing about this anime.
Compared to her contemporaries (Tsubame and Satou), Miyako comes off as a lot more likable, and given how normal she is (besides that whole liking little girls part), it’s not that hard to see why. Miyako actually seems like a great sister, and at the very least, she’s a fun playmate for Hinata and the other girls. She isn’t the raging lolicon caricature that the other loli lovers are, and I like that about Miyako.
Of the three main little girls, Hinata has to be my least favorite, just because she doesn’t quite have the standout personality of Noa, and because the unfortunate position Hana finds herself in also puts an emphasis on her personality. I probably already spoiled it, but Noa has to be my favorite. Just like Karen Kujou and TOSHINO KYOUKO (although she isn’t as great as those two), Noa follows in the tradition of exuberant blonde girls, and as adorable as Hana and Hinata are, to me, Noa is undoubtedly the cutest.
Although I don’t think she’s the cutest, Hana also made a positive impression on me, mostly due to the fact that she doesn’t come across as a helpless victim kind of like Misha did in UzaMaid. Yeah, Miyako plays a part in that, but Hana definitely stands up to her… unless Miyako can entice her with sweets. Besides that, Hana usually seems surprisingly mature, and that’s a very welcome development.
Fortunately, Miyako x Hana isn’t the only ship WataTen has going for it. Midway through the season, we come to meet Kokou, Miyako’s stalker from high school. Now this is a relationship I can get behind. Besides each of them being very awkward in their own way, Miyako and Kouko are roughly the same age, so that’s already a major upgrade from Miyako x Hana. But, Miyako doesn’t even remember Kouko, so comedy is all we get from these two creepsters. *sigh*
Apart from those two, during the school play, Hana and Hinata’s characters fall in love, so that’s another not so subtle sign that this anime definitely embraces the gayness. Of course, there really isn’t anything between Hana and Hinata, but that was still fun. Speaking of fun, the little movie date between Hinata and Noa was also kind of fun. Not as fun as the movie date between Kyouko and Chinatsu in Yuru Yuri, but still fun nevertheless.
And then there’s Kanon and Koyori. They’re friends of the main trio, and even though they’re just as young, they sometimes resemble a couple themselves. Their handholding is adorable, and most of the time, they’re pretty much inseparable. So while Miyako and the girls can’t compete with some of the other casts from other slice of life anime, I have to say that I ended up liking them more than I thought I would, and they’re a fun little bunch.
Coming from Doga Kobo, it’s no surprise that WataTen looks so heckin’ adorable. You can say that about most slice of life anime, but WataTen takes it to the nth degree, and it’s absurd how cute these girls are. Given how simplistic the art style is, there isn’t much else for this anime to fall back on from a visual standpoint, yet I think that’s all you really need in an anime like this. Long story short, if you’re simply looking for cute girls doing cute things, you’re probably not going to find that many anime that are cuter than this, so you’re bound to like what you see, even if it is nothing fancy.
There was music in this anime? It didn’t make much of an impression on me at all, so if you’ve ever seen a cute girls doing cute things anime before, that’s what you’re in for, and that’s pretty much all there is to say about it. 😛
All in all, it’s easy to overlook how, if you can look past the child predator qualities, there’s actually a fairly entertaining slice of life anime to be found in WataTen. Thanks largely to UzaMaid and Happy Sugar Life my expectations for this anime were pretty low, but much to my surprise, this isn’t a bad anime, so fans of cute girls doing cute things have another decent anime to check out here. It certainly helps that WataTen has its fair share of yuri, and not just the illegal/morally questionable type, so it was more than adequate enough to warrant a watch from me.