Synopsis: Somewhere in the school at noon, one might hear the sound of two girls playing table tennis together as they wait for time to pass by.
As if by fate, two students—Sakura Adachi and Hougetsu Shimamura—stumble upon each other on the second floor of the school gymnasium. As they gradually foster a budding friendship, their feelings for one another only become more ambiguous. Growing closer by the day, the two must learn to navigate their contrasting personalities as well as determine the depth of their affection for each other.
The nature of this relationship gradually shifts when one of them starts to develop feelings beyond the boundaries of a platonic relationship. Even so, Adachi and Shimamura must realize if forming a bond stronger than friendship will bring them closer or tear them apart.
Of course, here’s the obligatory part where I mention that I haven’t read the light novels or manga, so the following is solely based on the anime. 😛
I thought that maybe I’d find this anime a little more endearing the second time around, but that wasn’t the case at all. My biggest problem with the story of Adachi to Shimamura is that it takes the entire season for a tiny bit of progress to be made in Adachi and Shimamura’s relationship. For far too long, it feels like they’re going around in circles, or worse, going backwards in their relationship. “Romance” is listed among the genres, but compared to almost every other yuri anime, this show did practically nothing for me. Watching in agony as Adachi works up the courage to ask Shimamura to hang out isn’t my idea of romance. Neither is something as simple as them holding hands. In episode two, I found it nice, then the whole process of Adachi being too shy and Shimamura being too dense kicked in, and things are almost exactly the same by the end of the show.
Maybe I could forgive some of this if I found their interactions to be really cute, but those moments were also too few and far between for me. I’ll admit that my frustration at the lack of progress probably played a part in that, but plenty of cute moments were often followed up by prolonged stretches of not much happening. The attempts at comedy didn’t resonate with me either. The same can be said of the drama. When Tarumi showed up, I thought she might provide some much-needed energy to this anime, yet that didn’t happen, and her scenes together with Shimamura were a slog to get through. So let me tally things up from my perspective. Romance? Nope. Drama? Nuh uh. Comedy? Negative. So what does Adachi to Shimamura do well, you might ask. Maybe everything is more believable and relatable than what you’d find in some other yuri anime. Relatable as some parts of the show may be, I think that may have come at the expense of entertainment, or at least that’s the way I see it.
Some yuri anime like Bloom Into You and Aoi Hana did a pretty good job of balancing “realism” and “entertainment”, but I think Adachi to Shimamura may be too much of the former and not enough of the latter. For those two other anime, there was a thoughtfulness and maturity about their stories that I think is lacking with AdaShima. And speaking of lacking in other areas…
Predictably, neither Adachi nor Shimamura did all that much to help the pacing of the story. Between her shyness and procrastination, Adachi was the frustration factory that set the tone for the entire show. I’m sure plenty of people (including yours truly) could relate to some of her thoughts, but her reluctance to act on them was so depressing to watch. I usually like the socially awkward characters, though I didn’t feel like Adachi had enough personality to overcome this anime’s issues. I didn’t feel bad for her when she was struggling to get closer to Shimamura, nor did I find her very enjoyable to watch, so it’s just a whole lot of dissatisfaction from me, isn’t it? 😀
As for Shimamura, she should also shoulder plenty of blame for the horrid pacing of this show. If they were in the same situation, I think an overwhelming majority of people would recognize Adachi’s efforts, but not Shimamura. She was so dense, yet there were times that Shimamura seemed to know that there was more to Adachi’s actions/words than she was letting on, but over and over again, she did nothing to change the status quo. I’m even more indifferent about Shimamura than I was about Adachi, so it’s just an all-around bad situation for these characters.
Like Adachi and Shimamura, Hino and Nagafuji usually seem like girlfriends, but their involvement in the show was almost negligible. I got a better sense of romance between those two than I did of the two main characters, yet they serve little purpose in the story. They just occasionally join Adachi and Shimamura to hang out, and that’s that. Their bickering was kind of fun, and their forehead kisses did more scratch that yuri itch of mine than any amount of lap pillows could, so I would have liked to have seen Hino and Nagafuji in more meaningful situations.
And then there’s Yashiro, who I wasn’t a fan of at all. Early on, when she was still in her space suit, I thought she was unusual and interesting, but that didn’t last too long. It wasn’t long before I grew tired of her, and I would’ve preferred if she wasn’t even involved at all. I guess she’s supposed to be the comic relief, yet I definitely didn’t find her funny, and she felt too out of place for my taste. When little’s happening between the main characters, I suppose someone needs to pick up the slack, but I was annoyed by her more than anything, so you get the idea. 😛
On a brighter note, AdaShima has a generally pleasant aesthetic that I enjoyed quite a bit. I didn’t expect that much when I learned that Tezuka Productions was the studio involved, and while it’s nothing out of the ordinary, I think the look fits the vibe of the show very well. There was a little more fanservice than I expected, and that mostly was the result of some suggestive thigh shots, but I guess every anime has to have those these days. The music was actually pretty nice, and given the underwhelming events that were often happening on-screen, I found myself noticing and appreciating the music a lot more than I thought I would.
A yuri anime that debuts in a world already inhabited by the likes of Bloom Into You, Asagao to Kase-san., and Citrus has a lot to live up to in order to satisfy yuri fans, and in my opinion, Adachi to Shimamura just didn’t live up to the hype. It almost feels like this is the equivalent of a three or four-episode anime arc that got stretched out into twelve episodes, and the lack of story development and genuine romance made me feel like this was a big waste of time.
+ Has that unmistakable yuri vibe
+ Can be cute at times
+ At least it’s not Netsuzou TRap
– Brutally slow pacing
– Very uneventful
– Would a second season be this boring?
Total Enjoyment: 6