Anime Review: Adachi to Shimamura

adachi to shimamura yuri anime


Year: 2020
Length: 12 Episodes
Genre: Romance, School, Slice of Life, Yuri
Studio: Tezuka Productions

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.


STORY

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…


CHARACTERS & YURI

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. 😛


ANIMATION & SOUND

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.


FINAL THOUGHTS

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.


POSITIVES

+ Has that unmistakable yuri vibe
+ Can be cute at times
+ At least it’s not Netsuzou TRap


NEGATIVES

– Brutally slow pacing
– Very uneventful
– Would a second season be this boring?


Story: 3
Characters: 5
Animation: 7
Sound: 7
Yuri: 7
Total Enjoyment: 6


17 thoughts on “Anime Review: Adachi to Shimamura

  1. I just never felt it was going anywhere. If there’s an arc, the curve was painfully slow. It had moments but the rest of the time it didn’t grab me. You’re right about Yashiro. She is like having Chekhov’s rifle on the wall and referring to it repeatedly but never actually doing anything with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just wanna say that i think that citrus is shit haha
    I did not finish watching this anime yet , asegao to kase san im not very fan of it but at least it is a billion light years ahead of citrus , im talking about the manga of kase san , have not watched the anime yet.
    I have stopped watching the anime of urasekai picnic , it is garbage compared to the manga.
    And on another type of manga , the spider isekai one is trash compared to the manga too haha
    Sigh , you mentioned you were reading the light novel? i think of urasekai , are you liking it? did you check the manga? (i know u said u usually do not read manga)

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    • The melodrama in Citrus was… not so great, but it was somewhat entertaining. Way back when, I actually started reading the manga, and I think I liked it more than the anime. That surprised me. 😀

      I really liked Kase-san. It was super cute and enjoyable to watch. You should try it sometime~

      Nah, I still don’t read anything. Nowadays, I’m barely even watching anything, so I need to get back on track pretty soon… 😀

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  3. This review is basically the opposite of how I feel in a lot of ways(well, alright, not all of it, but I did enjoy Adashima quite a lot, and I didn’t mind the lack of progress since I’ve already read the light novels. Yashiro was still annoying in the part adapted by the anime though). The biggest difference is that it feels like the review talks a lot about the plot, which for me is secondary to the characters in whatever I’m watching – and Adashima in particular is pretty much the characters. It’s essentially a story about almost nothing happening(especially the first half, which basically is what is in the anime), but in ways that are very well-written.

    But of course I realise not everyone will feel the same way (I mean, that would just be ridiculous) or be very into that 🙂 So instead of going on for ages about why I liked it, I’ll just say that for anyone who thought the anime was at least kind of interesting: read the light novels! Advantages over the anime include:

    – Very good writing for a light novel
    – More insight into Shimamura’s thought process(the anime prioritized Adachi a lot)
    – A few scenes that were skipped in the anime
    – Most importantly, they don’t end where the anime did(which was at the end of volume 4) 🙂 (which also is really close to one of the most famous scenes in the series and an arc that has something I think a fair amount of people wanted, so I’m personally hoping for a second season)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nellie,
      Wonderful comment! I am between a Rock and a Nellie place, on Adashima. I enjoyed it enough to go all the way with it, even looking forward to each EP. I understand your theory of sources, but I stay away from any story which sources another work of art because of bleed through. If one reads two different stories, when one is sourced on the other, it gets confusing because they are always different, sometimes in subtle or big ways, and its hard to keep track who did what to whom and when.
      Fred (Au Natural) above, mentioned that Yashiro is Chekhov’s Rifle, if Checkhov’s rifle mounted over the fireplace is seen in Act 1, it will be used in Act 3. A question to you without any spoiler detail needed, does Yashiro play a role in this story in the LN?
      Also we would like to exchange a private conversation with you about your writing. You can click on my WordPress user id, and that will take you to the Pywackett Website and Blog and the email address is clearly indicated.
      Very much enjoyed your comment here. I hope The Rock has more to say about it!
      FPP

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    • If I had started the light novels instead of the anime, I think my expectations would’ve been a little different. I guess after watching other yuri anime, I wanted something with a more immediate payoff, and the baby steps the characters took were kind of limited by the pacing.

      Maybe a second season would fix what was lacking with the first and get me to shut up about it. 😀

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  4. I really think this review is a bit harsh on this masterpiece. It’s rare to find yuri animes that actually show the struggle you feel when you are just discovering your feelings for a girl. I agree with you on the fact that it’s a slow paced anime but it’s actually way faster than the novels and I feel it’s quite realistic, it doesn’t assume all people are gay, it shows actual doubt about being liked or liking someone instead of the usual “I knew you were my destiny from the first time”, these girls have a family we see them interacting with, they are not magically matched since the beginning but we get to see how their relationship develops…

    Shimamura is a pain, yes; she makes everything quite hard but at the same I feel she’s even more real than Adachi. She’s this girl with no expectations of herself, who’s just trying to be chill. She’s not a yuri cliché, as you see her giving her perceptions you will easily relate her to a dear friend or even yourself some times. I think Adachi deserved better in many moments but since we’re pairing two introverted girls here… slowburn is to be expected. I loved Adachi’s struggle even if it was painful to watch, I felt like 16 again, lol.

    This anime has too much fanservice trying to compensate for the lack of kisses or even hugs but this might be quite controversial for some. I think on the visual aspect, this anime is very cute, not Yagate Kimi ni Naru level but still. I’m really excited to know there will be a season 2 because interesting things are gonna happen.

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    • I didn’t mind the first half of the season that much, so I thought at one point I might’ve been too harsh, but man it feels like everything that happened could’ve been adequately covered in a four-episode arc. I don’t mind a slow burn, but this felt really slow.

      The thought process of the characters seemed pretty relatable, but the lack of true romance made it too frustrating for me to enjoy that much. 😛

      There has to be more progress made in a potential second season, so I have a feeling I’d like it a lot more than the first. Guess we’ll have to wait and see if it ever happens. 😛

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  5. For me I enjoyed Adachi to Shimamura a lot, the pacing definitely was super slow and the LN is like that too iirc (it has been a while since I have read it). The moments we got were definitely cute and I could really relate to Adachi. I do hope we can get a second season so we can get more!

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    • Assuming that wasn’t a rhetorical question, it’s because the most popular yuri manga and light novel series tend to be pretty long, in most cases too long for anime anime adaption of them to reasonably get that far in a single season.

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  6. As a few other commenters have said, I actually appreciated the more realistic take on things. I like that these were clearly teenage girls who weren’t even sure who they were themselves, never mind what it would mean to be in a relationship. So often in yuri/romance series it’s blatantly obvious which characters are going to end up together and the steps to get there are just the usual, boiler plate tropey moments we’ve seen a million times. We don’t usually get to actually see inside the characters heads we get to in Adashima. While there wasn’t a lot of forward progress on the outside, I felt like there was a lot of progress internally for both of the characters. And, let’s be honest here, where Adashima ended isn’t really any that different than where most yuri (or even romance in general) series end up after a single season. It’s not like Adashima is alone in not ending with a completely committed, happy and physically involved couple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This comment is fairly close to my reaction to Season 1. But the choices made in the story telling are questionable. We have two significant characters introduced in Yashiro and Tarumi, and they take up a lot of story time, but nothing in S1 explains what they are doing in the story. Who is Yashiro? What was the relationship between Shimamura and Tarumi? Bloom into You is also highly incomplete, but the artists behind the anime took the story to at least a warm hearted resting place in the Aquarium date and especially the train ride home and S1 at least ends with some resolution which is a very small denouement. There is no ending at all in Adashima. S1 just stops. In the old days of anime, like Legend of the Galactic Heroes of the 1980’s, a pre-budget was provided for telling the entire story. In modern anime, we are seeing more and more stories just stop such that “We want a Season 2” becomes a constant concern and call-out. One theory of Land of the Lustrous (宝石の国, Hōseki no Kuni, lit. “Country of Jewels”), by an expert on business of Japanese storytelling is that the anime was made specifically to sell the manga! And it did! So will we get a S2 of Adashima?

      Like

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