It’s time for the first episodic review on this blog!
I decided to watch a couple anime from Winter 2019 on a weekly basis, first of which is Pastel Memories. Watching anime like this is something I’ve never done – I’ve always binged anime one at a time, so this will be a little different for me.
Let’s talk about Pastel Memories Episode 1!
I believe spoilers are par for the course with episodic reviews, so I shouldn’t have to write a warning for each episode, but I’ll hint at it here anyways.
Episode 1 was quite the episode. It left me wondering if the synopsis I had read and the trailer I had watched were wrong. I wish I could provide a good synopsis for what’s going on, but it really didn’t feel like much had happened!
The premise so far is that otaku culture has died in Japan, with anime / manga related business slowing down to a halt. Akihabara seems to be full of shops and cafes that went out of business (I sense a good real estate / business opportunity here…). We spend the episode following a group of girls who work at what I imagine is one of the few anime / manga cafes left, presumably owned by someone who is wealthy enough to keep
nine twelve girls on staff and pay the rent (although maybe rent is cheaper now that Akihabara is a ghost town?) considering the cafe gets no customers.
The majority of the episode is spent following 9 of the girls as they search the town for the complete collection of a manga called “Welcome to the Rabbit Cafe!”, which coincidentally happens to be similar to the name of the cafe that the girls work for. I was beginning to think that this was a slice of life anime watching this play out, and maybe it is, I don’t really know for sure.
What I do know is that the entire first episode turned out to be one giant cold opening. I understand that many anime skip the OP and play it at the end of the first episode, but this first episode felt like a real cold opening. The entire time I was wondering why the episode felt so slow, and then right at the very end it is revealed to us that the girls aren’t just employees of a failing cafe, but also something more than that. Using the grandfather clock or this magic flying rabbit, I’m not sure which, I guess the girls can teleport somewhere that lets them fight a “virus” that I imagine is what killed otaku culture.
The anime then ends with what I’m thinking is the OP.
I enjoy the song choice for the OP, and the OP also gives us a glimpse at who I imagine will be the villain for the series. She looks pretty cool though – I spy an epaulette and imperial style military cap! Very cool, looking forward to her introduction.
It feels odd not being able to just continue watching!
Maybe the villain is purposely using a magical virus to destroy otaku culture for nefarious business purposes? Knock down all of the businesses in Akihabara, buy up the cheap property, and then somehow make some serious profits? Something like this. This is what I would probably do if I was the villain.
More likely though it’ll be some emotional reason like that otaku culture hurt the villain somehow, or maybe her boyfriend stopped paying attention to her or something thanks to anime / manga. Maybe she is just doing it for fun. Either way she probably has some reason for hating otaku culture.
I think episode 1 was pretty slow, considering the entire episode was a cold opening. I feel like if you are going to do this, you should make the episode twice as long and just air episodes 1 and 2 together, although I understand why this couldn’t be done because of broadcasting times and whatnot. Next best alternative would be to just open up the anime around halfway through I think.
My problem with using a cold opening like this is that the first episode is supposed to introduce people to the series – catch their interest and keep them coming back for more. This episode doesn’t exactly do this. I can see what they were going for, trying to generate a bunch of intrigue at the very end of the episode so you want to tune in to episode 2, but it also feels a bit irritating having to watch an entire episode just to get to what essentially felt like a cliffhanger.
I’m also a tad concerned with the cast being 12 girls. It’s a lot of characters to pack into a 12 episode anime. I wonder if I’ll actually remember all of their names by the time the anime is over. Going to try and list a new name each post to help with this.
First is the pink haired girl, Izumi, who we followed for a good portion of this episode.
I don’t remember any other names so far.
Anyways despite this first episode being on the slow side, I’m sticking with this one till the end. All I can hope for is some action with episode 2! Pastel Memories episode 1 felt like an extended teaser, so let’s just wait and see what the next episode brings us.
I still think this anime could end up being a lot of fun. I decided to follow this series for cute girls in steampunk outfits and some lighthearted action. Episode 1 didn’t deliver, but I think the rest of the anime still shows promise to fulfill what I was looking for.
Until next time!
Thanks for reading.