Anime, Shows

Adachi and Shimamura: The LGBTQ+ Romance Anime That Disappoints

Anime Review (with spoilers!!):

Adachi and Shimamura Season 1

Rating: 4 out of 10 stars

Overview:

Pros

  • Beautiful animation
  • Attractive intro and outro
  • LGBTQ+ representation

Cons

  • Anti-climatic ending
  • One-sided love story
  • Shimamura is obnoxiously oblivious
  • I came to hate Shimamura as a character
  • Random stuff that was there for no apparent reason
  • Boring at times

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Review

Adachi and Shimamura Season 1 was released in 2020 and falls into the category of Yuri, a type of anime focusing on intimate relationships between girls or women.

I’ll start by looking on the bright side and explain what was good about this anime first. I like the intro and the music included in it. The outro was also pretty even though I liked the intro better.

Intro of Adachi and Shimamura

Even from the brief clip above you can see the difference in Shimamura and Adachi’s way of looking at each other. Shimamura thinks she is just having a good time with a friend, and the way Adachi is looking at her is with pure awe and love.

I started watching this anime because it was labeled Romance and featured two girls as main characters. I thought maybe this would be an anime with good LGBTQ+ representation. My expectations were high, but the anime was disappointing.

The way Shimamura sees Adachi

A major problem with this being labeled as a romance is how Shimamura continually views Adachi–alternatively as just a friend, as a clingy puppy, and as a little sister. I don’t know how the heck she manages to be so oblivious. Yeah, they are just holding hands like friends. They are just cuddling on numerous occasions as friends. They are spending Christmas together, sleeping side by side, and exchanging chocolate on Valentine’s Day AS FRIENDS.

Adachi repeatedly shows discomfort at being called a little sister, and I don’t blame her. They are the same age, and there are few things more uncomfortable and scalding then having your crush say you are just like a sibling.

The sad thing is that Adachi guesses Shimamura sees her like a puppy and she is right. It’s just so frustrating. This may be a slow-burn romance, but even after 12 episodes it still seems entirely one-sided.

Adachi dreams of kissing Shimamura but doesn’t have the guts to. She almost kisses Shimamura while she is sleeping but decides that would be wrong, which I think is a testament to how she is a good person who is willing to respect boundaries.

Also, when Adachi hugs Shimamura suddenly, Shimamura’s reaction is always along the lines of “What are you doing? That’s weird. What is that about?” I mean if my friend suddenly hugged me I would be flattered but also concerned to make sure she or he was okay. Not just weirded out.

And after spending most of a year together being inseparable, Adachi disappears abruptly. Does Shimamura check in on her?

Nope. She figures some friendships aren’t made to last. This partially seems like psychological realism for Shimamura–she has always had trouble with lack of attachment and commitment, and almost seems to be depressed sometimes. But that reasoning doesn’t stop her from being hard to like.

The ending was basically Shimamura believing that Adachi sees her as a big sister figure while Adachi remains unable to confess her love. I expected more from the finale.

Honestly, Adachi deserves better.

Also, some stuff was there that just didn’t make sense–random stuff. A thirty second clip of a pedophile staring hungrily at a group of children at a pool. Shimamura shudders and moves on. Why was that necessary?

And then there is Yashiro, who is a 680-year-old alien girl who tends to dress as an astronaut and who is looking for a companion of hers. She becomes fast friends with Shimamura’s younger sister. At first it seems like she might be a kid with a wild imagination, but then she is shown to be capable of flight. Plus, her hair literally glows. Why does she even exist? This season offers no answers.

This anime is slow-paced and mundane, a slice of life with almost no conflict, real romance, or appeal. I would not recommend it to anybody. If you are looking for decent LGBTQ+ representation, try Arcane: League of Legends, RWBY, or best of all She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

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