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I think everyone knows already that I am a huge fan of moe slice of life animes. The “cute girls doing cute things” cliche is pretty much my jam. But that doesn’t mean I’m contented with it. It would be nice to see some moe SoL with some substance, and I think I found one through Slow Start.


Type: TV
Episodes: 12
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 7, 2018 to Mar 25, 2018
Premiered: Winter 2018
Studios: CloverWorks
Source: 4-koma manga
Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, School
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older
Synopsis: Hana Ichinose is a normal 16-year-old high school student. However, there is something different about her: She enrolled in high school one year late! Her classmates are unaware of this, and Hana will have to work hard to catch up with everyone else. (MAL)

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Slow Start took me by surprise. I didn’t expect this anime would have this much potential. For a cliche anime, viewers would expect the usual, but this anime delivers a different kind of story that could actually move people and relate. I mean, I did, so would you.

The story revolves around the premise: gap year. Usually in a moe anime, this kind of serious premise would be shove to the side and we would only see alot of fluffs and typical tropes of this genre. But this anime was different, the premise was taken seriously and was expanded in a right way. Experiencing a gap year sucks very much. I, myself, experience it and its not a easy matter, but that’s a topic for another time. The amount of anxiety and worry affects the person experiencing it and the people around him/her. And here in Slow Start, we get to see those effects and experiences, and also see how the characters evolve and overcome them. Very relatable, right?

Of course, a “cute girls doing cute things” moe SoL anime is not complete if there’s no fluff and lighhearted moments. And yes, this series have it too. But what makes this series above than the rest was the balance. The balance between the fluff and the serious premise, its pretty much similar as to how we should approach life. It helps alot to be exposed in a happy and supportive environment, especially if you are going through some stuff. It proves that this series is not just any out there, but it has content to show off.

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To properly tell the story, of course, the amazingness of the casts is greatly needed. Slow start has an interesting and colorful characters that are not one-sided and at some point, real. Each one of them follows a certain archetype, I tell you that, but all of them have rich personalities that you can’t help but like. Usually, there’s some characters that I would dislike, but in here, I LIKE EVERYONE. Hehehe.

Let me give you a brief idea why I like the casts.

First off, Hana, the main character. She’s a really really relatable character. She worries alot, tend to overthink things and the way she approach the situations speaks loudly that she has high anxiety. I can’t really say if she already had all those traits before the gap year, but its quite clear that those traits of hers became worse cuz of the said event. And you can’t blame her, even Hana thinks that these traits of hers are stupid but she can’t stop them. It takes time to overcome them, and we were able to see them here in this anime. She’s literally taking small baby steps, slowly but surely get out of her shell through the support of her family and friends. And I admire her for that.

And well, cuz the main character is taking “baby steps”, it can’t be helped that the series is not fast-paced nor full of explosive moments. The story takes time to develop and bruh, what do you expect from a title called, “Slow Start”?

Lol.

But those negative traits doesn’t just define her. Hana is also really kind, honest and genuine. Through out the series, those traits started to shine, even the other characters take notice and appreciate them. It’s a sign of her growth, everyone.

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Anyway, let’s move on.

Of course, in a series that is moe slice-of-life where its mostly girls, its impossible for it not to have some yuri-baiting. Ha! Yep, in the main cast, we actually have the flirt queen, Eiko. She’s a crush-magnet, and literally makes girls rethink their sexuality. She’s on a different level. All through out the series, we get to see alot of sides to her, and its quite clear she’s aware of her magnetic ability. To be honest, I really thought she’d be the least developed and just stay as the chick-magnet, cuz I would still like that, but no. She actually meets someone who could go up against her and sweep her off of her feet, and that was quite interesting. Well, I mean, she was already a great character. A person who acts like a real teenager, loves fashion and socialize well with people. Its her flirtatious nature that’s add alot of richness to her personality, after all, she created that facade cuz she can and she enjoys it. But beneath it all, she seemed to long for something. So seeing someone she thinks would fill that void was really interesting to watch. Ugghh, but that’s just me and my see-through eyes. Lol.

It wasn’t just Eiko doing the yuri-baiting, in the main casts, pairs were developed. Hana-Tama, Eiko-Kamu, and lastly, Shion-Hiroe. For Tama, she’s the genki type and also the otaku one. Even though she’s the most cliche character ever, she’s actually really responsible and legit knows how to communicate. I mean, her being an otaku is totally not cringey and she knows her stuff. She’s naturally a hyper kid and loves to enjoy life. She also doesn’t forget her responsibilities at home and as a friend. Totally different from any genki stupid characters from other animes. Well for Kamu, she’s the least developed. She’s really cute and is a loli. She also fawns around Eiko, which was at first weird, but its her personality. She might be somewhat useless, but she adds alot of color and flavor to the dynamics of the group.

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Now for the older characters in the main cast, I didn’t expect Shion would have that much importance to the series. She was Hana’s cousin and was there all through out the dark times of Hana. She was there for her and supported her greatly, even though she’s also going through some stuff too. Seeing the growth of Hana made her motivated too and think of her future, and that itself is quite touching. For Hiroe, she had a similar case with Hana but alot worse cuz she’s a total shut-in. Upon meeting Hana, she became aware of her worse self and wanted to change. Her development wasn’t really seen much, but we did see some glimpse of improvement as she takes small steps in coming back to the social world. Seeing these two change and slowly move forward shows the influence of Hana’s motivation to them. It shows that you are not just changing and improving yourself, but also the people around you.
With these amazing casts, of course the character interactions were totally amazing. You can feel their genuine fun and lively conversations, its like they really are friends. The topics they talk about are really grounded and mundane, to a point, you can tell that even you and your friends would have that kind of conversation. Lol. Their jokes, silly comments and sarcastic responses were really funny too, they are all well-timed and can totally bring chuckle to the audience.

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Another best thing of this series was the art & animation. When I first saw it last January, I was amazed with how smooth and flowy the movements of the characters are. You can’t see any budgeted cuts or shorcuted animations, and that’s pretty incredible. I also like the soft color palette of the art and really cute character designs of the casts. It fits well with the personalities and the premise of the series. Its also not painful in the eyes.

I think my only complain about of the series was the prolonging of Hana’s confession to her friends. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand the why, it just frustrates me cuz I won’t see her friends reactions and how would Hana spill her secret in an anime. I know it takes time…I’m just..frustrated. That’s all. Heh.

Anyway.

Overall, I could really say that Slow Start blew me away. It’s not like any other moe SoL animes out there and I don’t think there would ever be the same as this one. From the story to the characters to the animation, everything was amazing. I think I just found a new favorite anime. Ooohohohoh.

Thanks for reading.

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PS: Oh man, its been a while since I made a long review of an anime. This…is refreshing XD. I think this is the result of always doing quick reviews. Heh. Even though my mac is still laggy and is testing my patience, I find ways I guess. I might make more of these long ass reviews in the future, and if you dont like it, I’m sorry. I can’t helped it. Lel.

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