From adolescence to adulthood, there is honestly no greater feeling in the world than finding a soul whom we can form a special connection with. In due course, if this kinship ends up being something ~more, then that would be merrier. But as long as these friends continue to walk alongside us, this is what matters most. In this review, we check out one of 2020’s heart-warming anime series: ADACHI AND SHIMAMURA.
Based on the light novel series written by Hitoma Iruma, ADACHI AND SHIMAMURA revolves around two high school students, Adachi Sakura and Shimamura Hougetsu. On one coincidental yet fateful day, these two students individually decided to skip class and ended up encountering each other on the gym’s second floor. And from that day onwards, Adachi and Shimamura began to spend a lot of time together.
At first glance, one would interpret Adachi and Shimamura as a yuri romance anime. But it’s not the kind of yuri story that we were expecting. While there might be some ‘creative’ fantasies every now and then, this yuri anime is tame and innocent — and we admire the way the story carries itself without having to adhere to society’s thirsty expectations.
For the first half of the story, we see the blossoming start of a friendship between two rebellious girls. Funnily enough, these two girls couldn’t be any more different. On one end, Adachi has an extremely introverted personality who can be anti-social and eccentric in her timid ways. Before meeting Shimamura, Adachi is often perceived as cold and distant which made it difficult for her to socialise with people at school. Shimamura, on the other hand, is more outgoing and expressive, and as a result, people are easily pulled towards her. However, we later discover that Shimamura tends to disguise her introverted personality as a way to ‘go with the flow’ and please people.
Perhaps it is the euphoric adrenalin of skipping classes that made the two girls bond quickly. But like magnetic forces, these two girls quickly found comfort and warmth in each other’s presence. As if encased in their own bubble, everything is simple and natural between them. Adachi and Shimamura’s bond captures the essence of youth — an era of dreamy times; uncertainty; and heart-stopping moments driven by hormones. Unlike their interactions with other peers, there was no need to act indifferent or walk on eggshells. Whether it is playing table tennis or talking about cicadas or sitting in mere silence, Adachi and Shimamura’s friendship is the epitome of a wonderful kinship.
Produced by Tezuka Productions – aka the infamous studio behind Astro Boy and Black Jack — Adachi and Shimamura is one of their unique animated series to date. And surprisingly, long-time Tezuka Productions director Satoshi Kuwabara has done a credible job in highlighting the special relationship between the girls.
For a majority of the scenes in the series, the visuals are often illustrated with a variation of highly saturated colours and soft, blurred filters. Accompanied by close-up angles on their facial expressions and dreamy background music, we appreciate the way the anime visually paints the growing bond rather than always relying on the dialogue to tell the story.
But amongst the colours and blurs, there was one cinematographic technique that stood out the most on the canvas: Satoshi Kuwabara’s use of panning the camera in and out at the end of every episode. Not only does it make that final scene more pronounced than usual but it leaves the audience with excitement and fuzzy-warm feels for the next episode — you’ll see what we mean when you watch it.
Although there are mysteries in the story that needs to be answered (such as the ‘astronaut’), the biggest mystery lies with Adachi and Shimamura’s friendship. As we continue to embark on this journey with the girls, Adachi discovers that she harbours unique ‘feelings’ for Shimamura.
What are these feelings? Why does she feel the way she does? Does Shimamura feel similar vibes?
Whilst this ongoing strife is constantly consuming Adachi’s mind, we also get an insight into Shimamura’s mind as well. However, to our disappointment, Shimamura appears to be ignorantly unaware of Adachi’s growing feelings despite experiencing gut sensations that Adachi wants more than a simple friendship.
Is their friendship more than what appears on the page? Or is it all an illusion despite the subtle flirts and exchanged conversations? For Adachi’s sake, we can only hope that her feelings aren’t one-sided and that Shimamura will eventually reciprocate her feelings. But in the meantime, as long as their companionship exists, it was more than enough for them. For now.
OVERALL: ADACHI AND SHIMAMURA is a lovely coming-of-age story between two good friends that should satisfy yuri fans. Although nothing eventful happens in the story and there isn’t an obvious display of romance between the girls, Adachi and Shimamura still manages to tell a compelling story from start to finish. As an anime viewer, it is always good to see more representation and conversations about yuri romance — and Adachi and Shimamura is definitely a good example of such relationships.
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