Genres: Slice-of-Life, Comedy
Aired: Jul 2013 to Sept 2013
Also known as: Kinmosa, Kin-iro Mosaic, Kin’iro Mosaic, きんいろモザイク, KINMOZA!
Synopsis: Oomiya Shinobu once left Japan to participate in a homestay in England. During her time there, she became close friends with Alice Cartelet, the daughter of the family she was living with. However, when it was time for Shinobu to return to Japan, the two were able to express their sorrow despite the language barrier between them.
Five years later, now a first year student in high school, Shinobu receives a letter by air mail in a language she does not understand. This letter is penned by none other than Alice, detailing her own homestay in Japan. In fact, Alice will be attending Shinobu’s high school and living with her! Alongside their friends, Inokuma Youko, Komichi Aya, and Kujou Karen, the five girls learn about what their different cultures have to offer, day after day.
Review: The problem I have with Kinmosa is that the main ship, Shinobu x Alice, is boring. I dislike how Alice is too much of a child who happens to be overly possessive of Shinobu. Meanwhile, I consider Shinobu’s affection for Alice to be too weak – she’d probably accept anyone who has blonde hair and blue eyes. How can these two be considered an OTP?
However, there’s three other reasons to consider watching Kinmosa (in my opinion). First of all, the other girls in the main ensemble are rather likable. Youko isn’t bad, especially considering how she’s a kind girl who also does most of the retorts, but Ayaya and Karen carry the show due to they’re both quite amusing. However, Karen is the typical foreigner-blonde-with-terrible-Japanese that pops up in these show every so often.
Since the main hook for this show are characters that aren’t necessarily unique, why am I listing them? Well, I think that the way they mingle with the other characters is great. The little bits of dialogue and physical interactions are entertaining and kept a smile on my face even as I had to endure Alice’s grating voice and Shino’s “anyone-is-fine-as-long-as-she-is-blonde” mentality.
The second reason would be the jokes. I haven’t gone into detail about this before, but I do think that the quality of humor makes or breaks an all-girls show since they all end up inevitably having similiar premesis. If the jokes suck, the audience aren’t as enthused to watch since they could just watch some other yuri show that is actually entertaining. I ended up re-watching Kiniro Mosaic this week in order to write this review and I found that the gags were better than I remember. Maybe that’s just a result of watching Anne Happy, however.
Lastly, I really appreciate how they incorporate and animate the original manga throughout the show (usually seen during the ED and after the ED of most episodes). While some may consider it to be lazy since they’re just borrowing the original work, I like how it showcases the original source while subtly encouraging viewers to give the manga a shot. The ED, by the way, was definitely one of my favorite EDs for an all-girls show back in 2013. The song was sung by the seiyuu, if I recall correctly, and I recommend checking out their album(s) if you’re into their sound. The OP isn’t bad, but it’s overshadowed.
I did notice that they also took advantage of how the original material was a 4koma. Many episodes would feature at least or two short gags that had no context to prior or following scenes. Just something I wanted to note. Some people may find that distracting or superfluous, but I didn’t particuarly mind.
As for the yuri ships – well, as much as I bash Shino for her wandering eyes (and hands and mouth), she and Alice do probably belong together. Ayaya definitely has a crush on Youko, but she’s just too oblivious. While I normally hate characters who are clueless about love, she just doesn’t rub me the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because she’s not an embodiment of wish fulfilment as she isn’t a main character with a large harem.
In regards to Karen and Karasuma Sakura-sensei, season two makes Karen not a third wheel by formally introducing a character that pops up every so often during this season. Another character who happens to have interesting dynamics with both Karen and Karasuma-sensei is also introduced in season two.
I originally started this review intending to decry Kiniro Mosaic as not very enjoyable. However, that was my impression 3 years ago, which was a long time ago. So after listening to some advice (thanks Karandi, D, and Alane!), I rewatched said series before actually reviewing it and found that it was funnier than I remember. I still dislike the OTP of Shinobu and Alice, but the show has its upsides and is, as a whole, still miles better than Anne Happy. Yes, that show remains my benchmark of an all-girls show that isn’t very good. Give episode one a shot – if you can tolerate Alice and Shino, the rest of the season should be fine and possibly entertaining.