Nov 30, 2014

Anime Review: Miss Monochrome

Miss Monochrome: The Animation title/logoI have been a long, long time fan of Horie Yui ever since seeing (and obsessing over) Love Hina so many years ago. She’s delightfully talented in both speaking and singing roles and she’s managed to maintain that for well over a decade now (though even her great talent can’t save some series). So when I heard she was pushing to produce a short series on an original character of her own I was definitely curious. It’s rare that the world is bestowed with triple-threats like the too-charming Justin Timberlake but they do happen so… maybe Miss Horie is good at character design and synopsis too? Hell, she’s been in the biz long enough to see what works and doesn’t work, right?

Monochrome sits at home in her castle mansion with her maid of sorts Mana

Monochrome in CG form from the ending credits sequenceMiss Monochrome is a well done little short series about an android who wants to be a "super idol", only she makes a colossal financial mistake in the first minute of the first episode and must work her way up from convenience store clerk. It's a cute little light-fluff series that has enough humor and self-awareness to not take itself too seriously, which helps. Monochrome is an original character by Horie Yui who also provides the voice (shocker!). They filter her voice to sound more robotic in a way that is extremely reminiscent of GLaDOS from the Portal series of games. She is flanked by a "pet" of sorts in the form of Ru-chan, which is in actuality a Roomba vacuum robot ("ruumba" in Engrish, hence Ru-chan). She’s ever looking to follow in the footsteps of her main “rival”, Kikuko (appropriately voiced by the similarly veteran and talented Inoue Kikuko; hell the two of them are even in a weird club or something I think). And it would also be remiss of me not to mention the incredibly infectiously cute and upbeat ending credits song and CG done in a way that reminds me of some of the better Hatsune Miku music videos.

Kikuko, Monochrome's primary rival in the idol scene, sings for an audience

All in all, it's a brief little series that you can blow through in about an hour that is probably worth the few chuckles and smiles along the way. It doesn't ever really get anywhere but it doesn't overstay its welcome either. Hell I'd even take a few more seasons, even. It's light comedy fluff that has enough effort given to character design and quality to make it less of the throw-away you might expect. The animation and production quality overall is quite good for a little mini-series like this. Still, it is just a short little thing so don't go in expecting too much and you'll likely be pleased enough.

Monochrome works the cashier at her new convenience store gig

As of this writing you can watch Miss Monochrome for free on Crunchyroll.

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