This post was originally written for the FinallyAnime! group blog and published there on May 25th, 2013. Since that blog is largely inactive by now, I’ve decided to archive the post here in its entirety. The original post: http://finallyanime.com/2013/05/photo-kano-2-3-dropped-review/
After I watched the first episode of Photo Kano, I was pleasantly surprised. I honestly thought it would be much worse, especially as far as plot is concerned. Were this a completely different genre, the series could have gone down an utterly incomparable alley from there. (More on that later.) Unfortunately, Photo Kano is what it is – a dating simulation game adaptation – and the two following episodes, which I’ll be covering today, are very true to their origin.
Summary of episode 2: The anime follows our main character around as he interacts with every girl on the list. In episode 2 Nonoka, the baseball ace, borrows his textbook; he helps Haruka, the osananajimi, with some heavy gym equipment while shielding the unsuspecting girl from the photography club’s perverts’ lens and then on shoots her wearing only a swimsuit himself; the student council president lectures him on the school rules twice, only to be later caught and photographed secretly climbing over the wall into school late, she then lands in a highly unlikely position, crotch-first, on Maeda-kun’s head; of course there’s some siscon innuendo; Mai-chan, the gymnast, tells him that photography club members are banned from taking pictures of the girls practicing, but promises to ask the teacher for an exception for him; he exchanges a couple of words with Sanehara of the photo club on backlighting and exposure compensation. The photography club announces their third annual Miss Photogenic Contest with Niimi Haruka as the target, meaning everyone will be trying to capture her “youthfulness” by all means necessary.
Episode 3 starts with Maeda-kun kissing Nonoka by chance; grabbing Rina’s, clutz and only member of cooking club, enormous breasts (see screenshot for reference) again by chance and later saving her from some boxes falling on her as she tries to take them down, getting a close-up view of her assets in the process and being fed her homemade scones with marmalade as thanks; Mai-chan tells him he can shoot rhythmic gymnastics, which he takes advantage of later – photographing her as she practices, so that she can correct her form; Muroto-senpai, the student council president, gets some more screen time after he blackmails her (through her ‘illicit entry’ in the previous episode) into posing for him sexily in her swimsuit; again he exchanges a couple of words with Sanehara, who’s taking photos of the river glittering in the morning light; walking with Niimi-san he sees his photography club colleagues scrubbing the hallway floor in preparation for Operation: Niimi Haruka, which capsizes thanks to him, but he gets a clear view of her panties after slipping.
Is it really necessary to do summaries for this series? Wouldn’t it suffice to say Maeda-kun progressed with every girl and be done with it? Can you imagine how annoying writing a summary like this is?! And the preview just promises more fanservice…
As you can see from my enthusiastic summaries, the anime is just a series of snippets with barely anything tying them together. The only aspect trying to tie the individual episodes together is the photography club and honestly it’s doing a very bad job. I mean it looks as if the staff behind this concoction took the girls’ routes, split each route into 12 pieces and just glued the first twelfths together to make the first episode, the second to make the second, et cetera.
On top of that there are those repetitive and irritating elements of cute: the pouting, the girls’ helplessness, tendency to overreact,… From a female point of view, you could say the way they are portrayed is demeaning to womenfolk. On the other hand, females are definitely not this series’ target audience.
It seems this assessment will be rather short (in addition to being very late), but Photo Kano was simply doomed by its original work from the beginning. It takes unearthly powers to make something from nothing, so if the anime is lacking in the basics, such as the graphic quality, one simply cannot expect it to transcend the barriers set by the original. While I might do so, just because I find it hard to drop a series, I would not encourage anybody to keep watching it. It’s garbage and not about to get better.
(Since I’m such an awful anime-dropper, there might be more posts on this series, but don’t count on it.)
Now for the way this could have gone from the first episode, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph. What if Maeda-kun decided to join the photo club instead? Photo Kano would still be a harem anime, but with lesbian undertones and some non-gravure photography. Or what if he took advantage of his newly gained status and actually took ‘eros’ shots like his colleagues? Certainly that would be a short-lived stunt, but still more exciting than what we’ve been watching until now. What if he joined the rhythmic gymnastics club? Right, now I’m just spouting nonsense!
Any other ideas? Suggest your own anime based on Photo Kano!