Runway de Waratte - Enjoyable Drama

While many people complain about the homogeny of most anime, my favourite aspect of this medium is actually just how diverse it is. Just to pick examples from my favourite series, there's everything from 70's arthouse movies, to long running Magical Girl shows, immaculate anti war films, hype action with insane production values, historical drama shows about inequality, you get the point. Further helping my argument is last seasons 'Runway de Waratte,' which is adapted from the 2017 manga of the same name. The show is directed by Nobuyoshi Nagayama (Sounan Desu ka?, Happy Sugar Life, Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken) and produced by Studio Ezόla.


Chiyuki Fujito's dad owns a a modeling agency, and Chiyuki herself wishes for nothing more than to become a model herself, and eventually, go down the runway at the Paris Fashion Week. Everything seems to be in place for it to happen. Except, her height stops growing. She's stuck at 158cm. Her dream seemingly shattered, Chiyuki decides to keep pushing forward regardless, and the goal remains the same. In another part of Japan, Ikuto Tsumura is making clothes in his past time, and while he wishes he could pursue higher education in order to perfect his craft, his financial situation won't allow for it. But as fate would have it, the two of them end up meeting, and both of them intend to fight their way to the top of fashion!


A lot of the character animation is extremely janky, and occasionally the mouth movements aren't even animated! Anime as a medium is known to not really take much care into accurate lip flaps, and I don't really have an issue with that. Anime is dubbed over, they don't do voice acting first like animation in the west does. But having absolutely no mouth movements at all? Yeah, that's going too far.

Example of the more lackluster aspects of the production.

My favourite aspect of the series is definitely the character designs. The outfits themselves are sometimes cool, but a lot of the time they just look fine, I didn't really have a "wow" reaction while watching. I didn't see an outfit an think: "Wow, that's so cool!" They were mostly just fine. But back to the character designs, because they are absolutely great. The main character, Chiyuki, is extremely cute, and Ikuto, the other main character, just looks really cool. I'm not very good at explaining what makes a good character design so far, but at least to me, they are very visually appealing. On the topic of audio presentation, the OP and soundtrack in general are very good, and the voice acting is ranges somewhere from mediocre/passable at times, to really good. Chiyuki (Yumiri Hanamor, who has voiced Nadeshiko from Yuru Camp and Seth from Radiant) and Ikuto (Natsuki Hanae, who has voiced Tanjiro from Demon Slayer and Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul) both sound very good, especially during their more dramatic moments. Ikuto's seiyuu shines in particular during the scenes in his apartment. He's done plenty of similar characters (i.e relatively poor, strong family bonds) such as the previously mentioned Tanjiro, but also Biscuit from Iron Blooded Orphans, so it's clear that this is a type of role he's very comfortable with.


Thematically, the show is fairly interesting. If the synopsis I wrote didn't make it obvious enough, the show is about fighting the status qou and doing what you love regardless of what anyone says. Chiyuki is only 158cm, while the standard for a runway model is 180cm. Ikuto is poor, but wants to pursue higher education regardless, even though he's expected to join the workforce immideately. Apart from that? Not much else going on.


In conclusion, I'd say the show is worth a watch. The character drama isn't exceptional, no part in particular of it really is, but it is still fairly interesting in my opinon. It's something very different from the usual, which if nothing else, I think is ample reason to check it out. And it's only 12 episodes, which isn't a big time investment. And well, considering the fact that Covid 19 is out here making us all stay at home (let's be real, you probably weren't going outside before it either), why not give it a try and check out a few episodes?



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