A Centaur's Life

Alt title: Centaur no Nayami

TV (12 eps)
3.166 out of 5 from 3,049 votes
Rank #13,324

Being a teenager is never easy... especially for a centaur! Himeno is a sweet, shy girl, who like many teens her age, struggles with the trials and tribulations of attending high school. The difference is she's a centaur; but she's not alone. In fact, all of her classmates are supernatural creatures, sporting either horns, wings, tails, halos, or some other unearthly body appendage. Yet despite their fantastical natures, Himeno and her best friends-the dragon-winged Nozomi, and Kyoko with her spiraled horns-are down-to-earth, fun-loving teenagers who grapple with issues of life and love in a mostly normal daily school setting.

Source: Seven Seas

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On the one hand, Centaur’s Worries is a series of slice-of-life shorts with heavy yuri undertones.  On the other, it is a political satire about international relations told from the perspective of fourteen-year-old girls.  On another hand entirely, it is a story about raising small children.  On yet another hand, it is an in-depth (and unnecessary) lesson on how to live with tails, hooves and horns.  If the show had committed to any one of these themes, it would have likely been a success; at its foundation there is a lot to praise.  Sadly, it squanders this potential to become just another example of mediocrity. Underneath the lack of plot and meaningful resolution is a diverse and interesting world.  There are quite a few different species of humanoids, and diplomatic relations between them have been historically tense.  As a result, our main ensemble live in an alternate Japan where discrimination is now punishable by long prison sentences and behavior is heavily censored to avoid misunderstandings.  Political struggles seem to be happening constantly, but by focusing on an irrelevant group of teenage girls the show ensures that none of them are fully explored or resolved.  Instead, Hime and her friends ponder society’s problems while trying to win competitions and go on dates.  These commonplace experiences may make them semi-realistic teenage girls, but it also makes them terrible protagonists in a world that demands exploration. The ensemble is generally interesting and relatable, and some of them are quite endearing.  Unfortunately, a number of useless gimmicks lessen their impact and create small inconsistencies.  For instance, while many of the characters go on dates, none of them seem to have a significant crush or romantic interest.  In order to keep the show only mildly yuri and mildly ecchi, none of the girls are allowed to have solid sexual identities.  Instead, possibilities are merely alluded to and an unrealistic innocence is maintained. In between these gags are tender moments with young children as the girls babysit or watch over them.  These chapters often involve life lessons and change the tone of the show completely.  The conflicting themes often make it seem like multiple anime have been spliced together, especially when entire episodes are dedicated to important political figures the girls have no interactions with.  To make matters worse, large chunks of time are wasted explaining the literal complications of hooves and horns, as the show has a keen interest in how characters get dressed or brush their hair.    Most of the technical elements follow in this vein of mediocrity.  The voice cast are all relative unknowns, and their performances are solid but unremarkable.  The art and style are beautiful, yet regularly marred with lazy animation. The background music and sound are unnoticeable at best, and the opening theme is catchy but generic. I will say that the ending theme and credits are beautifully done on all counts, which only further proves the show’s underlying potential.  Unlike so many others that lack original ideas or creative sparks, Centaur’s Worries lacks proper execution. In the end, I found myself wanting to like the show but not being able to.  I’d like to think that this season was only meant as a light prologue to something better, but with such a bland debut it’s hard to imagine a sequel or follow-up of any kind.  I have to admit, however, that if they were to come out with a sequel I’d probably still watch it. As disappointing as this season was, a part of me still hopes that this fascinating and beautiful world will get a chance to shine. 

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