Studio Gokumi’s 2016 spin-off OVA to their woeful (if unaccountably successful) ‘Kinrio Mosaic’ franchise. We were heavily critical of “KINMOZA!” for its unfortunate dumbing-down of the two English school-girls in season one of the show. They could neither speak English nor behave like native Brits. They were caricatures of what a Japanese person thought a British girl would be if he or she had never, ever, met one. Their characters evolved into a sort of one-size-fits-all generic foreigner. We assumed that the studio just knows that all the domestic Japanese anime audience want to know about foreigners is that they are a) blonde b) eccentric-yet-lovable. The result are a couple of dull stereotypes with all the authenticity of a twelve yen note. Who could possibly be so demanding as to actually wish to see Japan through the eyes of two British teens? Clearly not the audience Studio Gokumi is aiming at here! So, despite its massive potential, it turned out to be one of the stupidest animes we have ever had the misfortune to watch. It deeply patronises its audience with its portrayal of sham foreigners. Maybe we are so baffling (and the audience really so ignorant) as to make the show convincing? We really hope this is not true. To make matters worse this OVA managers to be even worse than the show itself. The two Brits have almost no role to play whatsoever. They melt into the background to give the stage to the story of Aya and Youko’s efforts to get Shinobu through the entrance exams of their favoured High School. Jeez, That is it. Nothing else. Really? Who cares? One for the brain-dead fans of this nonsense. We liked the teacher. That’s it.
After the second season of KINMOZA! (Hello! KM) Studio Gokumi produced two movies centering on the five girls of the series, Thank You!! coming out this year, and this OVA Pretty Days, one year after the second season (2016).
The action takes place during the weeks of preparation leading up to the School Festival in the second year of the girls' high school experience. But, in actuality, the movie is a set of three flashbacks, memories of the adventures of the three Japanese schoolgirls of Kiniro Mosaic, Shino, Yuko, and Aya. And these three reminiscences have come from Aya, who is moodier than most in this presentation. But she has reasons and discovering them is the goal of this OVA.
The first flashback takes us to the girls’ first meeting in the first year of middle school. Actually, it is Aya's introduction to the class. While Yuko and Shino get to know Aya, Aya is miffed that Shino and Yuko are childhood friends, and somehow this makes Aya less of a friend to Shino. And this is the thought that plagues her throughout the movie.
The second flashback is Yuko's memory how the three girls got into high school. As Yuko relates this to Alice and Karen, Aya drifts into memory of her selecting a prestigious girls' academy, but she takes time to coach her two friends in study skills to pass the entrance examination for the local public school. Aya does succeed in passing the exam to the academy, but she also decides to take the local high school exam. All three girls pass, and Aya decides at the last minute not to risk her friendships to Shino and Yuko and attends the same school.
The last flashback is that of a few hours and this on the day of the School Festival. Aya, Shino and Karen's class is putting on Shino's play for the School Festival. Aya would gladly work behind the scenes, but a last-minute sickness places her in the class play ... in the key role. Aya struggles to do her best, but Karen gets stage fright and suddenly forgets all her lines. But with typical English stiff upper lip, she decides to totally improvise her lines. Watching from the audience, Yuko, Alice, and Karasuma-sensei decide to break into the play and bring the nonsense play into some semblance of order. But it is Shino in blonde wig whose mastery of stagecraft makes the 'gone off the rails' performance a success.
In the end, Shino thanks Aya for her help in the play and … for not attending the girls' academy. Aya then learns that, while Yuko and Shino are childhood friends, meeting Shino four years prior created just as durable a bond.
OVA's do something to the series they are based upon. In Pretty Days, the animation technique was more polished, far more integrated and colorful, as if apologizing for the two lightly hued seasons. The plot was far more solid than those which seemed to be as set of strip manga cut and pasted together. And centering the movie on Aya, not Shino, gave us a glimpse into the shy, intelligent girl whose crush on Yuko is still in denial, but now we know we have a tsundere in meltdown mode.
It will be interesting to see how the most recent feature, Thank You!! will advance the story.