Kodomo no Jikan is a heavily controversial title, and with good reason. But like most controversial titles, its subject matter is not exploited in vain, and the end result is something that can be credited, at the very least, as a decent series in its own right.
No series has dared to tell the story KoJikan tells and gotten away with it, but for all the underage fanservice it provides, the heartwarming drama beneath the disturbing ecchi comedy ultimately shines. Had KoJikan been solely about the fanservice, this series would deserve all the negative criticism it has received, but there's a heavy dollop of character-driven drama and unique relationships, the context of which have never been explored up until now. One of its more important plot aspects is the recognition of children as having the same emotional needs as the rest of us. It's a touchy subject, but handled with precision and never crossing the line, though toeing it on occasion. Though KoJikan still handles issues it brings up head-on, it does so in an abrupt and awkward presentation, constantly and abruptly switching between drama and comedy. It may flawed in its execution, but its heart is in the right place.
Likewise, no series has dared to have characters like KoJikan's and gotten away with it. This is in great part to the main character being far more than she appears on the surface, especially when her laudably deep and complex emotions are explored. Unfortunately for most characters, they are relegated to often insulting cliche traits substitued as personalities, though this may change in future seasons. For now, the only real depth is in Rin and her cousin Reiji. However, the series should be commended on portraying 8-year-old girls with relative intelligence while acknowledging that they are still physically and mentally children. It's territory anime often skips in favor of taking the "moe" way out and its nice to see a series that portrays kids as kids.
The art is bright and cute, though the character designs are a little off-putting, especially Rin and Mimi's hair. Outside of this flaw, everything looks nice and neat. It's a slightly above-average job all around.
The music didn't stick to me but I don't remember it intruding in any way. The OP is one of my favorites, not for being a good song, but because the lyrics fit the tone of the series to a T. The ED is a hyperactive J-pop number that the audience this kind of show often attracts will enjoy greatly.
For me, KoJikan was a mixed bag. It is not anywhere near the horror that it was constantly advertised as prior to its release, nor is it entirely redeemable due to its abrupt swings between the drama and its uncomfortable brand of comedy. The end result is quite commendable though, assuming one watches this without a die-hard need to find as many disturbing details as they can.
Overall, I give Kodomo no Jikan an 7.5 out of 10.
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