Six episodes in and all I can say is, what a breath of fresh air.
As a rom-com anime fan who has seen the majority of recent titles available here, I love this genre but always appreciate a title that breaks out from the usual formula by switching things up.
Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie breaks out from the usual in a few different ways:
1. Instead of spending one (or several) seasons flirting with the idea of two main characters eventually confessing to each other, we instead start episode one with an established couple, where we can see how they interact in a functional relationship with all of their feelings out in the open. We don't really get to see how they got together in the first place until episode six and just have to appreciate their interactions at face value or fill in the blanks until then. I hope more animes will start to do this. Completely different vibe from slow burn titles that focus on hiding feelings from each other until the last episode, then end abruptly once the characters get together (if they ever do). Also helps make this an anime that would be worth a re-watch when you have more context.
2. I find that this title breaks a lot of the typical gender norms in rom-com anime. Even outside of the rom-com genre, it is very typical to see male characters obsessed with looking cool to get a girl and it's tired. On the other hand, it is wildly uncommon to see a male MC that falls more into the damsel in distress trope. Notorious bad luck as a character point for a male MC is a brilliant opportunity to allow a female MC to shine as the cool character for once.
I also love the animation style for this anime as, particularly the eyes of the characters are really pretty and captivating.
Overall, would 10/10 recommend to rom-com fans who are just a smidge tired of the standard rom-com formula.