Anima Yell! – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Hatogaya Kohane falls in love with cheerleading at the end of middle school, and begins a cheerleading club in high school with Arima Hizume and Saruwatari Uki. The positive, hard-working girls will be sure to cheer you up! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Anima Yell! is bubbly, cute and a bit silly. But all of that starts to wear thin by the Mid Season. Our leads are by and large pigeonholed into their central characteristic, meaning that there’s a limited array of interactions between all the girls. Kohane is the bubbly, inspiring leader, whose cheer and dimwitted nature give everyone the energy to continue forward. Hizume is the knowledgeable one, who has a secret fear of being abandoned by her teammates again, and Uki is perpetually on the cusp of embarrassment. These are all fine characters, but so devoted to that initial role that they all bounce off each other in the same way every episode. This means gags between the characters are often recycled, repeating the same basic set of comedy with just a tad of variation. While there’s an influx of new jokes, either through the introduction of additional supporting characters, or new situations our girl’s find themselves in, it doesn’t feel like quite enough to keep everything else from growing stale.
Linny: Anima Yell stagnant content is offset by the series’ sole ‘strength;’ how it never strives to be more than a light, peppy show. Watch a group of cute girls get better at cheerleading and maybe have a mini revelation/character growth moment but none of it is ever anything substantially deep or emotional even when dealing with matters of self doubt and lack of confidence. Things are almost always happy and cheerful, for better or worse. It ends up making the episodes feel completely unremarkable except if you’re someone watching it for surface level appreciation of its adorable cast.
Tom: Despite tagged as both a comedy and a sports series, I might argue Anima Yell! has more in common with the slice of life genre. This is where I should discuss my big problem with Slice of Life. The vast majority of entertainment, all story-driven entertainment, operates on conflict. Often Western media, particularly as one learns in film school, seeks to drive conflict through all avenues of the story. That’s why you can end up with series where everyone is always betraying everyone, or contrived events crop up in order to force additional drama into a plot that, sometimes, really doesn’t need it. That’s one extreme and Slice of Life is another. It’s almost a total inversion of that idea, taking conflict and dumbing it down to the point of non-existence. It’s why I think most Slice of Life end up boring, because once you remove as much conflict as possible things can feel painfully mundane. The best Slice of Life offset this with comedy. Non Non Biyori is a great example of a solid Slice of Life, with low conflict, but strong comedy. Anima Yell! is very much a slice of life in that regard. All the girls are so supportive of each other that the only conflict arises from their own self-doubt and without strong comedy, or sports information to bolster that deficiency (By episode six it’s clear Anima Yell! just doesn’t have that much interesting to say about cheerleading.) the series feels bland and dry.
Linny: Anima Yell’s comedy not only wears out quickly but turns to some ‘awkward’ material, specifically in regards to Arima’s older brother. Most of her mentions of him involve revealing his clear fetishization of teen girls/girls in school uniforms. Fortunately, the show never spends more than a sentence on these ‘jokes’ but it’s also disappointing because the girls never really react to or condemn the creepiness of his statements.If you’re still on the fence about watching Anima Yell!, it’s likely a sign that the show is not for you. All of its appeal is in seeing the cute girls do cute cheers, practicing and that’s it. It’s never awful but it also never has anything of high merit that would ever make this a must watch. Check out Anima Yell! if ‘cute girl cast’ is basically your entire criteria for picking anime because that’s the best and maybe only thing going for Anima Yell!.
Tom: Ultimately Anima Yell! is a ‘fine’ series. I don’t think it’s bad, no matter how hard I’ve been on it. It’s just too low key, too moe cute, and not nearly funny enough to stand out as a must-see Fall title. It’s perfect for people who like their entertainment laid back, and want little more than to appreciate these adorable girls striving hard at cheerleading, and more often than not succeeding one step at a time. But for a wider audience I think Anima Yell! can be passed over without fear of missing anything truly special.
Anima Yell! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.