Chio’s School Road – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Miyamo Chio, a first-year at the completely ordinary high school Samejima Academy. Chio just wants to get through her school life without standing out too much, but for some reason, all kinds of obstacles await her along the path she takes to school. Her long-time friend Nonomura Manana, who’s trying to quit being an otaku; the flawless Hosokawa Yuki, who occupies the top caste in the school; and lots of nameless people about town find themselves in Chio’s path as she employs the (useless) techniques she’s acquired from her Western video games in her daily efforts to get to school. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Chio’s School Road starts with a lot of game references right off the bat, even showing our protagonist, Chio playing a popular video game franchise late into the night. This should be a draw for viewers who enjoy frequent video game references or the lengths the anime goes to reference, but not cross copyright laws. The gaming/references seem likely to be a recurring element seeing how it’s part of the show synopsis and a healthy dose of the first episode, and Chio is clearly obsessed with gaming. She’s a gaming obsessed slacker who only gets industrious when it involves covering up for her mistakes although she does display signs of altruism every now and then.
Tom: Chio is honestly pretty strange for a lead, and while she fits the awkward heroine stereotype, meant to make you cringe and identify with should you have experienced similar awkward incidents in your teen years, she sometimes feels a tad too far, and straddles the light between relatable and not. But really that’s the whole show, sometimes producing funny, outlandish comedy and other times making you raise an eyebrow at the absurdity of it all. I’d probably just call Chio’s School Road merely ‘fun’ at this point. The general content of the series seems to be A and B stories focused on Chio’s shenanigans to, and possibly from, school. While the show can sometimes dive right past bizarre humor into the outright strange, it overall has a charming vibe, making me smile even when it got more odd than funny.
Linny: The humour is definitely out there, which isn’t surprisingly given the show’s simple premise. As a rule, when a show has an extremely basic plot line, it only goes to follow that the humour will be derived from turning everything up to eleven. We get jokes ranging from the extremely mean response a businessman has for a child and his mother asking for help to outright gross gags involving Chio having to lay still to avoid detection as an old man unknowingly spits all over her. The strange nature of its humour means things can be uneven, with some gags having you laughing out loud while others just fall flat.
Tom: Due to its shaky comedy, and production values (Chio’s School Road is no visual prize pig) this first episode is a little hit or miss, and really hinges on how much you can find to identify with Chio’s awkward nature. The comedic timing also isn’t always on point, with certain jokes that could’ve hit stronger with a faster delivery, more punchy music, or harder hitting voice acting. It’s little things that keep even the strangest jokes from becoming quite as funny as they could’ve been.
Linny: As a comedy, Chio’s Road Home definitely has potential, especially amongst the group of viewers that enjoy taking the mundane and turning it into the bizarre. Everything about the show is just a little over the top, including its rather offbeat protagonist. Throw in some references for gamers to cheer and jeer at and you’ve got a decent comedic outing that may not top your ‘best of’ list but should grow into a fun watch.
Tom: Despite my criticisms, Chio’s School Road has the makings of a good, goofy comedy. It needs better timing, more relatable awkward teenage elements, and could do with stronger animation (though it’s not likely to get it as Chio’s School Road comes from the same studio that did Beatless from this past Winter, and that anime suffered so many delays it might’ve affected Chio’s School Road’s production.) but what’s here holds a lot of promise. Even if Chio’s School Road never really improves, it still has the makings of a decent chuckle fest, and in the absence of a truly stellar comedy this season, gives something audiences to make do with.