Convenience Store Boy Friends – Anime Preview
Mishima Haruki and his friend Honda Towa begin attending Aokisora High School. While they each have a girl they’re interested in, there are no signs of a relationship starting for either of them. As they awkwardly make it through each day, they meet their classmate Sasaki Nagisa and their seniors Asumi Natsu, Nakajima Mikado, Sakurakoji Masamune and others, and their thoughts and feelings begin to intertwine. It’s the road everyone follows at least once, the story of a pure love racing through the moment.
The same old train.
The same old road to school.
The same old convenience store.
These static sights may, starting tomorrow, look a little bit different. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Convenience Store Boy Friends is yet the next drab color anime of the season. It isn’t aided by art that’s already off-model with frequent, small, mistakes and a general molasses feel. Actions that shouldn’t eat up much screen time seem elongated here, as if the series is short on script and playing for time.
Linny: Here’s a prime example of how slow this episode was. It LITERALLY opens with a 1:36 minute long sequence of one of the male characters running to the convenience store. That’s right, 1:36 minutes of a dude just running through different streets…who okayed that? And while the title makes it sound like the convenience store is the main location and a place where people go to meet/pick up boyfriends, there’s also a ton of school and home life explored in the episode. In fact, the credits almost exclusively feature shots of the cast in school or anywhere else but the convenience store.
Tom: This show moves slow. It cannot be emphasized enough. Which is strange as the episode is focused on introducing four of our twelve cast members and by proxy 6 couplings. There should be enough content here to get a decent pace going. The trouble is Convenience Store doesn’t have a lot to say. Much of the narrative is bare bones, basic slice of life type romance stuff and lacks any kind of real hook. Slice of Life can often be a little slow as they tend to keep things grounded to reality. But the great ones find interesting avenues to explore, or present quirky enough characters that they liven up even the most mundane tasks. Here though nothing seems capable of stopping the molasses like march through a drab and entirely too ordinary story.
Linny: Besides the super slow narration style, there’s also the fact that one of the romances already feels shallow and cliched. One boy’s love for a girl is based solely over a childhood gesture of kindness. Of course, this is teen ‘love’ we’re talking about so it would be foolish to expect every romance to be deep and mature. But this doesn’t bode too well for anyone who was hoping for something more creative. Also, it’s ridiculous how bloated the cast is and how desperately the show tries to fit some of them in. In fact, there’s a sequence where two of the cast members are having a conversation and the episode decides to use that conversation as voice over while it pans around the school and visually introduces the other cast members. Thanks to them being restricted to short glimpses, you end up feeling underwhelmed and uninterested in what feels like a nonstop parade of random faces.
Tom: The killer for the series is how bland and uninteresting its cast is. Each of the girls feels meek and timid, and while there are differences between their characters, there’s nothing about either that makes them compelling to watch. The boys are the same way. Sure they’re not nearly as similar as the women, but they both lack unique traits that make them feel capable of carrying the series. In fact, more fun is to be had by the viewer themselves injecting darker, unintended subtext, than enjoying the episode for what it is.
Linny: Touching again on the animation, the episode is bogged down by mistakes here and there, like in one scene where two characters are clearly shown running past a certain area, but when the camera refocuses on them, they seem to be back there again somehow. Combine that with the snail’s pace scenes where the camera takes forever to move from one person to another, or actions are done in the slowest pace possible, and you’re left with a visual snooze fest.
Tom: Convenience Store Boy Friends is the latest in a long line of mixed-media project anime. Rather than allowing a property to evolve naturally, these projects are geared up with the idea of spreading out across multiple entertainment venues and creating an entire new franchise from the ground up. I’ve found in the past however that these attempts are often weak. Characterization is lacking and compelling story is rare. Some buck the trend, but Convenience Store Boy Friends does not.
Linny: There’s hope for Convenience Store Boy Friends if you like the sound of a high school romance featuring multiple couples. You just have to be willing to put up with slow storytelling and random sequences where certain actions or scenes take forever to end. There’s also the fact that the cast isn’t super memorable and are more often strange or angst filled than endearing leading me to believe that this show is best left only to the devoted teen romance fans and best avoided by everyone else.
Convenience Store Boy Friends is available for streaming via Crunchyroll