Just Because! – Anime Preview
Synopsis: For a group of high school seniors, a chance reunion with a transfer student will change the course of their final year. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Just Because! is the next anime to take up the mantle of presenting a down to Earth, realistic drama focused on the awkward love and social interaction of our formative years. We’re introduced to a host of characters, struggling with romance, club problems, or the pressure of transferring schools again and again. It’s not entirely clear what the story will focus on the most, although romance seems to be a big part as Eita, transferring back in after having moved away years ago, returns and seems to still have some kind of interest in Natsume Mio, who also has an interest in him. It’s down to earth and feels quite grounded in attempting to offer up a realistic portrayal of young struggles.
Linny: Just Because! reminds me of shows like Tsukigakirei from earlier this year, as both feature mostly everyday situations with a young cast dealing with the pangs of growing up and romance. In its premiere episode, Just Because! is already showing our teenage cast muse about life after high school and even hinting that they may have unresolved issues from their past to deal with. And in some cases, romance seems to be on the horizon too.
Tom: What feels so compelling about the series so far is how honest the characters feel, much like Tsukigakirei. Sure we have our bombastic photography girl, Komiya Ena, but the entire cast isn’t a bunch of shouting slap stick caricatures.
Linny: And just like Tsukigakirei, Just Because! uses instant messaging as a BIG component of its story telling. I’m pretty sure the app they’re using is meant to be Line or, at least, an off-brand copy to avoid copyright infringement. If you’re a Line user, you’ll definitely recognize the familiar message tone. Also, this show employs instant messaging in a rather novel way, having the messages appear onscreen alongside/on top of the characters and background rather than cutting away to a phone screen specifically, making for an interesting and unique style that works rather well and doesn’t force us away from more dynamic scenery.
Tom: It’s not entirely clear what Just Because!’s primary focus is. Will it be about the romance between Eita and Mio? Will it be more of an ensemble affair? Either way this premiere has me excited for the possibilities as Tsukigakirei is one of the few anime in recent years that’s offered a more natural take on our formative years and it’s nice to see that becoming an alternative trend to the way Anime usually portrays high school life.
Linny: If you’ve been on the lookout for a more down to earth portrayal of school life, in this case the last year of high school, Just Because! is apt to end up on your watch list. The grounded setting and tone, along with the mostly grounded characters, promise to tell an equally grounded tale that might help older audiences feel nostalgic or make you connect to the story if you’re going through those very years.
Just Because! is available for streaming via Anime Strike.