One Room – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 11th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: One Room is a virtual anime, one where you’re the protagonist. Your life takes an interesting turn as several girls move into apartments next to yours and you find yourself getting to know them as they come by to introduce themselves.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: One Room is an interesting experiment, an attempt to make the viewer feel like the main character in their own pseudo-romance slice of life anime. The show is mostly told through first person perspective, allowing the viewer to kind of feel like they’re actually interacting with these girls. Since you can’t respond however the immersion leaves a lot to be desired, and the show itself doesn’t really stick to its first person trappings, often allowing third person camera angles to vary up the first person gaze.
Linny: While One Room is definitely unique, the third person camera angles make it feel a lot more sketchy than endearing or romantic as sometimes the camera veers to tease of up skirt shots. This show tries to come off as a POV romance story but it’s hard to get into that mentality when apparently you are ducking behind the girl and looking up her legs WHILE SHE IS STILL CHATTING WITH YOU.
Tom: One Room’s narrative is simple, if it can even be said to exist at all. You’re a college student and a cute girl and her sister (not seen) have moved in next door. She eventually asks to study with you, but that’s as far as we get. It’s clear the narrative is kept simple so that audiences find it easier to immerse themselves in this blossoming love scenario. Whether that’s effective or not entirely depends on how close you are to the target audience.
Linny: One Room starts with one of the most basic and popular heroine stereotype in anime…the sweet, innocent and pure high school girl. If you’ve had a crush or a fantasy or two about befriending one as your neighbour, your dreams have come true… at least in anime form.
Tom: Yui, our little high school girl, is pretty standard stuff, probably exactly for the fantasy reasons Linny listed above. As for your character, or at least the first person view we’re looking through, it appears viewers take on the role of a pervert. Your gaze often shifts to Yui’s chest, or her behind, as if you’re ogling the poor girl, who does in fact react poorly to your wandering gaze. It’s a bit unsettling to find yourself interacting with her through the eyes of a pervert and is bound to push many viewers away, even some within One Room’s target demographic.
Linny: One Room is a novel experience, unlike anything else I have personally seen in anime. It could be considered as a dating sim game, except you cannot pick your responses or interact with the screen and are forced to basically sit through what the show makers have already decided on. The sketchy camera angles are something that makes me reluctant to recommend this show as I feel like its encouraging sexual harassment like behaviour. So I will just wrap things up by saying that if what we described sounds appealing to you, then give this show a chance.
Tom: One Room is clearly experimental, an attempt to offer a new kind of interaction with the anime medium. It’s a bold attempt, but one that suffers from a few execution flaws: Namely a wandering pervert’s gaze. I assume this comes from trying to simulate the mindset of the target demographic: Lonely young men who’ve a little trouble interacting with girls in the day to day. Young men tend to have trouble with wandering eyes, but without some kind of cue that our character is embarrassed at his behavior it feels more perverted than perhaps intended. I’ll probably be keeping up with One Room at least till the mid season, more out of curiosity than outright enjoyment.
One Room is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com