OneRoom – Review
Original Air Dates: January 11th, 2017 – March 29th, 2017
Reviewed by Tom
Synopsis: OneRoom 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.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
OneRoom is an experiment that gradually improves over the course of its twelve-episode run. While the leering at our female heroines continues, and the show indulges this by never truly adhering to its promised first person perspective, the series eventually manages to make such angles feel not quite so perverse as we’re introduced to our third heroine, Moka Aoshima, who displays zero reaction to the camera’s shift down to her chest, legs or behind.
Unlike the other two ‘love interests,’ although I’m loathe to refer to the little sister as such, Moka exhibits drive, ambition and passion, something the other two girls lacked. While Yui, the young girl who studies with you in the first four episodes, clearly has a goal of passing her classes, she lacks a defining ambition that helps to give her character depth and likability.
But Moka has that depth and likability thanks to her desire to break into the music industry. It’s nothing terribly original, but it doesn’t need to be if the series goal is to offer up a pseudo romance between the viewer and this plucky artistic girl. Moka doesn’t just bring a much needed depth to her own characterization however, but rather to your character as well.
Early on OneRoom was content to leave the main character, i.e. you, a blank slate. Without any defining details to get in the way, audiences could easily envision themselves as the main character. However, this changes a bit in the second arc as your sister helps to reveal you’re suffering from depression and self-worth issues. But even that’s still universally identifiable and understandable. What really starts to set the audience apart from the character is when Moka’s introduces us to our own ambition: The desire to be a novelist.
While still relatable for a ection of the audience, it’s a trait that inherently limits audiences in continuing to identify as the main character. Not everyone dreams of being a novelist and by introducing this ambition it inherently changes the relationship between the audience and this character we’re watching the series through. It’s no longer you, but a fictional individual we’re playing the part of. It’s an odd choice and one that really takes the series in an different direction than first introduced.
But despite all the third, and final, arc ads it doesn’t wash away the lackluster content prior. Our other two female heroines are still bland and uninteresting. The little sister arc is awkward and uncomfortable at times, even if the end result is sweet rather than incestuous.
Your character in the show is still a pervert though, constantly sneaking glances and leering at these girls. It becomes stomachable thanks to Moka’s general failure to react to any of it, either as she doesn’t notice or isn’t bothered by it, but it doesn’t undo the troublesome content prior to her introduction.
All in all I think OneRoom is an interesting attempt and the final arc proves there’s potential with this format to create compelling, first person narratives for individuals looking to engage in a brief fantasy romance with these young women. But there’s several aspects still holding the series back, many of which give off an unsavory perverse connotation to the proceedings that severely limits its audience. If they can tone down the fan service, up the girls persona’s to feel more realistic and three-dimensional as Moka did, then OneRoom could become a new way to tell simple, fantasy fulfilling romance and slice of life narratives. As it is I think OneRoom is best watched by those curious about this experiment and those looking for true entertainment need only consider watching the final four episodes. The rest isn’t worth your time.
One Room is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com