Room Mate – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 12th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: You’ve become the new manager for a dorm consisting of three young men: Nishina Aoi, a young and vibrant actor. Takumi Ashihara, a cold but kind pretty boy and Shinya Miyasaka, a weird twenty-something with no shame whatsoever. As the days go by which boy will you gravitate more towards? This first person perspective anime gives you the chance to feel what it would be like to live with three attractive anime boys.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Room Mate is the follow up to last season’s experiment: One Room. In the previous iteration of this first person perspective anime, you played the role of a single early 20s male meeting one cute girl, including your little sister, after another. Like with One Room, there’s little effort made in adhering to this first person perspective. The camera work frequently moves to impossible, or at least improbable, angles that break with the idea that you are, indeed the main character. It’s obviously done to change up the flow of the visuals, but damages that promise of an ‘interactive’ anime.
Linny: Unlike One Room, where the show introduced one girl per arc, Room Mate throws all 3 guys at you at the same time so it should make it easy for viewers to decide if they find any/all of them attractive enough to keep watching. You have three clear stereotypes: First up is Takumi who seems to be the muscular tough guy, then there’s the sensitive actor, Aoi and finally we have Shinya who seems to be playing the role of nerdy oddball. In all fairness though, all three guys come off a little quirky in their own ways.
Tom: Room Mate already looks to be distancing itself from One Room’s formula. As Linny said we’re presented with all three of the guys who you’ll be ‘romancing’ from the get go. Two of the three are much like the girls from One Room, stereotypical, spouting cliched dialogue you’ve likely heard in so many other anime. There’s nothing terribly impressive about them and for a first person perspective anime, these guys hardly feel ‘real.’ The third character and one to keep an eye on, Nishina Aoi, isn’t much better than the others, but is lively, and passionate enough to feel a bit more believable. It helps that we’re introduced to his passions right away, acting, giving him an extra dimension from the other two, who come off as cold and uninterested.
Linny: The episode throws the viewer in as a relative of the landlord of the building (which looks downright like a mansion/palace) who’s moving in to work as the manager. Like Tom already mentioned, the first person camera angle is regularly abandoned for fan service shots and in fact, the episode itself ends with a super close up of Takumi who is sweating and panting hard, while the camera lingers up and down his naked upper body. It makes for an extremely suggestive scene that will most likely turn away anyone who isn’t actively seeking the fan service, or wants to laugh at the fan service Room Mate is offering.
Tom: It is an awkward scene and way to close out the premiere, although I’m tempted to say it’s a classic “everything is actually innocent audience-san, you’re just the pervert for taking it that way” moment. As the rest of the fan service offered goes, it already works much better than One Room’s, as none of the male characters seem uncomfortable with you glancing down their chests. It keeps you from feeling like a pervert, where as One Room was eager to remind us that girls generally get uncomfortable when you ogle them.
Linny: Room Mate has absolutely no qualms about offering its viewers fan service, I’ll give it that much. It tries to match One Room and other shows with the amount and level of fan service it contains. From the super suggestive panting scene to the end credits where our love interests literally have the clothes disappearing/disintegrating bit by bit until they’re sitting on a couch shirtless. I’m sure they’ll throw in enough otome stereotype characteristics as the show goes on, which should please viewers into those games and cliches, but will disappoint anyone hoping for something novel to accompany the show’s experimental story telling style. You might become a true fan of the series if you enjoy otome games or you might end up watching it just to chuckle at the sheer absurdity of it all. Just hit the play button with due caution and low expectations.
Tom: Overall Room Mate doesn’t look like much of an improvement over One Room. Characters are generally cliched and lacking in depth, visuals constantly break that first person idea, and much of the writing just isn’t where it needs to be. While still an interesting experiment, I think it’s only worth a watch for those curious about the experiment, rather than the entertainment value.
Room Mate is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com