Wagamama High Spec – Mid Season Review

Wagamama High Spec:

Original Air Dates: April 11th, 2016 – ???

That’s a sweet prize, WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Synopsis: Koki Narumi is a high school student who also works as a mangaka currently serialized in a weekly magazine. But most of his classmates don’t know this, as the manga he draws is a risque romantic comedy, and he’d die of embarrassment if anyone found out! But one day the student council president, Kaoruko Rokuonji, decides the student council could do with a male member. She discovers Koki’s secret and, in exchange for not revealing it to the school, forces Koki to join the Student Council. However the vice president, Ashe R. Sakuragi, strongly opposes him joining and trouble ensues for poor Koki.

Or that’s what it was supposedly about. But this is what actually happened:

Kaoruki Rokuonji runs the student council along with Ashe, Mihiro and Toa. Together the three work together but things don’t always go as planned. Watch as these four girls struggle with poor ac, a cooking festival, scary ghost stories and more!

Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):

Tom: Wagamama introduced itself with bouncing mounds of fan service in its very first episode. Unafraid to bare it all for the audience day one. Coupled with Wagamama’s origins stemming from an adult visual novel it seemed set that Wagamama would be a two minute romp of bouncing bosoms. However, since that episode, Wagamama has abandoned its vast tracks of fan service in favor of– well, moe. It’s become a slice of life comedy focused on the girls as they work in the student council room. Sometimes it’s about the girls just being themselves and displaying their talents, or dealing with the threat of cockroaches, or planning cooking festival activities. But all that ecchi fan service we saw in the 1st episode? Gone.

Some girls will do anything for some beef and potato stew.

Linny: For good or bad, the fan service really has done a complete vanishing act. There is ONE episode thereafter where two girls almost kiss for the sake of premium potatoes (yes, I know that sounds ridiculous) so maybe that could be considered fan service for yuri fans and shippers. But if you are hoping for loads more of episode one, I’ve got bad news. The rest of the series so far has turned completely tame and chaste with the humour in the episodes struggling to compensate for the lack of T & A.

Tom: As characters go, none of the girls really stand out. Wagamama is too short, and focused on its more moe/comedy gags to really differentiate between our girls in any meaningful way. The show has a very meta segment at the end of each episode, that talks directly to the audience about each of the girls, but it goes by so quick, with dialogue delivered at such a rapid pace that it’s a struggle to remember anything of significance. The only real take away is that all these girls are exceedingly moe (and busty). Episodes remain largely unmemorable, with many of the settings feeling generic enough that they’re forgotten week to week. An episode where the girls deal with cockroaches, or must decipher the mysterious scrawlings of another character make for the more memorable episodes while the rest fade away. At times it feels almost paint by the numbers and makes me wonder if the entire show’s existence is little more than a plug for the visual novel, existing solely to appeal to its die hard fans.

Censoring because that cockroach is obviously naked.

Linny: Even though the original synopsis and even the girls themselves have made several clear mentions of a central male lead, all we have seen of him to date is a hastily scrawled note he leaves for the girls. In fact, it seems to even have become a running gag for the girls to bring him up in the post credits sequence and hint that he’s either appearing soon, or isn’t going to appear at all. So for those who might have formed an opinion of the show based on the original synopsis, yeah, that synopsis is utter and complete nonsense in regards to what’s actually here.

Tom: The main character, Koki, referenced in the synopsis is no where to be found, only solidifying my suspicions that Wagamama was designed as nothing more than mere fan service (not the bouncing boob kind, although we had a little of that) for the fans of the original visual novel to enjoy. The girls turn Koki’s absence into a running gag, one that makes me confident we’ll never actually see Koki on screen. Because the adult visual novel (and boy do we mean adult) has never been released in the U.S. it makes it difficult to appreciate Wagamama, as we’re forced to judge it all on its own. As a singular project Wagamama is little more than a series of forgettable jokes. Without the visual novel for context, and Wagamama’s knee-jerk pull back on its overt, jiggly melon fan service, it puts Wagamama in an odd place: Just who is this really for?

So meta/a quick look at the post credit animation style.

Linny: It doesn’t help that the animation can come off as basic, especially with the after credit sequence. The paper cut out style used in that is unique for its genre but doesn’t necessarily add to the show’s charm. It might look cheap or uncomfortably strange to some, and considering how quickly that sequence zooms by, it doesn’t have much of a chance to leave a solid impact, especially if you’re a complete stranger to its source material.

Tom: Wagamama’s animation is decent, or competent for its short form length, with colorful art that portrays all the girls with nearly identical figures. They’re all busty, thin and moe with only minor varying degrees to each of these characteristics. I, however, actually enjoy the post credits abstract stick figure animation as I think it really helps to sell the more meta vibe delivered during these segments.

Scary face or animation budget issues, hmm.

Linny: For a show that started off making me brace for an onslaught of T&A, Wagamama seems to have treated it as a one and done. Now, I see it as a quick dose of generic moe that doesn’t necessarily have anything unique or endearing to offer, but doesn’t do anything that would cause me to warn against it. Then again, it’s hard for me to recommend it thanks to the already mentioned lack of selling points. I’d say, give it a chance if moe is what you live for, but I have a feeling you could probably find a million other shows that do it better.

Tom: I still find it exceedingly odd that Wagamama isn’t the ecchi it introduced itself as, especially when taking into account its origins and source material. It’s far more about these four girls being as moe as possible throughout generic, mostly unmemorable events. I’d previously recommended it, when it seemed dedicated to its ecchi offerings that I felt it served as perfect viewing material for a more perverse audience. But now that it’s abandoned all that, and focused solely on its moe comedy, which leaves much to be desired, I can’t see myself recommending it to anyone, even the new audience it’s now pandering to.

Tom TiolI Art Badge

“Take it or Leave it: Without access to the visual novel, Wagamama makes for mediocre entertainment that doesn’t do justice to any of its chosen genres.”

Linny TiolI Art Badge

“Take it or Leave it: Don’t pick it up if you’re seeking ecchi or harem. It’s just short, generic moe at the end of the day.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wagamama High Spec is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.

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