Wagamama High Spec – Review
Wagamama High Spec:
Original Air Dates: April 11th, 2016 – June 27, 2016
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!
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Wagamama is the real oddity for the season with a first episode that is wholly misleading. Wagamama bills itself as a fan service, thrusting bosoms, ecchi, eager for any excuse to strip these girls. That aspect, seeming honesty about its content, is actually a misnomer. The series quickly pulls back from showing the girls’ skin and doesn’t dare stray back towards that until it’s penultimate episode. For what’s supposedly billed as an Ecchi, Wagamama is decidely chaste once it’s blown its initial load.
Linny: It’s bare bones in all aspects from the animation to the story. The second there’s any scene with the least bit of extra action and motion, the animation quality immediately takes a nose dive to a laughable degree. Of course, it would be silly to expect high quality from a show like this so this is more of an observation than a criticism. To save on production costs, after credit scenes are done using paper craft like animation which looks and plays out completely different from the rest of the show. There’s no grand story nor a particularly funny one to be seen here. It’s just a bunch of generic cookie cutter girls in a club doing random things that you’ll forget about the second the episode is over.
Tom: Since Wagamama is a Short-form anime it needed to use its time wisely to really develop and introduce each of the girls to us. Unfortunately it never really did that, content instead to throw generic, classic moe slice of life plots at us the entire time, with little effort spent in making each of these four girls come to life. Instead the series sought to explain each through the after credits sequences. Again though, that middling amount of effort still wasn’t enough to really latch onto any of the characters. It doesn’t help that their designs are all virtually similar, save for hair color. They’re all just as tall as one another, as busty, as curvy, lacking any defining features that might set them apart. It’s a generic mess and I’m hard pressed to find anything positive to say.
Linny: Thanks to their interchangable looks, and the rushed after credit explanation of their personalities, it’s hard to actually latch onto a particular girl. Characters become memorable by actually acting out or doing the things that really define them, not because someone else speed read through their bio onscreen. Having watched the entire series, I still can’t name a single one of them but that may partly be because I only got to spend less than 5 minutes with them each week, while also watching several numerous other, more substantial series week to week.
Tom: Despite it’s heavy fan service laden, boob bouncing introduction, Wagamama abandons that tactic in favor of pure unadultered moe. In conjunction with that change in tactic, the series eventually gives up on trying to explain itself in the post credits sections, and instead tries to sell the audience on a new, and seemingly unrelated, mobile game from the same developers of WagaHai. It’s– well, it reeks of marketing and doesn’t make Wagamama feel anything like a real series meant to entertain, but instead an ad for other commercial products. It doesn’t help that every single plot is generic, something you’ve undoubtedly seen before and it feels as if the creators were simply checking boxes off on a list. The humor is decent, although mostly forgettable. If anything, Wagamama screams of a quick cash-in on fans who enjoyed the game it was based off of and a platform to try and hook those same fans into another game. Maybe it’d work if either of these two games were available in the U.S. (WagaHai releases sometime this year in the states, but isn’t currently out nor does it have a definite release date as of now) and makes me wonder what the goal of bringing Wagamama over to the west in the first place was then? Without the main game to hook people, I don’t see what value Wagamama High Spec has when it’s almost entirely a companion product.
Linny: The lack of effort put in can be seen in the show summary itself which is extremely misleading and has had zero effort put into it in regards to the actual show. The summary basically explains the premise of the game the show is based on, and is actually completely different from what actually happens in the anime. In the original summary that was circulating with the show’s preview image, it says the show is about a young guy who gets roped into joining the club to hide that he is actually an ecchi author. No, IT IS ACTUALLY about the female members of the club and he never once appears on screen, not even when it’s his own birthday party in the finale. Also, this show has to be one of the most random forms of fan service with the first episode having its female characters all strip down to their lingerie for most of the episode, then seeming to forget all about more fan service until the penultimate episode where the girls go swimming and they have the girls chase one of the girls’ bikini top for the entire episode.
Tom: In the end Wagamama isn’t very ecchi for a series that introduced itself as such. And then, even more unfortunately, once Wagamama abandons this aspect it doesn’t introduce anything of worth to replace it with. The moe atmosphere remains so generic that it rarely ever produces memorable entertainment, and the girls are so bland that I honestly couldn’t define them for you. Whatever character details they have just aren’t memorable. If you’re just dying for moe perhaps Wagamama is something to try, at the very least if you decide to marathon it, the entire experience is over in thirty minutes. But I’m not going to recommend doing that.
Linny: Let’s be honest, for us in the western world and other parts where the original game isn’t accessible right now, this show is nothing more than an extended and ineffective ad. It’s not especially endearing or titillating, and since the games it talks about in every episode are, for now, Japan only, it doesn’t have a huge market that are fans of the show and want more avenues to enjoy it. Since we don’t have access to the game, I am unable to clarify if the show does a good job or not of representing the material but my suspicions are that you’re better off playing the game and using this show as special little ova like treats. If you want to watch this for the echhi only, there’s some very, very tame stuff in the first episode and the eleventh episode so watch only those. If you’re watching this show for story, then surely you can’t be seriously expecting anything great in a show with 3 minute episodes.
Wagamama High Spec is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.