Wave, Listen to Me! – 1st Episode Review
For More Spring Anime Reviews check out our Spring 2020 Coverage Guide!
Synopsis: On a drunken night out to complain about an ex, Minare Koda absentmindedly shares too much information with a stranger from the radio station. The next morning, she’s shocked to hear her voice on the radio. Bursting into the station with intentions to justify her previous night’s rant quickly turns into an interview on-air and the offer to share her chaotic life with an unsuspecting audience! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Wave, Listen to me! starts off… literally wild as we find our protagonist, Minare Koda in the woods at night having a stare down with a bear. She’s also currently talking as if on the radio, answering agony aunt style correspondence from listeners while lamenting her situation and snapping at listeners for sending her such ‘trivial’ issues while she’s basically risking her life. Eventually the show reveals that it is all a skit she’s doing . She’s actually sitting in a studio recording and acting out everything about the woods and the bear. It’s a bizarre start, one that leaves an impression but doesn’t feel like the best way to introduce the show, especially once we get to the more ‘normal’ parts of the episode and rewind back to the actual true start of the story. There’s such a big change in setting and so little explanation of why Minare has to pretend to be wrestling a bear that it feels derailing.
Tom: Once we go back to where things actually began Wave, Listen to Me! kicks into high gear. We come to know Minare Koda as this very vocal woman who isn’t afraid to lay it out exactly as she sees it. Coming to understand her character, and how her very nature and happenstance land in her the radio hot seat goes a long way to course correcting a flash forward that doesn’t entice viewers quite like it was supposed to. Still though, Minare Koda and her in your face personality are what the show is all about, and it also means it’s what will make or break it for you. It’s more than simply appreciating a tough female character, as Minare goes beyond tough as she’s an exceedingly vocal, even if maybe she’s in the wrong. She’s an acquired taste and while she worked for me, I can see how she might be a bit much for others.
Linny: Wave, Listen to me! truly sparkles in this second half of the episode, appearing to be a promising new series for the 20+ and even closer to 30 year old anime fan. Here we have a grown woman as the lead and she’s no dreamy push over bubbly fantasy. She’s 26 years old, lamenting a bad breakup on a level that’s more relatable to frustrated adults than a starry-eyed teenagers. She’s drinking and venting but it isn’t a gimmick played up for a joke or a one note characterization. She isn’t some super special genius, just a wait staff and part-time blogger at a restaurant and her job is thoroughly mundane. It’s things like these that further support and uphold Wave’s grown up vibe and boost its appeal for the older anime fan.
Tom: I agree this is definitely a series with the potential to charm older anime fans looking for something that extends beyond yet more Isekai or the next uber popular Shonen title. It helps that there’s an excellent use of animation and flare to make sure Koda’s fast, straight talk isn’t just the manga’s writing brought to life by the character’s VA (although Sugiyama Riho, previously only known for supporting roles, does an incredible job on her own.) The animation even makes the bear sequence almost work, and is only undermined by how long the joke opening goes on for. Overall I’m a tad mixed on Wave, Listen to Me! It’s action-packed, throw the audience in the deep end opening did nothing for me, but everything after settled me back in and won me over. I think there’s some real potential here for what could end up as AOTY material, if it can keep itself from running too hard on its more out there elements at least until it has eased the audience into its more manic behavior.
Linny: Having read the first chapter of the series on Crunchyroll’s manga library, I can tell you that the latter half is the true canon start point of the manga. Maybe the dynamic start was picked for the anime to grab audience attention but it also makes the first episode feel a bit disjointed. Unfortunately, Crunchyroll does not have Chapter 2-24 so I have no idea what the rest of the story is going to be like or how faithful the anime will be. That said, I still have hope that this series will be well worth at least trying a couple of episodes, especially for someone seeking a more relatable and grown up story in the anime medium. Minare is opinionated and loud and clearly a flawed lead, which means the there’s plenty of room for drama and character growth without her being too obnoxiously off-putting. Watching her vent then watching her react as she hears her drunken rant being publicly broadcasted is both amusing and endearing. It’s a promising start to a rare style of story and might be worth adding to your watch list if you have an itch for something different.
Wave, Listen to Me! is available for streaming via Funimation.com