Final Impressions: Just Because!

Season aired: Fall 2017

Number of episodes: 12

Genres: Romance, Drama, Slice-of-life

Thoughts: I’m honestly not sure how to round up my thoughts for Just Because!. At times, there was something truly special in the story, but at other times, I found myself watching another typical romance anime. This strange in-between realm left me very befuddled on how to describe exactly what I felt for the storyline and its characters.

Just Because! centers around five high school seniors plus one underclassman. Starting with the return of a student that had moved away in middle school, their lives get inexplicably tangled in relationships. Buried feelings are surfacing as a strange love pentagon of some sort forms and slowly transitions into other different shapes. But at the end of the day, Just Because! is a camera that focuses on the senior students’ last stretch before adulthood, exploring themes of friendship, courage, and community.

Despite the main love triangle being the main focus of the storyline, I found myself ironically more invested in the two supporting characters, Haruto and Morikawa, and their developing relationship instead. There was something truly mature with the way romance blossomed between those two. From the first rejection to the result of their relationship, Haruto and Morikawa focused on realistic obstacles such as their uncertain futures, their lack of finances, and even simply not knowing the other well enough. It was nice to see an anime address more realistic problems that couples often face than focus on the drama of misunderstandings.

The love rival that was likeable in the end

And even though I wasn’t as interested in the love triangle as I should’ve been, I at least still found myself drawn to it. This is thanks to the complex and three dimensional angles the writer approached the female characters, Natsume Mio and Ena Komiya. Natsume’s realization of the difference between a “crush” and actual “love” was integrated into the storyline seamlessly and flawlessly, providing her with incredible character development. Komiya also proves herself differently from other love rivals as well by showing not only humility and morality towards Natsume, but most importantly showing acceptance of the outcome. In the end, it was the male characters, particularly Eita, who floundered in terms of complexity and development. In my opinion, Eita was not given enough time to develop fully, so both his personality and choices remained relatively bland aside from a few deeper moments.

With regards to the production, the art and animation were consistently spotty throughout the series. It was obvious which episodes were given a higher budget, and which episodes weren’t given as much. The voice acting was well done, but not particularly extraordinary or memorable either. The only aspect that stayed consistent throughout series was the atmospheric score, but unfortunately the inconsistent animation took away from the score’s beauty. The biggest flaw, however, was that the last episode felt underwhelming. It almost immediately uprooted any extraordinary moments that happened in the previous episodes, and skewed the anime from something that could’ve been good to something mediocre.

All in all, it’s another romance anime with brief glimpses of pure magic in certain episodes and mundane scenarios in others. I personally do not recommend it to other viewers, unless you’re a big fan of romance and would enjoy any romance anime that’s out there.

Rating

I am planning to rate all my anime based on the anime rating system that Japanese anime critics use. I will have 5 categories, each with the top score of 10, and then a final multiplier of 2.

Plot: 7

Characters: 7

Voice acting: 7

Art/Animation: 6

Soundtrack: 7

Total: 34

Multiplier: 2

FINAL SCORE: 68/100

 

The anime is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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