Review/discussion about: Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
In elementary school, my four closest buddies and I would call ourselves “The Five Musketeers.” That’s because we did pretty much everything together while at school: sports, group activities, hanging out, making jokes, etc. We always had a blast and created memories that will last a lifetime. While we slowly drifted apart to the point that we no longer see each other, I’ll always remember them as the best friends that I ever had. Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic follows a similar troupe, showcasing impossibly cute moments while demonstrating the bonds of friendship in a familiar way.
Kinmoza 2 (as it will be called from here on out) is the sequel to “Kiniro Mosaic.” Shino, Alice, Karen, Ayaya, and Yoko are back, alongside a few new characters, to bring about their signature adorableness once more.
This cannot be overstated; the Kinmoza series is near the top, if not the pinnacle, when it comes to cuteness. Often times, anime is known for shows being of the “cute girls doing cute things” variety. But in Kinmoza 2’s case, the second half of that phrase is dropped. It’s simply “cute girls.” The girls don’t do anything pertaining to the plot, they aren’t striving for a particular goal, and they aren’t necessarily interested in doing anything completely out of the ordinary. It really is a show designed around a bunch of girls being as cute as possible in everyday situations. They visit the beach, each other’s houses, other countries; they have picnics at school, tennis matches, study sessions; and they even gather at the mall and on the street. The anime is everyday happenings with the added benefit of watching these girls interact with one another.
There could be an argument for the anime being more than “just” a bunch of high school girls having a good time together. This harkens back to the introduction: the idea of friendships and the memories we share. Such a notion works to an extent, considering how much the girls do pretty much everything with one another. But the idea loses its focus when it goes back to Shino fawning over blonde hair or Karen acting extremely hyper. They are good friends and they are making memories they’ll never forget, yet they’re never too worried about the future or even the past. To them, and the anime, all that matters is what is going on now, at a singular moment in time.
At this point, there isn’t too much else to say, really. Kinmoza 2 isn’t looking to make you think critically or provide profound themes that inspire one to question his or her philosophical being. It’s a slice-of-life show aimed at making the audience smile. To that end, the characters are the driving force, not the narrative. This is evident in what the anime offers. Looking at it closely, it is (like its predecessor) a lot of repetition in terms of jokes, gags, and general comedy. Ultimately the situations boil down to whose shtick is holding the spotlight or is being used in unison with another character’s personality. The events don’t mean anything; rather than the characters and what they do being a byproduct of the situations they find themselves in, the only purpose is having Shino and the gang be as cute as possible.
One of the ways in which Kinmoza 2 achieves maximum “moe” is through the art and character designs that it utilizes.
The art itself is very soft in its presentation. The colors aren’t invasive or distracting on the eye, there’s a soft, white hue surrounding the shots, and the locations visited provide the appropriate setting – the school, Shino’s room, their local meeting spot, etc. – without being overly intrusive. In short, the show is gently inviting the audience to relax and simply enjoy the characters and their antics. At the same time, the show incorporates “chibi” or “minimalist” techniques to make the characters less detailed, often smaller, and therefore cuter because of it all.
Inspecting the character designs, it’s easy to see once again how much attention is placed on making the girls as cute in appearance as possible. The veterans return with their signature looks – Shino with her medium-length hair and obscure fashion attire, Karen’s long blonde hair with matching Union Jack coat, and Ayaya’s blue twin-tails with constant blushing, to name a few. Newcomers Kuzehashi-sensei and Honoka maintain the cute factor as well. Kuzehashi-sensei’s side ponytail mixed with her secretary-like work outfit is a nice look for the woman and Honoka’s long brown hair and general plainness contrasts well with the other girls, proving that the show can create nice designs even for the additional cast members.
Actual animation remains somewhere around average. The anime mostly moves from one shot to the next in order to keep up with the quick pace of the comedy. Reactions are mostly comical expressions, actual movement is usually not too involved besides the occasional hop, skip, or hug, and even then, the characters are usually standing around. There does exist particularly high-quality animation sequences – such as when Kuzehashi-sensei and Karasuma-sensei attempt to high-five – but they are so few and far between that they aren’t entirely worth mentioning.
Like the plot, Kinmoza 2’s characters aren’t there to be expounded upon. They don’t develop and they don’t really grow as people. They’re more or less the same girls from start to finish. This is, again, a perfectly acceptable direction given the format of the anime and its overall goals. Since the characters are formatted as such, there isn’t a whole lot to say once more, at least with the main cast. Shino still wants to be an interpreter, Alice is continually mistaken for an elementary school student, Karen never stops smiling, Ayaya does her best to keep the others reeled in, and Yoko manages to go along for the ride.
So what is it that makes the girls so cute then? It’s already been established that the narrative does nothing for them and their individual quirks aren’t too compelling. The answer lies in something briefly mentioned earlier: character interactions. What the anime excels at is using the characters not on their own but in unison with each other, giving them the opportunity to be adorable through the relationships they share. It’s seeing the girls have fun together, and not simply being who they are by their lonesome, that provides the experience the show wants. For example, Shino loves blond hair, but it’s her doting nature and inseparable bond with Alice that brings glee to anyone who sees it. There’s Ayaya’s clearly romantic feelings and embarrassment towards Yoko that one can’t help but root for. And Karen seems to be on the same wavelength of every girl at once; she’s sporty with Yoko, serious with Ayaya, innocent with Alice, and supportive with Shino. This is just the tip of the iceberg; each girl interacts with the other main (and side) cast members in a way that not only coincides with their own traits but also feels unique within the anime. Such relative and different relationships is what gives the show the chance to branch out in as many cute areas as it can, with the result being a bombardment of elation that never ceases.
It’s for this reason – the character interactions and relationships having such high importance – that makes Kuzehashi-sensei arguably the best character out of the entire cast despite being introduced just this season. She’s someone who is seeking these very relationships; she isn’t the best at establishing a connection with the people around her due to her outwardly misjudged hostility and shyness, but she tries to understand her students (Karen especially) as much as she can. But it’s a bit more than this. Kuzehashi-sensei holds a special position in regards to everyone else: she’s the “median” between the teachers and the students. With her, the audience gets to see a new outlook in regards to the interactions held, because she’s not entirely seen as a teacher by her fellow peers. Instead, due to her wanting to be more personable with the people around her, she comes off as being less of a work-buddy and mentor and more of a really good friend to the people she meets.
The same reasoning can also be applied to the other new character, Honoka. She’s painted as a sort of Shino clone but for Karen, not Alice. This is mostly likely done to complete the “yuri trifecta” – Ayaya and Yoko, Shino and Alice, and now Karen and Honoka. But again, it’s not her love of golden hair and the broken Japanese-speaking girl that makes her a welcome addition, it’s her determination to create relationships with Karen and the other girls that gives her character more strength than it should have. She, too, has a special position: she’s an “outsider” looking to become friends with the rest. So with her and Kuzehashi-sensei, watching as they try to make and maintain connections with everyone else, gives them their own brand of cuteness that the anime hadn’t seen before.
The opening theme is surprisingly catchy, with the beginning trumpet, various instruments, and quick-paced beat being fun to listen to. The lyrics are cute, the vocalists are cute, and the changing tempos are cute; it’s a piece that perfectly fits the mood of the show. The ending theme definitely feels “English,” not just in the visuals but in the jazzy composition crafted by the trumpet and tapping drum. It’s not as catchy as its starting counterpart or as cute, but the track itself still has a charm about it that remains consistent with the anime.
Kinmoza 2’s remaining soundtrack is filled to the brim with whimsical pieces that are quite dainty. There are a ton of tracks in total – nearly 40 to speak of – that all sound more or less the same. “Haikei Alice Desu” feels like riding on air due to the extravagant violins and wooden flute, “Sensei To Seito” is a signature track that captures the tone of the anime wonderfully, “Kawaii No” is very simple and therefore very cute because of it, “Eigo De Kaiwa” goes more homely in its presentation, “Mata.Ae Ta Ne” is mostly piano that has a certain nostalgic presence, and “Hamabe Nite” goes more Hawaiian with the acoustic guitar and maracas. They’re nice tracks when coupled with the show but aren’t necessarily strong as standalone offerings.
Voice acting for the anime is above average. Special shout-outs are deserved for Manami Tanaka as Alice and Nao Touyama as Karen for some of the best English-speaking lines in anime, Asuka Nishi as Shinobu for her cute way of talking, and Risa Taneda as Ayaya for her constant stuttering and flustering.
I’m a big fan of “moe” in anime, and this one gives it in droves. It’s cute beyond measure and always, without fail, made me smile for nearly the entire season. I remember Shino putting herself in Alice’s luggage so she could go with her best friend making me laugh pretty hard; Ayaya daydreaming about “yuri” moments with Yoko and proceeding to get mad at her since it was “her fault” was always funny and adorable; and Kuzehashi-sensei’s peering around corners, wanting to do her best as a teacher, was very endearing to see. Speaking of Kuzehashi-sensei, she’s now one of my favorite characters in the series. Ayaya is still the best due to her unending shyness and blushing, but Kuzehashi-sensei mirrors these mannerisms all the time, too, and is a very close second.
Thinking back on the season one last time, I don’t hate Yoko, Karasuma-sensei, and Honoka, but I never got as much entertainment from them as I did from the rest of the characters. Again, the connections they have with the other cast members are fun, but that’s because they’re interacting with characters that I do like as opposed to being cute by themselves. Even Yoko’s younger siblings and Shino’s older sister Isami were more comical than those three. That’s not to say they weren’t funny in their own right, they’re just less so when compared to everyone else.
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic is a nice sequel and an affable little anime that knows itself well. The adorableness is off the charts, the characters are likable, and the show never stops trying to make one smile. While there isn’t much of a story and the music is better in conjunction with the anime, these “Five Musketeers” and their other friends demonstrate that the relationships we have with the people around us bring more happiness than we will ever know.
Story: Fine, “moe” to the max, with lots of repetition and no real purpose
Animation: Good, nice art style, nice character designs, average actual animation
Characters: Good, Shino, Alice, Karen, Ayaya, and Yoko return as themselves, with them and newcomers Kuzehashi-sensei and Honoka exemplifying cuteness through their relationships
Sound: Fine, good OP, okay ED, okay soundtrack, above average VA work
Enjoyment: Good, Ayaya, Shino, and Alice are hilarious, Kuzehashi-sensei is a fantastic new addition to the cast, with Yoko and a few others not being as strong as the rest
Final Score: 6/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3