Short and Mostly Sweet
Series in a Sentence
Kanaka, Saki, and Ayuko are three high school girls that go about their daily lives where nothing really happens.
What I liked
I’m a sucker for any funny slice-of-life 4-koma (4-panel) adaptations and this series was able to scratch that itch for me. The main cast are about what you would expect them to be, with Kanaka being the energetic girl, Saki being the intimidating yet thoughtful girl, and Ayuko being the airhead of the group. Like in a lot of these types of series, this formulaic dynamic works well: Kanaka does or says something crazy, Ayuko gets caught up in the gag, and Saki as the straight man brings it all back to reality (or in some cases uses a deadpan style to make things even more absurd). What really made this series’ sense of humor work, though, was the timing. Despite being a short-form series with episodes ranging around 3 minutes each, the show wasn’t afraid to dwell on awkward pauses for effect. Coupled with a
surprisingly high-quality watercolor style (that included actual backgrounds instead of simple color pages) and a bubbly/energetic opening theme, the writing, timing, and voice acting presented a surprisingly tightly executed series.
What I Didn’t Like
My big issue with this series is one that usually isn’t an issue for short-form series: It was too short. Since all episodes were relegated to about 3 minutes, with the opening taking up a relatively decent amount of time, each episode was really just one bite-sized joke that could potentially bleed into the next episode. I get that the point of this format is to present fast and funny gags (some of which require an understanding of some Japanese language but that’s neither here nor there), but I’ve seen many 4-koma manga series get adapted to 12 or 24-minute episodes successfully. Here, it just felt disjointed. Really, I just wanted more from this show, as the entire experience left me feeling incomplete.
One of the very first series that I actually watched in earnest was what I consider a gold-standard for 4-koma anime: Azumanga Daioh. With a varied cast of characters, down to earth yet just barely crazy gags, and full-length episodes, it was what got me hooked into the genre. Here, with Aiura, I definitely felt the potential to be that next-in-line 4-koma series with the characters, style of humor, and quality in animation but the fact that episodes were 3 minutes long prevented me from fully enjoying it. For the person just looking for a quick laugh here and there the show is fine, but for the person looking for a comedic experience that will last this series is just too disjointed. It takes less than an hour to watch the whole thing, though, so there really isn’t anything to lose by watching it. Even when it feels like nothing is going on in your life, if you look close enough there is always something to enjoy.