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Why Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie’s Anime Failed the Manga

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Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie was hyped by many, but the resulting show was generic at best, failing to make a splash among more substantial anime.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie was one of several highly anticipated anime from 2022. Based on a popular romantic comedy manga, the show should have had what it needed to become a standout among particularly stiff competition. Unfortunately, the series’ hype was its undoing, and it ultimately came and went without much staying power.

The series’ somewhat generic nature and lack of much narrative diversity kept it from being more than the sum of its parts. The immense hype and surprisingly stiff competition didn’t help in this regard, either. Now, several months after its original release, here’s why the Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie anime failed to make the impact that many expected.

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Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie Was Too Generic and Blasé for Audiences

Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie: The 5 Biggest Plot Twists of Season 1

The titular young lady Shikimori is the girlfriend of male protagonist Izumi, both of whom are seemingly normal high school students in love. One major difference in their romance, however, is that Izumi constantly finds himself in a series of ridiculously harrowing situations. Thankfully, Shikimori is more than just a pretty face, always able to save her boyfriend by all manner of actions that look cool. This is the recurring gag and setup for the series, which began as a manga by Keigo Maki. Though the premise worked well there, it ultimately failed to have much substance once hitting the silver screen.

The manga for Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie was essentially a cross between a romance series and an uproarious gag manga, with a bit more emphasis on the latter. Thus, its premise, which could get old rather quickly, is able to work best in the quick format. Unfortunately, when drawn out into 22-minute anime episodes, the shtick grows old rather fast. This is despite only having 12 episodes, showcasing just how “meh” the series was when translated into an anime.

Even for those who really liked it, Shikimori was essentially just a constant retelling of the same bit, with little else to make it worth watching beyond that. It was certainly perfect for those wanting a chill, low-stakes anime, but its romantic comedy nature meant that comparisons to better shows would quickly come about.

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Shows Like My Dress-Up Darling Wiped the Floor With Shikimori

Wakana is taking Marin's measurements in My Dress-up Darling.

Romantic comedy anime are easily some of the most popular throughout yearly seasons, though they can also be the most generic. Thus, when a show truly stands out, anime of a lesser quality are made to seem even worse. Such was the case after My Dress-Up Darling, which was incredibly well-received by audiences. Thus, when Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie was hyped as potentially continuing in that show’s footsteps, fans were left saddened when it merely resided in the former’s shadow.

The characters of My Dress-Up Darling and even the 2021 first season of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro! had characters and concepts that went beyond generic romantic comedy routines. It helped that they largely weren’t content with just falling into tropes or archetypes, giving new energy to what could easily be a trite genre. Shikimori didn’t do this, and though it was entertaining, it paled in comparison to less generic fare. Making it worse was the fact that Izumi was such a poor lead, making even the male protagonist from Nagatoro! seem hot-blooded in comparison. Plus, Shikimori is almost comically perfect and praised, making her ironically unlikable.

Despite how the show ended up, the superior handling of the manga source material led many fans to hype up Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie. Thus, when it ended up being fairly mediocre, it was seen as even more tepid than it actually was. For some, it even made them question just what was seen in the original manga to begin with. After all, it was always simply something that was kind of cute, but nothing revolutionary. Thus, the show finished its 12 episodes without much in the way of applause or remembrance, showcasing the pitfalls in getting exciting for something that might not even translate well into anime form.

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