Episode 9 – Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie

There are a lot of shows that live and die by their one special gimmick; Unfortunately for many of them, their central gimmick often isn’t enough to sustain twelve episodes, and ends up getting more and more worn thin as the season progresses.

Over these past three episodes, Shikimori has proved that its writing chops are perfectly capable of carrying the show beyond the relationship between a chronically unlucky boy and his strong girlfriend. With episode 9, it turns out that there is even such a thing as a great Shikimori episode that doesn’t feature Izumi at all. Best friend characters can often feel like shallow onlookers in shows like Shikimori, yet the opening scenes with Inuzuka and Hachimitsu were golden. To be honest, anything Hachimitsu does in this show is hilarious, whether it’s being played like a guitar or her impromptu her Sherlock Holmes routine her.

But the highlight, of course, is the return of Kamiya. I ended my last review by saying, “I also want to see Kamiya happy at some point! Please!” and it seems my wish was granted sooner rather than later. They even added her to the show’s key visual as a clear sign that she wasn’t a one-and-done character. In contrast to some of the more eccentric members of the cast, Kamiya is cool and collected, but she’s also used that to form a barrier around herself.

I’ll admit, I haven’t thought all that much about Nekozaki as a character, but it was genuinely pretty heartwarming to see her persistence in asking Kamiya if she’d like to hang out. She thinks of herself as being pushy, but for an introvert, it really helps to have a constant reminder that you’re welcome. And despite what could easily be an awkward relationship, she gets on surprisingly well with Shikimori, with the two of them taking turns playing the role of a cool boyfriend.

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The episode ends with a surprise basketball game that, much like its volleyball scenes, was surprisingly well-animated. It also served as further proof that Kamiya and Shikimori are becoming fast friends. Kamiya is still cautious, but watching her heart open up has been a compelling reason to keep watching. We were also introduced to two brand new characters with designs so distinct that I’d be really surprised if we don’t meet them again.

There are a lot of romcoms airing this season, but Shikimori is giving out plenty of reasons to stick with it. When it moves past the basic gimmick of Izumi being unlucky, the show can be surprisingly funny with compelling character writing. It also helps that it’s frequently visually distinct with some select well-animated moments and great character art.

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Callum is the host and creator of the YouTube channel The Canipa Effect where he explores topics within the anime industry. You can also find him talking nonsense on Twitter.


Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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