Warning: the following review may contain spoilers.
This is a re-post of a review originally posted April 24th 2017
One Room doesn’t seem to know who it wants to appeal to and also has no idea how to do a romance anime and doesn’t even use its unique POV perspective well.
One Room is an early 2017 short form original anime that’s 12 episodes long and backed by Smiral Animation, each episode is roughly 4 mins long and it aired from January 11th to March 29th of as stated before, 2017.
One Room before it aired was a show I was looking forward too, it claimed to be a POV (Point of View) Anime which goes through three different stories each relating to a different girl and watch as that girl grows or changes and eventually ends up with the protagonist which is meant to me via the POV. minus the middle girl who doesn’t end up with you because she’s your sister, you goddamn weeb weirdos, lol.
Anyway the premise is kinda neat but only because it hasn’t really been done before and because I had no pass memory to base this off of, after all decisions are made based off memories in relation to the current situation so I had no reason to think that this show was going to be bad while I did had reasons to think it would be good, such as the cute girls and the rarely used POV perspective which I personally have never seen done although I’m sure it has been before.
However within just the first episode I realized that it wasn’t really what I had thought it was, for starters it’s not always in the POV perspective so if you think that this show can get by on innovation alone you are wrong as it doesn’t stick with it, we get more separate shots made to look good, shots that can only be achieved by a camera and shots that just don’t make sense if it’s meant to be POV, so the show kinda flip flops between different perspectives and that means that while this innovation is neat, it’s not really a huge point of the show.
This does mean we never see the protagonist and it’s meant to make it easier to self insert but I personally find this protagonist harder to relate to and self insert myself into then other protagonists that actually have a name and face already applied to them. But I’ll come back to why in a bit.
First of I wanna talk about each individual story and then after we break those down I’ll move on too the girls related to each story. So the first story has us getting up and going to the door as our new neighbors at our apartment complex has gone to welcome herself. She says that shes moved to Tokyo in order to go to university and that her trial exams are coming up soon.
Eventually we end up walking with her and help her with her bags as she’s coming home from shopping. eventually we get to the house and she asks us to help her study and that’s basically the entire point of this first third of the show, we help her study, we grow a little closer and in the end she confesses that she has feelings for us and it ends there.
The protagonist never speaks dialog that we hear but due to how she talks and interacts with us its implied that there is in fact dialog that is spoken by us but the show doesn’t use any of it. This is a really dumb way of handling things, I know it’s meant to be a self insert character and my god how many times am I gonna be saying that. Anyway I get why it was done however there’s no point when the other characters interact with us and respond to things that are being said, meaning that he’s definitely still saying something, we just don’t know what it is and that doesn’t feel like me then cause I always know what I’m saying. obviously.
The other problem this brings up is the fact that what if it gets it wrong, a lot of the ways in which characters respond is written carefully so that the audience can tell what is going on while still missing half the conversation but they can alo have multiple ideas in there head about how the protagonist worded whatever it was that he said, this is done to again assist with the self insertion but it doesn’t work that well when while it could’ve been worded a multitude of ways and yes could’ve also had a multitude of implications and tone behind it, it still contains a base meaning due to the way the conversation flows and the characters responds, there is still some meaning to what was said and intent behind it that at a fundamental level can’t be changed.
Because there is still clear meaning in order to make the conversation flow and the story progress it’s possible for the protagonist to say or do something that doesn’t line up with what I would do, for example at one point in the second arc when his little sister is over it’s a very hot day and she asks why you won’t turn the air con on which you do have, it’s just unplugged and then she mutters “saving power huh, you could at least turn it on while I’m here” now it’s fairly easy to get by with less money than what you usually have, skip some meals and buy less expensive food and while it may not be as pleasant you can get by.
If i was a bit older and lived by myself and my little sister was over to visit and was complaining about it being hot then I would turn the aircon on for her and if it ended up costing me more I would be able to make do because I obviously care about my sister and a lot like in this show there’s a huge age gap between me and my real sister so I would obviously see her as a much smaller person who I want to take good care of so I wouldn’t want to make her be hot or unpleasant even more so since I can’t stand the heat, it drains my energy.
Now obviously that is an extremely personal and specific situation that not everyone is in. However that was just one example of why having the character not talk only makes the situation worse, we lose out on dialog and have to do extra un needed guessing in order to make the protag more relatable but it fails because it gets it so wrong. I’m sure if you want it then you’ll be able to find one or more situation like this that is completely off base and that’s why I feel the need to mention and I also need to justify my score after all and let you know what you’re getting into.
It also doesn’t even take the extra weeby route so I have no idea what kind of audience this anime is trying to appeal too, but it ain’t working for me.
So the story of the first girl is actually the worst and the first girl is also the worst, it may just be that they’re independent of each other or maybe one is dragging the other down but overall it makes the first arc the worst but at least the show gets better as it goes with the third and final arc being the best.
As I’ve stated you help the girl study and this makes no sense to me, as someone who didn’t do the best in school (cause I was busy drawing comics or writing stories) and now does a writing course I have no idea how I would be able to help a young japanese girl pass an entrance exam for a Tokyo school, the Tokyo area of japan is extremely competitive and japanese levels of education and the harshness of exams is insane so I have no idea how I’m expected to help the poor girl.
Again it’s a personal thing but this show wants me to be the protagonist so what can I do but explain why it’s wrong for me on a personal level and hopefully you can see how it is and how it relates to me and be able to decided on your own if it will make it more relatable for you or not.
Another way I distance myself from this protagonist is that when Yui (the first arc girl) first greets us we are in POV mode and the camera looks at her, scans her from top to bottom and then goes back and lingers on her chest for a while, now I get it the whole point of this show is that it’s just pure weeb waifu fantasy BS, but it just made cringe a little and this isn’t the only time the show gets a little too creepy for me.
there’s not much else to talk about for the first arc, I’ll talk about Yui specifically a bit later so for now let’s move onto the second arc, its for all the lolicons and siscons out there who want there own little imouto to protect and take care of and be weirdly attracted to. Now I personally have a little sister who’s like 15 years younger than me which overall just made me like this second arc less than I otherwise would of in some specific areas, but overall I liked it more than the first girl and the little sister isn’t super young or anything, I think the show gives us an age or year level but be damned if I know but if I had to guess I’d say she was at least in middle school.
The little sister has a full name which is Natsuki Momohara, well that’s not my last name but it had to be the protagonists last name since it’s the last name of her sibling, wow, this definitely feels like it’s me. I’m not saying that giving a sister should of been off limits, but you didn’t have to give her a last name. sure this won’t be as much of a problem in Japan obviously, but more people don’t have that last name then people who do, so that’s not a defence.
The little sister arc is a little weird, it’s the only one where the protag doesn’t end up with the girl who is the focus of the arc since you know, it’s his sister. Which has never stopped anime before but it does here, to an extent. The show still sexualises her like theres no tomorrow. Which is my main problem with this arc, shes meant to be my little sister and I have a real little sister so watching the sexualised shots and angles that the show pulls off (again pulling away from the POV) just make me cringe, one episode went to town with it and did it a multitude of times and was really pushing the boundaries there and it just didn’t feel right.
Another reason why the second arc is held back by the sister is the fact that it means nothing f$&king happens. It’s just Natsuki sitting at the apartment doing nothing and then we come home and there’s a bit of conversation, maybe a few lewd shots of her and then the episode ends. Yui and after this Moka both have a goal and there’s a reason for them to be doing what they’re doing and while this is better then Yuis arc, it did feel like there was more going on with her.
Overall she comes over, eventually decided to stay a little longer, compiles some rules that we should live by and ends up leaving after watching a firework display, and then she’s gone and nothing changed, doesn’t help that each arc seems to be an alternate reality making the middle arc completely and utterly useless, at least if it was all the same universe then we’d have those rules to live by that she made even after she had left.
Lastly is good old Moka and Moka is the best girl and also has the best arc for multiple reasons. First off she’s the most cute which for anyone who’s read my New Game! Review, knows how much of a plus that is, haha. She also actually has some depth to her and a goal that she’s working towards that’s more grand then just university.
Also for some reason in this universe we’re a writer which is actually pretty cool for me and again that’s a personal thing but that makes it a little more relate-able since I too am a writer. Overall the Protag doesn’t do that much in the third arc which again only helps it since we get to focus on Moka and her struggles and the issues she’s dealing with, which is how she’s able to have some depth despite getting only 4 episodes each 4 mins long taking out time for the outro.
So since this arc is all about Moka I’m gonna dive into the characters now and talk about Moka first since we’re on it. So Moka is a childhood friend of ours who we once promised to write a book for, we said we would make a book where she is the main character while she is pursuing a singing career and she’s really good at singing, she also uses a keyboard for her music, so more personal bonus points from me.
We get the generic “you said you would marry me when you were older” stuff but overall Moka lets the show tackle some interesting issues, it’s a shame the show is short though cause it can only really mention them and hope the viewer picks up on them and then thinks about it once the episode is over, but it still does cram a lot into Moka’s dialog and I love it.
The main one that stood out the most for me is her state of stagnation, she has been working on her dream since she was young and her goal hasn’t changed at all however she is unable to make good progress on it, one episode when she’s drunk and complaining about it she calms down for a moment and asks “isn’t it good to meet someone who also hasn’t changed since you were little” she of course means how we also still wish to be a writer and it’s implied that we have gotten no where as well.
This question poses a pretty strong issue which is that while it may be nice for us to be reunited and realise that everything is the same and as we remember it, the world has changed and the world needs us to change, we can’t be little kids anymore, we need to succeed in out job so that we can pay the bills and continue our lives in a comfortable manner. It’s the want for things to stay simple but for our jobs and goals to progress but they can only move once you leave the past behind and become an adult but then there’s the fear of change and knowing that once you go forward you can’t go back.
Mokas calm delivery and the way the music stops and then the way she falls down on to her bed all implies that this is indeed the intention behind this line and I’m glad the show found a way to cram stuff like this into its small run time and it definitely had me thinking since stagnation is something that I too both wish for a dread due to its different effects and aspects, the good should stay good and the bad should change, but it’s either that everything changes or nothing does.
The arc ends with us writing our manuscript where Moka is the protagonist and we go see her and then the show ends with her coming to live with us, it’s a nice ending to both the arc and the show and I’d like to think that this is the canon ending as its just done so much better and I don’t feel nearly as dictated from the protagonist, which is funny cause this is where he is given the most pre determined things. He’s a writer and has a childhood friend as well as a past and memories all decided by the show that could be off base completely, yet this is where I like him the most and he doesn’t do a bunch of talking that we miss out on since Moka talks a lot due to the short run time and her need to explain her situation and her need to develop as well as giving the lines that help give the shows its theme and issues to tackle.
Ho boi is she a bland character, she’s the most generic anime girl ever. I guess the show wanted to start with that since it would explain the idea behind the show the best and would be a good way to hook those lame ass weebs who are super easy to manipulate. Overall though Yui is super bland, she just shows up and does the good girl thing of greeting her neighbours and then instantly wants out help with studying.
Again it’s one of the worst aspects of her arc, the whole point is that we help her study but that would not be the case for me or for majority of usual weebs as they tend to be pretty dumb and reject there studies like the fools they are, so why is the arc that puts the most focus on the POV and is really trying to make the character be you, fail so bad at it, it’s insane.
But Yui does have like one good moment, it’s when she finds one of our porno mags and without opening it she knows what it is and is able to understand why we would have it, she doesn’t slap us or call us a horrible person and she knows what it is which is a much more realistic way for a girl to react, most people of her age know what porn is however most anime girls are dumb tsun’s and so they do dumb things, this kind of reaction is much more real.
But Yui seeming like a real girl are few and far between, shes either 17 or 18 since she’s applying to college and we have a full blown job so I assume we’re meant to be at the very least 21 years old so the whole romance factor just feels really weird, now 18 to 21 isn’t that big of a jump nor should it be weird but she is not drawn like she’s 18. I know it’s common that making a girl moe and cute has the side effect of making them look younger but I’ve seen enough anime to understand how much Moe has an effect on this and I can usually tell what an anime girl’s age is meant to be even if they look younger than that, however even when I flick this switch she still seems way too young and it’s goddamn creepy that she would be in a relationships with this person.
Okay so lastly we have Natsuki, I actually like her more then Yui her arc just suffers since she’s the only female character present in an arc for a romance anime, however she’s the sister of the only male character present, so the plot itself can’t do anything, however she still has some good moments.
Natsuki is a pretty usual littler sister, she has the generic tsun going on and is the cheeky little sibling type so at a base level she’s pretty generic but there are points were her actions parody those of the generic little sister role. For instance at one point you come home and she does the typical thing of “what do you want first, your meal, your bath or… me” however after these shots and natsuki strikes a pose nothing happens for a few moments before she starts to make a weird face and then starts yelling about how she’s also embarrassed by it.
We then find out that she wasn’t actually meaning that but just trying to cheer us up since her friend told her that no guy would be sad after being asked that. This is a pretty real reason for why a kid would do something and she gets pretty embarrassed by it and didn’t even mean the very thing she asked which is pretty funny and a nice play on it.
This doesn’t save her though as she still does do some generic stuff like when she sees the girly magazines she gets really mad and ends up throwing them out but to the shows credit we only found out that she did this from a throw away line that is quickly forgotten about when we tell our sister to just go home which she misunderstands to help set up a manufactured cliffhanger ending to an episode.
Also at one point we come home busy after work and while in bed natsuki gives us a message, it’s either after work or when we come home drunk a lot of the same shit happens in her arc so I’m sure but it doesn’t matter for what I’m explaining. The point is that this is the episode that goes to town with the border line lewd shots of her as she messages us, things like when she slightly more bent forward we get a front shot of her low hanging shirt and it’s just like, seriously.
When the show was airing I despised this arc, it was the horrible and after this specific episode I was considering dropping it, I’m glad I didn’t cause her arc was over fast and then we got to best girl, however this was mainly because for me this arc lasted 4 weeks, however once the show was done and I rewatched it for this review I found this arc much more enjoyable, I didn’t sit on a week thinking about those horrible shots and just got through the show in no matter of time and overall the sister is cute and pretty likable.
One last look at the protagonist too, here’s the main problem in a bit better of a summary. We don’t stay in POV the whole time and that’s what kills it, because then we get shots were the protagonist is hidden behind a tree or something so I know that they are there and that its not me. But we relate to pre-built protags all the time but that’s because if you build a character then somewhere along the line there going to have something that you can relate to at the least and since you can see them it’s more easy to sympathise with them.
The protag is a blank shell to be more like me but I can’t get behind that when it doesn’t commit to the POV perspective and so the very few things he does do, if they aren’t in line with me then its got nothing to stand on, which is why once they gave him some more stuff in the third arc like a past relationship and a job and a goal then I wanted him to get the girl and I was happy when he wrote and then presented the manuscript to her.
One thing weird about the show is that it’s got really good lighting, the animation is alright although it’s rather pretty. It’s what dumb weebs think is good animation but the lighting is really good and it’s kinda odd, I also think it has a nice style that a lot of anime has been doing recently where they blur the edges of the screen, I don’t know why it’s become a thing recently but I like it so I don’t mind.
There is no opening theme but there is an ending theme, each episode uses a different single visual that just slides across the screen slowly as the credits roll down, nothing special but the music is pretty good, each arc has a different theme and the third one is easily the best one, it also plays a lot cause Moka sings it twice within an episode while we also still get it at the end, it’s a really good song so I’m glad it was used within the best arc and the arc where we hear the theme the most and it’s played in the last episode for the majority of it.
The voice acting is nothing special, it’s what it needs to be no one is really given anything taxing or hard to do and rarely have to show a huge range of emotions or change, they just need to say there lines and sound real and they do it well enough, it’s not bad but there’s nothing special about it either, it’s a real base line and there’s nothing wrong with that, it just doesn’t really help boost the score.
I didn’t enjoy one room that much at first, the start was boring I hated the middle and then only the ending really satisfied me and the last episode is really good if nothing else. In the end the re-watch was much more enjoyable so I’d say if you’re at all interested then check it out because it’s done now and all out there so you can get through it in about the time it takes to watch a full normal episode of any other show so you definitely have the time, just blaze through it and then see what you think, I personally enjoyed the re-watch a bit better, Yui and her arc are still pretty boring but the sister arc performed much better on my re-watch as stated earlier and the lewds didn’t shock me as much either since I knew they were coming and Moka is always great. So in the end I was able to enjoyed it enough.