“Everything looks cute when it’s small.” —Cynthia Rowley
The adorable and immensely entertaining anime that is Hello! Kiniro Mosaic comes to an end after twelve episodes. Since the third episode, the anime has followed Alice and Shinobu’s life as second-year high school students. Outside of their studies, Alice and Shinobu experience an idyllic ever-day life. With Yoko, Aya and Karen, their adventures encompass a shopping trip with Isami to lift her spirits, participating in a trading quest inspired by The Straw Millionaire, Yoko’s attempt at conquering the Adam Richman Parfait Challenge and spending a day at the beach during the summer. Hello! Kiniro Mosaic also provides more insight into Karen and Alice’s friendship in a flashback to their time back in England, and the finale has Shinobu and Alice reunite after the latter spends a week in England with Karen. This is, in short, an anime that follows in the footsteps of numerous slice-of-life anime that preceded it. What allows Hello! Kiniro Mosaic to really stand out is the excellent capitalisation on the strong bonds between Alice and Shinobu, as well as Aya’s feelings for Yoko, and Karen’s boisterous presence to drive events forwards. However, the second season does not merely limit itself to the first season’s cast: Akari and Honoka add new dimensionality to the interactions within the second season, allowing for a new side to be shown to members of the old cast.
Hello! Kiniro Mosaic might be seen as the counterpart to Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka: both anime place an emphasis on transforming the mundane into the extraordinary, and both anime make extensive use of characters that are endearing to the viewers. There is a biological basis behind why this is so effective: I mentioned in a previous review (whose title and topic elude me) that cuteness in general is intended to encourage nurturing and child-caring tendencies in adults. These traits are desirable from an evolutionary standpoint, as adults who have a propensity towards cute things tend to pay more attention to their offspring and logically, would raise them effectively such that they survive. Thus, when viewers are watching anime like Kiniro Mosaic or Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka, the anime are designed in such a way as to invoke similar feelings: this is no different than watching baby bunnies eating a carrot. The natural predisposition to find enjoyment and tenderness in watching what is idiosyncratically referred to as “cute girls doing cute things”, accounts for why anime done with such an emphasis has continued to endure (despite the aesthetics’ prevalence).
Screenshots and Commentary
- It’s good to see that the screenshots this time turned out with a much better colour saturation: the last Kiniro Mosaic talk I did featured screenshots that were oversaturated, and could not be corrected because my image host somehow skewed their colours on upload. Here, Shinobu and Yoko admire flowers in bloom; Alice’s flowers are late in blooming, leading to some concern.
- Isami’s melancholy is implied to have stemmed from not spending as much time with Shinobu ever since Alice’s arrival, but noticing this, Yoko and company decide to take her on a shopping trip of sorts. A model and university student by the events of Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, Isami is depicted as elegant and cool, but also seems to have a more mischievous and idle side to her, as well.
- I’m confident that this is the only blog that will ever mention Adam Richman’s Man v. Food in conjunction with Kiniro Mosaic; Yoko takes on a massive parfait that costs some 80 CAD, and the challenge conditions state that finishing it means the dessert will be on the house. The challenge is quite similar to the ice cream challenge in Man v. Food, which saw Adam take on the Kitchen Sink challenge. Unlike Yoko, who is utterly defeated by food, Adam wins his challenge at the 45 minute mark of the hour-long time limit.
- In a flashback, Akari recounts how she first met Sakura. Despite being absentminded, Akari finds Sakura to be reliable and kind, as well. It turns out that Akari is younger than Sakura, and because of this, Sakura prefers that Akari does not refer to her as a senior, especially in front of the students, lest this gives her true age away.
- Akari smiles after the flashback ends: most viewers out there regard smiles from seemingly-cold characters as a very rewarding thing to see, as it signifies that the characters have another side to them.
- After an incident where Karen fell off a bridge’s ledge, Karen shouted out to Alice in mangled Japanese to catch her attention, and since then, Karen has regarded Alice as a hero to her. Here, the “i” below the “o” isn’t actually an “i”: in Japanese, “ー” is used to indicate that a particular sound is to be stretched
- Aya’s shyness is an impediment that leads her to botch a phone call to Yoko; she’d intended to create a study schedule to help Yoko out, but one thing leads to another: after swapping clothes with Aya to see how the former may look in a skirt and accidentally spilling barley tea on Yoko while studying, Yoko ends up in her undergarments right as Kota and Mitsuki show up. The build-ups for the various scenes are well-executed in each episode, which is no small feat.
- If I were to detail every amusing or noteworthy moment in Kiniro Mosaic, these posts would end up being behemoths rivaling the Gundam Unicorn: Over The Rainbow post in size. Thus, one of the challenges in making any blog post is to pick and choose moments that are conducive towards discussion, and I often go back to review a specific moment so that I might have something to say about it: here, after Shinobu jokingly suggests that she is going to dye her hair blonde, Alice reacts negatively.
- Honoka Matsubara (right) is Karen’s classmate, and like Shinobu, loves blonde hair. She’s a member of the tennis club, and strikes a fast friendship with Karen. Her family owns a restaurant chain, and Honoka often gifts sweets to Karen, although it isn’t until season two that she summons the courage to talk to her.
- While it’s not likely to happen, it would be quite nice to see Shinobu, Yoko and Aya pay a visit to England in an OVA; while Kiniro Mosaic is generally done in with simple artwork, the animators at Studio Gokumi seem to pay the ornate dresses more attention, and it does allow for some fanciful artwork of the characters in formal dresses that wouldn’t otherwise been seen elsewhere in the anime.
- Shinobu’s talent as a seamstress is nothing short of impressive: she’s able to create elaborate dresses from scratch, and later repairs Mitsuki’s stuffed bear to perfect condition in seconds. One of the things that I find most entertaining in Kiniro Mosaic is Alice’s squeals, which are heart-melting and amusing at the same time.
- In season one, Shinobu and company took a summer trip to the mountains; after much discussion, the group decides that this year, they can go to the beach. There’s a Mobile Suit Gundam reference in this episode: after getting a little too friendly with Yoko, Karen gets swatted, leading the latter to remark that “Not even my own father hit me!”. The dicussions at AnimeSuki picked this up, but I’m surprised that Tango-Victor-Tango’s viewers somehow missed this.
- Aya and Yoko’s interactions manage to remain fresh throughout the entirety of Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, and as with Alice, watching Aya cry is at once hilarious and heart-melting. Rise Taneda plays Aya’s role exceptionally well, although Aya’s timid personality stands in stark contrast with her role as Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka‘s Rize Tezeda.
- Sakura and Akari enjoy a day at the same beach that Shinobu at the others are visiting, and while most viewers were expecting their paths to cross, the decision to leave the two groups separate allows the story to maintain a more peaceful feeling.
- I’m modestly surprised that I was able to find the time to push this post out today: the weekend did not feel like much of a weekend, as I spent the entirety of it building furniture. However, it was very satisfying to finish- most of the furniture was for my parents, although I was able to assemble a new desk chair for myself, as well. The furniture building was punctuated by a much-welcomed break for Dim Sum during lunch hour on Saturday, and while yesterday was cloudy, the weather had cleared up in the afternoon.
- Honoka and Karen spend a relaxing day together: regarding the sentiment out there that the two’s friendship deserved more screen-time, I agree wholeheartedly. This season saw the start of a wonderful new friendship, and it’s likely that if there is a continuation, we could see Honoka become closer with Alice, Shinobu, Aya and Yoko, as well.
- Honoka also has an uncanny talent to balance on balls. While seemingly frivolous, inclusion of this element adds another side to Honoka and cleverly reflects on the idea that all people have hidden depths to them, far more than is initially visible.
- As the season draws to a close, Alice and Karen make a week-long trip to England. This segment in the anime makes the most explicit indications regarding the strength of Alice and Shinobu’s friendship. Here, Alice attempts to pack Shinobu such that the latter might accompany her to England, and in Alice’s absence, Shinobu falls into melancholy. Fortunately, Yoko and Aya step up to the plate to keep her company. Back in England, Karen also catches wind of Alice’s loneliness, and decides to film her own impersonation as Shinobu to keep Alice happy.
- Karen and Alice bake pastries at the Cartelet residence in England. With this post nearly over, I turn my eye on what’s next, and it’s going to be busy. There are a handful of posts that will need to be written before we’re too far into July, including one of my overall experiences with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, my initial impressions of the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided E3 gameplay footage, and the concluding posts for both OreGairu Zoku and Hibike Euphonium. I’ll also need to watch and write about the Sabagebu! OVAs. This is going to be exacerbated by the fact that I’ve got a concert to attend tomorrow evening, and a movie on Friday…but I’ll make it work.
- Alice, Karen and Shinobu joyfully reunite around halfway into the finale. As with the previous season, the finale ends proper once the main arc resolves, and the remainder of the episode is dedicated to a side story. This one follows Shinobu as she attempts to study for an English exam under Alice’s watchful eye, and although not quite as amusing as the one from the first season, was still entertaining to behold.
When everything is said and done, Hello! Kiniro Mosaic is ultimately a solid continuation to Kiniro Mosiac, taking advantage of familiar characters to explore their everyday lives in greater detail, and introducing new characters liven the atmosphere up. Here is a series that has settled into the unique situations and accompanying humour that is possible with Alice, Shinobu, Yoko, Aya and Karen, and although the setting might not be as unique as that in Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka, Hello! Kiniro Mosaic opts to play to each characters’ strengths to provide non-stop comedy, as well as more tender moments that illustrate just how deep everyone’s friendship with one another is. Hello! Kiniro Mosaic concludes as the students gear up for entrance exams in their third year of high school, so it’s quite possible that a third season will eventually be adapted. If we go by trends, then said third season will likely be premièred in Winter 2017, although in the absence of more concrete information, this date remains pure speculation.