Anime Review: Kinmoza! (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 01.10.2017

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Kinmoza! (UK Rating: 12)

When Shinobu Omiya was ten years old, she got to take part in the dream of many young Japanese girls - she did home-stay with a family in England, and she met a girl her age their called Alice Cartelet. Despite not being able to speak more than a handful of words in each other's languages (Shinobu knew the essentials of Hello and Guts Pose!), they grew close and found it hard to say goodbye. Now, five years later, Shinobu finds a surprising visitor at her door - Alice has come to Japan to study! This complete first season of Kinmoza! comes courtesy of Manga Entertainment and is available from 9th October.

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The presentation of Kinmoza! absolutely overwhelms from the first episode, and its presentation is without doubt its biggest strength. The characters are the typical moe-blob schoolgirls found in any of the mammoth amount series just like this, but it's the colours, art style and environments where the show really shines - sometimes literally! Various techniques are used and the final result is an absolutely beautiful looking series. Rich pastel colours are permanently in attendance and the art styles show off greenery that look like watercolour paintings - houses that look like they were hand-drawn in pastel pencils and a rich warm glow permeates everything, coalescing at the edges of the screen for a dream-like quality.

The problem is that besides the rich art, there's nothing to set this apart from the huge amount of similar titles and there's even less to elevate it above them. The first episode is filled with promise, perhaps setting up a fish out of water tale of a Japanese girl in rural England. There's a particular focus placed on the difficulty in not knowing each other's language, too, that seems like it could also be an interesting plot point to play upon, but sadly after the first episode this all goes out of the window. From the second onwards, the story follows Alice who has moved to Japan and now joins Shinobu and a small group of friends, living out their day to day lives in school.

From there it's tropes and cliché overload as a group of girls filled with the usual expected character traits live stress and conflict free lives, with the biggest arguments being over who are the very bestest of best friends. It's meant to be a comedy, too, but there are few scenes that are even able to evoke a chuckle.


 
With a focus on the differences in culture and the difference in language, you would think the studio would hire Japanese speaking Westerners for the characters that are English but speak Japanese. It sounds so weird when the host family in England speaks English - it's utterly evident they are Japanese voice actors, and their heavily accented performances really show: "Aren't you going to eat that dessert?" sounds like "Aren't you going to eat that Desert?"

The extra features are rather sparse on this release, as well. There's only the original Japanese audio, which is a shame; it would be interesting to see how the topic of the differences in language would be dealt with from a dub's point of view. Of course, the best release would be if they managed to get fluent Japanese speakers to play the parts of Alice and Karen. There's also the to be expected clean opening and closing, along with a few trailers… one of which is From the New World... an odd addition considering this series and that the other trailers are things like Yuyushiki and Uta no Prince Sama.

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Anyone looking for yet another "cute girls doing cute things" anime now has another option to add to their collection with this but Kinmoza! definitely isn't anything special, nor is it a show that does anything to set it apart from the countless others out there.

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