Shikimori’s San is not just a cutie was among the top contender for the best anime for fall anime this Spring Season coming from one of the most beloved rom-com among Manga readers. The Spring Season had other huge contenders such as Spy X Family, Aharen San Wa Hakarenai, and some others, while returning anime such as Kaguya Sama: Love is War, Komi Can’t Communicate, Science Fell In Love So I Tried To Prove It.
But unlike the others who became fan favorites with their releases, Shikimori San is not just a cutie. It received much criticism and had mixed reviews as newer episodes started rolling out. Viewers’ criticism seemed to be different, but one thing was clear: not everyone seems to like Shikimori as much as Izumi does.
So, let’s examine why a fan favorite manga received much criticism for its anime.
Shikimori, the main character as the show’s name suggests, was way too perfect in most aspects. Most of the anime’s plot revolved around the fact that Shikimori was perfect in almost everything, which was way too over the top, be it sports, studies, looks and not to forget her razor-sharp reflexes which are there just to save her boyfriend Izumi which we will get to later on.
As the episodes start rolling out one by one, we came to a point where can already predict what is going to happen next even without reading the manga or any spoilers, as the show is very repetitive, it’s just Izumi gets in some sort of trouble, and lo and behold, his beautiful and perfect girlfriend is there to solve that problem for him almost every time.
As the story progresses, we are revealed that Shikimori has some flaws from time to time, her inability to sing, her inability to cook, and some other things such as her inability to score higher marks than Izumi her boyfriend. We are also shown that Shikimori has a dual personality, one is her being perfect in everything or her “cool” mode and the other one being where she shows her cute and clumsy side or her “normal” mode.
Izumi is the male lead of the show, but he’s not the type of male lead that will instantly attract your attention. Izumi is written off as a joke character, as he’s able to attract almost all kinds of problems to himself and him being a helpless main character who is constantly in need of supervision and attention from someone else, that being mainly Shikimori here.
And to add upon all that, Izumi is constantly under the impression that he does not deserve Shikimori and he think that he is “wimpy” or “pathetic” due to his bad luck and having to be constantly protected by his girlfriend. Izumi is a character that is clumsy, and excels in hobbies that are traditionally attributed to girls, like cooking.
He does have redeem himself in some departments as he is emotionally mature and able to open up easily to his friends and family, which saves him from getting into ridiculous misunderstandings that so many others get themselves into due to their own emotional immaturity. But Izumi is ultimately meant to play the role of a cute shojo heroine to Shikimori’s cool ikemen hero.
Despite having a distinct character like Shikimori, the rest of the side characters, except one or two is very difficult to watch.The anime heavily relies on Shikimori as the main character, while the other characters, are simply too bland and generic, which does nothing to help the anime. It lacks that excitement where, when you are like introduced to a new character and you instantly love that character whether it be their design or backstory more than the main character of the show.
Talking about the side characters, the core best friend trio of Inuzuka, Nekozaki, and Hachimitsu, Izumi’s family and Shikimori’s family and a few other characters like Kamiya also got a decent showing in the episodes they were in, but as the show tries too hard to elevate Shikimori, highlighting her coolness and strong personality, it only casts a negative light on the other characters. And so Izumi and the others become nothing more than props for the show for Shikimori to shine in.
Other Problems with the show:
As soon as the Marin and Gojo story ended, everyone’s attention was drawn to what was rumored to be the next My Dress-Up Darling. Due to the strong female leads in both animes, it’s natural for fans to draw parallels. Shikimori, like Marin, is popular because of her charisma, personality, and open-mindedness. However, these two characters have different chemistry with the male lead.
Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie makes far too much of Shikimori and Izumi’s romance. Despite the fact that they’ve been dating for some time, their relationship doesn’t feel genuine. To begin with, they don’t act like it. Aside from that, Izumi is constantly convinced that he is unworthy of Shikimori. This has no bearing on the plot of the anime. The gaudy romance that appears whenever Shikimori saves Izumi feels out of place. It suffers from severe imperfections, particularly in terms of authenticity and chemistry between the two.
At this point, much of the “hype” surrounding Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie stems from how much the manga’s established fanbase absolutely loved the source material.