When I first saw the PV for this show, I had a very strong feeling that it was going to be a feel-good type of a series along the lines of Flying Witch and You and Me. There isn’t too much of a plot to it as it follows the everyday exploits of a small group of charming characters, but their interactions and seemingly mundane adventures just have a naturally alluring quality that keeps you pleasantly interested. After watching the first two episodes, I can happily say that I wasn’t wrong with my predictions, at least not yet.
Convenient Store Boy Friends (Konbini Kareshi) is essentially as the name implies: it’s an original anime series about six friends in high school and their lives, particularly where romance is concerned, surrounding a local convenience store that’s on their way to and from school. This slice-of-life show is being produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Hayato Date (Kaze no Yojimbo).
On the surface, it really does seem like a ridiculous and unappealing notion. When I first saw the title and nothing else, I physically laughed out loud. I just could not image what this sort of series would entail. But I’m glad that I decided to try it out as it’s turning into something that I have been enjoying immensely, and we’re only two episodes in so far!
Some of the initial qualities that caught my eye consists of the animation and the background scenery. It’s so beautiful. The character designs are reminiscent of bigger budget anime films with sharp, clean, and handsomely drawn artwork that use minimally thin lines to create a softer appearance. The backgrounds are stunning with their oil painting-like aesthetic coupled with watercolour highlights, in regards to the natural surroundings, such as the trees and cityscapes. This drew me in immediately. The characters themselves are unique and varying in degree where appearances are concerned. While they don’t blatantly follow your stereotypical shōjo male traits, they are still there, but far more subtle. This also works to the shows advantage as it provides each character with a more realistic and empathetic feeling.
There isn’t a distinct or original plot to the series, aside from the teens hanging out at the local convenience store. You have boys who like girls and try their best to pursue their budding romantic feelings. What sets this apart from others like it is how wonderfully realistic their pursuits are. First loves are awkward as all hell, especially if you don’t have experience with taking the initiative. Konbini Kareshi isn’t afraid to exhibit how nerve-racking it is to tell a girl you think she’s cute, or that you’re crushing on her. It also shows us how specific first impressions can cause a lot of misunderstandings to take place. It actually felt like a real show about real-life feelings when it comes to high school love. There is a lot of cute and fluffy moments as well, which definitely adds to the feel-good vibes.
The humour is something else I find to be very pleasant. Sometimes it’s a bit more mature than average slice-of-life anime, but again, it contributes to the natural high school setting and atmosphere. It won’t make you laugh-out-loud, or fall out of your chair. The innate understatedness of the jokes are genuine amidst comical situations and moments that are comfortably chuckle-worthy.
The biggest qualm that I can see people having with the show, one that I am struggling with myself a bit, is the pacing. The pacing is slow. I would equate it to the pacing for Tsuki ga Kirei from last season. The beginning is very focused on sharing emotions via expressions and interactions rather than carrying the plot along. Folks unfamiliar with the genre of slice-of-life and romance, or who don’t parituclarly care for sluggish speeds, may not have a good time with it.
Overall, I definitely plan on continuing onwards with this series for the Summer season, rather excitedly in fact. If you don’t mind a more leisurely build-up and a really weird title (some people have stopped watching the show simply due to its special title), then I recommend you check out the Konbini Kareshi. It is the feel-good show of the season!
You can watch this on CrunchyRoll on Thursdays at 12:05pm!