First Look: Chio’s School Road

Manga Adaptation by Diomedéa
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Chio Miyamo is a regular below-average high school girl; except for her fantastical delusions, misanthropic behavior, and obsession with Western video games. On her way to school every morning, she gets into all sorts of strange events and conversations with her friend Manana.

Jel’s verdict: Straight and Narrow

I probably love absurd anime comedies more than anyone in the GLORIO crew so I feel like I should have loved this, but there’s a few things that dragged the episode down. First up is the length. As I was watching scenes like Chio running on the rooftops or hiding the restroom go on just a bit longer than they should have, I realized trimming 6-8 minutes off this episode would have worked wonders. A lot of scenes felt repetitive as they were stretched to their limit and it was frustrating as they beat their point over the head.

Then we have the content itself. As absurd as mimicking Assassin’s Creed in real life might sound, it really wasn’t, and the second segment was a pretty normal take on being socially awkward. That’s just not wild enough to hold my interest. I suspect the series will improve in that area as Chio’s circumstances escalate, but I wanted to see more in the first episode. I also feel contractually obligated to ask what’s up with that weird boob bounce? Like we had ladies just standing there talking with their breasts jiggling for no reason. Considering the rest of the show doesn’t seem to be very horny otherwise, that made no sense.

Probably the closest comparison I can make to explain my feelings is how I felt about Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. That show had all the makings of a good, dumb anime comedy and yet it had no idea how to use the tools it had to make it funny or interesting. I’m not ready to totally write off Chio-chan yet, but I’m afraid that might be the same situation here.

Gee’s verdict: Slow Start

As a fan of the original manga, the Chio-chan anime is by all means a technically competent adaptation, but some pacing issues hamper its already average first impression. The way jokes are paced in manga is inherently going to run into problems in animation unless appropriate edits are made, and so far the anime seems to be trending toward a misguided attempt at a picture perfect adaptation so far. In all likelihood it runs into the problem of fitting three chapters into a single episode is probably too much, but two chapters aren’t enough to fill a full 22 minutes.

As for the content itself, I’d make the argument that Chio-chan’s introduction is probably its weakest place, as the story itself still tries to wrangle with what exactly Chio’s dysfunctional behavior should be. At the start, her antics are more about navigating her social anxieties which is a topic that’s been done before. As time goes on and her friend Manana enters the equation, Chio-chan improves significantly as the story allows Chio to indulge in her worst habits which in turn make for the best comedy. But whether that comedy will be able to shine through the anime’s sluggish pacing remains to be seen. Still, I’d say if you weren’t completely turned off by what you saw, it’s probably worth at least a few more episodes.

And to quickly address the weird boob bouncing stuff, I’m just going to say that I had already gotten out there and informed everyone that the original manga is penned by famous h-artist Tadataka Kawasaki and it shows pretty blatantly. I had hoped the anime would minimize some of that but that might just be an unavoidable element of the source material that the adaptation is going to portray as well.

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