I was skeptical to watch this since I noticed how my anime list has been piling up. In the back of my mind, I was thinking: “Could this be another regrettable series of choice?”
Boy, was I glad I was wrong.
The first thing that naturally came to mind while I was watching the episode was how this strongly resembles Ikoku Meiro no Croisée. The idea of overcoming language barriers by using such cheesy notion of “understanding people’s hearts” has proved to be a powerful selling point of the series.
Despite being a spiritual successor to Ikoku Meiro, what I liked more about this episode is how it clearly portrayed the language barrier. Seiyuu using good english to draw out a distinction between the differences of race and culture, and Shinobu replying with her limited knowledge of their language really stresses out how different they are. Yet in their difference, they are able to understand each other.
And I think it gives off such a rewarding feeling. The risk of trying to communicate using a foreign language is rewarded by that level of understanding and it honestly feels good. As a viewer, I can’t help but empathize with Shinobu. How difficult it must’ve been to try to communicate with another with such limited vocabulary of their language. And the same with Alice, in her attempts of trying to familiarize herself and make a foreign friend.
And I’ll be honest here, the above scene, almost made me shed a tear. Realizing how they dearly cherish their friendship, they try to communicate one last time, despite their limited vocabulary. I don’t know if Shinobu knows of the word “Goodbye”, but saying “Hello” while Alice replies “Konnichiwa” has a symbolic flair to it. I guess that in itself is romantic. I mean, I don’t care anymore if they have the knowledge of parting words but the symbolism of their very first greeting, the very words they said to address each other in their respective languages held so much weight that it made that short experience meaningful.
I don’t see Kiniro as a comedic series yet but it does make good use of the language barriers to slip in such effective humor. And for a slice of life anime to be this subtle, relaxing, and enjoyable, I have to say, this was quite a rewarding show.
Though I fear the tempo may tone down during the next episodes, I cling on the possibility of its consistency.
Lastly, while it’s obvious that the seiyuu are good at delivering short English lines, I have to commend Nao Toyama for her efforts in delivering a couple of straight sentences. I don’t know how good she is in her English but I felt how she struggled to deliver her line effectively. As a seiyuu fan, I honestly appreciate a seiyuu’s effort to act a character. So yeah, Good Job Nao-san.
* Shame on Shinobu for not even trying to learn English. Seeing Alice put so much effort… (Yeah, I know the seiyuu is Japanese)