While romance is featured in every season, Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie gives you a more progressive take on high school love.
|Created or Developed By||Keigo Maki|
|Directed By||Ryōta Itō|
|Written By||Yoshimi Narita|
|Genre||Comedy, Romance, Young Adult, Non-English (Japanese)|
|Introduced This Episode|
Izumi is a second-year high school student who has been with his girlfriend, Shikimori, for almost a year now, and to say she changed his life is an understatement, for she often ends up saving it. This, combined with Izumi being average and Shikimori being considered absolutely gorgeous, leads many to question why are the two together? Yet, between their relationship and friends, Inuzuka, Neko, and Hachimitsu, they ignore what the outside world says and just enjoy each other’s company.
Things To Note
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- What are the chances that Shikimori is superhuman?
What Could Happen Next
- Neko and Inu end up dating
- A meet the parents’ episode
Shikimori and Izumi’s Relationship
With Izumi and Shikimori being teenagers, there might have been the expectation they’d be googly-eyed for one another, or with Shikimori being a badass of sorts, we’d get a tsundere. That isn’t the case here. There is an active effort to make what can seem like a gender role-swapped romance feel authentic.
Now, this isn’t to downplay Izumi’s comically bad luck, which leads to him anything from him flailing at a bowling game to a giant metal sign almost ending his life, but everything beyond that is sweet in the type of way to give you butterflies. For example, despite how could see Shikimori as emasculating, Izumi doesn’t. He’d rather have the cool and accomplished girlfriend over the cute one who inflates his ego any day. And when it comes to why she likes him, when he seems utterly average, that’s why.
Which leads you to giving Izumi some grace since, more often than not, when guys like Izumi get with Shikimori, you question why throughout the show, especially as the guy shows the kind of flaws you can’t imagine the girl putting up with. However, in this case, alongside Izumi wanting his girl to be herself, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie also establishes these two have friends outside each other. Shikimori has two eccentric friends, and Izumi one, and while they have a group outing in this episode, it does seem Shikimori and Izumi don’t spend every last waking moment together. They enjoy each other and want each other’s company, but they don’t need to be in each other’s presence to feel whole.
Heck, even with Shikimori knowing Izumi is a clutz and that he has terrible luck, she doesn’t walk him home or meet him at his house every morning. Thus, while their dynamic may not be what you’re used to, these two are still meant to be seen as real people, with some embellishments, in a high school relationship.
Izumi and Shikimori’s friends aren’t just background characters or supporting roles butting into their relationship. Yes, Shikimori’s friends, Neko and Hachimitsu, try to push Shikimori to tone down her talents so Izumi could attempt to shine. However, when she decides against that, they don’t damn her or say she won’t keep her boyfriend acting like that. They just nod, admit they were wrong, and move on.
In doing that, you are further reminded that we’re watching a bunch of teenagers unlearning what it means to be in a cute relationship, never mind how a guy and girl should appear together. And when it comes to Izumi’s best friend Inuzuka, alongside him having something with Neko that may blossom, we’re told he has a job. Doing what? That’s not 100% clear, but it seems clear that he and Izumi are close enough to spend time together, and it just be about them, without Izumi overthinking what Shikimori is doing.
While we may not know what highs and lows Shikimori and Izumi may go through, the ride we’re enticed with going on is definitely one that has our interest. For alongside some gender roles being swapped, we are shown two individuals with lives of their own, deciding to share their experiences in the cutest of ways.