Summer 2017 First Impressions – Angel’s 3Piece!/Tenshi no 3P!

Kyō Nukui is a high school student who tends to skip school due to a trauma in his past. Kyō secretly creates songs using vocal song synthesis software as his hobby. Three girls who just entered fifth grade — the crybaby Jun “Jun-tan” Gotō, the strong-willed Nozomi “Zomi” Momijidani, and the somewhat sleepy Sora “Kū” Kaneshiro who takes life at her own pace — email Kyō. These three girls, who were raised together like sisters since childhood, want Kyō to help them break into music.ANN

Copyright 2017 (c) Barnum Studio/Project No. 9

Streaming: Crunchyroll

Episodes: 12

Source: Light Novel

Episode 1 Summary: Kyo Nukui is a hikkikomori who, in the spare time he has being home-bound, creates electronic music and posts it online. One day he posts something in a completely different style, posts it under a different pseudonym, and wonders if anyone will know the difference. Later, he receives an incredibly formal email from someone who made the connection between his new work and his older, more well-known stuff, and this person wants to set up a meeting. Mustering all of the sociability he can, Kyo walks to the specified meeting place in a local park. He’s expecting to see someone older, based on the language in the messages, but the author is really an elementary school girl named Jun, who’s incredibly shy. She’s there with her two friends, Zomi and Ku, who were all raised at the same orphanage together. It’s their dream to put on a concert, and the girls certainly have the equipment to do so; the church basement has some great vintage guitars and the gear to go with it. It also turns out that they can sing and play the intruments pretty darned well – and they want Kyo to help them live out their dream of bringing people together through music.

Thoughts: I was driving to work recently, and was stuck in pretty heavy traffic. Someone a few cars in front of me stopped suddenly, causing a chain reaction where all subsequent vehicles, including myself, had to react in seconds. I braked hard, and hoped beyond all hope that the person behind me would notice in time to stop before ramming my tiny Mazda and turning it into scrap metal. Time seemed to slow down as I watched the (much larger) SUV pull up behind me way too quickly, as I pumped my brakes in hopes of signaling them somehow. Luckily, they were able to stop; I could hear the honking and engine noises once again and I was drawn out of my panic, and we were soon on our way down the entrance ramp towards the city.

Kyo is sad and isolated. Copyright 2017 (c) Barnum/Project No. 9

My story had a happy ending; oftentimes, however, you can see a car wreck about to happen, and there’s literally nothing you can do about it.

This episode starts of by fooling you into thinking that perhaps the underage girls in the promo images aren’t a huge part of the show. The opening scenes are focused on the main character’s anxiety and depression and the outlet that he has in making music. Anime doesn’t have a great track record in portraying mental illness, but these first few moments didn’t raise a lot of red flags to me in that regard, and I was willing to entertain the possibility that it could be better-than-mediocre somehow. With the introduction of the three fifth-graders, I was starting to see distant brake lights, as if something terrible had happened just over the next hill. I was concerned by their blushing cheeks, the weird shots of their too-shiny knees and ankles, and their infantile voice, not to mention their glistening, pouty lips. Maybe the colorists just wanted to go all-out and add in a bunch of details?

Then Toonces just drove the damn car straight off the cliff.

One of the last lines of the episode is Nozomi (the dark-haired girl), in exchange for Kyo helping the three orphans put on their concert, offering to let him touch her – just a little bit. I was actually just thinking to myself that it had been kind of a long time since I’d seen anything in anime that was truly vile and reprehensible; It seemed like, back when I was writing more consistently, that there were several anime series every single season that banked on pushing boundaries in regards to good taste. I actually blame the existence of those series for my current feelings about fanservice – I’m continually annoyed, but also find myself saying “well, at least it’s not as bad as [fill in the blank]” and I’ve ended up giving a pass to things that I may not have in a different time or place in my life. In any case, that’s one of the consequences of becoming hardened and complacent as a fan of a medium that can be highly problematic – suddenly you’re blindsided by someone’s bad idea that’s so completely out of line that you wonder how it could have gotten produced.

Yay, I feel horrible for having watched this! Copyright 2017 (c) Barnum/Project No. 9

This show is based on a light novel, that some people ostensibly read at some point. Some people read this novel and thought “hey, this concept seems entertaining. I bet a lot of people would like to see an anime adaptation about this high school guy that hangs out with little girls, and then they’ll surely laugh about their precocious sexuality.” I bet a production committee was gathered, and some music executive was slavering at the mouth, thinking about which voice actresses or idols on their roster would be a good fit to sing the band’s songs and portray the little elementary school girls that people would be inclined to have the hots for. An art designer, a character designer, several animators, and all sorts of staff were hired, and worked long, grueling hours for very little pay to bring to fruition an anime where a little girl implores a high school guy to feel her up.

There were probably dozens of people who had to sign off on something to get this made, and dozens more that poured their energies into its creation. If there’s one thing that Shirobako taught me it’s that really good, talented people sometimes make their money producing things that don’t have much artistic merit. Heck, the music scenes in the show are actually animated pretty well and might be fun to watch if the camera weren’t lingering on the girls’ legs, thighs, and mouths. I don’t want to dishonor the hard work that was put into the show by blaming the staff for the sins of the creators. And, to be honest, this isn’t nearly the most objectionable thing I’ve ever watched in my life. But I will say this – certain things just really rub me the wrong way, and making childlike characters into potential sex objects is one of them. Whether or not the episode’s final line was a misunderstood joke, something that will be explained away in episode 2, or something that will never come up again, it’s colored the experience for me in an irreparable way. I imagine that many of my readers might have the same experience. It’s been a while since I’ve had to do this, but I’ve dusted this old thing off for the occasion:

Now I can put this to rest and hopefully move on to something I’ll feel better about.

Pros: I wish I could think of something snarky to put here, but I’ve run dry.

Cons: Oh, I don’t know, it sexualizes little girls?

Grade: NO

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