Throughout the first episode, we just follow the pink-haired girl with headphones for ears, Sonico, as she goes about a typical day in her average life. We begin by watching her get woken up by her five cats and five alarm clocks (You know someone’s a good person if they care for several animals!) She’s always late for her college classes since she’s a ditz, but is an excellent straight-A student. After school, she tends to her part time job as a gravure model, showing off her fine curves while almost being coerced into wearing something objectionable before her badass manager comes in to save her. Then she goes to help her grandma’s resturant while humoring some rowdy, but nice old men. Then to finish things off she manages to put in some time to rehearse with her band.
Now, before we pick apart Super Sonico, let us first consider what exactly makes a bad slice of life anime. The whole point of a slice of life anime is to make you resonate with the characters, while keeping plot at a minimum so we can just relax and have fun without getting our adrenaline pumping over action or stressing our brains with complicated themes. And I don’t mean that in a mocking way; slice of life’s genuinely are good for when you need something to relax or brighten up your mood.
If a slice of life isn’t to my liking, it can just be that I don’t really like the characters. Other people might still have the capacity to resonate with them and enjoy the show, so I can’t really call a show “bad” just because the characters didn’t click with me. So what exactly makes a bad slice of life anime?
See, I believe there’s something all stories have to have which goes a bit deeper than just good writing or pretty visuals. In order to be good, it has to have some sort of ambition, heart, and integrity to it. There has to be some energy put into the show to where there’s clearly been some thought and care put into it’s design and production. Utter lack of such energy, wherein it’s merely a soulless mix of recycled tropes and lazy writing, is why Dog & Scissors from last year is one my least favorite animes.
Super Sonico is not another Dog & Scissors. It’s not even that bad of a show, really. But for the most part, it lacks that creative energy that’s needed to be more than just mediocre or “okay.”
As a slice of life, Super Sonico is fairly inoffensive. I found it enjoyable to watch and it wasn’t boring, so it at least has that going for it. But for the most part it lacks ambition and integrity. And when I say “ambition” that doesn’t mean it has to stretch any boundaries or have some amazing story to it, but it needs to set out to do something. And as far as integrity goes, it doesn’t have to have strong morals or artistic goals, but it’s got to have some sort of morals and artistic goals to uphold. For any good show, it needs to set out to do something, and it has to stick with whatever it sets out to do.
So why exactly is Super Sonico lacking in ambition and integrity? Remember what a slice of life has to do in order to be good. It has to have characters which you can relate and resonate with. It sounds simple enough, but of course it’s more difficult than it sounds.
Take a look at the description of the episode at the beginning of this post. What exactly does Sonico do in this show? What is there to her character? She’s a straight-A student, a gravure model, a model grandchild, and manages to find the time to play in her band despite her busy schedule. At this moment, her only character flaw is that she’s a total ditz—or in other words, she’s moe. What I’m getting to is that Sonico is a mary sue. And that’s not very relatable.
Which to be fair, only makes sense. She’s the mascot of a company, Nitro+, so the writers can’t exactly give her any serious flaws that would make her look less admirable and fit to be a mascot. She’s a pin-up girl, and everything about her is designed so that the audience has something gawk over. Which isn’t bad in and of itself, but in order for a character to feel human and relatable they have to have some flaws, even if it’s something subtle or trivial that most people might have.
Super Sonico: The Animation is merely “okay.” It’s not a bad show by any means, but it’s not all that good either. It plays it safe to the point where it’s wholly inoffensive, but at the expense of being anything truly worthwhile. It’s an alright way to waste 25 minutes. Nothing more.