Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie (Kawaii dake ja Shikimori-san): Anime Review

Synopsis: Yuu Izumi is an accident-prone high school student who is dating the ultra capable and popular Miyako Shikimori. Even though she tries to be cute in the eyes of her boyfriend, Shikimori makes it her mission to protect him from harm at all cost, much to the chagrin of their friends and family.

I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie because it actually came out last year. Its a good thing though because I got to enjoy watching the series from start to finish without having to wait for a weekly update.

The opening song just about says it all — you act more like a boyfriend than me. The reason this story is so interesting is because the female lead acts more like a protective boyfriend than the actual guy. Because of Izumi is trailed by misfortune in everything that he does, Shikimori steps up to the task of staying by his side to keep him from harm’s way.

I love this couple because they are just so adorable. They are so in love with each other in such a wholesome way.

Shikimori is such a great girl, albeit a bit too protective and jealous when it comes to Izumi. It cracks me up how she treats Inuzuka as competition given that he is Izumi’s male best friend. A simple cheer from Izumi also activates her competitive side at once. She will never lose to anyone as long as he is watching, which is really cool. At the same time, when it really mattered like in the case of Kamiya, she was very sensitive to the feelings of the other girl and treated her with kindness and respect.

I love that Shikimori is both a toughie and a cutie and that even though she only wants to show her soft side to Izumi, he accepts all sides of her because he loves her so much.

On the flipside, even though Izumi is clumsy and unlucky, I totally get why he is well liked by his classmates and friends.

He is cute with his purple hair and eyes which rival even Ao Hoshino’s, but what is really striking about this main character is his sincerity and kindness. This guy is so considerate of others that he will sacrifice his own happiness to make sure his friends don’t share in his bad luck. This is a guy, who, despite his weaknesses and deficiencies will climb up a flight of stairs while piggybacking his girlfriend, all while wearing an uncomfortable wooden geta (Japanese sandals) just so he could keep a promise to see fireworks with her and make her smile. And this is not because of any insecurity. Izumi understands his deficiencies and does everything he can to prepare for the worst (case in point, his huge emergency bag for his movie date). When things don’t work out, he remains positive and accepting. He is so kind that he thinks of others before himself (saving a kid from drowning also to find himself in danger of drowning afterwards; missing a much anticipated field trip so he won’t be a burden to his friends). How could you not like a guy like that?

Let me just say, that while it would be easy to depict Izumi as a bullied recluse, I appreciate this series for keeping him pure and optimistic by not subjecting him to the typical trope.

The series is also unique because Izumi and Shikimori are already together from the beginning. The 12 episodes basically navigated the first year of their relationship, only briefly showcasing their backgrounds before they got together.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is also a great story of friendship. At first, Inuzuka seemed very familiar to me because he looked like My Hero Academia’s resident hothead Katsuki Bakugo. As it turned out, they also shared the same seiyuu (voice actor) so seeing him here was like seeing a what if? version of Bakugo if he was more caring and chill. I also loved the duo of Nekozaki and Hachimitsu especially during their river outing and the sports tournament arc.

Their families were also wonderful support for the young lovers. Izumi’s parents were so touching, especially when his mom entrusted her son to Shikimori. Also, Shikimori’s big bro was so cool. She may not know it but he loves her so much.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie had great animation from Doga Kobo studio (which also happen to be the studio behind Oshi No Ko), a wonderful story, great voice actors and music. Its really a wholesome, heart fluttering way to spend your time if you’re in the mood to be happy.