This is not a show I expected to enjoy that much. But the first episode was just about the cutest thing I can remember. I liked the look of it, I liked the characters, and I liked the way it flowed.
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This is director Tenshou's first directoral job. He was originally a key animator, then an animation director (Starship Operators, Gift Eternal Rainbow), then an episode director and storyboarder (Tears to Tiara, Katanagatari, NakaImo). Around 2012, he changed his professional name from Tanaka Motoki 田中基樹 to Tenshou 天衝.
But he's not the only one responsible for the simple excellence of the first episode. He storyboarded and directed it, but the script was by lead writer Ayana Yuniko, who wrote both Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, and Hori-san to Miyamura-kun, both of which really worked for me.
The manga is a four-panel comic strip, but Ayano-san reworked it closer to a normal story, at least for this first episode. And it worked.
The cast is headed by near-unknown, supported by half-knowns, with only a couple of top pros further down the list. The stars are Nishi Asuka and Tanaka Minami. Nishi-san has had middling roles in shows such as Mouretsu Pirates and Ebiten.
Tanaka-san is even less known, but since she plays an English girl in Japan, she has the advantage of having spent a year of high school in England herself, so her English is comparatively good.
Then the cast goes through such promising young names as Taneda Risa, Uchiyama Yumi, and Touyama Nao. Then there are Tamura Yukari and Satou Satomi, whose performance as Eru in Hyouka elevated her to a fairly high rank in my eyes.