Genre: Romance, Slice of Life
Production Studio: Production Reed
Nijiiro Days, literally meaning Rainbow Days, was a surprisingly delightful find as I was lurking around for a light-hearted anime. What’s more, each episode is only 14 minutes long! Check out what this anime is all about, and why it’s the perfect show to turn to when you’re looking for something short and sweet to watch.
The plot follows Natsuki Hashiba, a clumsy and shy guy who fell in love with a girl dressed in a Santa costume during Christmas Eve. Said girl Anna Kobayakawa gave him a packet of tissues when she saw him sniffing in the cold without realizing that the gesture made Natsuki develop a crush for her. After discovering that she goes to the same school as him, Natsuki is determined to get closer to her. Although the love story of Natsuki and Anna (the main couple) is the primary plot, Natsuki’s friendship with his three other friends and their respective love stories quickly steal the show.
This series is adorable as they portray romance and crushes from guys’ points-of-view, and the characters are so interesting that you won’t get bored watching them go about their daily lives. The characters call each other by their nicknames so often that I forget what their real names are. Now onto Natsuki’s (nicknamed Natcchan’s) friends and their pairings:
Tomoya Matsunaga (Mattsun) is a playboy who falls in love with Anna’s one close friend Mari (called Marippe by Yukirin and “Spit Woman” by Mattsun), and while I do appreciate Mattsun’s character development from having lots of flings to becoming serious and showing his sincerity to Mari, Mari on the other hand continues to display her hatred for men by specifically targeting Mattsun, and it does get extremely annoying when she complains endlessly about Mattsun’s advances with no ounce of change nor development on her side. The love-hate relationship between Mattsun and Mari is one of the more popular ones in the series but sadly we do not get to see Mari accepting Mattsun in the anime despite them making actual progress in the manga.
Keiichi Katakura (Kei-chan) seems like a cheerful and sporty guy at first glance, but he turns out to be a sadist who carries a whip around with him, and out of the four friends, Kei-chan’s character is the most interesting. Saying that he likes older women and is into a lot of weird kinks, Kei-chan only reveals his sadistic side to his close friends. After he helped Mattsun’s younger sister Nozomi out with her injury, Nozomi surprisingly has a crush on him, much to the chagrin of Mattsun. We don’t really get to see much of this pairing in the anime and there is practically no development at all, except for the one scene where Kei-chan almost reveals his sadistic side to her. I do sympathize with Mattsun though; as much as I want Kei-chan to have his own romance and find happiness, you wouldn’t really want your younger sister to be with a guy who carries a whip around.
Out of all the pairings in the series, my favourite would definitely be Tsuyoshi Naoe (Tsuyopon) with Yukiko Asai (Yukirin). Tsuyopon and Yukirin are the only ones who are formally dating at the start of the series and they are hands down the best couple ever. Yukirin calls Tsuyopon “Tsuyoponnu” in addition to all the other extended nicknames that she gives the other characters, and she is truly a ray of sunshine to the stoic and quiet Tsuyopon. They complement each other perfectly, being an adorable otaku pair who play games together and share the same interests. It is sad that they don’t get as much screen time as the other couples but every little scene they have together makes the episode so much better. Tsuyopon doesn’t display his affection to Yukirin as boldly as she does to him, and so when he does show it, it makes the pair a hundred times cuter. Yukirin quickly became my favourite character in the series, and her being an avid cosplayer is a major plus for me.
Now onto the main couple, Natcchan and Anna. There isn’t much that goes on around this couple in the first half of the anime; we see Natcchan’s countless efforts to get close to Anna which does work to some extent, but not much is shown on Anna’s side until the last few episodes when Natcchan gets sick while waiting for Anna in the snow. That episode was when Natcchan redeemed himself as the main character of this series, and I believe I speak for all fans of this show when I say that he seemed way more attractive and mature in this episode especially. As much as we would like to see this couple get to a certain point past the fluffy awkward crush stage, we don’t really get that luxury of seeing it in the anime. Anna does get a revelation of her own feelings in the final episode but nothing gets resolved yet. As frustrating as that may be, we will have to wait and see if we get a second season anytime soon.
The interesting set of characters carry the plot for this series, and I don’t think I found myself bored at all when watching Nijiiro Days as compared to the other slice-of-life animes that I have attempted to get through. While this series strongly lacks progressive development, it wins us over with the amiable friendship of the main characters and the adorable, fuwa-fuwa romance that keeps us hooked till the last second.
Art and Animation
The animation is absolutely beautiful, and I can’t deny that it looks super similar to the style of Kyoto Animation. The designs (and hair colors) of the four main male leads also oddly resemble the main cast of the hugely popular KyoAni production Free!, but their personalities are vastly different (with the exception of Haru and Tsuyopon, who are somewhat similar…?). The bright colour scheme and tones used in the series are aesthetically pleasing, and such a high quality production honestly deserves to have more episodes.
Sound and Music
The opening songs “Best Friend” and “One-Sided Love” are both by Sonar Pocket, who are also featured in a concert that Tsuyopon and Yukirin attend in the series. The songs sound quite like the typical boy band music, which does fit the series well since our four main characters look like they could actually form a boy band together. Although the episodes are a lot shorter than usual, we get not one, not two, but six ending songs! (The usual 24-episode series has only two ending songs.) The first and last songs are sung by all four voice actors of the main characters, while the second till fifth song are sung by each character’s voice actors respectively.
Nijiiro Days takes us back to fluffy and innocent high school romance, and is a breath of fresh air among the sea of angsty and serious shoujo series that are dominating the anime scene today. I love the characters so much that I wonder why I didn’t check out this series earlier. I highly recommend this anime for lots of light-hearted sweetness, but be warned: you’ll be craving for more after getting through these short episodes!