Miss Monochrome Review

This is review number two hundred and fifty nine AND a half. This anime is part of the Fall 2013 lineup. It’s also the next show I’ll be reviewing in my “Review Poll” project. It’s a poll where people vote for the reviews they want to see. I’ll review the most voted in one week then the least voted in another. If you want your anime reviewed then just click on the picture on the right side with “Review Poll” in it and simply vote. This week, I’ll be reviewing something that got zero votes. I go by it alphabetically and I’ll now be reviewing a “less than five minute” anime show called Miss Monochrome. It’s a thirteen episode anime about an android trying to become a popular idol. It’s a cute show. Let’s read on.

Story

This show is about an android named Miss Monochrome that wants to become a popular idol. In each episode, she tries different methods to make her stand out more but they usually end up not working. Some of these plans also go off the beaten path in a hurry. A handshake with a stranger would get Monochrome a trophy for arm wrestling contest for no apparent reason.

Taking the Pants Off

Let me just make it clear that I have no idea what Miss Monochrome is. I’m assuming its Yui Horie’s persona since the girl first debuted in one of her concerts. I don’t really understand her existence though and as to why a 3D virtual singer suddenly got an anime of her own. I’ve got my share of weird adaptations, to be honest. From a music video to slot machine characters, you’d be surprised how the anime industry embraces almost everything in its sight. The one thing I learned from watching these kinds of shows though, where it’s adapted from something…um…unusual, is that they’re basically crap. Well you can’t really expect something magical when your source is a character and not a manga or other media that already has an established story that go a long with the character. Nope. You just have a character and now you’re basically pulling something out of your ass to give this character a show. This is the case for Miss Monochrome and, really, for a lot of these unusual adaptations. Don’t get me wrong, blind adaptations have their fair share of gems, like Sengoku Collection, but majority of them are just crap like Busou Shinki. They are the worst kind of crap because it’s hard to appreciate something so off the radar. You don’t really know how to approach the damn thing. Luckily for Miss Monochrome though, it’s not just crap. It’s a stupid funny crap. While a show about a singer’s 3D virtual persona is so out there, the anime was still able to deliver some stupid entertaining crap in the short time it’s given. It’s tough to hate a show that can make you laugh and I think Miss Monochrome had enough material to make it work. It also has a really eye catching ED sequence that I seriously cannot stop watching. Anyways, one thing is certain.  Miss Monochrome is a stupid crap show. It’s also pretty damn funny and entertaining.

This show is a “less than five minute” anime. It means that this show has a very limited air time so please don’t expect much from it.  These kinds of shows have limitations so you can’t really get something deep from it. The limited run means that the show must pack a strong punch before time is up. Shows like this usually just base the episodes on a single theme and repeatedly pokes fun of it. Some of them are short and simple but also admittedly a bit stupid. I think it’s not a surprise for anime like these to come off as a bit stupid. If you’re aim is to make the audience laugh in a short amount of time then I think anything goes. That’s basically the concept of Miss Monochrome. It’s about an android that wants to become a popular idol. She would often do some idol gimmick plan in hopes of getting people to notice her but the plans always seem to fail. Miss Monochrome is a bit unfamiliar with some of the concepts and how some of the gimmicks are supposed to be done so things often go a bit out of hand as the episode progresses. The show relies on the random and the stupid at almost every opportunity but I’d have to admit but the elements of the show do seem to work pretty splendidly. I think the first episode is enough to grab your attention. Miss Monochrome claimed that she wanted to be an idol and gave this person she wanted as her manager a total of 19 billion yen. The girl then ran away leaving Monochrome homeless. She then bumped into a convenience store manager and asked him to be her manager. To which the guy agreed to. It was pretty funny and you can tell this show knows exactly what it’s doing.

There are two elements that make this show interesting. The first one is the whole idol setup. It’s not much but the show tackled a lot of gimmicky things that idols do to increase their popularity and I think the show did a great job of presenting these things. It’s an interesting look at how far the whole idol industry has evolved. There were a lot of influences for sure but the show can never run out of setups to exploits because the idol industry has a lot of them. Idols don’t just sing. They also do modeling, acting and a whole lot of other side jobs that you’d never think idols do like being race queens and attending cosplay events. So the whole setup of the anime is pretty solid to start with. You have an android that is unfamiliar of these events participating in them and then somehow failing at how to properly do them. It’s not much but it does make for a funny three minute show. I remember one episode where Monochrome wanted to be a nendroid and the nendroid became more popular than her. It’s pretty funny stuff and the show has a lot of it.

The other thing I like about this show is the complete randomness of it all. Most episodes start out with Monochrome doing some idol gimmick in hopes of becoming more popular but somehow the show gradually goes off the rail as it progresses. The story eventually strays off from its original point and then wanders off into some pretty stupid territory. It’s actually what makes the show more fun but also a bit unbearable at times. If you can laugh at random things then I’m sure you’ll love the way the story goes bat sh*t crazy at a drop of a hat. In the span of three minutes, the show had alien invasions, melting iron, car racing and a whole lot more random stuff that you wouldn’t expect from such a short show. It soon became a show where you’re really just expecting things to come undone and wait for Monochrome to do something random and crazy.

This anime is made complete though because of its main character. Miss Monochrome is a pretty one dimensional character but she does make the show livelier than you’d expect. She has a monotonous voice and she doesn’t convey any emotion. She just has a blank stare most of the time and it’s because she’s an android. Most of the situations are funny because of how this character over complicates it. It’s also pretty fun to watch how she just goes along with the random things in the show. She’s completely new to the idea so she’ll just openly do anything she can to be popular and it does make for some funny show. I love how she’s so sincere in becoming popular that you eventually want her to hit it big. She doesn’t really have a great personality though and I think the story really did carry her all the way. It’s all good though because the anime really made her into an endearing character you just want to see succeed in everything she does. As you watch the show, you’ll notice the pattern that Monochrome just can’t catch a break but you’ll also see just how undeterred the girl is and I really like that about the show. Eventually, you’d wait for the time she does become popular and it’s because of how engaging this one dimensional character is. It’s pretty incredible. Of course, some people might not like her. The whole monotonous android angle might not appeal to others and I do understand that. Considering the show is stupid, it’s not hard to think that the main character is a bit stupid as well. It really depends on you because you won’t enjoy the show if you can’t grow to like the main character.

The rest of the characters are pretty one dimensional as well. They had a role to play and that’s pretty much it. You can’t expect much from a short show so I think the characters were decent enough in their limited roles. There is Monochrome’s manager who also doubles as a manager in a convenience store. He is old and he is also a bit of a pushover. It kinda reflects just how unpopular our lead character is but I can’t help but laugh at how this guy can get the main character some idol gigs. This guy has some connections and it’s often a bit fun overthinking that aspect of the story. He is also very kind though so he reflects just how hopeful Monochrome’s status as an idol can be. There are only two more side characters in the show. The first one is this little girl that stole all of Monochrome’s fortune and then disappeared after episode one. It is funny how Monochrome lost 19 billion yen in less than five minutes. The other character is this idol Monochrome always sees on TV. She’s this girl named Kikuko and she’s super popular. Monochrome would often be amazed at how popular this girl is and she would often imitate the things she does but often wonder why it’s not getting her any more famous. Kikuko does nothing big on the show other than sing. She’s often on TV or some big stage where Monochrome would gaze upon her. She is also, as she says, eternally seventeen so there you go. There is also this robot that Monochrome stays at home with but he only beeps.

Lastly, while the status quo of the show is pretty interesting with Monochrome trying different ways to become famous, it’s also has a backstory to tell. It’s pretty bad but it does give the show some structure. Considering this anime is about a singer’s 3D persona, a story is the least you’d expect. It’s not that important in the show but it is still something worth noting. Apparently, Monochrome doesn’t age so she’s lived a long time and seen a lot of things. She once made a promise to another person that they’ll meet again and she’s been waiting ever since until she lost power and her memory became fuzzy. It seems that Monochrome is actually subconsciously trying to become famous because she wants to fulfill the promise that she can no longer remember. The show didn’t expand on it much but the little backstory was pretty good, for what it’s worth.

This was a pretty good show. I had my doubts and I seriously seen a lot of shows that taught me you can’t just like something so off radar. I’m glad I’m wrong though because I enjoyed this stupid show a lot. It’s endearing and really fun to watch despite the short time. I’m not sure about the whole Miss Monochrome thing though. What exactly is this character supposed to be? I just want to say that it feels like this is Yui Horie’s ego going a bit over the rails but what the hell do I know. The show is good and that’s all that really matters. Liden Films is slowly gaining track, I see. It’s one of the few studios I have a chance to watch grow from the very start. They mostly do less than five minute anime shows but they do it pretty damn well. I love what they did to Aiura and I hear great things about Senyuu. The effort they gave to Miss Monochrome is certainly something I appreciate and I hope they can produce normal formatted anime because they have talent way beyond five minutes worth. I’m crossing my fingers. In the meantime, I’d love to see more “less than five minute shows” from this promising studio.

Sight and Sound

missmono7

Character design is pretty decent. I don’t remember much about the rest of the characters though because you’d mostly be seeing a close up shot of Monochrome’s face in the short run of the show. I’d call the design plain though. It doesn’t stand out but it’s good enough to give the characters a decent look. The dull color palette does make the characters look a bit plain. Even our title character doesn’t have as much flashiness as you’d expect. In fact, I’d only notice how great she looks because of the ED sequence which I’ll explain later. Miss Monochrome loves the color white and black and that’s what she usually wears. She wears some cool armor on top of her body fit tube top or something but she leaves the stomach exposed to accentuate her figure. She’d have armor in her shoulders and her arms but also making sure there are still some places to expose some skin. I’d call her design pretty over the top but she does look pretty cute. The white long hair in pigtails and the big blue eyes looks good on her. It actually gives her more personality in the show. Just looking at her and you’d instantly want to know more about this character.

The animation is decent. It doesn’t stand out much as well. I’d call it plain just like the character design. There’s such a small time to show off the animation so I’m just glad the show was able to present a decent quality. There is some care given to the animation though because of how the show smartly uses different camera angles and how it focuses on the character’s curious face to tell a story. The movements are pretty decent and the effects utilized in the show were good as well. I think the animation truly stood out in the last episode of the show but there were too many camera cuts and the dancing was a bit awkward for my taste. It also lacks the cuteness of the character in the sequence but it is still a pretty novel idea.

The anime has no OP. The ED is “Poker Face” by Miss Monochrome (CV: Yui Horie). The song is pretty cute. It’s a really sugary love song with cheesy lyrics but I do feel the sincerity of it. It’s also pretty catchy from the way the verse builds up to the way the chorus explodes in a lot of cutesy lyrics. It’s also pretty awesome when you hear Monochrome’s voice as she sings it. I’m not a fan of Yui Horie but I can like her if she stays as Miss Monochrome. (laugh) The ED sequence is absolutely insane though and I absolutely love it as well. It’s a 3D sequence of the main character dancing and singing the song. The movements are absolutely mesmerizing and the fixed expression of the character really catches your attention. The dance sequence is a bit cheesy but the gloss of the character that comes off as super shiny like plastic makes me want to just keep watching. To be fair, it’s super bright and a bit over the top but I really love it that way. At first, I really just watch the show for the ED and I think it’s really the only thing I remember from the show. The last episode tried the dance sequence in normal animation but I think 3D Monochrome is awesome and I want to see more of her. The ED sequence is definitely among my favorite ED sequence for sure.

Overall Score

3/10 “It’s a good stupid and funny less than five minute show.”

This is a good show. It’s not perfect and the limited time definitely worked against it but it’s still an entertaining show. It had enough stuff to make the short run pretty fun to watch. If you like stupid comedy then you’ll like this show. If you like some random comedy then you’ll like this show as well. With its short time, you aren’t really losing much from watching it.

3 thoughts on “Miss Monochrome Review

  1. Hey, I’m a dude and i’m watching Free! when are YOU gonna watch it. I’m feeling kinda weird watching it but i’ll feel better if I know i’m not the only one doing it for the sake of the art!

    • I will review Free last in the Summer 2013 lineup. I have five more shows unwatched before I see Free.
      There are tons of review of it out there since it’s a hot item. Go find them and enjoy the point of views these talented reviwers share from the show. No amount of name calling or odd masculine provoking will make me want to see the show more.
      I’m glad you saw Free. You should be proud.

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