Photokano Episode 1: Encounter [First Impression]
“One becomes much bolder with a camera. It helps you escape from your monotonous everyday life.”
Maeda Kazuya is an unmotivated high-schooler who receives his father’s old DSLR camera during the summer holidays. When the new school term starts, Kazuya tries to find subjects for his photos and spends his first day running around campus, meeting various girls along the way.
Upon hearing that this show was the spiritual successor to Kimikiss and Amagami, I was pretty excited. I did love Amagami after all, both for how it conducted its romance and the omnibus format it used – giving each girl their own separate arc, and keeping all the fans happy to an extent. So how did Photokano fare in comparison? Well, it’s got a decent enough setting. Your standard protagonist this time round is Maeda Kazuya, who isn’t exactly heartbroken like Junichi was in Amagami, but seems to find his high school life boring enough. His newly acquired DSLR camera gives him an outlet to express that boredom in other forms, interacting with various girls along the way.
The girls are all cute – and unsurprisingly fall in line with standard tropes. From softball ace Masaki Nonoka to kouhai Sakura Mai, who does gymnastics, we’ve got many bright personalities around Kazuya – I wouldn’t call that boring by any means. There’s a class rep (complete with a near-miss encounter at the corner) and Sawashiro Miyuki makes her presence known once more with Misumi Tomoe, whose character is another step towards her quest of appearing in every show in the season. Niimi Haruka serves as the tennis club ace and Kazuya’s childhood friend, whom he gradually grew distant from as the years went by – she was adorable in that bunny outfit, though I don’t know exactly why Kazuya had a dream about cosplayers. There’s also some potential drama going on between Haruka and Misumi, which they cheerfully left open-ended in this ep’s cliffhanger. And who can forget Kazuya’s imouto Kano-chan? She definitely resembles Amagami’s Miya, even without a love for meat buns xD To be honest, there’s almost too many girls around – I can’t really see all of them getting a decent level of character development. With 7 potential heroines and 12 episodes, I don’t think we’ll be going down the omnibus route.
However, what irked me was the Photography Club and their antics – you can really tell that Kouga Academy is pretty lax with their club regulations if that kind of club is technically fully approved. Led by Kudou Hiromichi, their club is practically devoted to perverted images of girls, which Kudou tries to pass off as “borderline eroticism”. I actually found it really creepy – don’t get me wrong, I’m usually happy with fanservice. It’s just that this kind of perverted aspect ends up more creepy than enticing, especially when you put things bluntly: it’s a group of guys going around stalking girls for erotic pictures. I don’t mind excess fanservice, but its a turn-off to see guys devoting time to searching for panty shots or high-angle oppai shots – I’d rather have Kazuya interact with various girls than voyeurism. “Borderline eroticism” may be art (i.e. I love how no-one wears any pantsu in Saki, ever) but not like this. I was hoping Kazuya would join the scenery-focused Photo Club instead, but it seems like that’s not happening.
Well, the three-episode rule is absolute, so I’ll try it out for a couple more eps – but Photokano isn’t something I’d be comfortable with blogging. There are cute girls (especially Nonoka) but even someone like me has personal values to stick to.
Possibility of Watching: Moderate
Possibility of Blogging: Unlikely