Kodomo no Jikan
23 year-old elementary grade school teacher Daisuke Aoki starts his first day at Futatsubashi Elementary School. He is in charge of the mischievous class 3-1. One of his students, a mischievous young girl named Rin Kokonoe, quickly develops a crush on him, going so far as to claim that Daisuke is her boyfriend. She continues to tease him even with his teaching career in jeopardy should she get too close.
Ah, the controversial Kodomo no Jikan manga and its animated adaption. I sat through some anime in the past, and none of them have left quite such an impression on me as this show does.
The series starts with our male lead, Daisuke the teacher, walking into into a class of naked third-grade girls changing. And from minute one you can tell the kind of humor you're going to get here. If you continue past that, you're treated to a mediocre opening theme, following by the introduction of the trio of schoolgirl BFFs Rin, Kuro, and Mimi.
Before I go any further in my review, I want to point out that having underage kids in sexual situations is NOT my main beef with this show, despite what my earlier drafts claimed. Not all shows with children have to be squeaky-clean, happy-go-lucky material. In fact, there are times where Kodomo no Jikan admittedly got me to put a smile on my face.
My biggest problems with Kodomo no Jikan have always involved its characters and creepy, unfunny humor, the latter of which would be granted the same tone of annoyance even if adults were involved.
The #1 issue with the series is that Rin is not funny. Every joke she says, every innuendo she hints at, every gesture she makes, is like watching an unfunny comedian trying to get every last laugh from his audience that he can. And when Rin isn't fawning over her teacher or spouting innuendo, she's threatening him through blackmail.
When the show eventually tries to explain Rin's behavior, it comes off as so forced that it almost made me wish they never brought it up at all. Most notable is episode 4, when Daisuke says something to Rin that translates to the equivalent of Hitler by the rest of the series' cast. I wouldn't have minded this as much if it went anywhere, but at the end Rin goes back to status quo with Daisuke, accomplishing very little in the process from this scenario at first. (With mouth-to-mouth kissing, too.)
Still, Rin at least has some development, as well as cares about the well-being for her friends when the time arises. (Unlike a certain Ran Kotobuki or Miss Suzumiya.) This is much more than can be said for Kuro. She's basically the typical jealous best friend with a mad crush on Rin, belittling Daisuke throughout when she's not kicking him in the balls. You have to check out Second Term to see her character develop beyond this.
The last of Rin's friends, Mimi, is a shy girl with glasses and huge breasts despite being 9, which adds little to her character except to have incredible creepy fanservice highlighted twice in
With Rin, Kuro, and Mimi out of the way, let us now talk about Daisuke, the male lead. Not much to say, actually - he's a normal, well-adjusted guy. (A rare species in anime.) He tries his hardest to be a good teacher, and everyone (sans Kuro) likes him for it. Unfortunately, all too often he's used as the butt of jokes involving Rin, undermining his character.
And these are the four major characters in the series until Rin's cousin/caretaker Reiji gets more airtime later. But we'll get to that when we get there.
Back to the writing - I just don't find it all that funny. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but the series' bad art, terrible animation, and unappealing character designs drag down whatever attempts at humor Kodomo no Jikan makes way more than it should. I couldn't muster any emotions for anything going on after a while, especially with Rin. Hell, I couldn't even cry when I learned later on that Mimi was picked her by her old homeroom teacher to the point of avoiding school. I had similar disinterest in the "humor" of Kuro texting during class instead of paying attention to Daisuke.
Even the introduction of Reiji does little. This is where the anime really falls apart - Reiji is treated like the Big Bad of the series, and yet at the end gets away scott-free. All the build-up to what he does to Rin, and what Daisuke does to get her back, is brushed off as if it was nothing at series' end..except to start a rivalry between Daisuke and Reiji much like in the manga. (Though the manga, much like it does everything else in this series, tells the story way better.)
So you probably wonder if I like anything about Kodomo no Jikan. I definitely liked the music, but I notably enjoyed episode 6, which gives a good deal of backstory. Ironically, I think the series works better as a drama than as a comedy, and I'm no fan of drama.
To pour salt on an open wound, the censored version of Kodomo of Jikan borders on unwatchable, thanks to giant censored boxes everywhere and bleeped-out dialogue. (And yet it's okay to show a naked, red Kuro with a sickle. Yep.) The show was already axed from half the networks it was supposed to air on - the least the other half could do is, well, show the series.
And that's it for my third(fouth?) rewrite of my Kodomo no Jikan review. Since it first aired there has been a sequel OAV series, Second Term (which I vastly prefer over this series), and supposedly a movie is also in the works. That's fine with me - it's hard to find success these days in anime, especially when you're a company as small as Studio Barcelona. I just wish Barcelona treated the manga this series was based off of better.
If you want to get into Kodomo no Jikan, read the original manga. It might have not have the color, music, or animation the anime adaption has, but the story is told much better, as is the humor. Approach the animated adaption with extreme caution.
Not unwatchable - just not as good as its source material. Add a star if you're unfamiliar with the manga, and subtract one if simply looking at the show causes your eye to twitch. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Despite its young cast, this is NOT for kids. Older teens and up at the youngest, due to adult situations, fan service, and innuendo / double entendres.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Kodomo no Jikan © 2007 Studio Barcelona
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