Final Review: Photokano

Photokano is based off a PSP visual novel of the same name. It is considered the spiritual successor of KimiKiss and Amagami SS. Like its predecessors. The story follows Kazuya Maeda who began having an interest in photography after receiving a camera from his dad. However, he seems to have taken a particular interest in photographing girls at his school. Photokano premiered during the Spring 2013 anime season and was licensed by Sentai Filmworks.

Photokano continues the recent uptrend of omnibus anime presentation. For those who don’t know, it involves splitting a series into multiple arcs that could be considered “parallel universes.” This has only been done (or at least to my knowledge) on harem/romantic comedy series to date given its convenience and ease. The aforementioned KimiKiss and Amagami SS have both done this form of presentation as well as Yosuga no Sora. Photokano does the same (and more similar to Yosuga no Sora) where the first 4 episodes serve as setups for each of the 8 arcs in the series. Unlike the predecessors, however, Photokano is cut short as a 13 episode series with effectively only one episode per character aside from Haruka’s arc. This hinders the potential character development that could have happened compared to the 4 episodes per arc Amagami SS received. In contrast, however, it keeps the more boring heroines to minimal screentime. The other problem with Photokano is its initial hook. It gives off the impression of a heavy ecchi series when in reality it’s actually not all that significant in the overall series. The ecchi is generally pretty tame. Lastly, our hero, Kazuya doesn’t really grow as a character in the overall series. Only in Haruka’s arc does he really shine but in other arcs, he’s basically a player if anything else. The incest ending is a bit daring though.

Art is solid though character designs could be better. They’re overly generic to the point I get mixed up with some of the heroines. Animation is solid by Madhouse though there is some heavy recycling between the different arcs. In terms of animation quality though, Chihayafuru is even better despite Photokano already not skimping on the budget.

OP is pretty much forgettable despite sounding like Persona 4 music. ED is decent but given the number of good themes this season, it’s somewhat average in the overall grand scheme of things. Background music and sound effects are average overall. Seiyuu is a mixed bag. Itou Kanae is great and really kept my motivation in this series until episode 6.

Enjoyment? The first 4 episodes, despite being setup, are actually somewhat boring. There isn’t really a hook or motivation to continue watching almost to the point that you could watch the remaining character episodes as standalone. The series held my interest during Haruka’s arc and quickly fell apart thereafter given the lack of depth. Amagami SS is generally a better watch and KimiKiss is equally good. Yosuga no Sora is more of a fetish choice and to some extent a different animal.

Overall, Photokano is not quite what it seems or sound like. It’s a relatively tamed series but at the same time, it’s by no means special. Amagami SS is different due to its greater and more meaningful character interactions and arguably the best of the three. Photokano, on the other hand, is arguably the worst in the line of successors.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Gives off the wrong impression of the show.
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Varies
  • Character Development (1/2): There but underdeveloped for most characters
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Cast is a bit large and doesnt’ really do a good job at maintaining character interaction one a character’s arc is over.
  • Pacing: (1/1): It’s generally fine.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): Sure why not?
  • Conclusion (0/1): There really isn’t a grand conclusion due to omnibus but I will say that most character arcs kind of just end with no significant resolution.
  • Total: 5.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Good details
  • Character Designs (0.5/2): Plain and lackluster
  • Fluidity (1.5/2): Pretty good. A bit of recycling.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (1/2): Colorful to a degree. Could use a bit more variety.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1/2): Another fair piece by Madhouse but Chihayafuru was better
  • Total: 5.5/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1/3): OP is garbage. ED is okay.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1/2): Average
  • Seiyuu (1.5/3): Mixed bag. Itou Kanae continues to rule
  • Total: 4.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0.5/2): Nothing particularly amusing given how short the arcs are. Incest ending is a bit out of left field but certainly more daring.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): None
  • Presentation (1.5/2): Aside from the first 4 episodes, the series is pick and choose. 4 episodes may be too many for some though for an introduction.
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Not really.
  • Recommendation (0/2): Amagami SS, KimiKiss Pure Rouge, and Amagami SS…yes I stated that twice.
  • Value (0/1): Omnibus is scarce  but long term speaking, Photokano doesn’t have much value.
  • Total: 2/10

Preliminary Score: 3/10

Final Score: 4/10

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