Original Run: January 8, 2019 - March 26, 2019 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Action, Comedy Based on the Video Game: Pastel Memories
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Pastel Memories. Reader discretion is advised.***
A long time ago, there was a place where die-hard fans of anime, manga, and video games could celebrate their shared passions – the fabled Akihabara. Now, the once-celebrated Holy Land of nerd culture has turned into yet another average, no thrills city. The last refuges of the glory days are slowly dying out, but there is one tiny store that refuses to let go.
If you want to re-live the series of yesterday, then you are always welcomed at the small Rabbit Shed Shop café.
However, amongst the cozy atmosphere and comfort foods, this establishment serves as the home base for a far more critical mission. For you see, Akihabara hasn’t faded away because of the public’s lack of interest. Instead, a mysterious virus has infected the stories people have always held dear. It is, therefore, the job of the Rabbit Shed Shop to save the books and games before they are forgotten forever.
To do this, Rabbit Shed Shop’s elite otaku warriors venture into the very tales they are trying to save. Each member of this team will not rest until everyone’s precious memories are finally safe and sound.
I do intend for the main meat of this post to be quick and to the point. However, before getting to that, I simply can’t stop myself. Due to pure happenstance, Pastel Memories and the series review directly preceding it, Grimms Notes The Animation (Grimms Notes), could not have been more complimentary. The similarities between these two shows were something I did not expect. This was, in no way, planned ahead of time.
If you have not yet read my thoughts on Grimms Notes, I would strongly encourage you to give it a quick look to understand the full context of what we are about to discuss. But, if you are not inclined to do that, all you really need to know is:
I did not care for Grimms Notes; a.k.a., I thought it was absolute garbage.
Grimms Notes told the story of a group of heroes who traveled to the worlds of many classic novels, fairy tales, and legends which were at risk of falling into complete chaos. Pastel Memories told the story of a group of heroes who traveled to the worlds of popular anime, manga, and games which were at risk of falling into complete chaos.
Now, to make this as clear as I possibly can: Pastel Memories wasn’t a good series. It had a ton of flaws and missteps which prevented it from becoming anything worthwhile. Nevertheless, it was immensely more enjoyable and incredibly more watchable than Grimms Notes ever was.
If nothing else, Pastel Memories was far more willing to have fun.
This series never pretended that what it was doing was anything serious or profound. The mission of the main group of characters – the girls of the Rabbit Shed Shop café – was clear. They protected the shows, stories, and games which had created unforgettable memories for the people who watched, read, or played them. There was no forced attempt at a moral dilemma; the villain of Pastel Memories was just trying to break things and cause as much destruction as possible.
Was this show high-brow, intelligent, or well-written? Not in the slightest. If anything, Pastel Memories couldn’t have been any simpler. To tell you the truth, the reason I am not utterly laying into this series is that I had just seen something far worse before it.
That said, I do want to give Pastel Memories the credit it has earned. Mainly, this show had a pretty good idea of how to use its large cast of characters.
Twelve girls worked at the Rabbit Shed Shop, and this was only a twelve episode series. You don’t need to be a math wizard to see that combination doesn’t allow for a lot of wiggle room. Nevertheless, Pastel Memories was surprisingly varied and diverse. Each mission consisted of a team of three girls, and no two teams ever had the same makeup.
It was almost as if the Rabbit Shed Shop operated as a single unit and not a collection of cliques. What a concept, I know.
Along with that, Pastel Memories was a decent parody series. I am not referring to comedy, even though a few jokes here and there got a laugh out of me. Instead, this show knew plenty about the anime it was spoofing to make it feel as though the characters were entering a story’s own, distinct world.
Granted, I have not seen all the series Pastel Memories made reference to, but it wasn’t hard to figure out what the source materials were. And unless I am mistaken, I counted eleven different anime – and I am arguing that episode eleven and twelve were parodies on both Neon Genesis Evangelion AND Gundam. Of those eleven shows, I can vouch that six of them were respectively accurate; and of those six, three actually have reviews here on this site:
Welcome to the Rabbit Café was Gochuumon was Usagi Desu ka
Mini Basket was Ro-Kyu-Bu
Shogi King’s Big Job was Ryuo no Oshigoto
Additionally, I want to make sure I acknowledge that Pastel Memories’ episode five, Can Fighters Make Lots of Money, was actually quite good.
To end this section, I want to remind you that I do not think Pastel Memories was anything special. It just so happens that as I am writing this review, I can recall a far worse show from my very, very, VERY recent past. Had this not been the case, I suspect this post would have been far more cynical.
But since it did happen this way: Although I won’t ignore what Pastel Memories got wrong, I will acknowledge the circumstances which allowed this series to become a personal guilty pleasure of mine.
Pastel Memories choices of anime to spoof was certainly interesting. What confused me, though, was why this show didn’t just call the series what they were?
I’m sure copyright and trademark laws came into effect somewhere, but then again, there was never no mistaking what Pastel Memories tried to do.
For example, Welcome to the Rabbit Café was a popular series set in a European-styled village which served as the home for a quaint rabbit-theme coffee shop. One of the employees at that shop was a small, silver-haired girl with a fluffy white bunny sitting on top of her head.
(For those of you who don’t know, that is one-hundred percent the plot of Gochuumon was Usagi Desu ka)
There’s subtle, and then there’s handing me a can of Koka-Cola.
Also, it’s pretty damn presumptuous of you, show, to say that Mini Basket and Shogi King’s Big Job (parodies on Ryo-Kyu-Bu and Ryuo no Oshigoto respectively) were popular series loved by droves of people. I’m sure that is based on actual fact, and it has nothing to do with Pastel Memories, Ryo-Kyu-Bu, and Ryuo no Oshigoto (a show which came out just last year) being from the same animation studio, Project No. 9.
That level of blatantness shoots well beyond the point of annoyance and lands squarely within the realm of hilarity.
Getting past that, there were two elements of Pastel Memories which sank this series like a rock.
The first was its formulaic storytelling.
On the one hand, it was a little impressive that this series developed a consistent flow within the span of about two episodes. However, doing that ensured this show would never be worth caring about.
Here was how Pastel Memories always played out:
- One of the girls would recall an anime, manga, or game they liked
- A virus would affect that specific title
- The girl and two friends would enter that world
- The team would swing their weapons around for about five minutes
- They would win
- End credits
By the final few episodes, I will not deny my lack of attention to what was going on. Still, never once did I feel lost or confused. There was no challenge attached to this show.
The second big problem was Pastel Memories’ characters.
Earlier, I said this show knew how to use its cast in various ways. That didn’t mean I knew their names or was ever bothered to learn them. There is a reason why I haven’t yet called anyone out directly throughout this entire review.
To make up for that, here is the full list of the Rabbit Shed Shop girls:
- Pink haired big boobed girl (voiced by Hiyori Nitta)
- Russian big boobed girl (voiced by Yumi Uchiyama)
- Glasses big boobed girl (voiced by Mariko Toribe)
- Cat-ears big boobed girl (voiced by Rie Murakawa)
- Inventor big boobed girl (voiced by Kotori Koiwai)
- Other blonde big boobed girl (voiced by Megumi Toda)
- Long black haired big boobed girl (voiced by Yukiyo Fujii)
- Long brunet big boobed girl (voiced by Ai Yamamoto)
- Short orange haired big boobed girl (voiced by Yurika Kubo)
- Short blue haired big boobed girl (voiced by Yumiri Hanamori)
- Long haired loli (voiced by Naomi Oozora)
- Short haired loli (voiced by Yui Ogura)
Were you noticing a pattern?
I think it is fair to say Pastel Memories had its priorities. And once you know what those priorities are, then you know precisely whether or not this is the kind of show for you.
I was only nice to this show because I just so happened to watch it after having sat through a significantly more awful one. Had fates been reversed, this would have been an entirely different review.
As such, despite me actually getting a kick out of this series, I never had any intention of ignoring how bottom of the barrel it was.
A lot was going on. The cast was way too big to justify a lack of personality. The jokes were corny. There was no tension. By the third episode, you knew everything that was going to happen. There was never a reason to pay attention or care.
Yes, things could have been worse. However, Pastel Memories won’t be getting a recommendation from me.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Pastel Memories? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I will see you next time.