Softenni – 5

Seeing as people are starting to realize that you’re more likely to prevent any irreversible brain damage by not watching Softenni, there has been a sudden decrease in the amount of subs available for those who disregard whatever medical warning is associated with their favorite ecchi/sports animes.  Thankfully (for me), none of the topics I write about are associated with the story (haha what story?) or characters or anything that requires subtitles but instead focus on whatever tangents can pad out my weekly posts to around the 700 words so that they are just long enough to discuss a theme and short enough to impede too many ‘tl;dr’ views from people who visit this blog with the sole intention of looking at pictures of Asuna or Kotone (the only 2 characters that matter).

So anyway, onto the episode! (and I’m not all that negative in this post)

Every scene in Sofuteni seems to fall into one of four possible categories, although they are not solely within a category and there is often room for overlap.  The four main categories of Sofuteni are tennis-related, comedic, ecchi, and romance.  Virtually every scene, aside from maybe Asuna sleeping or whatever, can be labeled as such.  Some scenes are rather obvious to which category they belong to and others seems to blend two or three together to make categorization somewhat difficult.  You actually get an accurate representation of Sofuteni by breaking down the anime into these four elements.

The four elements also highlight what I enjoy and what I hate about the series.  When I gave Softenni a chance at the start of the season, I picked up on a couple of themes that I thought would make the show worthwhile.  They’re still apparent in the series and are the reason I continue to watch the show and write about it.  These are the tennis-related and comedic scenes.  As you can imagine, there are some themes that irritate me.  They do a good job of making me shake my head in disappointment whenever they pop-up and, unfortunately, they frequently do.  And by process of elimination, you’ve already figured that they are the ecchi scenes and the romance scenes.

One of the initial reasons I picked up Softenni was because it revolves around tennis.  I have never have been a sports anime fan but I do enjoy watching sports.  I figured watching an anime based around a soft tennis club would be something different, especially for a comedy anime (getting to that in the next paragraph).  I was rather dissatisfied with the amount of actual tennis in the first few episodes but it has steadily picked up throughout the practices and will only increase as the series continues, especially with the match in the next episode.  The tennis scenes are my favorite, especially when the girls are actually animated swinging their rackets and moving about the court.  They are fun to watch since you get to see real animation and see the characters do something they all enjoy doing.  It’s too bad more tennis scenes aren’t animated but I imagine that it’d be difficult to implement with its rather modest animation budget.  I hope that changes for the actual matches.

The other aspect that drew me to Softenni was the comedy.  I’ve always liked comedy anime and figured Softenni would offer some valuable laughs over the course of the season.  So far, I’ve been pleased with the most of the jokes, especially ones that poke fun at the quirkiness of the characters.  They might not ‘laugh-out-loud’ hilarious but they often leave a smirk on your face at the very least.  And the comedy scenes seem to be the most frequent in the anime, often as a secondary trait to a scene.  The jokes can go by fairly quickly, which is good since there is no wasted time building up for unfunny jokes.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see that the comedic aspects of Softenni to be my favorite aspect of the anime.  As long as they’re not jokes related to the various ecchi or romance scenes on hand.

I wonder if the ecchi scenes of Softenni are the reason why a majority of people are watching the anime.  You see a bunch of panties every episode, either just a brief peak up their short skirts or a full-screen view for a few seconds.  And you also have Asuna’s overly sexualized imagination, always misinterpreting anything into the most softcore thing possible.  Or, like in the fifth episode, you have Chitose riding a giant salamander naked for no other reason than to show her bouncy breasts.  I have a problem with the latter two scenes, the sexualized scenes.  I can understand the pantyshots since they’re prevalent in virtually all types of anime nowadays.  They aren’t bad except when they zoom in to fill the whole screen in case you may have been looking for them and just missed them.  But the sexualized scenes are unnecessary.  The only they are there are to show the characters in various states of undress or ‘what-looks-like-sex-but-isn’t’ and even then, they’re not very good.  You’d be better off watching hentai if you want scenes like that.  They just drag out a scene that really isn’t funny and waste the time of the audience (except for the few who only watch the show for those scenes).  But at least they’re not as bad as the romance scenes.

Honestly, I don’t know why there is even a romance aspect to Softenni.  Does anyone actually watch Softenni for the romantic triangle between Kotone, Eri, and Mishi?  It’s an extremely boring and clichéd romance where the new character (Eri) makes the old character (Kotone) jealous because she didn’t act in time to grab the oblivious guy (Mishi) and is now frustrated with herself but too embarrassed to admit or do anything.  All the romance-related jokes are predictable and therefore stale and serve no real purpose for the series.  They don’t even add to the character development of any of the characters either which is extremely frustrating.  At least these scenes are the least common of the four categories, but there’s bound to be half an episode devoted to this subject sometime toward the end of the series.  I’ll be sure to find pillows for my hands for all the facepalming I’ll be doing when that arrives.  Oh, and I didn’t even mention the relationship between Asuna and Leo but thankfully there has been little development between those two.

So that probably explains why I feel conflicted about Sofuteni (I realize I’m alternating between the two titles, haven’t decided which one I like more).  The show goes from scene to scene with mixed results for me.  There are some scenes I enjoy, some I hate, and others that don’t really do anything for me.  I am always hoping there will be more scenes that I enjoy than hate, which is why I continue to watch the anime despite me being ambivalent toward it after each episode.

But that’s a reason why we often watch anime we find mediocre or even down-right shitty.  We hope that there are scenes that will make an anime worthwhile and so we continue to watch it to justify our baseless beliefs.  Sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it isn’t.  I’m still undecided on how Sofuteni will turn out but at least the anime is progressing in the right direction for me.

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