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Anime Mirai 2015: Ongaku Shoujo

Imagine a scenario like this playing out in your mind - you are now a high school freshman by the name of Kumagai Eri, and under the rows of cherry blossom trees overlooked by the clear blue sky is a path that leads to the sea where you will pass by on the way to school. On this fateful morning, a new sight greets you as the singing voice of a girl echoes through the rustling leaves. A bouncy, petite blonde donning a ridiculously huge ribbon (and several ridiculously little ones) is singing along to her headphones - something about a forest and its people and a person singing atop a big tree. Naturally, the sight sends a tingle into your heart. You are mesmerised, however not for very long. The bouncy, petite blonde accidentally steps on the tail of a cat (which for some unknown reason has been lazing nearby), cutting short the somewhat dreamy atmosphere. You regain composure from that momentary shock before fading into white. Sounds like an anime much? Welcome to Ongaku Shoujo, one of the four anime shorts that make up Anime Mirai 2015.

Ongaku Shoujo is produced by STUDIO DEEN, one of the four animation studios participating in Anime Mirai 2015. This is the other anime short that I was talking about which incorporates the breath of music (the first being Aki no Kanade). After that little abrupt episode, Kumagai Eri joins her fellow classmates in a brand new school year. During a roll call, a Yuzuka Chiharu seems to be absent, that is until the bouncy, petite blonde earlier in the opening sequence rushes in apologetically with the cat on her shoulder. However, she insists that her name is Chitose Haru, much to the confusion and amusement of the class. She rattles on about her determination to begin high school with new hopes...and a new name of course. Her explosive energy carries forward with a performance (?) explaining her lateness for class (she even has a microphone hidden inside her pocket!) but the cat refuses to hear it. It seems like Chitose Haru (otherwise known as Yuzuka Chiharu) has a strong affinity with cats (or maybe just that cat). Nonetheless, the rest of the class remain baffled save for the brief impression on Eri's friend.

To Eri's utter dismay, Haru is not only her classmate but roommate as well. Eri is overwhelmed by Haru's hyperaction and literally excessive baggage around the room. Well, pretty surprisingly, their room is ridiculously huge for a dormitory. It feels more like an executive suite to me! Anyway, a reluctant Eri helps Haru with unpacking, only to be attacked (?) by goo from Poo (go figure). While Eri excuses herself to the bath, Haru proceeds to invade Eri's personal belongings rather creatively. An accident leads to an unexpected discovery that will impact both girls profoundly, more so for Eri.

Ongaku Shoujo makes several references to Nico Nico Douga, and pays tribute to popular idol culture like simulation games and such. While I'm not exactly well-versed in those aspects, I have had a little experience with Nico Nico Douga during last year's Anime Festival Asia. I wish that the fun had been longer though. I was very fascinated by the live comments whizzing past the big screen during my five minutes of fame! Anyway, Ongaku Shoujo has an upbeat soundtrack to boot. The song plays over Eri and Haru's preparations towards their biggest pursuit. Yet, an inevitable twist awaits which might just jeopardise their dreams (now haven't we all heard that before?). Then again, all is not lost. I would say that the ending feels awkward and too ambiguous for an anime short. However, it does have the potential for a full-fledged series. Hopefully, we would get to see more of Eri and Haru in the future.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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