When Ayaka, the president of the journalism club, talks him into starting an offshoot advice column, Akamatsu Yuki finds himself leading a little group of three girls. Rino lives her life as scientifically as she can. Fumi comes from a well-to-do family and loves literature. Ikumi is sporty and energetic, with a little bit of a perverted side. Together they make up an odd little group that works together to answer pleas for advice sent to them.
Along the way, they become good friends, and a little bit of romantic tension develops between Rino and Yuki. Meanwhile, the president of the 1st Newspaper club is conspires against them, hoping to force the Ayaka to join his own group. Later, they end up unwittingly dragged into a rift between the Student Council president and Ayaka.
I wanted to love it. I really, really did. I enjoy slice-of-life series, especially when they’re episodic like this. A bunch of highschool kids providing advice to those in need. Fun, right?
The music is nothing to write home about, with the exception of a couple nice bgms. The voice acting was pretty fine, except for the sheer amount of squealing and screaming that happened constantly. This one’s only in Japanese, so there’s no dub to comment on. On a plus side, each character was well-acted and believable. Some of the subtitles were a little weird, particularly when the characters were playing a word game in episode 8 involving spelling. That’s probably to be expected though, due to the difficulty of matching up translations exactly. In this case it was just extra-noticeable at times.
Jinsei is a cute premise, unfortunately bogged down by its pointless fanservice-based humour. Over time, my tolerance for fanservice has gone down a lot. I’d rather see the plot proceed than waste five minutes watching a dubious set of circumstances force a teenage boy to fondle his female classmate under a table. In some cases, I’ll deal with it because it’s worth it. Jinsei is not one of those cases. Whether it’s because the fanservice just got so ridiculous or because the rest of the series didn’t make up for it, I’m not really sure. Even the non-fanservicey humour just wasn’t really funny to me. Jinsei pretty much was just trying too hard at every moment.
The stories weren’t really that compelling – the ones that could have been exciting tried too hard to be weird and funny (the HHH story, for example). I think when you’re going for a quirky, weird show you have to go all-out. A few things have succeeded in that, including another recent Funimation acquisition – Gonna be the Twin-Tail. Unfortunately in Jinsei it’s just so awkwardly done and not fun that instead of creating a lovably bizarre show, it pretty much remains a cute slice-of-life ruined by too much sex and too much nonsense. It doesn’t seem to realize it’s ridiculous. It just seems to assume that clearly this is what belongs in an anime series, so why not?
Once you add the characters on to that, all hope is lost. Every single character is a huge cliche – the dumb jock, the girl who’s too caught up in logic and science to understand love, the cultured but shy student, the kind of weird artist… You know exactly what every character will do at every moment because it’s something we’ve all seen before.
Eventually, I found myself so not into it, that I had to really force myself not to listen to the dialogue in the background while doing something else. Fortunately, the last few episodes were kind of enjoyable – and actually had a plotline! Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make me really appreciate the series.
Animation & Art
The art to Jinsei is okay. It’s certainly not the worst I’ve seen in an anime, though it’s nothing special either. The character designs are quite cute, and I was really fond of the use of chibi characters throughout. The backgrounds were also alright. Overall though, the colouring was very simplistic (one colour, and possibly a shadow or a highlight here or there, but no overall variation), and proportions occasionally got kind of weird.
There were a couple great references back to classic anime, which I thought was a nice touch.
As I mentioned before, there is no dub on this set, though you do still get both dvd and blu-ray. Special features are fairly sparse – the usual expected things like trailers and textless opening and ending.
I really like the boxset design. It’s a great combination of clean and colourful. Even better, the dvd insert doubles as a small poster if you’re so inclined. Given the lack of perks to buying hard copies in the internet age, I think that even something as simple as a piece of usable art can be a really great inclusion.
In the end, I didn’t really like the series. But I think for people who do, the boxset would look pretty nice on a shelf. As for me, I’m really happy to be moving on to my next series.