Convenience Store Boyfriends
Haruki and Towa are good friends. Haruki has had his eye on a girl for a while, who he believes once gave him an inspiring book as a kid. A chance encounter at a continence store gets the ball rolling, but it doesn't seem like there's a real breakthrough in progressing their relationship. It also happens that Towa is interested in Haruki's friend Mihashi although the huge clash in personalities seems like this relationship is near impossible.
They say you can buy anything from vending machines in Japan, but as the title indicates you still have to go to the convenience store to get a boyfriend. After finding the boyfriend isle, it's not looking good. Okay the selection sucks, but I'm feeling kinda lazy and I'm not in the mood to walk to the boyfriend mega-mart, so I take what I can get. This anime is a tale of two romances; with different results. It's fairly strait forward, requiring no maneuvering around a gimmicky setup like many anime romances, so there's no excuse for lacking focus. That said it still essentially gets the job done.
From the show opening, you might get the impression that this is about many high school romances, however it generally only does two. Haruki and Miharu are an ongoing thing through the first half, but little progress is made as they are in the backdrop. Instead Towa and Mihashi take the stage. Towa is a friendly, highly extroverted guy who tends to overstep bounds of personal space, but is well intentioned. He ends up with a crush on the class representative Mihashi, a serious bookish girl who considers herself very plain. It's not anything new, but they work well as characters who are fairly believable. In fact a big drag on this show is that it's a little too realistic. It resembles real life so much that it's a little boring. The comedy and drama used to liven most anime romances is absent here, so Convenience Store Boyfriends isn't well suited to fans of typical anime romance shows.
Anyway, Towa and Mihashi's romance is a very sweet story and I generally thought it was worth the watch. Towa is frustrated trying to convince Mihashi that he's sincere, while Mihashi struggles with her discomfort in receiving attention, especially once her heart thaws to him. It's decently developed romance, and okay story even if slow moving.
Once the first pair become a couple, it moves on to Haruki and Miharu who have been at an impasse the entire time with no progress. What's really weird is how the pace and progress fail to pick up AT ALL. It's tough to justify watching after this point with episode after episode of Haruki agonizing about... not doing anything. I wasn't thrilled with the "lost childhood friend" trope linked with a children's book, although this turns out to have a pretty good twist later on. My big gripe is that Convenience Store Boyfriends doesn't milk that material as much as it should (and it needs to leverage as much as possible). Worse still, the ending for the show is super bland, and unsatisfactory.
What does this have to do with the convenience store? Not a whole lot, but there isn't a whole lot going on in the rest of this anime either. For those wanting a more purist romance, Convenience Store Boyfriends might be worth picking up, but I still find it hard to recommend even for that. The show is fairly low budget with character designs that look okay, but drab backgrounds combine with almost non existent animation. It could be compensated for in other ways, but this anime simply fails to have much going for it, as if it couldn't be bothered to insert decent filler. One of the romance fairs well enough to consider, it's not terrible as a whole but tough to justify the time investment with similar shows offering far more.
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