Kazuya is fickle when it comes to hobbies. He's dropped more than he remembers having. His father gives him an expensive camera, and this time his interest may stick. Photography intrigues him, so Kazuya takes the camera everywhere. It changes him by changing his view of the world. An ordinary school in an ordinary town; all transformed through the lens of a camera. Once a particular girl comes into focus, Kazuya discoverers something he'd never noticed before.
Photo Kano is a date sim game roughly translated to Photo Girlfriend. Photography is a hobby of mine, so I'm tolerant of the lengths needed to get a good picture; even if people these days treat you like weirdo and have you thrown in jail for terrorism if you point a camera at them. In Japan apparently you can get away with a lot more. Photography can change your perception, so I really liked the concept. Coming from a date sim packed with girls, the anime version goes with the idea of following ALL the paths instead of just one. It gimps the show, but conversely showcases more than one good story, even if not fleshed out as deserved.
Photo Kano starts with the precarious choice between photography used for art, or abused for pictures of girls' underwear (this is Japan remember). With the date sim base, the focus on girls is expected. Honestly, if you were a guy in an anime surrounded by cute girls, wouldn't you photograph them? I still found it hard to stick with. In the beginning, Photo Kano simply lacks tact. Kazua is the "noble" protagonist defending the fair maidens' virtue, while the anime itself leers gratuitously at them. The idea of girls (semi-voluntarily) posing in swimsuits became too sleazy for me to be comfortable with. This ground me down fast, but it (mostly) pulls up from the tailspin by episode 4.
The first girl's story is the longest at two episodes: too short in my opinion, but I liked it enough. The other stories (one episode per girl) follow a similar format and fair about as well. Even with good stories, decent characters, and (somewhat) sincere relationships, too much is squashed together. Half an hour is too short to properly build up to the confession of love which should be the eagerly awaited climax instead of the part tripped into like saying "oh, it's that time now." Also, it's hard to build sincerity when Kazuya had a similar heartfelt confession with a different girl just one episode ago.
Results vary depending on the girl, and her situation. For me most were "meh". I really liked the youngest girl's story (twin tails GO!). I didn't expect my favorite would be the one for the busty girl. I adored that episode so much, I actually said "awww" a few times (seriously, I almost never do that). It's unfortunate the girl I wanted featured the most, wasn't: the stalker girl from the photo club. Her story would have been fun.
Some stories are good, but too short. Photo Kano sprawls with content jammed together unnaturally, making it difficult to digest. I won't say it's anything above average, but there good points to the anime as well. I'd give episodes 10 and 11 ("Angel's Dance", and "School Bride") a shot if nothing else. Photo Kano is an okay watch when already front of you, but probably not worth seeking out.
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