Adachi and Shimamura

Adachi and Shimamura

Adachi and Shimamura anime series cover art
Adachi and Shimamura

Series Overview

Adachi and Shimamura (Adachi to Shimamura / 安達としまむら) is a shoujo ai, slice of life series. This might actually be the first true shoujo ai series I’ve reviewed, as the others all fall under the yuri genre. So, I guess I should explain the difference between shoujo ai and yuri for those who aren’t familiar with these genres.

Shoujo ai, translated to “girls’ love,” focuses on the romantic aspect of a girl-girl relationship. Yuri focuses on the more sexual/physical side of a girl-girl relationship. Of course, a series can also be both shoujo ai and yuri at the same time. And it should be mentioned that yuri doesn’t necessarily mean ecchi.

Some examples of shoujo ai series that are also yuri are Sakura Trick and Citrus. Sakura Trick is more in the middle but does have an emphasis on kissing. And if you know anything about Citrus, you’re probably aware that it leans heavily into the sexual side of girl-girl relationships.

Adachi and Shimamura is, by comparison, a pure shoujo ai anime. Sure, Adachi does sometimes have sexual thoughts about Shimamura, but the farthest the two ever go is the occasional hand-holding or hugging. The focus really is on how these two girls just want to be around and cared for by each other.

Now, this might all sound pretty good to you. It’s a romance series about two girls and it isn’t overly sexualized. However, as you’ll see from the rest of this review, Adachi and Shimamura has a plethora of issues. I think it’s actually the worst shoujo ai anime I’ve seen so far. And that’s a shame considering how much I wanted it to be good.

Characters

Sakura Adachi is one of the two titular protagonists. She’s a loner who often skips class, which also causes her not to do very well in school. The one thing Adachi likes is Shimamura, which is a huge problem with her character. She’s obsessed with Shimamura but otherwise has no real personality.

Hougetsu Shimamura is the other titular protagonist. She’s very similar to Adachi in that she skips class and doesn’t do well in school. However, Shimamura does have other friends, namely Hino and Nagafuji. But that doesn’t mean her character is any better. I actually think she’s worse. Shimamura has no emotion. She always has a blank expression and doesn’t seem to feel very much.

Adachi using Shimamura's lap as a pillow from the anime series Adachi and Shimamura
Adachi using Shimamura’s lap as a pillow

Alright, so the two protagonists are pretty boring characters. What about the supporting cast? Do they make up for this? Not really.

Akira Hino and Taeko Nagafuji are Shimamura’s friends who play the role of the other girl-girl couple in the series who don’t realize that they’re a couple. I’m not really sure why, but this seems to be a common trope in shoujo ai series. In Sakura Trick, this couple is Kotone and Shizuku.

The relationship that Hino and Nagafuji have is the relationship that we as the viewers want Adachi and Shimamura to have. But unfortunately, Hino and Nagafuji don’t really work as stand-ins simply because they have so little screen time.

And then there’s Yashiro Chikama, an alien loli whose purpose in the series I still don’t understand at all. Yes, you read that right. She’s an alien loli whose hair glows and who can fly. I’m not really sure why she was included in a series otherwise grounded in reality. Originally I thought she was going to play some sort of cupid role, but she doesn’t even do that.

Why It’s Bad

I’ve touched on a few reasons why Adachi and Shimamura isn’t a good anime. The main one I’ve discussed so far is that the characters of Adachi and Shimamura specifically aren’t very interesting characters. They’re bland with little to no personality. That’s not something you want in a character-driven series.

The inclusion of Yashiro is another issue, simply because she makes absolutely no sense. She doesn’t add anything to the series, and instead just wastes valuable screen time doing weird alien things. She’s not even used as comedic relief — not that the series needs it.

But the biggest issue I have with the series is that absolutely nothing happens in it. I hinted at this when I said that Hino and Nagafuji’s relationship is the one viewers will wish Adachi and Shimamura had. The simple fact is that Adachi and Shimamura don’t really have an actual relationship much beyond friendship.

Yashiro and Shimamura's sister from the anime series Adachi and Shimamura
Yashiro and Shimamura’s sister

Adachi may be obsessed with Shimamura. And Shimamura may like when Adachi is around. But that’s as far as it goes. Their relationship at the end of episode 12 is no different from their relationship at the end of episode 1. Adachi is still flustered every time she sees Shimamura, and Shimamura still looks indifferent at all times.

They haven’t taken their relationship to a new level, and there’s not much indication that they ever will. But this stagnation also applies to their characters individually. I guess Adachi kind of becomes a bit more forward with her feelings and actions, but hardly. As for Shimamura, she’s the same from start to finish.

People who don’t watch slice of life anime often say that they’re boring because nothing happens in them. That’s far from the truth in regard to most slice of life anime. But if someone’s only exposure to slice of life was Adachi and Shimamura, I wouldn’t be able to blame them for thinking that.

Conclusion

Overall, Adachi and Shimamura is a 4/10 from me. It looks pretty sometimes. And I think the OP is quite good. But aside from that, it’s extremely boring once you realize that no character or relationship development is happening. It took me a few episodes to notice that the series wasn’t going anywhere. But once I did, I couldn’t be invested anymore.

If you’re looking for a good shoujo ai anime, I’ve heard that Bloom Into You is worth watching, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. As for the ones I’ve seen, I do like Sakura Trick despite it having its own problems.

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