I was initially going to review RoomMate by itself but when I found out it was a spin-off of another anime that shares the same concept called One Room (replace the dudes in RoomMate with cute anime girls and that’s the anime), I decided, what the heck, I’ll check this one out and see if its any better than the dumpster fire that is RoomMate and y’know what it is. One Room isn’t exactly “anime of the year” material but at least it ain’t RoomMate.
So I’ll be using One Room as a way to compare and analyse RoomMate and see what exactly went so wrong. Just to make things clear, both of these animes are in the ‘first person anime’/’point of view anime’ genre much like my good ol’ friend Makura no Danshi (I take all the bad things I’ve said about it back now that I’ve watched RoomMate). One Room was released on January while RoomMate released afterwards in May, these animes run for about 4 minutes. Both share the same animation studio (legit thought it was by the same studio that did Makura no Danshi, guess I was wrong) as well as the same directors/writers/storyboarders/staff which kinda creates the problem of a staff going from catering to guys with One Room to catering to girls with RoomMate, usually the transition doesn’t go so well especially when both rely heavily on fanservice… which I’ll talk about later.
Anyway, lets get this shit show rolling.
One Room vs. RoomMate
To truly understand RoomMate we’ve gotta compare it to its predecessor and understand how the team handled One Room compared to RoomMate.
The first positive with One Room is that each 4 episodes are dedicated to one girl where episodes 1-4 of a girl’s story just flows into the next to a point where you could just compile them into 1 episode, so about 16 minutes in total of ‘hanging out’ and getting to know the girl, seeing what kind of personality she has, her dreams, her struggles etc. Basically each girl has a character arc as their episodes go on. RoomMate on the other hand is all wishy washy and all over the place when it comes to exploring the characters, sometimes the conflict and resolution of the character happens and ends in one (count em, 1) episode. They try to interchange every episode concentrating on one guy but next ep is another guy and so on, sometimes they’ll have eps with all the dudes but it feels like they’re fighting for screen time with each which doesn’t help at all when trying to get a grasp on what kind of character they are. Doesn’t really feel like a character arc now does it, especially when the episodes are 4 minutes each. RoomMate tries to have its episodes set up like any other regular 23-24 episode anime that each episode is (maybe) continuing off from the previous ep but because of such little time, character arcs feel like they have no substance or tension which then ends up making the dudes seem like cardboard cut-outs of the personality they represent, especially when their personalities are 1 dimensional as hell with no little complexity to them at all.
If you asked me about what were these guys’ names I’d draw a mental blank (but same could be said about One Room or Makura no Danshi), if you asked me what was their internal conflict I’d be like “Wait they had internal conflict?”. With One Room I can say that the first girl’s internal conflict was that she couldn’t get good marks to go to uni, the second girl’s conflict was that she was taking care of her oniichan during summer break but didn’t want to be pushed away and the third girl wanted to make it big with her singing career but always gets denied. I guess with the main guy’s conlict (the rock climber) is that… something about his rock climbing I guess? It didn’t really stick to me because it was resolved in like a few minutes that I couldn’t be bothered remembering.
Even the overall conflict of RoomMate is that “romance with the manager (aka YOU) is prohibited” and all the dudes are like “shit, but I wanna get a little piece of that action..”, legit the most cliche shit you can find and it’s eventually resolved in the last episode… But let me tell you about that last episode. The whole episode is like, “Ok we guys are gonna get out of this house and try to find ourselves/better ourselves, kbye” and then theres about a 1 minute montage of the seasons changing and shit and then they come back with nothing changed about them and thats the end of the ep. Great story guys. You could do so much in 4 minutes but nope, congrats.
Honestly just watching RoomMate felt like I was being robbed of my time, which was exactly what was happening (especially when I had to re-watch just for this review). At least with One Room it felt like I was watching a competent anime that had some sort of arc in exploring these character and not filler and I didn’t feel like I was struggling trying to watch it (except for those weird imouto-chan scenes going on). Of course, One Room was pretty mediocre but it was a nicely polished shit compared to RoomMate. The only thing I looked forward to with RoomMate was the ending credits with the shitting ‘strip teasing’ which I found ridiculously hilarious, which I’ll talk about later
—Animation & Art
Seems like there was a downgrade in terms of quality when they started animating RoomMate compared to One Room. I won’t lie, RoomMate looks like dog shit at least for the first half it looked like consistent dog shit but then the last few episodes went haywire in terms of body proportions and everything. RoomMate’s animations looked stiff and almost lifeless, not a lot of body exaggerations except for this gloriously hilarious scene:
But then there would be some awkward animation going on, especially when its done slow enough for your eye to catch on… like this lil gold nugget:
But then when the same studio does animating hair in One Room, its a bit exaggerated especially below where she only moved a bit (which is also exaggerated bc she’s just saying one thing) and her hair is flowing with her movements. Of course I guess that’s what you get with female characters, you can animate their hair if they move bc its long, but it kinda shows that in RoomMate there’s not a lot of exaggerated movement when dialogue is happening. What can you do I guess? Not enough budget left, prolly.
Another thing that bugs me is the studio’s use of effects in both series. They would use either lens flares, or rays of different colored light on the screen to hide how bad the characters look in the scene or even blur the edges of the screen to give some depth or hide stuff. Like, I appreciate trying to add some visual details but sometimes it detracts rather than adds something to the scene and can sometimes be too in your face that you get annoyed by it. Especially the “3D glasses” effect in One Room that can just bother you so much particularly when its used in close ups.
The problem with RoomMate is that the characters themselves look so disconnected with their environment that they don’t fit in (no matter how much you try to cover it up with effects)
One Room’s effects either work in improving a bit or making things look a bit worse/helps point out how not so good some shots are (shown in left picture), prolly because the effects doesn’t enhance things, it just makes lack of details glaring obvious
Only one thing that pops up in my head as to why they would add blurs, colored light randomly in scenes or 3D stuff… and it’s prolly to try and copy that KyoAni feel. Some of you might remember that CM by KyoAni of a project they’re working on and it kinda reminds me of that, same can be said for Tamako Market‘s ED.
However, the reason it works for KyoAni is because they put a lot of effort in some of their animation projects, more exaggeration, more life in animating things. Also the style they draw characters are easy on the eyes, the lines are thin but there’s a lot of detail going on, the shading doesn’t detract the look of characters (unlike RoomMate’s shading which looks like shit, with One Room it looks way better 😆 ) and hey, at least they’re consistent with drawing the characters. RoomMate is prolly the worst consistency in terms of how a character looks and I’ve watched B-Project the anime, the no.1 king of off-model characters.
Which now segues into character design. Now for One Room, I’d say the overall character design is pretty mediocre, especially when all the girls have almost the exact same face that they could be passed off as the same person or that they’re related (they’re not btw) and it’s hard to tell how old they are, like, the third girl is supposed to be the oldest but she looks at least a high schooler, but I guess her bewbs says otherwise.
But at least they are drawn consistently and look exactly like the original character design/key visual drawn by a pro. RoomMate puts to shame the key visual art with its character design in the anime. Even if you compare the art between One Room and RoomMate you can see a huge gap between quality that it’s kinda sad.
The Final End Cards of both animes on their last episode, love that quality
Maybe its the fault of the anime character design that couldn’t properly transition key visual art to easy to animate character designs but damn sometimes they’re drawn inconsistently and ngl, even ugly to look at. Particularly the main guy/poster boy/the guy voiced by Tomoaki Maeno, kinda feels like his design was butchered the most…
A lot of mistakes they do when drawing him is drawing his hair too rough/fluffier than it should be, mainly his hair is either weird clumps of strands together and doesn’t have a lot of details to it and the shading makes it look shit house, the weird side tuffs of hair that frame the face are too fucking long than they should be (usually ending at the jawline rather than before the ear lobe stops) and prolly just about everything. He doesn’t give off the same look as his key visual design that gives off more personality than his anime version does.
Both animes try to give some fan service to its audience, with One Room its either zoom ins of the girls butt/breasts/face or lips and imouto-chans mounting their big bro in bed to wake them up (this some OreImo shit right here), the most basic stuff to please the male audience. RoomMate’s fanservice is man boobs giggling at the thought of cake, kabedons even tho it looks fucking weird because its in first person, naked dudes and moaning while humping the air (e.g. bonus scene at the end of episode 1 that was never explained nor mentioned in episode 2) and of course…. fujoshi pandering. That’s what women want right? Prolly, I dunno, the fan service felt pretty fucking weak to me lol.
But RoomMate takes it a step further than One Room in its fanservice, sure One Room has some cute moments with the girls but do they have ending credits that strip away their clothes through adobe after effects transitions? You bet your sweet ass they don’t because RoomMate does and it is hilarious. The only reason why I brave through the episode besides gathering material to write a review one day is to see what wacky ways are they gonna strip the guys clothes.
But what exactly do I mean by “they strip their clothes off”? Well, do you remember the time when you were on twitter and there were videos popping up where artists would slowly erase the clothes of the character they drew in photoshop and then they avoid erasing the best bits, basically it was like a peep show but not really? Well that’s what RoomMate does during the end credits except its really shitty and mind boggling why they do the different transitions they do.
Just see it for yourself…
In my opinion, I find it incredibly hilarious whenever they try to do some blatant fan service but sometimes I’m just deadpanned while watching bc its so weak 😆 It gets even more hilarious when they’re off modeled too, to the point that its kinda pathetic and almost like theyre trying so hard to get you to react to it.
Damn boy, where did you get your weird proportions 😜
Also, remember how I mentioned they try to also pander to fujoshis. Ya gotta cover all bases to gather maximum profit. Sometimes there’s ‘gag skits’ where it looks like they’re bout to fuck but they’re not just to fuel anything like fanart or something with the pair. After all, Anime/Game Industry Business 101: fanart is the biggest part of advertising for your brand and you don’t even have to pay the fanartist.
Ok I had a little chuckle at this, I’ll give it a point for that
Other than that, the fan service for either anime was kinda meh, nothing to get ppl going wild over (except the ending credits for RoomMate, it made a lot of ppl react like “wtf?”). The only weird part about these two anime is the way they use the “first person perspective thing” and by use I mean completely ignore all logic and have all kinds of camera angles making it confusing to the audience as to where they are in that scene. For example, in One Room the first girl is going to a public bath with you but of course girls and guys cant go in the same bath but for the sake of fan service we get to witness a scene of her undressing even though you shouldn’t be in that scene. Yeah, talk about consistency.
Also its hilarious when there’s a wide shot of a you and a character and you’re obscured by an or it looks like you’re not even there and the character is just talking to thin air.
Can someone explain to me where you are supposed to be in this scene?
In the end, the fan service doesn’t quite cut it. You’ve got a first person anime, exploit it with so much fan service and you’re bound to gain a following but I guess they missed their chance. Maybe there’s people out there who actually think this is the best fan service there is or got something out of it, if you are those people then good for you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
All I can say is “You tried”. I’m not exactly sure if RoomMate was an after thought upon completing production of One Room or if they were going to be a brother-sister series that were built upon at the same time in pre-production but it kinda clearly shows how little quality RoomMate had compared to One Room. Maybe both of the anime was in production at the same time and RoomMate had a B team with inexperienced staff or low budget while One Room had the most attention and effort put into it. Only one thing I can say that was good about RoomMate was the beautiful backgrounds they had (which ended up being a double-edged sword because it made the bad characters/animation stand out). So I’d like to thank these two studios for providing gorgeous background art that deserves to be in a visual novel or something.
Anyway, I didn’t enjoy any minute of that anime, kinda felt like it had no substance and I completely wasted my time on not only watching it but making a review on this. I’d say I had more fun watching Makura no Danshi and B-Project because it was so bad it was good. This was ‘so bad it was bland’. I don’t think I’ll be watching this ever again but for sure I’d watch B-Project again just for the laughs.
You’re free to watch either anime if it interests you but don’t be surprised it wasn’t worth the watch.
As always, thanks for reading!