Ichinose Hana needed an extra year to study and get into high school. Add in how her birthday falls on the first day of school, and she’s starting her first year of high school at seventeen years old, with all of her classmates two years younger than her. Given her circumstances, she feels quite apprehensive about making friends at school. To make matters worse, it seems like all her peers already have friends they already knew, whereas she knows no one as she moved into town to attend this school. Thankfully, because the teacher mentioned her birthday to the class, some of her classmates reach out to her: the hyper-energetic
Tamate Tama-chan, the more mature Eiko, and the small, laid-back Kanmuri. She may have started a year late, but Hana may have a fulfilling high school life after all.
There are a few things worth noting about what is otherwise a very standard school-setting cute-girls-doing-cute-things show. First of all, the animation for this show is very fluid and bouncy, and helps to really bring out the show’s cuteness and make everything really lively. Also, I think the show did a fairly good job portraying Hana’s feelings of awkwardness in observing and befriending others. There’s also the potential for this show to address a particularly troublesome issue for some high schoolers: the “gap year” that comes from starting a given grade a year late. At the moment Hana’s new friends don’t know that she’s a year late, so if/when she reveals that fact to them, it could set a stronger direction for this series. Right now, though, this is as standard of a cute-girls-doing-cute-things show as it gets, and unfortunately it comes during a season that already has many other offerings in that category with wider or stronger appeal; as such, I doubt anyone other than well-established fans of such shows like myself will find much interest in it. That said, I will always gladly take more of these shows, and with this show’s well-animated cuteness I will definitely be following this one.
Slow Start is streaming on Crunchyroll.