First Impression: Smile Down the Runway

Chiyuki Fujito is a teenage model who dreams of walking down the runway of Paris Fashion Week one day. However, her short stature prevents her from even getting hired by her own father’s modeling agency. Ikuto Tsumura is a boy who yearns to become a fashion designer, but his family’s financial situation has made him give that up, to the point where he decides to go straight into job-hunting after graduation in order to support them. When the two meet, their passions are reignited, and they begin both their journeys to beat the odds and reach for their dreams.

Smile Down the Runway, like its two protagonists, is a diamond in the rough at the beginning. Even with its unusual setting based on fashion design and modeling, it still manages to channel the same shonen spirit found in titles such as My Hero Academia and Haikyuu!!, and I’m happy to say the anime manages to bring that same energy that the manga exudes. Chiyuki and Ikuto balance each other perfectly as the leads, both in their different personalities and in their similarities, such as their career paths and in their care for their families. The soundtrack, especially at the beginning, was what caught me by surprise, and help set the tone of the series well. Overall, I’m happy with the direction, and I’m hoping the anime will keep at this for the rest of the season.

You can stream Smile Down the Runway on Funimation and Hulu.


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