First Impression: SHY

A snazzy comic book-style intro and voice-over catch us up on the state of the world: it seems that planet Earth is awash with…peace and tranquility? That’s right, mina-san, world peace! And with it has come a wide array of national superheroes, complete with head-to-toe lycra outfits and transformation bracelets. Japan’s hero is 14-year-old Teru Momijiyama, who goes by Shy and takes living up to her name very seriously indeed. This girl is afraid of her own shadow! After a lackluster public appearance at a theme park is interrupted by an accident over at the rollercoaster, Shy has the chance to prove her worth. She may not be eloquent or charismatic, but she can still save a life or two or ten! But as the rescue nears completion, the rollercoaster suddenly plummets, and though Shy is able to catch the car before it crashes, the girl trapped inside it is gravely wounded. In the days and weeks to come, as the girl’s life hangs in the balance, Shy loses the ability to transform, and even worse, she loses any last vestiges of confidence she once had. Maybe she’s not cut out to be a hero after all. And then Russia’s hero Spirit appears with a new mission. Or maybe not. She can’t quite remember, seeing as how she too has been living up to her hero name and hitting the hip flask pretty hard! Is there any hope for Japan’s bashful hero? Can she come to terms with her failure and rise to fight another day?

Pepesha-san is best girl 2023

This premiere was all I hoped it would be and more! As a committed fan of the manga, let me say with all the gravitas I can muster that this is a solid adaptation. I should have expected nothing less from studio 8bit, who have given us stellar anime from beloved slice-of-life series like Laid-Back Camp and Encouragement of Climb. First off, the color design is very strong—not quite up to Zom 100 standards, but there is a depth and richness to the palette and shading here that brings the dynamic designs of mangaka Bukimi Miki to life. The animation as a whole is slick, with creative paneling and layouts that inject some added verve into the action sequences and visual gags alike. There is no OP or ED yet for this first episode, but the musical score channels classic live-action hero series from the 60s and 70s like Adam West’s Batman: quite jolly and upbeat and just a little bit goofy. Can’t wait to hear the villain’s theme! As for the characters, well, this episode reminded me of just how much I love Pepesha-san, aka Spirit! She has always jumped off the page, but now rendered in full color—and more to the point, full personality!—she is positively potent. Already, hints of the depth of her kindness and her hidden loneliness are discernible, and in case any viewers are in doubt, let me just say that Spirit is far more than the tropes that first meet the eye. The same can be said for Shy, who already in this episode undergoes a complete emotional mini-arc, with the promise of more to come. I’ll admit, I don’t often watch the anime adaptation when I’ve read the manga—I just lose interest too easily. But with this adaptation, I can already tell I’ll be glued to my screen each Monday. What a stellar start for this charming, delightful, fun coming-of-age hero series! 

SHY is streaming on Crunchyroll.


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