Created By: Yui Hara
Directed By: Tensho
Written By: Yuniko Ayana
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Episode Count: 1 – 12
Format: Blu-Ray/DVD Combo
No. of Discs: 5
Classification: 12 (BBFC)
Release Date: 9th October 2017
Licensed By: Animatsu Entertainment
Middle school student Shinobu Omiya travelled all the way to England on a homestay, living with the Cartelet family and their daughter Alice. Five years later, Shinobu is in high school, and is about to meet the new student joining her class. A blonde British girl walks into the class and, speaking flawless Japanese, embraces Shinobu. Alice has spent the last five years learning the language in order to travel to Japan and go to school with Shinobu. Kinmoza! is a touching anime about friendship that crosses the language/cultural barriers.
This is such a sweet anime! Shinobu, as a young girl, travelled to England on a short homestay. There she stayed with a British family in the countryside, a family that seems to have been close to Shinobu’s mother. Shinobu arrived at their home to meet their shy daughter, Alice, who knew zero Japanese. Despite the language barrier between them, both girls were fascinated with one another. Before long, the girls were joined at the hip, without ever knowing what the other was saying. Five years later, Alice’s studies paid off and she travels across the seas to be with Shinobu. Alice certainly made an impression on Shinobu all those years ago, as the Japanese high schooler is obsessed with blonde hair. As the show progresses, Alice begins to settle into life in Japan. With her flawless Japanese and knowledge of their traditions and superstitions, just who is the ‘true’ Japanese girl overall? The girl born in the country, or the British girl who dedicated her studies to learning all she could?
Shinobu is a happy go lucky girl, although her grades leave little to be desired. Once Alice joins her class, the two are constantly together, with Alice even sleeping on a futon in Shinobu’s bedroom. Alice has some serious determination; after having only spent so little time with Shinobu back in England, she studied Japanese for five years in order to go over to Japan to be with her friend. Not only that, Shinobu studied English in order to hold a conversation with Alice. Their dedication is incredibly touching, especially the decision Alice makes regarding Christmas; no spoilers, but it is very sweet! Alice isn’t the only blonde in this show, as Alice’s Japanese tutor also moves to Japan. She is a girl who speaks with broken Japanese, but is a carefree and energetic individual. We also have Shinobu’s friends, Yoko and Aya. Yoko is tomboyish and is seen as the big sister to everyone in the group, while Aya is quite bashful and seems to have some hidden feelings for her friend. Together the girls go to school every day and begin to learn more about each other’s cultures.
Bonus Features Include:
2 Blu-ray discs and 3 bonus DVD discs.
Special Edition Combo Pack with Limited Edition O-Card Cover
Kinmoza! Is produced by Japanese animation studio Studio Gokumi. It is a young studio, having only been founded back in 2010, by former members of Gonzo. Even in their short time, they have produced over a dozen shows, including The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. A co-production with Madhouse, Kinmoza is directed by Tensho, also known as Motoki Tanaka. He has worked on over fifty shows, having directed Rewrite & The Fruit of Grisaia. The animation in Kinmoza is fresh, light-hearted and cute. It is a slightly different take on a normal high school anime, creating depth by adding a foreign exchange programme element. You can see from the scenes based in England that careful consideration was used to create that landscape in the show. There is also a slight difference in how Alice and Karen are animated in the show, which is a nice touch. However, the voice actress who portrayed Alice spoke English on the show several times, and it did not sound one bit natural. Personally, as a native speaker, I found this a bit jarring but it is by no means a deal breaker.
Kinmoza! Is a four panel manga series written by Yui Hara, starting back in 2010 and is still continuing today in Japan with seven volumes thus far. It is currently being published by Yen Press in English. The manga was later adapted into this anime back in 2013, under Studio Gokumi. There is also a second season, that Animatsu Entertainment will be releasing this December under the name Hello!! Kin-iro Mosaic. Lastly there is a 50 minute OVA named Kin-iro Mosaic: Pretty Days, that was released in Japan this past March. No idea if this will be getting released over here by Animatsu, but fingers crossed!
This is certainly a charming series, and even though I have watched it, I would still pick up the manga. It will be interesting to see what they do with Season Two, and thankfully we don’t have too long a wait!