Konbini Kareshi

December 17, 2017

Wow. Convenience store really lives up to its name especially in Japan. It is a place where it is open 24 hours a day and can provide you with almost what you need. From food to magazines to stationeries and including a boyfriend. WHAT DO YOU MEAN CONVENIENCE STORES DO NOT SELL BOYFRIENDS???!!! Isn’t that what Konbini Kareshi is about?! Hence the name?! Convenience store boyfriends?! Because real Japanese men and boyfriends are too much of a hassle and Japanese technology has come up with super inflatable boyfriends to satisfy your lonely girl heart needs. Cheap and convenient. Oh. Oh… Oh, I see… It centres around a group of students who lives near a convenience store and conveniently that is where their romance takes place. Funny, right? Romance around a convenience store. Hardly one of the most romantic places to find love. Are they trying to make a pun of conveniently finding love at a convenience store?

Episode 1
Haruki Mishima and Towa Honda nearly get caught by the ‘aggressive’ recruitment drive of the handicraft club. If not for Masamune Sakurakouji from the student council giving her a yellow card as warning (is this football?), they would have been sissy hunks. Well, at least it looks like a mismatch for such hot guys to be in such a girly club. The student council president, Mikado Nakajima also advises them the other several grounds where other club recruitment drives are available. Haruki is reading at the convenience store and Miharu Mashiki also happened to be in the same area. Accidentally she bumps into him and like a ricochet, she accidentally bumps a few items off the cart. Haruki helps her to pick up the things and in return she buys him a gift. Towa witnesses this so he starts teasing Haruki that he still has a crush on her for a long time and now he is finally reunited with her. Next day, Haruki finds Miharu at the convenience store again. But the mood is ruined when Towa teases about the person he is looking for. Then it’s like karma for Towa because class rep Mami Mihashi admonishes him for being irresponsible as a fellow class rep and forgetting his duties. He teases how cute she is when she is angry so she just walks out. Then she bumps into Miharu. Quite clumsy she is these days, isn’t she? Apparently Miharu seems to know about Mami because she so happened to observe her a few times. Is this some kind of stalking? Their passion in books makes them click as friends. Miharu hints that they both have guys that they like and could help each other out but Mami declines any. For now. Towa catches Mami reading a shoujo manga at the convenience store. She didn’t expect to see him so she gets embarrassed and runs away! Towa catches up but apparently she is still quite embarrassed. She thinks cute things do not suit her. I guess it’s a cue that girls want to be assured so Towa says she is cute enough. Too bad she didn’t buy it. She stomps his feet and runs away! It’s like he got stood up.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Miharu read a children’s fairytale to Haruki when they were in kindergarten. She gave him the book and I suppose that is the last time he saw her till elementary school. He still keeps that book today. Towa continues to ‘harass’ Mami so she gives him that look and ignores him. He is trying to strike up a conversation but I guess he doesn’t know about women. You know, they don’t tell you straight when there is something wrong and expect you to know! Not like Towa realizes this either. Later Mami talks to Miharu about Towa bothering him. Miharu thought it is like a manga whereby the hottest guy in class is attracted to a plain girl. Well, that only happens in a manga. Mami says she likes intellectual guys. You mean like nerds? Haruki is shocked when Miharu wants to meet after his club practice. Enough to space out for the entire practice. If being nervous wasn’t bad enough, it gets weird when she introduces Mami to him. So Haruki hears about Towa’s ‘harassment’. Mami hopes as his friend, he could tell him to stop bothering her. He tries to paint Towa isn’t a bad guy but one who just have trouble with personal space but I don’t think Mami is convinced. When Towa visits his home, Haruki looks serious (to a point it looks comical) that they need to talk. Towa almost chokes hearing him mentioning Mami’s name. He is depressed to learn she wants him to stay away from him. Haruki realizes he likes her and advises he should try a proper approach. I suppose telling her straight in the face wasn’t it. Towa argues back at least it is better than him who didn’t even say anything. Then when they start to fight, Haruki’s little brother, Akira enters. They look like in a gay position so he tells mom big brother is gay! So when they calm down, Towa mentions how he likes the changes in Mami’s expression quickly. Sometimes she is nice, sometimes she is scary. He likes all girls but Mami is particularly special to him. Next day, the quartet meet up. Haruki hopes they can be friends. Mami looks like she doesn’t really want it still but after laying down a few ground rules, a little handshake seals the deal.

Episode 3
Towa bugs Haruki in class because he saw something this morning. Like it or not, he has got to listen. When he was visiting the hospital, he saw Miharu there too. But then he saw her talking to another guy. It seems like as though they know each other. Her boyfriend? Haruki doesn’t think Miharu is that kind of girl so Towa storms off since his ‘hard work’ wasn’t appreciated. So when Towa sees this guy at school again, he tails and spies on Nasa Sanagi. He wonders what he is doing in the cooking club so Nozomi Itokawa ushers him in. They aren’t really a club and just an association since it has only 2 members. So they ‘kidnap’ people to taste their food in hopes of spreading the word for more people to join. Yeah, this guy makes great cakes. Meanwhile Haruki notices a commotion at the hallway. Nobody dares to intervene in a showdown between Natsu Asumi and his fellow athletic club members. They are not pleased with him being a lone wolf and want him to be a team player. Librarian Kokono Minowa passes through but at that moment she drops her books. Fight on hold? Haruki goes to help pick it up. At this point the student council duo are here so the club members flee. Natsu and Haruki are taken in to tell what happened. In short, because they’re part of the commotion, they will be punished. They will help out as volunteers every day for the sports festival. Meanwhile Towa tails Nasa to the hospital. He claims he is doing it for Miharu’s sake but does he have to drag Mami along? No wonder she likes intellectual guys. Then they get busted. It’s raining so Haruki rushes to the convenience store to buy an umbrella. Not enough money. Luckily Miharu is there to cover for him. They walk home together and it seems she has been observing how athletic he was since middle school. She really sounds like the stalker kind. I guess Haruki like ice cream so much that even in the rainy season he eats them. The remaining block crumbles so Miharu tries to wipe it clean before it stains his clothes. He asks if she isn’t worried of others seeing them like this. Especially her boyfriend. She dismisses she has any boyfriend. Great relief? When he comes home, Towa calls him to relay the good news of his ‘all-day research’. He found out Nasa often visits the hospital to see a doctor who took care of him before and ran into Miharu many times. In short, Miharu is still single and available! Well, Haruki already knows it. Effort not appreciated.

Episode 4
Towa’s class is choosing people to participate in the sports festival. With Towa in almost every category, Mami notes he is an attention whore! Realizing the 3-legged race has no participants yet and no volunteers, Towa volunteers himself. Then he notices Mami isn’t in any race… If she can’t and starts being very pessimistic about not being able to do it, why did she join? Nobody wants it, huh? Eventually they have to start practising and since Mami isn’t athletic, they start with the basic running to build up stamina. Miharu isn’t participating in any of the events but she helps out by making charms for everyone as suggested by Haruki. Because of this, Mami decides to put in the effort. Now for the real deal in practising the 3-legged race. Mami is so self-conscious of their close proximity, she made it even worse when she struggles because he has to catch her falling and thus more bodily contact. So I guess she has to get over and used to it if she is going to make this work. The sports festival goes on well and though we didn’t get to see the results of the 3-legged race, I believe Towa and Mami did reasonably well since their teammates are praising they were not bad. At the end of it as they clean up, Towa covers for Haruki’s part so he could go talk with Miharu. She has him to thank for as she has never been involved in sports festivals before. Thanks to him creating this chance, it feels like she is participating for the first time. Suddenly it rains and they take shelter nearby. It is a bit cold so he lends his jersey while they wait for the rain to stop.

Episode 5
What’s this? Towa and Mami on a date?! Actually she wanted to repay him for the 3-legged race. So he wanted a date. Instantly she rejected him but compromised if Haruki and Miharu came. And so they’re here at the track event to see Natsu in action. But even at the end of it, Mami leaves in a hurry and doesn’t want Towa to accompany her. Miharu invites her over to talk about it but Mami isn’t saying much. Later Towa calls Mami if she would like to go and watch the fireworks. Just the 2 of them. Hasn’t the favour been repaid? This isn’t a favour. She has cram school. The day after tomorrow? Isn’t the fireworks tomorrow? Don’t you get it? It’s an excuse to see you! The mother of all conversation ender: I’m busy throughout the break. I think Mami tried to ask her father later but seeing his unimpressed face I supposed she backed out. So Towa’s depressed. Haruki talks to him about it. Even Miharu. She even feels bad. She believes Mami knows it but can’t work up the courage. She wants to believe him but is having troubles being honest about it. So the next day when Mami is on her way to cram school, Towa just drops in to accompany her. Quick date? She is still uncomfortable and tells him off not to bother her. Towa asserts he is serious. He has been the whole time. Wrong timing I guess, when other girls pass by and try to talk Towa into joining them to watch the fireworks. He’s trying to shoo them away and hint he isn’t interested but their stubbornness reminds me of someone… And it’s like Mami had little presence or none so they’re like ignoring her? Mami feels so weird out that she runs away. Towa catches up. She still isn’t convinced he is serious. She has low self-confidence that she isn’t as straightforward or cute like other girls. Well, he doesn’t mind. He likes her the way she is. So he’s saying he is a masochist because he likes being rejected by her? Or a sadist to see her uncomfortable? Anyway he finally says the magic words of I love you. Cue for a long romantic stare and what it looks like as a kiss. Can’t see clearly because the damn shot focused on the fireworks.

Episode 6
Haruki wakes up from this weird dream whereby Miharu gives him a towel after his swim. Then she suddenly turns into Towa! What a trolling dream. But does he have to interrupt Towa’s sleep for that? At the library, Towa is looking for Mami to discuss about the upcoming cultural festival. However it seems Mami is treating him like as though he is some sort of sex offender or something. She lies she has a meet-up with Miharu. It is so obvious written all over her face and body reaction that Miharu can tell something has happened. She praises her it is a good thing. Then it’s like Mami is trying to deflect the question and asks Miharu if there is someone she is interested in. That stumped look… With this bugging her mind, later she asks Haruki if there is someone he likes. He is shocked and couldn’t answer. Hence Towa the relationship master lectures him about losing his golden chance. But he has to shut up when Haruki reminds him he is in the same boat. Miharu tells Haruki her class will be doing a modern Snow White play. Seven doctors instead of seven dwarves? When she says she would like to write her own picture book, this prompts Haruki to say he had a favourite one. He wanted to say more about the Merman Prince but just couldn’t bring himself to it so he ‘runs away’ giving excuse of the festival things he needs to do. As the students work late into the night to prepare, Towa gets this idea to walk their respective crushes home. But Miharu and Haruki decide to walk around and remember some special memories (pertaining to the festival, that is). In a class that is displaying picture books, they see one on the Merman Prince. Haruki then says he started swimming after reading that. But that book doesn’t belong to him. There was a girl who read it to him before giving it to him. That is his important memory. Get the hint. Woah. Not sure if this memory was too much to handle because Miharu starts crying! What did you do?!

Episode 7
Haruki is down. It seems Miharu left that night without saying anything else. She has been avoiding him ever since. And he didn’t even confess. Towa feels bad for him and understands. He’s not talking, she’s not talking. No wonder everything so depressing and awkward. They’re not the only ones facing this sort of problem as Mikado too is facing something similar with his ‘sister’, Waka Kisaki who enrolled here this year. She comes to see him at work and it is quite messy. Mikado is working real hard to ensure he doesn’t leave any problems for his successor. Wow. The perfect student council president. This is even tougher than the elections. Since he will be working late, he apologizes he can’t walk home with her and give advice like he always does. Nevertheless, she is proud of him as her ‘brother’. Waka’s friend try to persuade her to join the student council but she declines as she considers herself a shy person. But when she heard about Mikado leaving, she rushes down to confront him. It seems after he graduates, he will be going to Hokkaido instead of staying at Tokyo. This means they can’t be together anymore. No more doing things together anymore. He wishes he could stay as he explains he now sees her more than a sister. He hugs her and confesses he loves her but she pushes him away and leaves. Rejected? Well, here is another depressed dude. So it’s like Haruki can tell this guy is facing that kind of problem as they talk about things. So what does God have to do with abandoning him? Haruki also talks to Waka about it because apparently it’s easier to talk about other people’s problems than your own. Waka starts thinking. The next day, Mikado is shocked to see Waka running for student council vice presidency. Last minute entry. She makes her speech to promise carrying on the current president’s will. Somehow this automatically heals their relationship and also Haruki and Miharu too seeing they’re smiling at each other (not talking yet but that’s good enough at this point). Must be the feel good factor. Don’t let it die down!

Episode 8
What’s this? Towa and Mami hanging out together at her favourite café? Wow. Their vibe seems good. It’s like she has accepted him somewhat. And then a phone call. It’s her family. Curfew time. Even the next day while they’re hanging out, a car pulls up to her. Family. Time to go. Bye. So Towa learns she comes from a strict family who is into this flower arrangement business. Oh, dad is a lawyer and big brother is soon to be one. Can’t be messing around. So the next time they talk, Mami says maybe she’ll try to work harder and improve her grades. Maybe then her parents will let loose a little. Ganbare ne. In order not to bug her, he avoids her. Nozomi rakes in Towa and Haruki to help Nasa collect gingko nuts. Looks like Mami isn’t the only one with family problems. When Towa returns home, mom talks to him about how stepdad wanted him to live here until he graduates. They can then talk about his future, etc. However he raises his voice at her that she does everything what he says. Awkward. He loiters outside by himself wondering if he should call Mami. Better not. She’s studying hard. Mami notices Towa avoiding her. It’s like reversed now as she is constantly looking over her shoulders looking out for him. So one day she stays late just to talk to him. He claims whatever family problems he had are over. Doesn’t sound convincing. Then he beats up himself by saying Mami has been doing all the hard work for their sake while he just sulks. When another family call rings, Towa then blows his top. How long is he going to wait? When is he going to be first? How long is she going to keep worrying what her parents think? That’s really shocking for a meek girl like her. Thankfully she keeps her calm. She apologizes. Maybe things can’t work out between them. End game for Towa.

Episode 9
While things are looking bright between Haruki and Miharu, it gets worse between Towa and Mami. They are avoiding each other and not talking even in the same class. So Haruki calls Towa and wants to throw him a Christmas party to cheer him up. But Towa can guess he is getting Mami to come and can see where this is going. Since both of them have family issues, it will be hard for them to come. Towa admits this avoidance is making him afraid of talking to Mami. It seem Mami is able to come for Haruki and Miharu’s party. But will Towa turn up? Apparently he is in a dinner with his mom and stepdad. From what they say, stepdad is being a considerate guy. Towa admits he was against mom’s remarrying and ran away despite knowing it was a done deal. If Towa is still unsure what to do, maybe this text from Mami that says she wants to see him sure did. Yeah, girlfriend more important than family as he makes a sprint. I don’t know how far away he is but it looked like the party waited and went on without him till it is time for Mami to leave. At that point Towa calls her and wants her to wait. Don’t go. Oh, but her family calls right after! Oh no. What will she do?! Good news: Towa manages to see her. Bad news: It was her back on the bus. Lucky news: She didn’t board it and is seen waiting at the bus stop trying to convince her family to wait a little while longer because this is something very important to her. With that, the duo talk and reconcile. Towa apologizes for his rudeness the other day but she understands. Because of their family problems, they get to realize something important. I figure if at this point they are holding hands, it means it is green light for them. Towa then ‘reports’ back to Haruki and Miharu and they’re glad of the happy outcome. It made her remember the first time they talked. Haruki thought it was at the convenience store but she notes that was not it. It was before that. She gives him a scarf. Not handmade but it’ll do. If you’re wondering why Towa and Mami are out in the freezing cold together (and it’s starting to snow), I’m guessing their burning love is keeping them warm. Haha!

Episode 10
The quartet had a good time visiting the shrine. Things are looking good. Especially Mami giving Towa some hand warmer in which he doesn’t hesitate to rub it on his face in public. Haruki is practising his swimming since a meet is coming up. He feels embarrassed to get advice from Towa it is better to have the one you have a crush on to support you. One day as Towa is visiting the hospital, he thought he saw Miharu there. She is absent the school the next day and though worried, Haruki believes she will come back tomorrow. How can he be so sure without contacting her? Yeah, it’s been 5 days since she’s absent. Something is wrong. Mami tries to call her but can’t get in touch either. As Towa’s mom works at the hospital, he tries to ask if there is a patient named Miharu. Of course she can’t give out such privacy details. Now a week has passed. Towa talks to Haruki about the presents they received from their girlfriends. Towa thinks Miharu might have been feeling the same way about Haruki but since she doesn’t say a thing, she might think he views her as just a friend. Before Haruki could clarify, Towa tells him he isn’t the person he should be telling this to. Eventually Haruki manages to meet Miharu. She talks to him about her love for books and the convenience store is a special place to her. She fell in love with him while he was reading there. She would pretend to stand and read just to be close to him. She is thrilled that nobody knows about her secret boyfriend. So that bumping accident she thought it was like some sort of punishment for choosing him as her boyfriend (WTF?!). Hence she sees him as a boyfriend who leapt out of her daydreams. It’s Haruki’s turn to describe he realized something during her absence. He thought over and over about it and finally understood. When he is about to say it, Miharu suddenly collapses! That’s what you get when you take too long! And why couldn’t he catch her?! She was just right before him in his arm’s reach?! You just stood there and let her fall flat!!!

Episode 11
Miharu is rushed to hospital. Her condition is stable but she is in comatose state. Haruki feels bad he has been so focused on himself and didn’t realize what is happening to her. Towa tells him not to overthink but if he wants to, help himself. Next morning, Haruki visits Miharu. Still asleep. He meets her mom and learns she was born with a weak heart. Surgery would have made it better the sooner but she was adamant to wait. Haruki continues to worry and visit her and each time buys some foodstuff from the convenience store. Man, at this rate it is going to fill up if she never wakes up. Nasa has made some pudding for Miharu and hands it to Towa to give it to her. Towa asks him if he knows about Miharu’s condition since he seems to know a lot about her despite not being in the same class. He reveals they used to meet there when they were young and often played. But there were 3 of them. The other was Miharu’s friend. Meanwhile Miharu’s mom finally recognizes Haruki as that kid from kindergarten. She thinks he was friends with Misora. Who? Showing her photo, she looks exactly like Miharu! Oh, I can see how all this is related now. Flashback shows Misora was also a weak girl. She was the one who read Haruki that book and gave it to him. One day she had to undergo surgery. She didn’t make it. When Towa is about to tell Haruki what he knows, well, he already knows. Haruki says he had important memories with that girl. This is why he always watched Miharu. Without those memories, he wouldn’t have talked to her nor would these feelings surfaced. He really loves her. Well, tell that to her, all of it when she wakes up. Miharu dreams some sort of trippy dream in the convenience store. The moment Haruki’s face becomes clear, she wakes up! I know it’s good to keep your emotions in check but it feels a bit strange they’re acting so cool about this. Here, I bought you a bunch of food in case you feel hungry when you wake up. Huh? Normalcy ends when she starts crying. Actually, she finds it funny she can’t eat all this stuff. Yeah. I guess we’re okay now.

Episode 12
With Miharu up, mom tells her to do the surgery for the sake of her friends. Why is she still hesitating? Haruki discovers then she has been in and out of the hospital so many times since. He also notices she has been crying alone and hiding her tears but he hasn’t the courage to say it. Towa tells him to just say it. Still can’t? Oh well. So he visits her every day to give encouragement. Then one day she lets him know about Misora. That’s the girl who he is supposed to like. But he tells her the girl whom he has always watched and had his eyes on is Miharu. However this is what she wants to point out. She is still reeling from the trauma when Misora was wheeled into the surgery room. She never came back out. That fear is what is holding her back as there is a chance the same might happen to her. Even with all that, Haruki continues to support her by coming to visit her. Nothing has changed. One night she finally tells him. She is ready to go for the surgery but it takes place on the same day of his swimming meet. They both promise to fight on. Miharu and her mom leave a day earlier as Towa and Mami see her off. Towa gives Miharu the Merman Prince book from Haruki. Inside there is a letter that states it was this book that made him go into swimming. It was this book that gave him the courage. He wants her to have that courage too. So we see her narrate that story and I guess Haruki must have been done with his meet and suddenly now he turns into a runner and runs all the way to meet her?! Wow. That’s really something. He finally confesses he loves her. Wow. That’s like some sort of morale HP booster and courage attribute level up. Maybe she was waiting to hear him say that. Spring time comes and we are teased that the duo walk together to school. I mean, do we recognize people by their feet?! Why don’t they show us their heads or faces?!

Inconvenient Romance
So I’m going to assume that everything turns out well and okay because it would have really sucked big time had history repeated itself. That is what I really need after the very draggy and melodrama final episode that could have just ended in less than 10 minutes. Besides, the Merman Prince fairytale had a good happy ending and since its story is somewhat closely to Haruki and Miharu’s life, why would it not be a happy ending too? And they can’t even show us a happy couple or the whole gang having a great start to a new year. Why do they have to leave this sort of things to our imagination and interpretation? So we’re going to agree that Haruki and Miharu are an item now? Well if you disagree, you should have specifically told us so. Happy endings for everyone! Now everyone can have happy endings after all the ‘inconvenient romances’.

Basically it all boils down to how much you love the romance genre. If you want love romantic comedies, you’re not going to find it here. If you love seriously tragic romance, well, not really this one either. This is one of those normal high school romances type because really, nothing really much happens. The guys take their time over the year to reach out to their love and for the girls to respond (each episode of this series is named after a month) so it could be a little draggy once in a while. Hence if you are not into this kind of normal romance, you will find it a big bore and yawn fest. Sure, they tried to give us some sort of scare with Miharu collapsing and a plot twist that she had a twin sister. It’s like those who have fallen asleep at this point, this is like the wakeup call to make us feel concern if things are going to pull through and if there is going to be a happy ending. Don’t worry. I always have faith in this kind of shows. Therefore I believed things will always turn out for the best. See, it happened, right? Convenient for the plot. Oops. Just made a pun there.

A big chunk of the series is on Haruki, Towa, Miharu and Mami. It is nice to see their relationship slowly builds up in which case it could be pleasantly gratifying or downright boring. Like I have said it all depends if whether you like such romance genres or not. They are just normal students with their own lives. And which family doesn’t have problem of its own? Like Mami who lives under a very strict family and has expectations of her so it is quite the challenge to see her take a bold step to break out of her mould. Did Towa’s constant ‘harassing’ do the job? That is why when Towa finally hooked up with her, it is like as though he won life’s lottery. Because for a girl like Mami, if I was in Towa’s shoes, the way she keeps rejecting him I would have been turned off. I would have dropped pursuing her even if she is just being tsundere (technically you can call her one. Just that her family issues got in the way and hence she has to act like she doesn’t like him). But Towa never gave up and tried and tried until he succeeded. That’s why I believe they deserve to be with each other. Even if Towa initially can’t accept his stepdad (assuming he is a great guy), perhaps he started thinking if he can’t accept him, why would his family accept his girlfriend then? I mean, like stepdad who is new in the family, won’t Mami also technically be new to his family? So the lesson learnt is that if you bug a girl long enough, she will eventually accept you into her life? That is a creepy way of saying that perseverance and persistence line.

It is a little more straightforward for Haruki and Miharu since they don’t have family issues hindering them like the aforementioned duo. However their romance is somewhat dragged out a bit since Haruki has got his feelings started because of a book a certain girl read once to him. Then he just kept pondering whether if it was really her or not. I believe Miharu on the other hand does not tell about her late twin sister because, why should she? It’s not like she and Haruki have been officially dating yet. Miharu looked like she was too young to understand when her sister passed on and bringing up the past may have put a lot of emotional stress on her in one way or another. That is why when Haruki brought up the book thingy, she was reluctant to say everything straight at first. She wanted to make sure he was the one because I’m sure there could be many other kids that age who has that book being read to them too. Oddly, with Haruki and Miharu hooking up together, it feels like as though the spirit of Misora lives on because technically it was her who interacted with Haruki. So technically a win-win situation?

While these couples get great ‘coverage’, I feel the rest are very well neglected. I don’t know, the way they portray the rest of the characters feel like as though they are also part of the main characters (as seen from the opening and ending credits animation). I mean, there are 6 couples, that means 12 of them. But we only mainly get to see the usual quartet. So it feels strange that they aren’t given much prominence and the most we get to see is that one off between Mikado and Waka. Nasa and Nozomi are like club mates and we don’t see them being so close to each other like lovers. Whatever happened to Natsu? What about that librarian, Kokono? She’s like totally irrelevant to all that has happened but yet she appeared in the opening and ending credits animation as part of the main cast. Therefore with all these ‘nicely paired’ couples, it is a waste that they didn’t get enough screen time. Perhaps the dozen episodes were just not enough to fit everything in.

I also want to note that from time to time, a couple of normal workers at the convenience store are seen. Although they just watch over the lovebirds and carry on working, sometimes I feel that these guys are like the gods of love watching over them. Serious! They don’t have any significant impact on the story whatsoever as they sometimes comment on a thing or two but nothing too serious. Well, it would be weird if the convenience store had no employees to begin with. So with the theme and setting taking place here, so I thought these guys are like the watchers or the gatekeepers to love or something. At least they give me that sort of impression.

The art and animation are just normal and decent. With lots of typically hot looking bishonen and bishoujo, I guess there is nothing to complain about. After all, this series is more realistic and this means no colourful hairs and outlandish hairstyles although I kinda noticed that short spikey hairstyles are the way to go with most guys. Animated by the veteran Studio Pierrot, they are responsible in producing mega hit animes and long running ones such as Naruto, Bleach, Beelzebub, Sousei No Onmyouji, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, Great Teacher Onizuka, Tokyo Ghoul and the new Boruto series. Hence this series feels a bit out of place if you compare it with their other bigger notable hits.

One thing that perhaps gained my attention for this series is the use of many notable seiyuus. It has been such a long time in which I have never identified so many seiyuus that I know. For instance, Hiroshi Kamiya as Natsu, Kenichi Suzumura as Towa, Takahiro Sakurai as Masamune, Ami Koshimizu as Nozomi and Yukari Tamura as Waka. One of the most shocking one is Rie Kugimiya as Mami. For a long time I have stereotyped her as a typical tsundere and I still can’t get this stereotype out of my hand despite recently I noticed she has been voicing roles that are away from this type. So it was hard to notice her at first because of how meek and shy Mami was. But there was a hint of familiarity. Hence it was quite refreshing to hear her again in a totally different role and did not once revert back to that tsundere voice anyhow here. Although Yuki Kaji is instantly recognizable as Nasa, after hearing him voicing hot headed and passionate characters like Shingeki No Kyojin’s Eren and ClassicaLoid’s Mozart, it is different hearing him voice a character with that same meekness as Mami. I was hoping he was going to break out into that typical voice but nope.

Another shocking thing I discovered Yui Horie had a role here. Who? Where? Who the hell is Aki Asukai?! Oh, Nozomi’s club mate. Very rare appearance. It isn’t the shock that I couldn’t recognize her but the fact she is in this anime. I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t stumble upon the list. You see, Yui Horie had a very long and illustrious career in voice acting and singing. She was really going steady and consistent. You could almost see her everywhere, at least you’ll hear her once or twice per season. And then suddenly out of the blue at the latter half of 2016, she suddenly disappeared! You could say that she was sorely missing for a big part of 2017. At least in the anime scene. I was wondering what happened to her. She must have taken a break. Otherwise, touch wood that nothing bad happened to her. So, uhm, welcome back?

In view of this, those characters who don’t make much of an appearance also slipped my radar like Miyuki Sawashiro as Kokono. For the rest of the casts that I was unable to pick out (sorry), they are Takuma Terashima as Haruki (Otoya in Uta No Prince-sama series), Sayaka Kanda as Miharu (Nadeshiko in Binbougami Ga), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Mikado (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita) and Mariko Nagai as Akira. So uhm… Where is Mamiko Noto???!!! Oh sh*t. I’m starting to delude myself thinking after hearing so many popular seiyuus in one anime, I should have my favourite one appear too.

Another big surprise is the opening theme Stand Up Now by Cellchrome. This song has such a very catchy and beat tune that the moment I hear this piece, it makes me feel like one to stand up now and dance. Let me hear that song one more time! The ending theme is a different story. I thought Milestone is sung by Daisuke Ono but apparently it is Orange Post Reason. Anyway, this slow song feels like a guy who just came out from a bar late at night after it closes, feeling a bit lonely and started singing on the streets on his way back home. That’s the impression I get. Because he doesn’t have the best voice and I could probably join in singing with him. An odd thing over this ending credits animation is how the characters line up before each other. Because I go, tall short tall short tall short tall short… Why are the guys so much taller than the girls? Except for Nasa who is the shortest guy and looks on par with Nozomi who is technically the tallest thanks to her ponytail. WTF… Aki is so short that her head is probably up until only Masamune’s heart. Shorter than his shoulders. WTF…

Overall, I still enjoyed watching this series despite the slow pace, a few odd but funny moments and not all the characters were fully utilized and fleshed out. It is quite decent if you want to watch some sort of down to earth romance. I’m over with the fact that you can’t buy love at a convenience store. Even if it’s in Japan. Yeah, only in Japan where you can buy and get sh*t like this. I suppose the closest you’ll ever get to buying love from a convenience store is a pack on condoms. Whoops! Still, I can’t get over the fact of this series’ naming. I still get the thought from time to time that it is about love taking place at the convenience store and girls who get hooked up there feels like as though they have boyfriends originating from convenience stores. Still a bit messed up if you asked me. Just like how they sell sex dolls in vending machines in certain parts of Japan… See?! Japan does have this sort of convenience! Coming soon to an area near you, Vending Machine Sex Doll Girlfriends… I’d pay to see that one ;p.