Room Mate

September 22, 2017

I guess it is time for the girls to also have one. Because Room Mate is some sort of spin-off sequel to One Room. Only for girls. In the name of equality. In the name of feminism. Oh, screw all that and today’s political culture. Even some girls get lonely too and if 3D men don’t really cut it, perhaps those 2D fantasies could really turn you on. This show could be it if you’re feeling that loneliness in your heart right now. Luckily you don’t need a VR headset to watch this.

Episode 1
We arrive at a huge dorm since starting today we will be the new manager. Outside, a seemingly not too impressed Takumi Ashihara (maybe he looks like that) greets us and helps take in our luggage. We then see Aoi Nishina practising his lines before greeting us too. Finally Shinya Miyasaka comes out in just a towel as he sarcastically says how we got this job because our relatives had no luck in job hunting and thus ended up here as the manager. We could have sued him for indecent exposure and harassment if he wasn’t looking this smoking hot. Takumi tells us their rooms are all on the second floor and points to ours.

Episode 2
Takumi receives a summons to be a certified climber. However he intends to decline since he doesn’t want to be the centre of attention. That night as he watches the scenery from the rooftop, we go talk to him why he climbs. Duh. It’s his hobby, right? It clears his mind as he doesn’t think about unnecessary things while climbing. We encourage him to become a certified climber and will support him. He isn’t sure but we are the first person who ever said something this nice to him. Really?! Maybe he should smile more often. Later he knocks on our door to tell us he is going to do it and become a certified climber. We are so happy. What made him changed his mind? Well, we did say that we are going to cheer him on, right?

Episode 3
We can Aoi’s next role is a samurai one as he practises acting and talking like one. Until he tastes our delicious dinner we made that it brings him back to his normal character. Yeah, nobody made him such a warm and delicious food for so long and he is grateful we reminded him of it. Uhm, thanks? Later we watch Aoi practice and again he is grateful for bringing him a bottled water. Then he tells us how he loves acting but being with us he feels so relaxed that he could tell us anything. It’s like he wants to rely more on us.

Episode 4
Shinya is busy that he doesn’t want our breakfast. But since we put up that sad face, he relents and tastes our ‘horrible’ coffee. Later we serve him more coffee but he gets suspicious. Why would somebody do this if not for an ulterior motive? Then he strips right in front of us. Because he is going to bath. He thinks we are thinking of something indecent and then corners us. Luckily Takumi and Aoi pass by and restrain Shinya to avoid any reported case of sexual harassment. Because of that, Shinya is punished to go buy groceries. He blames it is partly our fault and must accompany him. We maintain our positivism throughout the trip. Next day we serve him coffee and he calls us a dog for being happy.

Episode 5
We interrupt Takumi’s training to tell him the owner has sent cakes for them. He looks very eager to have it. Then we wake Aoi up from his dream land for the same and also bug Shinya about it. Is that guy crying upon hearing it? The trio have their fill on the delicious cakes with Takumi devouring them the most since he likes sweet things. We present them a note from the owner. It is a ban on romantic relationships between the manager and tenants. Was there love blooming in the first place?!

Episode 6
Thanks to that, Takumi seems to be bothered. He avoids us and makes simple mistakes while climbing. Then it turns out he is sick. I thought it was love sickness but he is really down with a cold. We enter his room to feed him porridge and nurse him back to health. Next morning he is fine and we asks why he was avoiding us. He apologizes that he wasn’t confident that if we were together, he couldn’t protect us anymore because of the ban. Oh you silly boy. That is what you’re worried so much?

Episode 7
Aoi suddenly asks us to be his wife! You might have guessed it is for a role he is playing. And either because we’re acting so lovey-dovey or just plain bad, Shinya couldn’t take it anymore and kicks us out! On the rooftop, Aoi sees the next scene is a kiss. Already flustering, Takumi then climbs into the scene. When Aoi explains about his next role, Takumi notes he doesn’t seem to be into this role as much as usual. He becomes depressed as we talk to him. He wonders if he wasn’t acting and the ban was because we asked the owner for it. We assure him the owner came up with this on her own. It made Aoi’s day. His face lightens up as he believes he still has a chance. In his acting or love?

Episode 8
Takumi and Aoi can tell something is wrong with Shinya even though if he doesn’t want to admit it. It’s all over his face. As usual, we go talk to him as he talks about acting cocky during such times. It seems Shinya still has feelings for someone that is already gone. He can’t forget about them and really cared for them. Apparently they weren’t enough for him. He turns to us and thinks maybe we are perfect for him. We remind him of that ban but he pushes us down and tells us his bad boy behaviour. The more he is told he can’t do something, the more he wants to do it. Of course he backs off as it was all a joke. The next day, we found out his ‘lost’ was his cat family in a video game. Yeah, he is really so sad about it. Well, in today’s world…

Episode 9
A cold wet rainy day. Time for a full fanservice episode because the guys will be soaking in the bath. A few abs and ass shots here and there. Maybe this is what girls want… Anyway the trio talk how things have changed ever since a certain someone arrived. Things have been fun lately and they’ve been eating dinner together like never before. Shinya takes the opportunity to say that both of them have fallen for her. It is pretty obvious. Otherwise he won’t have to hold back. I guess it’s the same for him. He further teases that by the time they realize it, we might already belong to him. Aoi protests so Shinya hints in that case they should know what to do next. Why are you looking sad?!

Episode 10
Shinya sheds first blood when he tells Takumi would he not mind if he asks us out. Actually he does. And so with the guys interested in us, the only way to settle is via competition. We will be the judge. First up, Shinya’s video games. Obviously he wins with his ‘finger technique’ since he does this often. Next is Aoi’s stilts. He has got experience walking on them so he wins. Finally Takumi’s wall Twister is just so odd that only he can play it flawlessly. So who wins? I guess we can’t decide. Shinya knows Takumi is hiding something so the latter reveals that he has received a letter for an overseas expedition and will be going. The rest know what to do when he’s gone. Shinya then mocks us this must be nice. All we have to do is act naïve. He warns this isn’t going to last forever.

Episode 11
Everyone is acting strange. Yeah, even Aoi lost his acting chops. Something is going on… Shinya tells us straight that they are inviting us to the fireworks festival. Also, each one of them wants to talk to us individually. Shinya starts first as he tells us he will be away for a while due to work. He even gets straight with us because of that he is giving us time to decide who we want to date! Next is Aoi, he too will be going away for his acting work. Lastly, Takumi. Well, he only complimented our yukata since last episode he already told us he’s going away. So we watch the fireworks as the guys calm us down that they’ll come back.

Episode 12
We’re seeing off the guys. They’re saying goodbye before their long trip. For Takumi, he hopes we stay by his side forever. Aoi confesses he loves us but he wants to say that again when he comes back. Lastly, Shinya is being as condescending as ever as he reminds us we’re his dog. You mean, b*tch? So the seasons pass and when spring arrives, we are glad to see the trio back at the dorm as they welcome us back.

Friendzone Room
You know, I was hoping there would be one ‘funny’ and ‘horrifying’ twist in the end. And that would be the camera turning around to reveal ‘our face’. We are actually a fat ugly lady!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Oh my!!! The guys have been blinded and in love with the fat ugly dorm manager instead all the while!!! HAHAHAHA!!! Whoops… Sorry. Couldn’t resist it. Yeah, goes to show that love is blind.

Despite the familiar setting and flow, Room Mate is a lot more different in its presentation and approach than One Room. If it was exactly the same, it would be a waste and a bore because all you need to do is just switch the genders of the characters and dupe viewers into watching a new series. That would really suck so with this different style, it gives a fresh new reason why those who watched One Room should also watch this. Not because you’re a straight guy or a homo.

The most obvious difference being that instead of focusing 4 episodes per girl in One Room, this one has all the guys appearing together in every episode. I guess even girls dream of their own harem. It is both good and bad because unlike one on one approach, there is not enough quality spent with each of them. Sure, in terms of appearance the Room Mate guys appear more than the One Room girls. But because we have a personal interaction with the girls, this gives us more quality in the bonding and interaction personally with that girl. The Room Mate’s guys’ attention are spread out although each has their own short moments with us in each episode.

The less obvious difference is that I notice that for most of the times, you are not really looking through the eyes of the main protagonist. Yes, there are times when you see through the first person view but like I said, it feels like only half of it. Because if it was so, we wouldn’t be shown the guys while conversing with them from different angles. And the angles of the view do change often. Don’t tell me we are jumping here and ducking over there while we are talking to them! The guys would definitely point it out to us what the heck we are doing!

The small gripe which I have is the misnaming of this series. Because when you say you are someone’s roommate, you are practically living with them in the same room. However as this series turns out, you are a dorm manager and living in a separate room. And this dorm is too big to be considered anything of a room size. Unlike in One Room which is aptly titled because girls visit and come to your room. Instead in here, we hang out with the guys in usually the main living room or dining hall of the dorm.

The pacing and the character development feels similar to One Room. Because with only 4 minutes to spare for each episode, how much solid development can you get? I am guessing that the distinct personalities for these guys are what girls commonly want in their fantasies. Like Takumi who is the taciturn type and also the one with the best body because show me those abs baby! Some like their guys as cute and petite like Aoi. Shinya might look like he is intimidating as well as sarcastic and cold. But I read somewhere over the internet (a long time ago) that some girls like this kind of personality in a guy where they are dominating and take the lead. There is this sort of thrill of being submissive. It goes the same for guys who love dominatrix women. But I guess this explains why Shinya is always acting cocky and being a dick instead of treating us nice like a princess.

Now, this is one of the oddest things about this series. Those who watched One Room would expect some sort of fanservice because it is targeted for male audience. What kind of fanservice do girls get? I know. Guys getting shirtless. Nothing wrong to that. Except that it is done in the weirdest fashion. If you watched the ending credits animation, it starts off as pretty normal because you’ll see all the guys posing and being clothed. But as you watch further, their clothes will slowly disappear leaving them naked at the end of it all! Whether it some magic lighting or some magic detergent or some magic eraser or even some seemingly clothes eating bacteria, everything comes off in the end! Of course, the necessary parts are strategically covered. Unlike girls who can show cleavage and pantsu shots any time, guys just can’t walk around shirtless so this might be the only way to do it? Really feels weird. An exception is the last episode where the guys stay fully clothed. I guess with painful goodbyes and happy reunions, let’s not spoil it with some cheap fanservice, okay?

It goes without saying, Typhoon Graphics who did One Room also animated this short. As usual, hot looking guys supposedly to make girls and gays swoon over. Not the most bishonen of all bishonen but still decent enough to be considered as ikemen (handsome guy). Also, the small casts are Tomoaki Maeno as Takumi (Junichi in Amagami SS), Natsuki Hanae as Aoi (Takumi in Shokugeki No Souma) and Kousuke Toriumi as Shinya (Cecil in Uta No Prince-sama series). The trio also perform the ending theme, Kimi Iro Smile which doesn’t sound all that bad. It is the only song throughout the entire series unlike One Room where you have a heroine singing solo a piece for their arc.

My end impression is the same as with One Room. Cute but awkward at times. As a guy watching this, it is just ordinary. I’ve seen a few reverse harem animes myself so this isn’t all that bad but not that cheesy either. Of course at the end of the day, I’m still a straight guy and watching this doesn’t turn me anywhere near gay. If watching such makes you so, I would have turned gay a long time ago. So you see, not all of us are lucky enough to find that special significant other and the 2D world provides some sort of respite. All we want is to love and to be loved. Even if that lover only exists in our monitor screen. It goes to show that men and women aren’t really all that different from each other when it comes to this sort of things because don’t be surprised that girls even play video games and watch porn. Humans will always be humans.