HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | Good-Natured "Angel" Takes Up "Apartment" Residency

ANIME REVIEW | Good-Natured "Angel" Takes Up "Apartment" Residency

ANIME REVIEW | Good-Natured "Angel" Takes Up "Apartment" Residency

There are pros and cons to having your own apartment. On one hand, it’s nice to come back to one’s fortress of solitude, and bask in the quiet after a long day. However, living on one’s own can be a little lonesome, especially when one has a bad day and needs someone to find comfort for. It’s a good thing for Shintaro Tokumitsu (Shuichiro Umeda), who finds himself having quite the literal Godsend of a roommate in Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included.

Based on the manga by matoba, the series starts with Shintaro living on his lonesome. He has a nice — albeit small — apartment thanks to his Aunt Mari (Ai Kayano), but despite having the support of his family, he finds himself often by himself at home after a hard day of school and work. But then, the angel Towa (Hikaru Tono) appears on his patio, leaving Shintaro flabbergasted. However, he quickly becomes accustomed to Towa, thanks to her kindheartedness and work ethic.

The more Shintaro and Towa live together, the more close they become. Feelings of friendship slowly turn into feelings of romance, to the point where even Towa experiences jealousy whenever Shintaro hangs out with certain women. And most of these women also aren’t of the average type, including the snow woman Noel (Saori Onishi) and the vampire chunibyo Lilishka (Yui Ogura). Then there’s the lone normie: Tsumugi (Hana Tamegai), who has been in love with Shintaro for many a year.

It’s already easy to see that Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included falls into the territory of harem rom-com. While he has some good qualities to share, Shintaro is no more than a self-insert of whoever is watching this series. The anime also goes down the checklist of harem comedy tropes that fans are often used to, ranging from walking in on someone in the bath or on the toilet to the occasional panty shot. Basically, nothing new in that department.

However, it’s in the characters themselves where the show shines. Towa’s curiosity about humanity — the main reason why she’s on Earth in the first place — results in some humorous misunderstandings between her and her darling roommate. Tsumugi delivers a relatable mentality when it comes to a seemingly one-sided love. Noel learns about what it means to make friends, with her coming out of her literal cold shell to bond with the likes of Towa and Tsumugi.

But out of everyone, it’s Lilishka that stands as the most entertaining character. Despite her being a legit vampire, her chunibyo ways makes her seem like a walking contradiction. Lilishka’s got the power and the attitude, but where she is lacking is the common sense. And that’s where the real comedy lies, especially when she attempts to drink Shintaro’s blood despite his pleas not to.

Because of Lilishka’s late entry, it takes awhile for Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included to find its voice. Although it can be entertaining at times — especially when Aunt Mari shows up unannounced — its plot has the issue of delivering the same ole song & dance as most harem comedies. Yes, these characters are cute and endearing, but you need to give them something unique to do to make it stand out from the rest of the pack. It takes seven episodes for that unique vibe to finally kick in, a timeframe that’s troubling when most anime viewers go by the three-episode watch-or-drop rule.

Those who muster through those seven episodes will then be rewarded with the good story that this anime is aiming to tell. The chemistry between Shintaro and the rest of the cast is charming, with his kindness being the thing these women need to push on through the daily grind. But it’s his growth with Towa that matters most in the show, and it’s fun to see how Shintaro shows the angel the ways of Earth. From grocery shopping and cooking to why she must never show her wings in public, the way Towa learns about living like a human feeds into both her strong curiosity and kind understanding.

Studio Okuruto is fairly new in the anime game, with the likes of Tomodachi Game and The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter under their belt. Visually, the show is pretty nice, with the female characters having solid personalities and looks. Shintaro gets the short end of the stick, looking just like every other harem rom-com protagonist that’s come out in the last ten years. When it comes to movement, I guess it looks fine, but one can tell where some cuts were made especially whenever Towa takes to the sky in angel mode.

Its voice cast is also pretty good, albeit their job in this anime is to just sound as cute as possible. Tono and Onishi do this well as Towa and Noel respectively, with Umeda even sounding cute whenever flustered by a seemingly perverted situation. Kayano is hilarious as Aunt Mari, who puts all of her silliness into the most pitiful of birthday situations. Yet again, it’s Ogura that delivers the best performance, balancing the right amount of seriousness and dorkiness into Lilishka’s mannerisms.

As for the soundtrack, it’s as average as one can get. Shunsuke Takizawa’s musical contributions sound like leftovers from his work in My Girlfriend is Shobitch and The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You. Ogura’s opening “Kimi Iro no Kiseki” is cute, but it does suffer from sounding like a lot of other rom-com openings. The same can be said about SoundOrion’s closing theme “Sunny Canvas”, even if it does have a nice melody.

Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included doesn’t offer much new to the harem rom-com realm. But where it does shine is in its endearing characters. Those who can get through the average harem parts will be treated with a much stronger second half. Yes, it takes a bit, but Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included does find a way to earn itself a residency in this season’s Watchlist.

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Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-10 were observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)