Place to Place is a light comedy anime with a touch of romance. Unfortunately, the anime’s somewhat at odds with itself. While certain elements promise a more upbeat, wild kind of comedy, the tone is much more soporific. With a peak of action set too early, combined with an ending without a conclusion, this anime is wholly unsatisfying.
Purpose: Weak. There are lots of good things in this anime. The biggest issue is the clashing of tones. On the one hand, Place to Place promises a rambunctious brand of comedy. Actually, that’s where the anime really comes alive. Many of the best and most memorable moments happen when the characters are being wild and crazy. (For those of you that have seen the anime… bear and paper bag anyone?) But they don’t really focus on the wild comedy. The main problem is that they didn’t focus on anything. You have bits of the wild comedy, little smatterings of romance, dashes of character-specific comedy, and plenty of unmemorable lines. All of these were impacted by an extremely drowsy mood that pervaded. Perhaps that’s all forgivable, except for the fact that the anime peaks too early. The best points come roughly around episodes 7 through 9. The last few end up trailing off, abandoning some good developments that happen.
Characters: Decent. Most of the main characters had their really interesting points, yet were sadly under-utilized. Individually, each of the characters are pretty weak – it’s only though character combinations that they really have something interesting. However, it’s only certain character combinations that do a majority of the heavy lifting, as it were. Much of the character interactions come off as surprisingly bland. Though the anime is supposed to be about Io and Tsumiki, they are the absolute worst character pair for working off of each other to create good scenes. Most of their interactions feel like something ran out of gas. Part of the problem is that both of the characters have really slow delivery, so they end up being slow, together. This is a serious problem when they’re trying to do comedy, which is most of it. That said, the slowness between them does end up creating some sweet moments.
World: Decent. Being a slice of life world, it suffers from the same “normal world” problem. This means that the world was little more than a backdrop – there was very little the world had to do with anything. Yet, there was some degree of oddness, with the “normalcy” of the world occasionally broken by one character’s wild antics/inventions. Even so, the settings were generally interchangeable – there was nothing really context-specific about the interactions that happened.
Plot: Decent. What can you say other than it’s generally a slice of life? There’s really no overarching structure other than a little bit of romance. Perhaps the weakest part of the plot was that there wasn’t enough material. About halfway through, they start taking the romance somewhere. That set the anime up for some sort of climax or conclusion, which it never reaches. Instead, the plot loses focus and fizzles out.
Storytelling: Poor. This is the single biggest flaw in the entire anime, dragging down several other elements. The storytelling is responsible for setting up a wholly inappropriate mood that was often at odds with what was going on. One of the biggest offenders was the soundtrack, which seemed to be something that would be at home in the video game “Animal Crossing.” Even their most exciting music had a certain kind of slowness or dullness that weighed it down. For all other parts, the music heavily weighed down on scenes, making them somewhat drowsy in tone. Essentially, there was no energy or life to the mood set by the anime. This problem was made all the more serious by the slow delivery of some characters.
Another large problem was with the comedy. There was a serious lack of follow-through with the punchlines. Most often, it would result in fizzling out, when they should have pushed the punchline home. Even then, punchlines were often so understated that they were a little disappointing. They only reason we know this is that they actually showed that they could hit the mark just right – occasionally, they’d hit the timing and the follow-through for some really good moments. That makes the failures all the more numbing.
Pace: Not Really Good. Lackadaisical is the best description of the pace. While the anime felt exceptionally slow, I have the nagging feeling that it isn’t the pace’s fault. If you think about it really, really hard, the timing and the sequencing of the gags and the events felt just fine. The amount of content per episode also seemed to be fine, neither too little nor too much. It’s just that other elements brought it down.