Three Leaves, Three Colors is a slice of life anime revolving around the everyday lives of three high school girls. Yoko Nishikawa has recently had to adopt the life of a poor person after her father’s company goes bankrupt. Giving up the maids and butlers completely and attending a regular high school. Yoko initially finds it hard to drop her prideful privileged persona and make friends at her new school.
One day, while eating alone in the school gardens eating bread crusts for lunch, she has a chance encounter with Futaba Odagiri, the super-energetic transfer student, and Teru Hayama, an innocent-looking girl with a surprisingly direct and sometimes mean personality. These 2 girls literally stumble into Yoko’s life and despite having nothing in common they somehow form a great friendship, dealing with the day-to-day life of a high school girl.
The show does a good job of introducing the main three girls as well as subsequent characters in a quick efficient way. With each character having just enough back story revealed and each having their tropes and motives on display almost immediately. Yoko used to be rich but now has nothing and resorts to eating bread crusts with mayonnaise, Teru is the class representative she loves animals and is passive aggressively mean to others and Futaba has a massive appetite and will do anything for food, resulting in her being banned from many of the food challenge restaurants around town.
This is absolutely necessary in a show with only a 12 episode series, as you don’t have the ability to spend multiple episodes getting the viewers up to speed on the characters whole life up until this point. Although at times it did feel like certain scenes and even a couple of episodes just fell back to the character tropes to fill the runtime. “I’ve watched all the episodes to this point, you can stop reminding me Futaba likes to eat every 5 minutes!”
Being a slice of life anime, I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be an action packed shonen anime full of drama, explosions and conflict. But I didn’t expect some of the episodes in this set to be as difficult to get through as they were. It’s quite unfortunate as I did like most of the characters in Three Leaves, Three Colors. But for just about each great episode there was an episode that didn’t contain much of a plot of it’s own, didn’t develop the story or characters and spent most of the runtime reinforcing the established character tropes of the main three girls. It was a real shame because of how fun the other episodes were. I wish they would have cut out those episodes and released the set as an 8 episode series.
The episodes that don’t fall into the filler category are really great. They have great contained plots, such as the beach hut & school festival episodes and actually spend time developing characters and really feel like you’re watching some good friends hanging out in some bizarre situations.
Three Leaves, Three Colors is able to be watched by all ages as it sticks to it’s PG rating pretty well. This is great to see and opens up the viewer base to be an appropriate entry into anime for younger audiences, especially those interested in the slice of life genre. It’s not uncommon to see slice of life anime that have a fairly family friendly overall plot but are filled with suggestive poses and panty shots, so it’s great to see Three Leaves, Three Colors not in that bucket.
Three Leaves, Three Colors is a fun slice of life anime that has an interesting premise and frequent laugh out loud moments. Unfortunately it is let down by slow pacing at early points in the series and episodes that don’t push the plot forward at all and feel like filler episodes that just repeatedly reinforce character tropes. When the series really gets going, it is a fun ride that has some very interesting characters and a warming tale of friendship. Being just 12 episodes it’s a short & sweet experience but although I enjoyed the majority of the episodes I don’t feel the urge to rewatch the series anytime soon.
A DVD review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for the purpose of this review. If you are interested on checking out Three Leaves, Three Colors you can grab the series on DVD from Madman or stream the series on AnimeLab.
All images © Â© 2016 arai-cherry / Houbunsha, Three leaves, three colors Project