Aniplex of America announced today that they will begin streaming the brand new anime series, Slow Start, on Crunchyroll beginning January 6, 2018 at 9 am PST. Animated by A-1 Pictures (Sword Art Online, Blue Exorcist) and directed by Hiroyuki Hashimoto (Magical Girl Raising Project, Is the Order a Rabbit?), the series is based on a popular 4-panel manga by Yuiko Tokumi in Manga Time Kirara, a seinen manga magazine from renowned publisher Houbunsha. In addition to being the first ever in Japan to put out a 4-panel manga magazine, Houbunsha is the publisher for another popular 4-panel manga series, BLEND-S, which served the basis for the smash hit anime by the same name in fall of 2017. Masato Anno (Eromanga Sensei, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) is in charge of character design with music by Yoshiaki Fujisawa (Love Live! School idol project, No Game, No Life Zero).
“When I was first approached by the team at Kirara regarding a new series, I really wanted to create a cute and charming story that didn’t take itself too seriously,” says Series Creator, Yuiko Tokumi. “But when my editor suggested to make the series about ‘reaching for a goal like trying to win a tournament,’ I began incorporating that notion into the story.”
The series addresses an interesting stigma relatively unique to the Japanese culture known as being a ronin. The term, which is often associated in the U.S. as a term for vagabond samurai, refers to a person who has failed to get in to a school or company and must wait a year to try again. While the concept of a “gap year” is not foreign to the U.S., the Japanese education and hiring system, which only accepts new students or new employees during a limited time once a year, results in many young people being forced into an involuntary gap year. The main character is no stranger to this dilemma, as she finds herself a year late starting high school. Unable to bear the shame of being a year behind her classmates, she moves away to start a new life at a new school.
“Slow Start isn’t just a cute and fun story, it’s about the importance of emotional connections,” says Director Hashimoto in an interview about the series.
Thanks to her new friends and new acquaintances, the series explores many different forms of “slow starts.” The title, Slow Start, refers to not only the main character’s delayed start to high school but a larger theme of taking one’s time to grow up. As Hana gradually opens her heart to the people around her, her life begins to unfold with exciting and cheerful moments. From playing around like children to feeling anxious like an adult… This is an adorable and heart-warming tale about growing up … slowly.