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IN BRIEF: Yuu has never responded emotionally to the boys who've asked her out in the past, and she's so desperate to feel anything that she considers just saying yes to the most recent supplicant. Now that she's started high school, though, she sees her senpai Nanami turn down a date with ease, and figures she has someone to confide in. As it happens, Nanami is looking for a girl to date who will promise not to love her - as she doesn't want the distraction of a real relationship, but rather wants someone trustworthy in front of whom she can put down her public persona. At first it seems like serendipity, but as the school year passes and the two girls get more involved in student council activities together, Yuu is wondering whether she's really all that asexual... and whether it would be healthier for Nanami to stop pretending altogether.
***Spoilers below for season 1 (this feels like a show begging for a season 2)***
I liked how Nanami was messed up by her sister's premature death, and how she can't quite handle the news from her sister's friends that her sister wasn't a perfect angel. It was a nuanced look into the destructiveness of building a personality based off another person. I had more interest in one of the male characters, who is a confident and total asexual, than I did in Yuu's questioning demisexual; I was surprised how well that revelation was handled, and how he was allowed to be happy with his identity. I also liked the minor background plot showing how one of their teachers is in a committed lesbian relationship with the nearby coffeeshop owner (as well as how their relationship inspired Nanami's best friend to stand up to her ex and reaffirm her orientation). Adult wlw relationships deserve more representation in anime, and this was a great example.
I wanted to like this show more than I did. In the end, I'm not really all that interested personally in romance stories, so whenever the plot curved back towards hormones, I checked out mentally (which happened frequently, so this was a good sleep aid). Also, I was really looking forward to the play that Yuu's friend wrote for the student council to perform during their cultural festival - it was a huge plot point, and drove multiple emotional revelations during the back half of the season in exciting ways - so it was extra disappointing when the show ended before the cultural festival even happened. I get extra frustrated with shows that lack resolution (the most we get is Yuu realizing that she might actually possess feelings for Nanami, and Nanami realizing that she can't fake a personality much longer), so in absence of a second season, I can't rate it any higher.
My reviewing system for films and shows that are NOT anime: 1-5: I hated it. I also don't think it has redeeming qualities, so you shouldn't watch it either. 6: I didn't like it. It's not my thing, I didn't like the execution, I don't want to see it again. However, I don't think it is a BAD film or show - it has qualities that will recommend it to those who like that kind of thing. 7: It was fine. I didn't love it, and I don't need to see it again. I won't be sad if I never see it again. 8: I liked it. I didn't love it, and while I'd like to see it again, I wouldn't want to see it often. 9: I loved it. I would be sad if I never saw it again. I might want to see it every few years. 10: I loved it beyond description. I wouldn't mind watching it every year.
Clarifying my anime rating system: Obviously I am constrained by the reality that the typical SIMKL user doesn't rate below 8 if they liked the show. My number key below is an attempt to parse the small differences between 7 and 8, 8 and 9, & 9 and 10. When I rate, I consider my own enjoyment, the characterization, the plot, the appearance of the animation and occasionally the soundtrack - in roughly that order. An anime will lose at least 1 point for presence of deal-breaker tropes (for example, comedic pedophilia), and more if the trope(s) ruined my enjoyment. On the other hand, it will gain at least 1 point for artistry in animation or sound.
1-6: I would never rewatch/finish watching, or recommend. Further clarification: 1-3 is pure excrement, and I would rather be getting un-anesthetized surgery for the entire running time. 4-6 is the kind of thing where I would sincerely rather be doing chores, but could survive sitting through it if a friend begged me to. Differences within those ranges relate to non-plot details (ex. beauty of animation) or presence of specific deal-breaker tropes rather than general badness.
7: There are two types of 7s. 7A: I watched at least part of it, and may have stopped due to not liking the plot twists, character derailment, etc. In this case, it started out with a higher score and slipped over time. 7B: I watched the whole show, but recognize deal-breaker tropes in it, and I'm unlikely to rewatch. It just wasn't enjoyable enough to forgive its flaws. For both 7s, there would be huge caveats to any recommendation.
8: There are two types of 8s. 8A: Not my thing, but usually I at least respect it. Generally, I didn't like it enough to think I would rewatch it, but also didn't see huge problems in the plot, characterizations, etc. and thought it was worth finishing. 8B: I had a good time watching it, but it didn't move me the way a 9 or a 10 does; it's possible that over time I would upgrade it to a 9 if I liked it more on reflection. I'd consider it mostly harmless to view, with the occasional caveat. For both 8s, I would recommend the show to the right audience.
9: I enjoyed very much. It may have had one or two issues, but not enough to diminish enjoyment. It's possible that over time I would downgrade it to an 8 (changing tastes) or upgrade to a 10 (realize it's never left my mind). I'm likely to rewatch, and likely to buy the DVDs. I'd recommend it to most audiences.
10: Virtually flawless. I'd definitely rewatch, and definitely want to buy DVDs. I would shill to anyone.
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