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3 3 Star Review of Makura no Danshi by AmaterasuWings

What a strange, strange little short series. Definitely different in concept, but it falls flat compared to its Drama CD inspirations.

Story/Concept :
There is no overarching story in this series - instead each short episode focuses on a different male character, a "Pillow Boy" if you will. Each one covers a different trope/personality (the Shota, the Music Lover, the Mature Coworker, etc) as they speak directly to the viewer (the presumed straight, female viewer, that is). They tell you about their day, themselves, flirt, all in an understated environment that's supposed to lull you to sleep. It reminds me very much of the Amemakura drama CD series, where you listen to a male VA say sweet nothings in your ear with rain in the background. Speaking from experience, they are wonderful to fall asleep to. This however...doesn't seem to do as good of a job as the Drama CDs it's inspired by.

Characters
Some of them are okay. The twins and Sousuke Tanaka stand out in my mind as being nicely written/performed. But I'm not sure if this series was trying to be funny or not. Some characters play the sleepy-CD act completely straight, trying to be as appealing and soothing as possible. But others are entirely comedic, making their male crooners look like fools. The boys are all mostly one-note, with no room for character development in their 3-minute appearances. Overall, there's just a feeling of confusion - legitimate attempt to emulate sleepy-CDs, or parody?

Animation/Style
The animation is very simple in this. Each episode generally followed the same format - animated intro to the character, pans over still images as the character continues to talk, end with the animation coming back. The style is nothing special, nice colors and some pretty backgrounds, but the focus is supposed to be on the voices anyway. Which makes me wonder what prompted the animated series at all...

Sound
Here's where the oddity is for this series. The short opening song is very sweet and catchy, and all the VAs do lovely jobs with the voicework. But there is literally no other sound in this series. No music, no sound effects, no nothing. This is especially jarring in the violinist's episode. He takes out his violin, poses elegantly, and announces that he's going to play a ballad for you aaaaand...pans over still shots of him playing the violin...without music. It's an odd choice, and one that I don't think works. It just makes the experience creepy, rather than the intimate feeling I think they were going for.

Overall
Not really worth your time unless you're a big fan of one of the VAs involved. Then you might be interested in their character's episode. But honestly, just go get some headphones and listen to Amemakura or similar "sleepy time drama CDs". You get more quality, more content, and less stilted visuals. This is definitely a niche show, but there's nothing overly offensive about it. Just a neat concept that took a few missteps.
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