The director of the newly aired anime series One Room publicly announced this week his dissatisfaction with viewer reception of the series thus far. One Room was met with muddled reception this season; viewers have described the first person perspective as unnerving and creepy rather than the immersive experience the show intended to provide. Because One Room is the first anime series from studio Typhoon Graphics, it is easy to write them off as a studio lacking talent and experience. However, to the trained and cultured eye, One Room is actually a unique, trailblazing show full of much deeper and subtle meaning.
The producer Sakuma Takashi criticized viewers for not being able to understand the deeper meaning of the show.. “I don’t get how so many people think that One Room just some kind of creepy fetish animation,” Sakuma told Anime Maru. “We wanted to make something truly revolutionary, something that really digs deep into the human psyche. We thought we really hit it home with One Room, but not one person seems to get it.”
“I guess everyone is too used to watching ecchi garbage; they can’t put in the effort to think.”
One Room is a series of shorts that explore the lives three young girls attempting to deal with their own emotional trauma. Each girl imagines that they have a male companion as a comfort mechanism for their internal physiological struggle. The viewer takes on the perspective of this imaginary projection as the show displays a window into the tragic lives of each of the three characters.
The first girl, Yui Hanasaka, is a high school student whose dedication to her studies leads her to a life lacking variety and personal connections. While her grades begin to improve, the lack of other outlets in her life creates a feeling of emptiness. Yui’s anxieties are ignored by her family whose only concern is her performance in the upcoming entrance examinations. Feeling stuck in her situation and isolated, she imagines that a kind neighbor lives next door who is able to keep her company during her normally lonely study sessions. She yearns for a romantic encounter as her academics and the approaching working world begins to erode her hope for a fulfilling future.
Natsuki Momohara is a young girl struggling to deal with the recent death of her older brother. Against the wishes of her parents, she takes one last trip to Tokyo to visit the apartment of her deceased brother before it can be sold off. The apartment has only one week before it is cleared out and the last physical memories of her brother are lost forever. Discovering the state of the apartment when she arrives, she begins to think of how her brother might have been able to take better care of himself had she only been able to visit earlier. Regretting having never said a last goodbye, Natsuki spends several days recreating in her mind the one last visit with her brother that she never had.
Moka Aoshima is a graduate struggling to start her career in music. As her childhood dreams of being a musician seem to get further and further away, she yearns for the days when life was simpler. As her dedication to music fails to pay off, her relationships with others subsequently end up being neglected. Losing touch with many of her previous friends, she imagines that she has one childhood friend left who still supports her in her endeavors. However, as she struggles to find any relative success, the harshness of reality causes her to rely more and more on her imaginary interactions. Her story unfolds as she begins to question whether to give up on her dreams or continue to pursue a path with no degree of certainty.
A representative from Typhoon Graphics stated that they were disappointed by audience reception of their work but still proud of what they have accomplished. “Maybe the world just wasn’t ready for something like this. For future works we will be taking this into consideration and exploring other options. Maybe we’ll just go for selling something easier, like yaoi, instead.”