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The girls in A Centaur’s Life are run-of-the-mill high school girls—except that they happen to be mythical creatures.
This weekend, we attended the premiere of the first episode in Tokyo. The anime follows Himeno “Hime” Kimihara and her friends who are regular girls at Shin Kanata High School. But, Hime and her two closest friends, Nozomi Gokuraku and Kyoko “Kyo-chan” Naraku, are a Centaur, Draconid (a humanoid dragon), and Goatfolk respectively. That doesn’t stop them from enjoying school, fashion, love, and all other parts of their lives.
When it comes to anime, it’s important to change up the formula a bit when making a slice-of-life series to keep the audience’s attention. The anime has to be unique, but still has to have topics a normal audience can relate to.
A Centaur’s Life is definitely different from real life in that the characters are mythical creatures. At first glance, this makes it seem like we won’t be able to associate with the characters as they are nonhuman. But, this is far from the truth.
Just because the girls are mythical creatures doesn’t mean they don’t share similar interests as real-life school girls. And that’s where the series shines. It gives us all the school-life slice-of-life story beats, but from the perspective of mythical creatures and we believe it.
What kind of school-life beats are we talking about, then? The prescreened episode opened with Nozomi looking at a fashion magazine featuring a centaur who looked like Hime. This raises a whole kerfuffle about fashion between Nozomi and another friend, but then segues nicely into a discussion about school rules. These are conversations we’d expect to hear from teen girls and because of that we don’t blink an eye at the fact the characters are Centaurs, Draconids, or Goatfolk. It’s not deceptive nor does it fool us into believing this. We just accept it because of how natural the conversations and lives of the characters are.
This belief even transcends into the moments when Hime and her friends are talking about facets of their lives that are difficult to relate to—specifically, their anatomy. There’s a great part in the screened episode where Nozomi and Kyo-chan saddle up to Hime to warm their bodies on a cold day. While the idea of hugging each other for warmth on a cold day is something we can easily recognize, the conversation quickly turns to why Hime is so warm. Much like the girls talk about fashion and school rules, the discussion about Hime’s warm body is both fascinating and extremely natural. It should seem very out of place, yet we accept this conversation as normal for the world of A Centaur’s Life. That’s not an easy task either because we’re dealing with characters who are, visually, slightly off.
Yet, it’s these instances of mythical creature talk that are a fantastic display of suspension of disbelief. We can clearly see the girls aren’t humans. However, the nature of their lives and conversations make us believe this world exists. And that’s an amazing feat to achieve with a wild idea like mythical creatures in slice-of-life situations. It also helps that what we’re actually seeing in the series is girls living the lives of girls we’d see walking around the bustling metropolis of Tokyo. And in that regard, the series quickly pulls us in with the familiar and mixes in the unfamiliar without taking us out of the moment.
A Centaur’s Life looks like an interesting series when it starts on July 9. We get some great story beats with the slice-of-life aspect of the series. But, mixed with that is the perspective from mythical creatures. This gives us a unique viewpoint on the lives of school girls while also providing us with familiar situations. And with this combination we’re sure to have a series that’ll give us some fun stories.
A Centaur’s Life will stream on Crunchyroll.
クレジット： 和文：©2017 村山慶/徳間書店・彼方市思考教育委員会
英文：©2017 KEI MURAYAMA/TOKUMA SHOTEN/Centaur’s Life Project
公式サイト：http://centaur-anime.com/ 公式Twitter： @Centaur_anime