‘Room Mate: One Room, Side M’ is a 12 episode short series that aired during Spring 2017. Each episode goes for about 4 minutes, and is orientated as a viewer x characters. That is, camera angels are done so it appears that you are face to face with characters, and characters ‘pause’ to hear your responses. There is also another series ‘Room Mate: One Room, Side F’ which features female characters. However, when the characters do speak to ‘you’ they are gender neutral, so any gender can enjoy either of the two series. The series has quite a low rating on ‘My Anime List’ , but I was still very interested to check it out.
The series features ‘you’ as you begin your new job at as the manager of a shared house. There currently live three gorgeous guys living in the house, Takumi, Shinya and Aoi. They series follows you as you cheer on the boys in their varying pursuits – rock climbing, working and acting. The boys slowly begin to fall for you. However, your aunt (the owner of the house) puts up a notice saying that any romantic relationships are banned. If that wasn’t difficult enough, the boys begin to compete to win your affections and tensions are high in the house. Will you get your dream guy, or, more importantly, get to keep your job!?
Usually when I review these short series I am very lenient. I understand that short series are usually made to give people a quick laugh. It’s difficult to develop characters or even a story within four minutes. But there are some series that do it really well like ‘High School Life of a Fudanshi‘ and ‘Oji-san to Marshmellow‘. These series prove that while it is difficult, it is possible to make something enjoyable. These series also make it glaringly obvious how badly ‘Room Mate: Side M’ failed. There is honestly not much within ‘Room Mate: Side M’ that I actually enjoyed, so lets start unpacking all my grievances!
As I mentioned above, the series is designed so it is in your POV. As the camera moves around it is meant to be like you are looking around. However it was like at time the director forgot this, sometimes there would be extreme closeup shots of the guy’s pupils, other times there would be arial shots. I do not have super vision nor can I fly, so this broke character for me. Another series, Makura no Danshi, does this very well. In the 5 minute episodes the camera is steady and slowly moves as though you were a person. For example as you begin to get sleepy the camera might shift, like you were trying to get more comfortable in your seat.
Another major issue within ‘Room Mate: Side M’ was I didn’t believe the relationship between you and the guys. It was as though you had just started work, and these boys were so love deprived they started falling in love with the first person that walked through the door. I also got a bit frustrated with how they characterised ‘me’, your character is very meek and naive. There were some situations, like when Shinya pushed the character down and was super creepy, I would have punched the guy. Instead ‘you’ just stare at him, and don’t even say yell at him. I also found the way that you cheer the guys on to be very superficial. Another small point was that I found the design’s to be a rollercoaster of quality. Sometimes the guys would be really detailed and other times just look like they were drawn half-arsed.
I hate this guy. All the points I mentioned before were borderline forgivable and could have made for a watchable series. But this guy ruined it all. This is 25 year old office worker Shinya, who thinks that by insulting and attacking the self-confidence of the girl he likes, he can get her to fall in love with her. Shinya is negging, trying to get you to seek out his approval. I have no time for boys like Shinya. Yet this series made me deal with him. Shinya first tries to force himself of you, and then spends the rest of the series calling you a stupid dog and complaint about how useless you are. Shinya can go shove a cacti up his butt and never appear before me again.
Even though I knew that this series had a low score, I was still disappointed. The combination of lack of angle consistency, lack of character development and freaking Shinya, made for an awful experience. I’m just really sick with seeing series that ‘approve’ of guys like Shinya attacking someone’s self confidence and portraying it as sexy. It’s not. I will give the series a 3/10 purely because I did enjoy the interactions with Takumi.