The Summer 2023 anime season has begun, and there are plenty of stories, characters, and innovative animated experiences to win over viewers coming soon. Anime across a broad spectrum will collectively check the genre boxes to ensure any viewer will find what they’re looking for, with or without substance but never without style. In the case of My Tiny Senpai, viewers can expect a sweet and charming slice-of-life experience, as I’ll go over in my review for Episode 1.
Short and Sweet
The premiere introduces you to Shiori Katase, who works at the fictitious Sunpick company. Her role is a senior employee within Team A, for Development Group 2 Planning, in the Product Development department, but this is more or less just corporate jargon thrown around to say she’s a senior employee. The scene has to pan down on her because, as you will find, she is very small compared to precisely all of her coworkers.
Shiori works alongside Takuma Shinozaki, who is revealed to be the series protagonist. Takuma is a typical unassuming young male salaryman, completely smitten with Shiori, charmed by how accommodating she is as a coworker, and by just how short and cute she is. But it turns out Shiori is charmed by him as well, and while they keep their interactions from ever crossing into anything truly romantic, the entire first episode revolves around how they dance around this dynamic while working together.
Bashful Yet Titillating
The show needed to focus on Shiori and Takuma for its first episode because it really needed to sell us on the “will they won’t they” dynamic, but it goes to some pretty suggestive places. From implicitly erotic workplace massages to jealousy over childhood friends of the opposite sex, their interactions are sincere yet completely saccharine.
Shiori and Takuma interact with other characters who will surely feature, including Chinatsu Hayakawa, but the episode revolves around Shiori and Takuma’s dynamic. It showcases their mutually repressed urges toward one another, with most interactions often showing them with equally blushing faces, while attempting to keep it professional.
This, however, doesn’t stop the series from being silly to the point of being stupid, including oddly extended interactions where Shiori is lowered near a bush in the city, meowing to call out a cat. Shiori loves cats, because cats are cute, and Shiori is cute.
If you can’t tell yet, I’ve realized that the show, or perhaps the genre it pulls from, insists upon itself and its cute characters. Yet I’m strangely drawn into this bashful yet titillating dynamic, even if I need to see how they interact with a greater pool of characters to have a definitive opinion.
The Quality of the Show
My Tiny Senpai, from my review of Episode 1 at least, is certainly visually appealing and sells the cute aesthetic well. But it also has a rather boring color palette, which you can’t truly help with so much of it taking place at an office job.
The animation is nothing special, and the character designs are not bold aside from Shiori, who is always noticeably short when placed against background characters, and the show insists that you notice she is voluptuous. It’s innocent enough but lacks any substance beneath the surface. While that’s okay with such a casual premise, it’s hard to tell if it is enough to stand against other Slice of Life anime.
My Tiny Senpai Episode 1 is not enough to judge the quality of the entire show, as it has yet to flesh out the core romantic dynamic with more characters. From a technical standpoint for Episode 1, there’s not much that places this anime above others in its genre, or even on equal ground. It’s nothing truly special except for its vibe.
My Tiny Senpai is sweet to the point of being saccharine, but the thing is, I can’t help but like that. I’ve got a sweet tooth, and the show allows me to indulge that craving. Not every anime needs an edgy plot, and most need a bit more substance, but My Tiny Senpai is as sweet as candy and is still comfort food for those seeking a bit of romantic escapism.
My Tiny Senpai Episode 1 premiered on Saturday, July 1, 2023, and is available to stream weekly on Crunchyroll.
- This article was updated on September 7th, 2023