Sometimes any kind of media can focus on a specific character. Entire storylines can be dedicated to them being a certain “type” of person. They’re designed to make you fall in love with them. Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is exactly that for its heroine, Micchon Shikimori. But what makes this particular show so good is that she isn’t a one dimensional character. She isn’t just the cute, sweet, perfect girlfriend. Right from the first episode, it shows her different sides. Yes, she’s cute. But she’s also cool, can get jealous, and has her flaws.
Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie begins with Micchon and Yu Izumi already as a couple. He’s an average guy who is both klutzy and unlucky. She’s essentially above average. The two are secure in their established relationship. This isn’t a “will they or won’t they” situation. The two are stable couple. They are considerate of each other. We also see how they make each other better. But Yu is always mentioning how great she is, as are people around her.
This means the focus can be on seeing how Micchon behaves in situations and what makes her so deserving of attention and affection. Her character design is adorable. She has fashionable pink hair. Her eyes are detailed and expressive. She’s often blushing. So at a glance, she’s definitely adorable. It doesn’t matter if she is in “cool” or “cute” mode.
Micchon’s default “look” is cute, as Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie suggests. She often can get flustered by situations with Yu, due to her love for him. When she hears Yu doesn’t think she does much for him, she is quick to explain how important he is. When he tells her that he loves her, she’s completely flabbergasted and flustered. During a sports tournament, when she can’t be around to protect him, she “sends” him energy in the hopes he won’t get hurt. Then, instead of playing her own game, stays by his side in the nurse’s office to comfort him.
But honestly, it can seem sometimes like there are more “cool” moments than “cute” ones. When a car comes barreling toward the two of them as they walk to school, Micchon pushes him toward the wall and gets between him and the vehicle. After classmates criticize Yu and put him down, she steps in to pull him away, gives them a glare to shut them up, and reassures Yu of his value. When they go bowling, through Yu’s support she manages to bowl a perfect game. She’s constantly doing things like anticipating “attacks,” showing how athletic or intelligent she is, or displaying examples of consideration and kindness.
However, equally important is that we see Micchon’s flaws in every episode, which helps keep Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie grounded. Yes, she’s admirable and someone we can look to as a “hero.” But she also won’t wear her glasses outside of class, can be jealous, gets flustered easily when Yu is kind to her, and will show no mercy if people she cares about are mistreated. She’ll tease him about sharing a bed with him, then afterwards agonize about doing so when she’s alone because “she came on too strong.” She can also agonize about the “right” look for herself to make Yu like her. So she might wonder if she should overachieve or be incompetent when bowling or go through her whole closet when planning an outfit for a date.
I suppose a good way to describe the Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie anime is as an extended character study of Micchon. There are a lot of moments with every member of the cast. But we’re really seeing everything Micchon is available. It is showing all facets of her personality. As a result, even though the series is about how amazing she is, it still can feel realistic and she doesn’t seem completely idealized.