• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
Slow Loop

How would you rate episode 1 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 3.7

What is this?

Hiyori is a girl who enjoys fly fishing by the beach, an activity passed down to her by her late father. On one typical day at the beach, she happens to meet Koharu, who is her stepsister from her mother's new marriage.

Slow Loop is based on Maiko Uchino's Slow Loop manga and streams on Funimation on Fridays.

How was the first episode?

Caitlin Moore

There was a moment in Slow Loop that I decided would be my litmus test for the episode: the fish-cleaning scene. When Hiyori decides to make sashimi on the spot for Koharu, would they have the literal and figurative guts to show the gross-but-inescapable reality of catching your own food? Or would they cut away, showing only the fresh-caught fish and the appetizing pink flesh without the nastiness of the in-between process?

Unsurprisingly, the camera switched over to Koharu's face until Hiyori was slicing up the cleaned fish. And from that moment on, I knew that I could not possibly write a positive review.

Nah, just kidding. But I did think Slow Loop was pretty tedious.

There were parts of the episode I liked. Well, one part: Hiyori and how her grieving process was depicted. Since her father died three years ago, she's almost ritualized the hobby she shared with him, always going fly fishing instead of lure fishing because that's what he taught her. Even if she connected to her newfound stepsister, and even if her stepfather is kind, having new people in the house activates her social anxiety and she escapes to the spot where she went fishing with him. She struggles seeing his old office converted into Koharu's bedroom. Even if she has accepted his death, her grief pains her as grief tends to do, and the upheaval in her life drags those feelings up anew. It's sensitive and thoughtful in a way I truly appreciated.

However, the show is plagued by the same issues that tend to affect hobby anime. If you have no interest in the sport, you're not going to love sitting through the long, dry explanations of technical details like how to put together a rod or cast a line. Fishing is just not interesting to watch, and no number of cute anime girls can make it so, no matter how lively they may be. And that brings me to Koharu.

If Koharu, minus the boobs (which the episode eagerly shows off seconds after she first appears), had shown up in one of my toddler classes, I would greet her as I would any of the other children. I get that Hiyori needs a foil to play off of and explain the hobby to, but Koharu looks, acts, and thinks like your average four-year-old in a way I found extremely off-putting for a teenager. She's loud and so impulsive that she almost jumps into the ocean in March, except I guess it wasn't an impulse because she'd planned ahead by wearing her school swimsuit under her clothes? I guess? They're also teasing some yuri vibes between her and Hiyori, and while it will almost certainly not come to anything, it weirded me out a bit.

Slow Loop is, well, slow. I watched it during my commute to work and I could swear it made the bus ride stretch on extra-long, and I felt like I'd already been on the job for an hour after watching Koharu bounce around. While the parts about Hiyori moving through grief were well-done, there are other series with similar themes where I don't have to listen to interminable explanations of a sport I have no interest in.

James Beckett

Something you ought to know about me right off the bat: I hate fishing. I hate it. I hate fish, too, at least in the context of them being able to touch me, or be anywhere near me, or to thrash around like awful little water demons with those creepy little mouths. One of the worst nightmares I've ever had—and this is completely true—involved my being thrown into a giant pit full of dead and dying fish and left to writhe around amid all of their stinky, scaly horror.

I say all of this to provide some context for the amount of stars I'm giving Slow Loop, a slice-of-life/hobby anime that made for a surprisingly good watch, even if there were a few fishy scenes that had me crawling out of my skin. This is largely because our two main girls, Hiyori and Koharu, are very endearing. The latter is your typical ditzy goof, but she pairs well as the new step-sibling (and maybe love interest??) to Hiyori, whose fond memories of her dearly departed father are enough to almost make me appreciate their shared loved of fly fishing. Almost.

Slow Loop is also pleasant to look at, which was an especially nice surprise considering that the only other Studio Connect anime I've seen is Death March to The Parallel World Rhapsody, an absolutely terrible show that nobody should ever watch. Plus, the comfy atmosphere and solid visuals get to show off the only acceptable scenario for fish to ever exist or be appreciated: As vivisected hunks of flesh to be cooked and eaten in delicious meals.

I may hate looking at, touching, or even thinking about whole fish, bit I'll gladly watch a cooking segment about sweet, sweet sashimi. It's even better when the cooking segment is hosted by a pair of likeable lasses. I don't think I'll personally ever get the urge to watch Slow Loop again, but I might be tempted to skip through all of the terrible fishing scenes to see some cute cooking fluff go down between Hiyori and Koharu. Coming from me, that's high praise indeed.

Rebecca Silverman

While I don't normally gravitate towards slice-of-life shows, there's something that's particularly lovely about Slow Loop. That would be Hiyori's relationship with fishing and how it relates to her late father – he taught her how to fish, and she's maintained the hobby even three years past his death, not so much because she loves it, but because she loved him. It's clear that even now she's still actively mourning his loss, and that gives every small detail about her life and her fishing a melancholy that works well and adds a little more flavor to what is otherwise a fairly standard story about Girls Doing Things. Some of the details are more obvious, like her very conflicted feelings about her new stepsister moving into what was her father's office, while others quietly confirm her emotional struggles, like the freezer and fridge full of fish that she caught; she could do catch and release, but she brings the fish home because that's what she always did with her dad. If she stops, she's losing a piece of him.

That's very nearly enough to balance out my biggest issue with the episode, which is Koharu. In the grand anime tradition of parents remarrying people their kids have never met, Koharu is the daughter of Issei, Hiyori's new stepfather. Everything about her is loud – I don't think she speaks below a yell more than twice in the entire episode, and her behavior is more hyper preschooler than newly-minted high schooler. I suspect that she's meant to be quirky and endearing while also being Hiyori's catalyst to start to move beyond her grief, but honestly I just found her incredibly annoying. To her credit, she does realize that her new bedroom being in Hiyori's father's office is probably difficult for the other girl, and she also manages to balance out her loudness with her enthusiasm while also solving the whole problem of no one else being a cook by being an excellent one. If she tones it down she could be a better – or at least less irritating – character.

Overall, though, this is looking like it could just be a nice story about moving on and eating delicious fresh fish. There is one scene of Hiyori cleaning a fish if that sort of thing bothers you (it's very mild, though), but beyond that this could just be a very pleasant way to spend a little time every week.

Richard Eisenbeis

All it took was the cold opening for me to know that this one wasn't going to be for me. To be frank, I don't care even slightly about fishing, and the good old anime tried-and-true of “cute girls doing cute things” has never been enough to keep my interest for long. That said, despite my dislike of the subject material, I found the episode to be competently produced.

It has a simple pattern we see repeated twice: we learn about fishing, followed by a bit about cooking, and finish with some simple character development through everyday family life. The characters themselves are basically stereotypes at this point: Hiyori is your classic shy girl, wanting to improve her social skills but lacking the ability to take the first step and approach someone new. Koharu, on the other hand, is a manic pixie dream girl all but designed to pull Hiyori out of her funk and into a brand new world. What is interesting about the pair is not their characterization but rather their situation: the two are step-sisters (though neither realizes this at first).

The family life sections of the episode are all about Hiyori, Koharu, and their parents during their first days as a blended family. As Koharu and her father are moving into Hiyori's house, this naturally means that space needs to be made for them—namely by turning Hiyori's deceased father's study into Koharu's bedroom. While this is a touchy subject, the important thing to note here is that everyone involved is trying their best.

Though Hiyori and Koharu are fast friends and their parents obviously love each other, living together so suddenly is a different beast altogether. Logically, Hiyori knows she has to let go of parts of her father for this to work and has given her okay to the union. However, knowing it's the right thing doesn't make it any easier. It hurts letting go of anything she has left of her father—even an unused room. Everyone knows and understands this. But the awkwardness of not knowing how to balance logic and emotion is an all too real problem that everyone faces from time to time. Luckily, by sharing a different part of her father willingly with Koharu—i.e., fly fishing—Hiyori is able to come to terms with the whole bedroom situation. It really is a fantastic exploration of a common situation many children face these days. If more of the episode focused on the blended family aspect, I might actually watch this next week. But as it stands, the fishing and cooking sections just bored me to tears and I can't imagine forcing myself through them just to get to the part I find interesting.

Nicholas Dupree

Alright everybody: are you ready for another lackadaisical hobby anime about a niche pastime, starring cute, blobby anime girls who will gradually teach you – yes you! – the ins and outs of some outdoor activity you've more than likely never dabbled in? If so, then Slow Loop has you covered with a beginner's guide to fly fishing, alongside grappling with the inevitable progression of life in the wake of grief. And also some possible step-sibling shipping if that's your bag.

I'll admit, I didn't have many expectations for this one. I'm just not into fishing – never had the proper patience for it despite my grandfather's numerous attempts to teach me – and this brand of cute girl comedy has never been my bag either. Usually if I'm going to watch a languidly paced slice-of-life show, I want it to really lean into that pacing, building atmosphere through quiet, small moments in the cast's lives that capture a sense of grounded emotional reality. And that's just not what these kinds of fluffy comedies are about. So when the show is in pure comedy mode it's pretty standard. I got a few chuckles from some of Hiyori and Koharu's exchanges, but take away the fishing rod and it could have been a scene from any given Manga Time Kirara series. None of it's bad or unpleasant, but I need more than a couple of sensible hahas to follow a comedy.

What did manage to hook me – pardon the pun – was Hiyori on her own. We open up learning her dad passed away a few years prior, and that she's still grappling with that loss in quiet but apparent ways. She's nervous talking with people outside her family, so she tries to seem cold when people approach her. When her new step-sister moves into what used to be her dad's office, she starts staying out of the house to avoid having to talk about it, caught between letting new people in and preserving a space for a lost loved one. There's a real sense that, even as she's trying to open herself up to new events in her life, she's not entirely ready for it. That's a compelling conflict, and it's genuinely sweet to see the boisterous, clueless Koharu warm up to her through sheer force of will.

Still, this is primarily a comedy, and not one I found particularly hilarious. Combined with my lack of interest in fishing, that means this show just isn't for me. But I can appreciate the amount of depth it managed to give its central character, and if this kind of show is your bag then it's a solid, in-offensive experience all-told.

discuss this in the forum (262 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

back to The Winter 2022 Preview Guide
Season Preview Guide homepage / archives