by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 3.9
How would you rate episode 2 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 4.1
How would you rate episode 3 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 4.3
Fishing is something that I've always been curious about in theory, but find incredibly gruesome in practice. I suppose that's part of why Slow Loop drew me in: it allows me to appreciate the craft from a distance. It also doesn't hurt that it appears to be a happy marriage between the Cute Girls Doing Cute Things sub-genre of slice-of-life and anime centered around an outdoorsy hobby.
Fishing (more specifically, fly fishing) really is at the front and center of the first three episodes of Slow Loop. Episode 1 introduces us to our protagonists Hiyori, a girl who practices fly fishing as a way to connect to the memory of her late father, and Koharu, a newcomer to town who serves as the conduit for Hiyori to dispense all her fishing knowledge to the audience. There's a sashimi prepping scene later in the same episode that leans into the technical aspects of gutting and preparing fish, and episode 2 gives a breakdown of lures. All of this elevates Slow Loop from “cute girls fishing” to “cute girls fishing with a dollop of technicality," which is all I ever ask for from these craft-specific series. There's also something about series where young women are passionate about specific, often niche—or at least, not stereotypically "feminine"—hobbies that just really appeals to me.
But what makes Slow Loop stand out among its peers in the hobby-centric anime genre is the emotional context established around its central theme. As previously mentioned, Hiyori's attachment to fly fishing is interwoven with grief from the loss of her father, and when Koharu is introduced as her new stepsister, Hiyori is believably conflicted at this sudden change. Slow Loop is deft with its characterization; not only do we learn how she became so reserved and quiet, episode 3 also allows shows her from the perspective of her best friend Koi, which in turn allows the audience to appreciate how resilient Hiyori was in the wake of her father's passing.
The earnest character building also makes the development between Hiyori and Koharu's relationship incredibly delightful to watch, especially since we learn later on that Koharu has also experienced loss in her life. Although Koharu is still a bit too exaggeratedly enthusiastic for my taste, I expect that'll tone down over the cour as she becomes more of a full-bodied character, so it's not a net negative here. Episode 3 offers a sampling of the slice of life genre's best attributes by juxtaposing the lush lakeside scenery with genuine bonding scenes where Hiyori and Koharu gradually shape into a team instead of simply being two young women who just happen to be family now.
Out of all the Winter 2022 series, Slow Loop is easily the one I'm most excited about. It's pleasantly inexplicable, carrying its simple premise with lovely animation and a heck of a lot of heart. Like a lot of series like this, the female friendships are sapphic (also, the source manga was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward, so some yuri-adjacent vibes are to be expected), but I'm 1000% sure this is just standard cute girls being cute stuff. It's certainly not going to be for everyone, but I think that's okay: every season has its hits and misses, though Slow Loop definitely strikes me as more of a hit than a miss for now.
The playful musical score is also worth a mention: I didn't think I'd be so impressed by a fishing anime's soundtrack, but here I am, humming along to the OP and the background music. In a time of real-world upheaval and ongoing anxiety, there's a real desire to just be doing anything but worry about tomorrow, and in that light, Slow Loop hits just right, promising good fish vibes from start to finish. So grab your tackle, get on your fishing boots, and settle in for Fishing Fridays with one of Winter 2022's best new series.
Slow Loop is currently streaming on Funimation.
Mercedez is a JP-EN translation and localization Editor & Proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who, when not writing for ANN, writes for Anime Feminist, where she's a staff editor, and for But Why Tho?. She's also a frequent cohost on the Anime Feminist Podcast, Chatty AF. This season, she's reflecting on her youth with Akebi's Sailor Uniform. When she's not writing and reviewing, you can find her on her Twitter or on her Instagram where she's always up to something.
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