Review of Photo Kano

photokano

It’s amazing how a seemingly innocent gift can set someone down the path of debauchery. Years ago, when I was given my first home computer, who would have known that I would grow up to play games like Armored Warrior Iris? In a similar vein Kazuya Maeda was corrupted when his father gave him an old camera as a present. After receiving the hand me down Kazuya is coerced into joining his high school’s photography club, which in most cases wouldn’t be any cause for concern. The group is however staffed by horny boys who prefer to take compromising snaps of female classmates rather than immortalize beautiful landscapes on Polaroid film.

OVERVIEW

Photo Kano (not to be confused with someone taking a picture of Mortal Kombat’s cyborg villain) is a thirteen-episode anime based on an obscure PSP dating sim. The series follows Kazuya on a romantic journey were he tries to win the affections of his academy’s most eligible bachelorettes. Some of the ladies in question include childhood friend Haruka Niimi, student council president Aki Muroto, spunky softball pitcher Nonoka Masaki, well endowed chef Rina Yunoki and his own little sister – because incest is wincest! Can he claim their hearts and more importantly convince them to pose for a few swimsuit photos? Time will tell.

From the synopsis above one might speculate that Photo Kano is a harem show, but surprisingly it isn’t. There’s no bickering between the girls to determine who hooks up with Kazuya thanks to the script’s storytelling structure. Instead of an ongoing narrative Photo Kano opens with four episodes that effectively introduce viewers to the cast. After that we get a bunch of standalone “what if” tales that chronicle how things would pan out if Kazuya started to date one of the women in his life. In episode eleven for example we see how Kazuya and Rina bond after the young photographer agrees to help the busty lass with recruiting new cookery club members. Episode eight on the other hand shows how Kazuya’s love life would develop had he used incriminating images to blackmail Aki into modelling for some gravure photos.

Hmmm, intimidating someone into posing for you is pretty despicable. Oh well, worry not dear reader. Kazuya gets a taste of his own medicine later on in the series when twin-tailed gymnast Mai Sakura finds pornographic magazines stashed inside his shoe locker. Mai uses the embarrassing discovery to strong arm Kazuya into becoming her own personal slave/taste tester.

VERDICT

My rating for Photo Kano is a two and a half out of five. Aside from the above average visuals the series is pretty mediocre. Not terrible, but not great either. I think the shows biggest fault is that it doesn’t fully commit to being either mushy romance or pure eye candy. Gamers who played the original PSP title, as an excuse to take skeevy panty shots, will hardly be satisfied with the fan service on offer. Yes there are numerous bikini scenes to gawk at, but when compared to other DVDs in the guilty pleasure section of my anime collection Photo Kano is pretty tame. Anyone looking for titillation is better off saving their cash (and tissues) for something like High School DxD instead.

On the romance front I liked that audiences were afforded the opportunity to sample each girls’ route. This especially holds true as I have a bad track record when it comes to love triangles. More often than not I end up rooting for the girl who loses out, so seeing everyone get their moment of happiness did at least spare me from heartbreak. The problem is that thirteen episodes is insufficient to tackle eight separate love stories. Most of the girls only get a sole episode dedicated to them, which limits their time in the spotlight to twenty minute generic yarns were boy meets girl, boy and girl go on date, boy and girl kiss, the end. On the plus side Kazuya deserves credit for taking the initiative and not dragging things out. Unlike other anime adolescents he doesn’t need to wait an entire season to lock lips with his main squeeze. Why take things slow… photographers like to make things snappy.

12 thoughts on “Review of Photo Kano

    • I would be in favor of other shows doing the same thing. In Clannad for example I liked how they had a couple of episodes that touched upon the non-Nagisa routes.

      Maybe studios don’t like this approach to storytelling as it can be a little confusing. In the case of Photo Kano for example I was wondering why Kazuya was suddenly flirting with a different girl when in the previous episode he had hooked up with his childhood pal.

  1. You’d like Amagamai SS then, as it splits the series up into 6 four episode arcs so the protagonist gets to succeed with all the girls before settling on one in the end.

    To be honest, this show should have focused on Kazuya pursuing just one girl, with a bit of distraction from the others before he settles with his first choice, not just rushing all the possible routes into the final few episodes.

    • Dedicating four episodes to each love interest is much more sensible. Oh well, it’s probably for the best that they didn’t go the traditional storytelling route. I suspect they would have made little sister the canon ending. Had they given stealth girl her own episode I would probably given the series a higher score.

  2. Hey, so if you do find yourself unimpressed by a series you’re watching for review, how do you handle it. Do you keep plugging the whole way through for the review content? Or if you really don’t like something, do you just drop it?

    • If the series isn’t very long I may stick with it to the bitter end. More often than not however I just drop the show. That’s why most of the reviews I post are three stars or higher. It’s not fair to review something I haven’t finished, but I don’t get paid for this so I would rather spend my free time watching stuff I enjoy.

  3. I can’t lie, it sounded watchable and my heart sunk a little when you gave it two and a half stars. I think from this point on if photo kano is mentioned the first thing that will come to mind is “Incest is Wincest” this line is gold!

    • A rating is just a number. I didn’t think the show was outright terrible, just average hence the middle of the line score. Maybe if I was more into romance I would have been more generous with my assessment. At the very least 2.5 out of 5 is better than most anime based on video games.

  4. I skipped watching this because it seemed like a rip-off of Amagami SS. Someone mentioned it earlier, but I think it might be something more up your alley. It has dedicated character arcs, but balances each arch in separate “world-spaces” with enough eye candy and fanboy pandering to keep you rooting for your “preferred girl” (aka waifu). But there’s a really interesting twist at the end of the second season Amagami SS+ that, surprisingly, makes sense of everything. The last episode was a bit of a curve ball, and some people didn’t really like it all that much, but I actually appreciated how it sorta encapsulated everything and semi-justified the whole harem vibe of the series.

    You really ought to give it a go if and when you have the time. 🙂

  5. Ha, love your Mortal Kombat joke 😉

    I’ve heard a lot of reviews big up how it shows you each branch of the dating sim, but I guess that didn’t wow you?

    I’ve not read one of your reviews where you’ve given so low a review for a while 😛

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