Rory’s Reviews: A Centaur’s Life

A Centaur's LifeA Centaur’s Life is a twelve episode anime adaptation of the manga also known as Centaur’s Worries by Kei Murayama. It is a slice of life comedy series.
The series was directed by Fumitoshi Oizaki (Chief ADR) and Naoyuki Konno, and the writer was Tōko Machida. The studio that produced it was Haoliners Animation League.
The series aired during the summer 2017 season of anime, and is available to watch on Crunchyroll.As with any other slice of life anime, a key component of A Centaur’s Life are its cast of characters.

Nozomi, Hime and Kyoko

Nozomi, Hime and Kyoko can be considered the main cast

There are plenty of characters in A Centaur’s Life, but the lead roles are pretty much taken by the three seen above. Himeno Kimihara is the centaur that the title refers to, and she is somewhat self-conscious about her body. Her name gets shortened to Hime.
On the left is Nozomi Gokuraku – very much the tomboy of the group. She is an imp, or demon girl, depending on who you ask.
On the right is Kyoko Naraku, a half-satyr girl. She’s the cool and collected member of this particular trio.
As the series goes on, another character gets added to the main cast.

Quetzalcoatl Sassassul

Quetzalcoatl Sassassul, an Antarctican

What is particularly interesting about Sassassul – or just Suu – is that she is an Antarctican. This results in a lot of security being present around her, whether she is aware of it or not. That right there is just a small element of A Centaur’s Life hidden darkness – that will be touched upon in more detail in due course.

The supporting cast are full of all sorts of interesting types, though there are a couple of characters who really leave no impact and could have been entirely forgotten about.
A few of the supporting characters are particularly noteworthy – Manami Mitama is pretty much part of the main cast for example.

Akechi kisses Michu

Mitsuyo Akechi and her girlfriend Inukai Michi

A Centaur’s Life is also fairly noteworthy for having a lesbian couple, and not dancing around that fact. They are open with their feelings for each other, and the anime doesn’t shy away from that either.
If you prefer subtext, then A Centaur’s Life also happens to be loaded with that as well. The very first scene is Hime kissing Nozomi, and we soon discover that she is totally fine with that. There are a few other characters who have quite a bit of affection towards Hime as well.

However, the real stars of the supporting cast are almost undoubtedly the younger characters.

Greeting

Things get adorable when these girls are involved

There is Hime’s younger cousin Shino, and you also have Manami’s younger sisters – the three Chis, plus Sue.
Whenever they are involved, things will get very adorable very fast. The episodes that focus on the youngest characters are easily some of the best.

Now, going back to A Centaur’s Life aforementioned hidden darkness – it technically isn’t always hidden. There are times when it is pretty much in your face. No other slice of life anime can really claim to having a holocaust episode.
Though it may be tagged as the comedy genre, A Centaur’s Life provides a sombre and serious look at that particular event of its world’s history.

Angel and Centaur

A Centaur’s Life goes to some really dark places

This is because A Centaur’s Life has one more character not mentioned yet: the world itself. There is a lot of world-building to be found in A Centaur’s Life.
It can range from an off-hand remark to having a whole episode dedicated to it. Several times it is mentioned how equality is enforced; Hime even mentions how a former teacher of hers was arrested because he accused Hime of dying her hair.
Correctional facilities are alluded to on at least a couple of occasions, and Nozomi being playful towards Suu almost causes quite an international incident.
We also get glimpses of the lives of other species besides those in the main cast, though perhaps that doesn’t always make for the most compelling viewing.

So A Centaur’s Life has a very interesting cast of characters for the most part, and throws in plenty of world-building. However, it really struggles to make everything cohesive.
Each episode is split into two halves, and there are often times when there is zero thematic connection between them.
The show also brings up some points that are never touched on again – at one point we see the Antarctians seemingly plotting something, and then they are totally forgotten about.
As a result of this, A Centaur’s Life pacing suffers. It’s final episode doesn’t have a sense of finality, either. It’s just more typical slice of life antics, which could easily slip anywhere into the season without any problem. It could have been the third, fifth – or heck, even the first – episode and it really wouldn’t make any difference.
The tone of A Centaur’s Life is also all over the place. One episode is about girls having fun at a swimming pool, and then a later one hits you with the aforementioned holocaust. It makes it somewhat difficult to pin down what the show actually wants to be.

Whilst it seems a lot of fans are quick to defend certain parts of A Centaur’s Life as ‘world-building’, said parts aren’t exactly the most compelling. Sometimes there isn’t even any world-building going on either.
When it does the world-building right, A Centaur’s Life displays great potential. However, the aforementioned incident with the Antarcticans and some focus on mermaids could have probably been dropped from this adaptation in favour of something else from the manga as nothing really comes from them.
Honestly, that time may have been better spent with even more focus on the younger characters – that is where A Centaur’s Life feels most compelling. Some might argue the most compelling stuff to be the darker moments and world-building, and they do raise a valid point.
Regardless of what one prefers, it seems that the best way to experience A Centaur’s Life is by reading the original manga itself.

Score: 7/10
A great cast of characters, and some very interesting world-building. However, A Centaur’s Life is let down by its inconsistent pacing, and a lack of cohesion which is displayed a little too often. Seven might seem like a generous score, but the charms of Shino, the three Chis and Sue help to ease the frustrations of the anime’s flaws.

About Rory

I enjoy writing, manga, anime and video games, so naturally here on my blog, you will find anime reviews, Nintendo news and other such things that I deem interesting.
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1 Response to Rory’s Reviews: A Centaur’s Life

  1. OG-Man says:

    In the end viewers have to understand what the show is doing AND be okay with it. If the viewer gets what it’s doing but is not okay with it then it cannot be truly enjoyed. I have run into enough people online to understand that fact. At least we got several likable and cure characters to follow around.

    As for what I said about the yuri, about my greatly respecting how they approached same-sex relationships and homosexuals, that remains true.

    Personally, despite not all episodes and parts hitting the mark there was something I found interesting or enjoyable in every single one of them, even the “ghost story” part.

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