Anime Blu-ray review – Just Because – No, that’s the name!

Just Because anime blu-ray menu screen

Studio: Pine Jam
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
Distributor: Section23 Films
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Edited by CrimsonMomongaSSS

Do you like anime with dubs that deliver? Need a show that triggers those Golden Time feels without that whole “What is life, am I high right now?” sensation at the end? How about just the right amount of drama mixed with slice-of-life shenanigans and topped with pretty art? Or maybe you’re reading this review just because you got sent a random link? Well, good sir or madam, I believe Just Because may be the anime for you. Published in the US by Sentai Filmworks, Just Because is a great show to watch whether you’ve seen tons of anime or are just getting started. Many thanks to Section23 for the review unit.

Shaggy smug face™

When you move out of your hometown as a middle schooler, there are many things you leave behind: your familiar house and neighborhood; your school and the stability of your routine; even your friends and the bonds you’d built. So then, what happens if you move back to town four years later? How will things have changed after, or perhaps even because of, your absence? Will you be able to rekindle the relationships you left behind? And what about the new relationships that have bloomed while you were away? Loves and lives gently collide in Just Because.

My enjoyment of the show isn’t just because I have fun making horrible puns with the title

Komiya Ena is now known as Shaggy
Shaggy sad face™

From the moment I first opened the disc jacket, I had a feeling that I was going to enjoy Just Because… and it wasn’t just because I knew I’d have fun making horrible puns with the title, I swear! Unlike many of the other anime I’ve gotten for review, this one came with a small booklet inside the jacket. When I took the booklet out, I WAS HIT WITH THE SMUGGEST DISC ART I HAVE EVER SEEN. Seriously, look at it here. (It’s so smug!) Smugness aside, putting the disc in my PS4 and hitting play was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Shaggy happy face™ (also, yay product placement!)

The background artwork for the show reminded me a bit of the Makoto Shinkai works I’ve seen (Children Who Chase Lost Voices and Your Name), and I was mesmerized… until I saw the characters move. It may be bad eyesight on my part, but as I was getting into the series the character motions felt a bit stilted and stiff. However, considering the absolute orgasm of narrative, artistic, and musical satisfaction I experienced, the animation is easily forgivable, and I even felt that it got better as the anime progressed. While the story initially seems like a disjointed cacophony of photography, band, baseball, and flashbacks to middle school, it all melds together to form a cohesive, emotional tale.

Going out on dates, fulfilling self-made promises, confessing feelings, etc.

Shaggy determined face™. She’s quite emotive herself, eh?

As I mentioned above, there’s a lot that happens in this anime just because the characters have their own lives and interests. After all, they’re high school seniors approaching graduation; they have a lot of ‘youth’ to make the most of before they head off to college or join the workforce. Going out on dates, fulfilling self-made promises, confessing feelings, etc. I only had one real issue with the way the story was handled: a good-sized chunk of it is delivered through text messages the characters share, and they can rush right past you, especially if you’re trying to read subs at the same time. It’s a bit easier to manage when listening to the English dub, though.

The actors were emotive and natural, and this allowed the anime to shine all the more

You may not care, but I really appreciate the composition of this shot. It’s perfect.

Speaking of the English dub for Just Because, it DELIVERED. For me, there are three types of English dubs: those that don’t deliver quality, those that do, and those that waver in between. Examples of dubs that delivered for me are the original Fullmetal Alchemist dub, the Ghost Stories dub, and the Eureka Seven dub. I can happily say that Just Because has made it on the list. I don’t think I could ever listen to it in Japanese now. The actors were emotive and natural, and this allowed the anime to shine all the more because I could watch it without constantly switching focus between subtitles and action; as a result, I was able to appreciate the art more than I would have otherwise. I have to say, though, a big part of this satisfaction may be due to the casting selection.

Komiya is best shaggy-headed girl.

For the full cast list, just click here and you’ll have all the names. However, this paragraph is dedicated to all of you dub lovers, those of you who snag every Sentai Filmworks Blu-ray dub you can get your hands on, or camp out with HIDIVE to experience as much anime goodness as you can. If you make your way through enough of their dubs, you’re bound to hear at least one voice you love. My favorite character (Komiya is best shaggy-headed girl. Fite me.) shares a voice with my favorite characters from Made in Abyss and Chu2Koi. The character Souma has the same voice as Soma from Food Wars (They had to have done that on purpose!), and Mio’s voice warmed my heart just as it did in CLANNAD as Nagisa’s. Even Takeo Gouda, that lovable lug, showed up for the party! An all-star cast of voices from series I had watched and loved awaited me in Just Because, and I adore the show in English all the more for it.

anime boys with flowers staring into camera
Soma (Food Wars!) [middle], Takeo (MY love STORY!!) [left], and Youhei (CLANNAD) [right] visually reborn. Soma and Takeo held onto their dubbed voices, tho.
Whether I was overcome with the urge to punt the little brothers in the balls because of how annoying they were, inspired to nickname Komiya “Shaggy” throughout the anime because of her hair and unfathomable power, or wondering if I was just watching a weeby telenovela, I cherished every moment with these high school dorks and their quirky, adorable relationships. Just Because toyed with my emotions with an absolute mastery of ‘bait-and-switch’ where in one moment I could be certain that the drama was about to come to a head, only for the very next moment to deny me my feels and release. And yet, despite the repeated sense of ‘Feelgasm Denial’, this show earned my respect with the surprising sense of closure and resolution it managed to provide at the end.

Everyone loves everyone else, everyone prefers some other hobby, and someone must have their heart broken

Anime girl with floofy hair about to cry with a smile on her face
Is she about to cry or holding back a laugh? Watch the show to find out~ :p

Overall, I feel that Just Because is worth it just because it’s a fantastic ride through the characters’ lives. I would compare it to Toradora! in that everyone loves everyone else, everyone prefers some other hobby, and someone must have their heart broken in order to move on in the end. For the price of $45.99 USD on the Sentai Filmworks store (at time of writing), I’d jump on this series harder than Komiya jumps on Eita. It’s absolutely breathtaking and easily rewatchable, and the OP sequence is simply eargasmic. Also, in case I didn’t make it clear… Shaggy is Best Girl.

Lolinia gives Just Because a score of 9.1 out of 10.0 (91) Moé Blobs.

PS. Have even more Shaggy. All of this was one scene and she was SO EMOTIVE. Shaggy is love; Shaggy is life.

PPS:  All instances of ™ are made in jest.  We claim no IP ownership or trademark of the properties reviewed.

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