Review: Three Leaves, Three Colors Complete Series (DVD)

Yoko Nishikawa is a former rich girl now living the pauper’s life – but you’d never know it from her mannerisms. When two of her classmates stumble upon her eating a bag of 50-yen bread crusts for lunch in a quiet spot of the school gardens, the ojou-sama illusion is well and truly shattered, but despite that a life of friendship and laughs begins.

Based on a four panel manga by Cherry Arai, Three Leaves, Three Colors title references the fact that the three main characters, the aforementioned Yoko Nishikawa, bottomless food-pit Futaba Odagiri and the outwardly polite but utterly savage Teru Hayama all have the kanji for ‘leaf’ () in their name and all have very distinct personalities. Yoko is the daughter of a bankrupt businessman who now finds herself living life alone in a small apartment with very little money and now attends a regular school instead of a fancy academy with no friends to speak of due to her unapproachable rich-girl image.

Futaba and Teru round out the main trio – Futaba is an outgoing tomboy-ish character with an insatiable appetite and a penchant for big eating challenges that has seen her banned from most of the food joints in town due to her success rate. Animal-obsessed Teru has the mannerisms of the perfect class representative, but in fact has the most harsh personality along with the ability to cut anyone to shreds with a smile on her face and a cheerful tone to her voice – particularly her self-appointed rival Serina Nishiyama.

Being based on a four panel manga and being about a group of schoolgirl,s you’ve probably already guessed that this isn’t some deep, story driven anime. And you’d be right: It’s classic cute-girls-doing-cute-things from end to end. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s certainly one of the better slice of life comedies I’ve picked up for a while. The main cast of Yoko, Futaba and Teru are a great core that play off each other’s personalities well, and other characters such as former staffers for Yoko’s family Yamaji the butler-turned oddjob worker and Sonobe the maid-turned bakery owner provide many entertaining moments and weave themselves back in to the life of Yoko and her new friends as she learns the ins and outs of the way regular people live life.

The series moves at a leisurely pace but never rests on it’s laurels for too long, introducing a steady stream of new characters in orbit around the main trio as the series goes on, and most importantly, it keeps the funny coming, whether in the form of puns and jokes or physical and visual gags, the show never feels boring which is a shortcoming of many of these slice of life series (looking at you, Girl Friend Beta…). All the usual check boxes are ticked: Beach episode, the eating of cakes, a school festival but it leans into the tropes and plays with them well, never feeling stale. At 12 episodes, Three Leaves, Three Colors is an easy watch that doesn’t overstay its welcome, providing good laughs and some satisfying moments along the way.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.