Anime Taste Testing: Runway de Waratte

There are very few anime titles that center entirely around the professional modelling and fashion/design industries (in fact, I can only think of one, that being 2005’s fascinating Paradise Kiss). This fact alone was all I needed to prompt me to give Runway de Waratte/Smile Down the Runway a go. So, how did it measure up?

At first glance, I’m not sure I cared as much for Runway as I wanted to. It doesn’t feel especially deep nor even especially realistic, and Chiyuki isn’t exactly the most compelling of characters. To say she’s one-dimensional and narcissistic would be an overstatement, sure, especially as she doesn’t seem in the least malicious with it, but she does certainly come across as rather shallow and self-absorbed – even if she’s not intentionally unkind, that kind of personality is more than a bit cliché when paired with wannabe models. Self-confidence doesn’t always have to equal self-obsession. To top it all off, she’s of course depicted as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty who comes from a rich family and has therefore never needed to deal with any real kind of hardships in her life (and no, not being tall enough to qualify for Paris Fashion Week does not count as a hardship).

However, just when I was about to complain that Ikuto, Chiyuki’s quiet and unassuming fashion designer counterpart, would have made a far more interesting main character… the series kind of explicitly made him one? I was literally moaning out loud about it when this happened on-screen, making that particular complaint a moot point. If the series does indeed decide to give him the same amount of attention as Chiyuki, and if it also decides to give Chiyuki some genuine hurdles aside from her height along the way (because I can tell you from firsthand experience, there’s far, far more to the modelling industry than being tall and looking pretty), then Runway de Waratte might just end up being a lot more interesting than I initially gave it credit for.

Rating: 7/10

8 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Runway de Waratte

  1. If you care about having some inside info from a manga reader — I am happy to inform you that Ikuto will indeed be the main character from now on, and Chiyuki mostly just shows up kick his ass whenever he’s feeling down, a role that is much better suited to her, while her journey takes place mostly off-screen.

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  2. “At first glance, I’m not sure I cared as much for Runway as I wanted to.”

    Sums it up pretty nicely… the show wanted us to care, but couldn’t quite rise above generic. If they don’t do something about Chiyaki, Ikuto will indeed make or break the series.

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  3. It was okay. Both the kids have a family that appear to be an active and important part of the background, which is nice. I don’t have an eye for fashion, so that part’s lost on me.

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    • I don’t particularly care about fashion, although I have been involved (in a very minor way) with the modelling industry before, so that part is potentially interesting to me if it actually goes the realistic route (which, so far, not really). You’re right though, it’s nice to see family included as a very active part of the lives of the protagonists, which is still not all that common in most anime.

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  4. Pingback: Anime Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week (January 17, 2020) | Lesley's Anime and Manga Corner

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