Kyō Mekui is a high school student who tends to skip school due to a trauma in his past. Kyō secretly creates songs using vocal song synthesis software as his hobby. Three girls who just entered fifth grade — the crybaby Jun “Jun-tan” Gotō, the strong-willed Nozomi “Zomi” Momijidani, and the somewhat sleepy Sora “Kū” Kaneshiro who takes life at her own pace — email Kyō. These three girls, who were raised together like sisters since childhood, want Kyō to help them break into music.
Source: Anime News Network
I like to go into premieres blind, so I knew nothing about 3Piece beyond the cover art. “Eh, worst-case scenario, it’ll just be a bland cute-girl show,” I thought as I signed up to review it. Such a fool I was. So young. So naive.
Let’s make this one quick, because watching it made me physically ill and revisiting it is only gonna make things worse.
In the interest of critical professionalism or whatever, I’m obligated to tell you that the first half is actually pretty good. Solid visuals and production quality, a quietly melancholy tone, and a sympathetic shut-in teen musician for a protagonist. There are also a couple teen girls on the edges of the story, one of whom bluntly calls out her classmates for mocking the kid with social anxiety, and I like her immediately. At this point I think I’m getting a show about art and outcasts with some light harem undertones, which could work out fine depending on how it’s played.
But’cha know what? None of that matters. Absolutely none of those “pretty good” things matter one jot, because then the fifth-graders show up.
They track protagonist Kyo down online because they’re fans of his music and want him to help their three-girl band put on a performance. Easily categorized as The Shy One, The Sleepy One, and The Feisty One, they are overbearingly cutesy, unimaginative, two-dimensional moe archetypes constructed in a lab by adhering to ancient blueprints and formulas specifically designed to sell merchandise. Oh, and they’re all orphans, because of course they are.
By this point my eyes had rolled so far back into my skull I was studying my own gray matter, but if it had stopped there I could have at least come here and said “it’s very run-of-the-mill but it’s fine if you’re into this sub-genre” and left it at that. But 3Piece wasn’t content to simply be saccharine and calculated. Oh no, it had to be repulsive, too.
Things escalate horrifyingly quickly during the last 10 minutes: From a couple of vaguely skeevy shots focusing on the girls’ knees, to one of the girls blackmailing Kyo with a false accusation of assault, to crotch-shots and Sudden Lipstick during the musical number, and finally, for the rotted cherry atop the melting sundae, to one of the girls straight-up propositioning our high school protagonist—and him blushing at the suggestion.
I don’t have to explain why all of this is awful, right? No one needs an explanation for why a show that sexualizes fifth graders is fucked up and terrible, right? Yes? Okay? Good.
Watching this show was like riding a bike down a sunny hill and slowly realizing it’s not a hill at all, but a trash chute leading to a burning landfill. I said the characters were made in a lab, and it turns out that lab is full of chemical waste. What I’m trying to say is, Angel’s 3Piece is garbage. If you need a show with an exclamation point in the title about cute girls playing instruments, watch K-ON! or Sound! Euphonium. Save yourselves from this.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go scrub off the top layer of my skin so I can feel clean again.
Read the ANN Preview Guide review (or purge this show from your memory and go do literally anything else. Your call, I s’pose).
Dee (@joseinextdoor) is a nerd of all trades and a master of one. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and East Asian studies and an MFA in Creative Writing. To pay the bills, she works as a technical writer. To not pay the bills, she devours novels and comics, watches far too much anime, and cheers very loudly for the Kansas Jayhawks. You can hang out with her at The Josei Next Door, a friendly neighborhood anime blog, and support her work through PayPal.
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