Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore April 1, 20240 Comments
A boy in white sits across a white table from a girl in white in a white room

What’s it about? Despite being in high school, Tokumitsu Shintaro lives alone in a studio apartment. He’s trying to make it work, but his apartment is a mess, he only eats instant food, and he’s constantly exhausted. That looks like it may change when he wakes up one morning and finds a beautiful young woman asleep on his balcony. The drifter introduces herself as Towa, an angel who has come down to Earth to learn about humanity. She’s delusional, right?

Sorry for the delay on this one! The first couple days it was out, I was at Sakura Con, my local convention. I had good company but the con was itself decidedly mediocre, with a lackluster guest lineup, a proliferation of terrible panels (of course, excluding my masterpiece about castration anxiety in Outlaw Star), and a dealer’s hall that was about 75% apparel. You know what else is mediocre? Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included, a magical girlfriend anime with absolutely no thoughts in its head.

Towa holds Shintaro's hands in a store with an intense expression. Subtitle: I vow to bring you happiness in life!

Before I get into the seediness of its neediness, my first warning has more to do with physical accessibility. Shintaro lives in an apartment with undecorated white walls, wears a uniform with a white button-down shirt, and sleeps in a bed with white sheets and white pillows. Towa has white clothes, white hair, and white wings. Slap a glowy filter over it to hide the poor compositing and lack of lighting effects, and you’re in eyestrain city. Maybe the intent was to show how empty and basic Shintaro’s life was, and of course angels wear white since they’re creatures of purity, but ouch.

On a sillier aesthetic note, I could not get over Towa’s hairstyle. Maybe it’s because I just spent the last two weeks combing through Outlaw Star for phallic imagery, but from behind, Towa looks like a real dick, and by that I mean external genitalia. She’s got the bob + long bits style that I’ve seen a few times in anime but never in real life, but instead of having the long parts in a ponytail, she has them loose and I’m sorry but she just looks a penis. That’s all there is to it.

A boy talks to a girl whose hair looks like a penis. Subtitle: So your home's far away? On the outskirts?
I’m going to guess she lives out in the bush BAHAHAHAHAHA GET IT?

The story is basically the same as every single magical girlfriend anime: Shintaro is all alone and struggling to take care of himself. Then one day, a beautiful girl appears before him. She’s so naive, he has no choice but to take her in and protect her; in exchange, she takes care of him by cooking and cleaning.

The thing is, I don’t actually inherently have a problem with the premise. There’s nothing wrong with indulging the fantasy of being cared for; working and caring for yourself is hard enough, and Shintaro is attending school on top of that. No wonder he’s feeling burned out, and the target audience of this show is undoubtedly people who feel the same kind of burnout. Even if his apartment is straight out of r/malelivingspaces, I can’t judge him too harshly because mine was much more disgusting when I lived alone, and I wasn’t slugging the local equivalent of Five Hour Energies to keep from collapsing.

Shintaro drinks an energy drink

My problem is that it’s just so gendered. Shintaro and Towa are absolute voids of personality; there’s nothing going on in those slightly weird-shaped heads of theirs. In its place is low-key reinforcement of gender roles. Towa doesn’t understand human behavior and almost gets preyed on, so Shintaro must protect her. Towa doesn’t have any normal clothes, so Shintaro must use his meager wages to buy her new ones, thus providing for her. Meanwhile, the first thing Towa does is open up the fridge and marvel at the lack of ingredients. Then she stumbles on Shintaro’s porn mags, a gag that is literally older than I am. If she’s so naive she doesn’t understand how cats interact, how does she know how to cook? Does she even know what sex is?

Although it settles down soon after, the opening minutes of the episode also carry the rancid odor of a porn anime with all the sex removed. When Shintaro first stumbles on Towa, he just happens to spill his milk on her breasts and thighs. It looks like a cumshot and immediately disappears, because animating fluids is hard and this is yet another case of a support studio taking on primary production because too much anime is being made. Then we get a super classy panty-shot while she’s wearing his shirt, with the camera angled such that seeing her underwear is the only possible reason. It calms down after that, the sleaziness replaced with stupefaction.

Milk splashed on Towa's boobs

If you need an anime where you can put yourself in the place of a protagonist being cared for, I get it. Life is hard right now, and we’re all exhausted all the time. But please, have some standards for yourself. Track down a copy of Oh! My Goddess or something. Don’t give Studio Apartment, Good Lighting, Angel Included your time… or hard-earned rent money. Even if Koyasu Takehito is there.

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