What’s it about? Himuro, a descendant of yuki-onna, is a newbie office worker working nine to five. There’s just one problem: when he gets emotionally excited, all manner of snowfall and ice appear around him. Then there’s Fuyutsuki, a calm and collected coworker…and the object of Himuro’s affections. Will her cool demeanor be a perfect match for Himuro’s naturally frigid nature?
Most of the time, I pick my reviews by title only: I find that going in unknowing–-unless there’s explicit content that might trigger me–-provides me the freshest insight. Hard cut to me finding out that the titular Ice Guy in The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague was a yuki-onna.
I was hootin’ and hollerin’ because y’all? I loves me a monster, inclusive of all genders, and I love, love, LOVE yokai even more. That sets up the premise of Ice Guy, a rom-com that’s ding dang charming from the banger of an opening theme and continues to be enjoyable all the way until the credits roll.
Episode 1, “A Cherry Blossom Meeting and a Coming Blizzard,” gives us a strong contender for 2023’s best meet-cute as Himuro, a descendant of yuki-onna, and Fuyutsuki, a human office lady with a totally chill demeanor, meet beneath cherry blossoms. It’s like at first sight for them both: the narrative immediately makes it clear that they’re interested in each other, at least on a base level. We’re not yet to the point of an actual romance, though Himuro’s numerous reactive snow showers speak to him already moving from like towards eventual love.
Actually, the entire show is populated with yokai: we quickly meet a fox spirit, and my guess is that we’ll meet a number of mythical descendants during this cour. It’s a neat twist to an otherwise incredibly pleasant, simple plot that could have been a flop, but actually, is funny because of how relatable the characters are.
But what’s most enjoyable is the rather mellow plot: a romance between two different beings who just like each other and so clearly want to get to know one another. Simple? Yes, but I have a feeling that that’s all Ice Guy will need to keep the soft sighs and doki-dokis going this season.
There’s so much to gush about here: at base, Ice Guy is a nice show to look at with an ensemble cast that’s immediately likable. In many ways, it feels like Wotakoi walked so Ice Guy could fly. While the cast here blends fantasy into its rom-com rather than otaku in-jokes and jargon, the vibes are the same: refreshing, fun, and utterly enjoyable. I routinely found myself wishing that this was a double premiere: I didn’t want to leave Fuyutsuki and Himuro behind. It’ll be a long wait until next week’s episode.
The music is also nice: there’s all these nice cues of traditional Japanese instruments when Himuro’s emotions increase, which really tethered him to his cultural roots as a descendant of yokai and mythological beings. Most of the time, the tracks blend in, but I found these moments really stuck out in a nice way.
I’m gonna call it: this is probably going to be my favorite show of the season; it’s executed so well and has immediately likable characters. I truly look forward to seeing them grow, and to this possibly landing in feminist potential territory. At this time, it’s good, but not overtly feminist: sure, it has a strong female lead, but that’s not necessarily enough. I wanna see this show develop Fuyutsuki even more, though mark my words: this has feminist potential for sure.
Ultimately, The Ice guy and His Cool Female Colleague is for those who wish we had another Wotakoi out in English. This is also for the girlies–and the boys, and the themies–who wanna smooch a tall monster that’s super sweet and considerate and maybe, a bit excitable in a charming way. (I’m talking about myself: I wanna smooch a monster.) It’s an easy recommend, and something I hope that a lot of people will watch, especially if you’ve been craving mature romances that feel authentic, but have a small, playful twist.