All of my reviews contain spoilers for the reviewed material. This is your only warning. This program is for people whove caused countless troubles for others The second watch of the 2020 Spring season Wave Listen To Me is not a show easily classified or dissected. Wave is a situational dramedy with only an intermittent head for drama and good jokes only about half the time. Its hardly a bad series but uniquely frustrating might be a good way to put it. 880 Despite having one of the most promising opening episodes of the season Wave often feels hesitant to explore its own central premiseloud motormouthed opinionated woman has a graveyard shift radio show broadcast across Japans northern provincein favor of flaky attempts at romance hacky gay jokes spotty dramatic arcs and a number of other things. Part of this comes down to the shows unusual main character. Minare the aforementioned radio show host is the rare anime protagonist who is an adult woman. Indeed anything else you could or couldnt say about Wave it goes through no pains to sexualize its lead and both of these are things to be commended. Minare is a fascinating complicated character but Wave does not always seem to know what to do with her and how well the series actually uses her and her many layers varies. Not coincidentally so does its general quality and you will find that the two have a more or less 1 to 1 correlation. In the shows weaker arcs Minare and the fact that she is an adult woman who is also wildly dysfunctional feels like the butt of a joke. She is at various points forced to save face at the restaurant she works at gets into a massive misunderstanding where she thinks a neighbor murdered someone and so on and so forth. These are the shows weaker arcs by a wide margin and its a shame they take up a good half of its runtime and it doesnt help that theyre pockmarked by grody occasionally downright problematic jokes. Conversely when the show gives Minare an equal and opposite. Such as her equally dysfunctional and much scuzzier ex Mitsuo it does much better. The moment that concludes that arc where Minare almost falls for him again only to realize he hasnt changed at all and then promptly throws him over her head with her legs is one of the shows best. By far though the best episodes are those few that take place mostly in the radio booth and sadly it really is just a few. These episodes which include the premiere possibly its strongest episode overall make the full use of voice actress Riho Sugiyamas powerful timbre and rapidfire delivery and theyre as much an audio treat as visually. Sugiyamas voice is a gift and any time she gets to fully wild out as Minare its a pleasure to hear. 880 The other aspect of Wave is that its intensely regional. The series takes place entirely in Hokkaido and the shows finale emphasizes the strong communal spirit of Japans northernmost island. This too is intriguing though its only explored intermittently. In general Wave is at its best when it has a strong focus. Otherwise it tends to meander in a lessthanflattering way. Of the many sideplots only that of Mizuho Minares sometimesroommate and also sometimesgirl crush and her tentative grasp at her dream of becoming station director is terribly compelling. Even this due perhaps simply to Waves source material being inprogress is not actually resolved in the series. 880 The arc such as it is of Mikie Tachibana a profoundly odd restaurant coworker of Minares also almost gets there but theres just not enough time spent on it for it to really connect. And thats really just Waves core issue. It wants to tell all of these stories and more but commits fully to none of them and is ultimately done in by the limitations of TV anime as a format. Theres only so much you can squeeze into 5 hours. Its not all squandered potential though by any means. The finale where Minare must keep the show running through a sudden unexpected natural disaster in the form of a strong earthquake provides an interesting glimpse at where Wave might go if it gets another season casting Minare in a more evenhanded role as a grounding rod for the stations many listeners. Its worth wanting. As scattershot as Wave Listen To Me often is Minare is a hell of a compelling character and she deserves another twelve episodes to stretch her legs. That much we can hope for. And if you liked this review why not check out some of my others here on Anilist?
65 /100
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