Hi everyone and welcome to another Rebellious Review! This time I’ll be talking about the anime Smile Down the Runway. And let me tell ya, I wasn’t expecting much from this anime—thanks to some personal bias, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed and was drawn into this anime. It had multiple things that I could sympathize with, laugh about, and feel with the characters. Plus I gotta say, the plotline was actually really good! Anywho, let’s get started, shall we?
In Smile Down the Runway, you are introduced to a mass amount of characters, but unlike a couple of other animes that I’ve seen where it takes a while to get every last one of their names straight, you can differ who’s who pretty quickly.
First off we have the main characters, Chiyuki Fujito and Ikuto Tsumura. These two are completely different on the personality spectrum and you would have never thought that they would be brought together. But as fate would have it, they have similar dreams that bring them together to achieve their goals.
Then we have some of our important side characters such as Toh Ayano—or as I like to call him if Victor from Yuri on Ice was a fashion designer. He ends up helping Ikuto quite a bit with his self-confidence and gives him just the right push he needs to keep going toward his dream of being a fashion designer. Now he was a bit harsh at times, but ultimately I believe he meant well.
Then there’s Hajime Yanagida. At first, he is a total arse and so mean to Ikuto—pure little innocent cinnamon roll as I dub him. And trust me, once you see more of his character, you understand why. But back to Hajime. He does come off as a pretentious arse with no sympathy what so ever, but as the season goes on, he actually grows on you. Sure his gruff and pompous attitude doesn’t ever change, but you can see that he actually cares about Ikuto and a certain model/fashion designer hopeful that I’ll get to momentary.
Before we get to said sweet hopeful fashion designer there is one more character that is rather important regardless of his side character status. Chiyuki’s father—Kenji Fukito. Not only is he important in Chiyuki’s life—regardless of how hard he was on her a couple times, but he was also a major part of helping Ikuto and his daughter grow. The way he helps them out practically—Nah, it did make my cry with how sweet it was.
Now, we get to sweet, little Kokoro Hasegawa our model/ fashion designer hopeful. Who I dub our female innocent little cinnamon roll. You end up sympathizing so much with her. She goes through so much and she really blossoms from the shy girl we first see at the beginning. She’s easily one of my favorite characters in the show.
Our story starts out with Chyuki Fujito having a dream to become a supermodel like one of her idols and go to Paris Fashion Week as a model from her father’s company. But, things become much harder when she doesn’t grow as tall as she needs to be a successful supermodel. But she doesn’t give up and works hard towards her goal regardless of all the naysayers.
Then, enter Ikuto Tsumura. This boy, my goodness this boy. He is so dedicated to his family that he literally set his mind to only working full-time jobs that he probably won’t even like just so he can make the dreams of his family come true and support them. But, he gets a chance to achieve his actual dream—to be a fashion designer.
Both Chyuki and Ikuto never thought they could fully achieve their dreams—well, Chyuki was always too stubborn but things were slowly going south for her. Anyways, when the two of them met by school circumstances everything took off from there and they began walking the path—more like the runway, of their dreams.
I am usually not fond of things that deal with fashion or modeling for that matter, but the theme of never giving up and chasing your dreams no matter the circumstances really got me. Plus just how the characters interact with each other and how you can get so moved by just the simplest accomplishments because of how this anime makes you root for them. It was quite surprising to me in a very good way.
Opening and Closing Theme songs:
Both the opening and closing theme songs were absolutely beautiful in my opinion. And I’m usually the type of person who will usually skip forward through both songs after just hearing them for one to two episodes each time. But I really enjoyed how the music really moves with the anime and it just matches it so perfectly.
Although I would have liked to see a few hints at what to possibly expect in the anime, the overall imagery was still very well done.
I can’t say too much here seeing that it didn’t stand out as magnificent graphics as some animes do. You guys know the ones, they catch you immediately and have everything severely detailed. Examples would be Violet Evergarden, Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, just to name a few.
Don’t get me wrong though, the graphics in this anime were quite nice. I liked how the emotions were portrayed and how they showed the dresses and clothes. It definitely made me want to buy some of those if they were actually real heh. But other than that, it was really just like any other Slice of Life anime to be perfectly honest. It was cute though, just didn’t stand out too much.
Fan Girl Thoughts
*Warning Spoilers below
And this part my little Rebels is where yours truly goes all out on her fan girlness. So prepare yourself for some major gushing.
Where to begin? Probably first off, Oh my gosh Ikuto you sweet little bean the fact that you want to constantly give up your dream of being a fashion designer just so you can support your three sisters and your mom, oh you are so precious! And boy am I glad that he was able to get his big break by first making that gorgeous outfit for Chiyuki and then get admitted into the fashion festival thanks to Toh Ayano for suggesting they should let in a non-student participate in that year’s festival. And goodness does it change him.
Not only is he able to help poor Kokoro be bold enough to tell her scary and quite mean manager off, but he gives her the courage to follow through with her dreams to be a fashion designer. And the girl wins the whole competition! So no more Model burden for her anymore! Well, she learns how to combine the two in the end because no matter what modeling will still be apart of her, but still!
And even though our precious Ikuto doesn’t win, he garners a lot of attention from fashion companies that want to buy his designs, strengthens his friendship with Chiyuki—who grows more as a model especially since she helped Kokoro win the competition, and the best part aside from being able to provide fully for his family and his mom coming back from the hospital in healthy condition, he gets a full-ride scholarship to the fashion school! I’m so proud of him. It’s probably because of Ikuto I cried so much during this anime. I love how both our main characters were hell-bent on chasing their dreams no matter what. In a way, it kind of reminds me of myself.
Final Score: 34/40