Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie offers a rather unique take on the romantic comedy story between a girl and a boy. For starters: the female Miyako Shikimori has a distinctly masculine personality compared to the male Yuuki Izumi’s distinctly feminine personality. For the rest: there are many strong LGBTQ hints in the background of an otherwise heterosexual romantic comedy.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie: Details

'Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie' NA key visual 1.
She’s the coolest girl in town, and she’ll beat the stuffing out of anyone or anything about to harm her boyfriend.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is the anime adaptation of the romantic comedy manga of the same name by Keigo Maki. Doga Kobo (YuruYuri, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, My Senpai is Annoying) is the animation studio behind this anime. Ryota Itoh is directing, with Yoshimi Narita writing, and Hiroaki Tsutsumi (Dr. Stone with Hideakira Kimura and Tomotaka Ōsumi, Jujutsu Kaisen with Yoshimasa Terui and Alisa Okehazama) composing the music. “Honey Jet Coaster” by Nasuo☆ is the opening theme music, and “Route BLUE” by Yuki Nakashima is the ending theme music.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie stars the voices of Saori Ōnishi (Macy Anne Johnson in English dub) as Miyako Shikimori and Shūichirō Umeda (Bryson Baugus in English dub) as Yuuki Izumi. Other notable roles include Nobuhiko Okamoto (Clifford Chapin in English dub) as Shu Inuzuka, Misato Matsuoka (Michele Rojas in English dub) as Kyo Nekozaki, Rina Hidaka (molly Zhang in English dub) as Yui Hachimitsu, and Ayaka Fukuhara (Morgan Lauré in English dub) as Ai Kamiya.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie premiered on April 10, 2022 and ran until July 10, 2022. You can watch all 12 episodes (not counting the 2 recap episodes) of this anime only on Crunchyroll.

Warning: spoilers for Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie below. If you want to watch this reversed gender role romcom for yourself, then stop here and come back once Shikimori has saved Izumi yet again.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie: Plot Summary

This opening basically contains everything you need to know about this anime.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie starts us off by introducing us to Yuuki Izumi. In short: he’s the unluckiest boy alive, and I’m not kidding. The universe hates him for some reason. It just throws unlikely accident after unlikely accident at him. These accidents range from his pockets suddenly developing tears through which his wallet falls through, to trucks losing control near him and aiming to run him over. Fortunately, his girlfriend, Miyako Shikimori, is there to save him. With her martial arts skills of Bruce Lee, and the reflexes of a mantis, she ensures that no amount of bad luck will touch him physically. Her love for him, meanwhile, keeps the emotional and mental trauma from building up too much. This combo, combined with their polar opposite personalities, results in a love no one and nothing can stop.

Joining this oddball couple are their small group of close friends. Shu Inuzuka is very close friends with Izumi. So close that Shikimori frequently gets jealous of them, thinking of it in a homoromantic context. Kyo Nekozaki is very close friends with Shikimori and became friends with her primarily because she found her very attractive. Yui Hachimitsu, meanwhile, is just chilling with all of them in a deadpan manner. Together, they watch the loving relationship between Shikimori and Izumi.

A Sweet Romance of the Swapped Gender Roles

'Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie' key art 1.
Shikimori’s and Izumi’s relationship in a nutshell.

Shikimori’s and Izumi’s relationship isn’t without some hiccups, though. A possible rival emerged in the form of Ai Kamiya, who also falls in love with Izumi. However, Shikimori and Kamiya resolve it without Izumi ever knowing about it. Shikimori even becomes friends with Kamiya after Kamiya voluntarily steps back from Izuki after realizing how much Shikimori loves him.

And so our oddball couple’s happy love life continues on. It actually culminates in a romantic date to an amusement park. Despite Izumi’s bad luck causing a freak power outage at the park, it’s still quite a romantic evening for them there. They even manage to share a kiss, but alas, it was only on the cheek. Will their relationship get more serious later? Hopefully, we’ll find out if Doga Kobo ever make a season 2 of Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie: The Good

'Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie' key art 2.
All good romcoms need a cast of lovable characters other than the main couple.

First off, if you’re not a fan of romantic comedies or slice-of-life stories, this is not the anime for you. And now for the good stuff for those fans: the main draw of Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is its main couple, and their dynamics. We have the female Shikimori with a very masculine personality, but who wants to become feminine. At least, at first. Meanwhile, the male Izumi has a love of cooking, calm and gently personality, and other elements that give him a distinctive feminine bent. Izumi accepts Shikimori both for who she is and who she wants to be. No matter which side Shikimori wants to become, he clearly loves and accepts both. It’s this freedom to choose that gives them that lovable dynamic that makes this a great romcom.

Secondly, this is also not the anime for you if you’re a homophobe. There is a lot of homoromantic and even homoerotic subtext going on in the background of Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie. A big example would be Izumi’s mother flirting with Shikimori, although it was more playful than serious. Even in the foreground, though, we have Inuzuka and Nekozaki. Admittedly, the former might just be due to Shikimori’s jealousy more than anything else. However, in Nekozaki’s case, the anime heavily implies that she’s a lesbian. She mentions her attraction to other girls too often for it to be a coincidence. While the anime leaves it somewhat ambiguous whether her attraction is platonic or romantic, the sheer number of them seems to imply the latter. For me, this is a big plus for this anime.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie: The Bad

'Shikimori's Not Just a Cutie' screenshot showing a pouting Shikimori.
Careful. You don’t want to make this superwoman mad.

Despite me complimenting the homoromantic subtext in Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie though, I have to admit: I think mangaka Keigo Maki should’ve gone farther. You can’t actually deny the homoromantic subtext with any degree of honesty. However, I feel that it would’ve had more of an impact if it was more…direct. More obvious that the homoromantic subtext isn’t just platonic. To the degree of Lycoris Recoil, perhaps. That way, even the most rabid homophobe would be unable to deny that people who are attracted to people of the same gender exist in this anime. That’s just my opinion on it though. Feel free to agree or disagree with me on this matter in the comments section.