Kimihara Himeno, also known as “Hime,” goes about her life, love, and studies just like any ordinary high school girl. The only difference is that she’s a centaur. She enjoys her school life along with classmates of many unique shapes, including Nozomi the draconid, Kyoko the goatfolk, an angelfolk class representative, and Sassas-chan the Antarctican. Hime’s younger cousin Shino-chan, her friend Maki-chan, and the class representative’s four younger sisters also join the cast in this very cute slice-of-life story about girls who are human, yet aren’t!
This anime looked adorably cute to me. It seems like your typical slice-of-life with fantasy-style girls going to school and living their life normally. Well, as far as teenage girls with supernatural and mythical backgrounds can! Himeno is certainly very cute for a centaur, even more so because she’s sometimes unaware just how difficult some everyday things can be for a centaur – such as standing on rickety school play props and sitting down on chairs at school. But she doesn’t let this get her down! Every episode is broken down into two smaller episodes which detail little anecdotes surrounding Hime as she and her friends live their lives.
My first impression was that it was just gratuitous fanservice with horns and wings. We have two girls that are tricked into kissing one another, shots of them in their underwear as they’re changing costume and a range of other cheap situations that mean an interesting concept has once again been reduced to fanservice. However, the second half of the first episode adds a bit more depth to this world, explaining how certain races such as the demons and the centaurs were exploited and mistreated in the past and how things have now changed in the present and the laws in place to maintain equality. So much so now that Himeno’s satyr friend is reluctant to take a much-needed rest on Himeno’s back because of how centaurs were once forced into servitude for this service and she doesn’t want to be caught by the correctional facility. So on one hand, I’m enjoying the level of world development going on here and the depth being shown, but on the other I’m fully aware how quickly this anime can swing into the opposite direction and how much furry fanservice potential this one inadvertently has.
In a similar vein, I have found it rather hard to connect with any of the characters. Most of the personality traits the main characters and side characters show are extremely common and it is hard to see why any of the characters are any more relatable than other characters from different series. There’s the serious characters, the silly characters, those with tsundere tendencies, etc, but it’s really nothing that we haven’t seen before. The story also seems to be extremely bland in some places and never amounts of anything further along in the story. Were it not for the obvious fact that all the characters were types of supernatural creature, this one would really struggle to captivate an audience.
There are a few redeeming moments that keeps this show watchable. Himeno is genuinely a sweet and endearing character and there are a lot of younger siblings and cousins running around underfoot that are just adorable with their ears, wings and little hooves. And then there’s also Quetzalcoatl Sassassul, a transfer student from Antarctica who resembles a snake (and is, by far, the least ‘cute’ character in this story). It’s usually through her how we see a group of supernatural people react to someone who is more different than they are and how snake-people and centaurs have more everyday struggles physically and culturally than, say, angels and demons. Also, whilst I’m on the subject, merpeople are drawn differently here than to what you would normally expect (for no reason that I can see). Instead of being fish from the waist down, they are fish from the mid-thigh area, which is weird. So, in an episode where everyone went to the pool, we see a mermaid swimming, but she’s wearing bikini bottoms and her legs taper just above the knees. I’m pretty sure, sadly, that this is just for the opportunity to present more fanservice…
A Centaur’s Life doesn’t seem to be a unique anime or a particularly promising one. It appears that its main grab is the fact that these girls all have physical qualities that reflect supernatural beasts. And whilst this would be a vaguely interesting start, this is where the allure starts and finishes. If you’re looking for something more than ‘cute, supernatural girls do cute things, and it’s even cuter because they’re just being normal when they’re clearly supernatural’, you may be in for a bit of disappointment.