Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence Season 1 Review – A cutesy rom-com with a smidge of depth

Season 1

 

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1: The Relationship Between Them -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2: The Things They Protect -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3: Lawrence’s Concerns -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4: She Who Is Called The Lady Saint -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5: First Official Trip  -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6: Abel and Hazelita -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7: Cecilia’s Worries -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8: Frederica’s Bequest -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9: Lady Saint’s Divine Protection -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10: Their Feelings -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 11: The Way They Went -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 12: The Shape of Their Relationship -| Review Score – 4/5

 

In the anime industry, many animation studios strive to produce anime that will captivate audiences worldwide. Studio Doga Kobo, while old, took the world by storm with their breakout hit Oshi No Ko during the Spring 2023 anime season. Many couldn’t escape the anime due to the massive praise its first season received. However, it’s a rarity to see an anime-focused studio deliver two solid adaptations in a row. While Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence didn’t obtain mass success like Oshi No Ko, it’s worth your time. 

Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence is based on a manga written and illustrated by Hazano Kazutake. It revolves around the bond between a Pastor named Lawrence and his Saint companion Cecilia. Cecilia is responsible for guiding villagers through their problems by offering them incredible advice. Unfortunately, she’s known for being idle behind closed doors and for harboring dormant feelings for Lawrence, despite him not knowing. Hence, we’ll explore their joyous lives together to see if Cecilia will win over Lawrence’s heart.

Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence is a tale of love and ease with a pinch of fantasy and faith to help it stand out. Most of the plot revolves around Cecilia and Lawrence exploring shops, helping townsfolk, and connecting with each other. Each scenario elicits a peaceful sensation, providing audiences with uplifting and meaningful content to enjoy as they please. Coupled with drops of drama, comedy, and surprisingly deep story segments and characterization, this anime’s tale was a delight to experience weekly. 

Although it’s a tale that uses its adorable aesthetic and unexpected depth to keep viewers hooked, the story has its share of issues. For example, the anime’s pacing wasn’t smooth throughout its entire run. Earlier episodes dedicated more time to examining Lawrence and Cecilia’s silly slice-of-life-themed shenanigans instead of going full-force into building up the romance between them. Many fans will tolerate this approach since some episodes had compelling comedy and fleshed-out characters to wonderful effect. 

However, others would’ve preferred if the series teetered more into its serious content than its lighthearted material. Moreover, Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence’s fantasy and religious aspects, while somewhat intriguing, never get fully explored as much as they could. For instance, many would’ve loved seeing Cecilia interact with another lady saint for comparison purposes. The series could’ve introduced more mythical creatures other than fairies to build upon its world and make it more distinct from other pastoral-set anime. 

Furthermore, season one’s conclusion will leave fans feeling divisive. While it’s gratifying to see Lawrence and Cecilia settle on some type of relationship, many will be disappointed with the outcome. Numerous fans would’ve expected Cecilia to finally share her romantic feelings for Lawrence, but instead, we see Cecilia accept Lawrence’s family suggestion without hesitation. While this segment was beautifully animated and emotional, it would’ve been better if Lawrence and Cecilia had tied the knot here instead. 

While the anime’s plot opens room for debate, Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence’s characters were enjoyable. By and large, Cecilia and Lawrence were great protagonists to follow. Both characters had lavish depth and personality. While some viewers may not enjoy the running gag with Lawrence being oblivious to Cecilia’s affection, he and Cecilia receive enough favorable characteristics that many will find entertaining. Similarly, the side characters were a delight to examine in this anime.

Hazelita and Abel serve substantial roles in the anime’s plot and are given enough time in the spotlight to avoid feeling flat. From Hazelita’s saddening ties to Lady Saint Frederica to Abel’s seclusion-themed backstory, Hazano Kazutake did a wonderful job at bringing these characters to life. Hopefully, a future season will explore characters like the Great Lady Saint, Eric, and others since they carry vast potential too. 

After the marvelous job, Studio Doga Kobo pulled off with Oshi No Ko’s animation and visuals, many were curious to see how they’d handle Kazutake’s tale. While Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence’s animation never reached the heights of Oshi No Ko’s, Doga Kobo did a wonderful job at capturing the series’s calm tone and enchanting scenarios. From Lawrence and Cecilia hugging during the Winter Market event to Hazelita’s amusing facial expressions, never once did it feel like Doga Kobo cut corners with the visuals. 

Everything looked on par with other titles they’ve animated before like Shotaro Kuno’s New Game. Simply put, this anime offers a wonderful viewing experience. One can make a similar case for this series’s soundtrack. The music, sound effects, and voice acting were satisfying to the ear and never clashed with each other. Therefore, newcomers can rejoice knowing that Studio Doga Kobo delivered another visually and musically sufficient anime series.  

Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence isn’t a masterpiece nor does it feel like it set its sights on becoming one. It’s a straightforward, adorable, and engaging work that’s likely to meet one’s expectations if one adores comforting slice-of-life narratives. Despite its missed opportunities, conflicting finale, and strange pacing and character quirks, Saint Cecilia and Pastor Lawrence is a cozy fantasy series that’s guaranteed to warm the most hardcore anime fan’s soul. 


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  • Verdict - 8/10
    8/10
8/10

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