It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it holds an infinite amount of secrets. These are secrets that only Cheng Xiaoshi and Lu Guang are able to find. In a small shop called “Time Photo Studio,” the two friends provide a special service: using their extraordinary powers that let them enter photographs, they jump into pictures brought to them by clients in order to grant their wishes. Through the eyes of the photographer, they live through the events surrounding the picture and try to decipher how to solve their client’s request.
But every time they jump into a picture, they take a great risk. One wrong move and they could alter the future of the person who took the picture… and possibly countless other events too. So when the events they are forced to live through in these pictures start to become personal, it will take the utmost strength to push their feelings aside and focus on accomplishing the task they were paid to do.
It’s almost criminal how some amazing series can fly under the radar just because anime as a genre is so saturated with content. It seems especially hard for anime from other countries to really reach the popularity that they might deserve because of some stigmas or just people in general not knowing that there’s more to anime than Japan. I’m not an exemption either, I think this might be the first Chinese anime I’ve ever fully watched, and I only found out about it because when it aired back in 2021 I saw a video with this show’s intro and it’s absolutely a banger. So two years I finally got around to watching it and yeah, it’s really good.
Time travel is wonky. It’s one thing that we for sure don’t know how it would work if it could work. Therefore, whenever a story dabbles in time travel, it can get very messy and convoluted quickly and it requires the audience to just accept what’s happening. Once you start questioning things, then it may start to fall apart. So I applaud this anime for having pretty tight time travel logic. The premise of problem/crime solving by traveling back in time via pictures is an interesting take. The how it works isn’t immediately given but revealed later on. And the scenarios that it creates are cool, heartwarming, and even heartbreaking. If it’s one thing this anime delivered on, its emotional points which are strongly carried by one of the two main characters and the memories we see via him.
I think I have a fairly high tolerance for annoying characters that make dumb head first decisions. It really only grates me when those dumb decisions get constantly brushed off with no repercussions. So on one hand we have Lu Guang, the stoic mc who oversees the time travel from the present. On the other, there’s his friend Cheng. Now I came to love Cheng, he’s honestly a very sweet and lovable character once I take a step back and look at him. But as the person who personally dives into the photos, back in time, inhabiting other people’s bodies in a moment for 24hrs. There are rules set in place that he breaks a lot. And I think what I really love about this anime is that, for the most part, I fully understand why he broke the rules to do what he did and ultimately sometimes change the timeline for better or worse. There’s so many high stakes and emotional moments that he has to personally live through in someone else’s body, so I get it. It was a bit annoying at first, but it led to some very emotional moments that hit every time. And like I said before, nothing he did was without ramifications in the present, which I liked.
I love a good show that basically plays out as episodic but lowkey has through line. The end of episode 11 is such a cliffhanger I’m very excited for season 2. With this semi-episodic take, some cases are just inherently better and more memorable than others. But no episode was outright bad.
What was outright amazing was the soundtrack and animation. Soundtrack wise, I’ve been in love with the opening for two years now. It’s been randomly popping up and playing in my head since I first heard it. It’s so catchy. The ending is great too, and I’m a sucker for great transitions and every episode the transition from actual episode to ed is lovely. That phone disconnect sound just works. Even the ambient music that’ll play throughout episodes is fantastic. The animation is nothing I haven’t seen before but still damn good. There’s something about backgrounds and some things that aren’t characters being sort of watercolor in texture. It stands out in a good way.
So yeah, I’m glad I finally gave this show a watch. Next season can’t come soon enough. There have been a handful of Chinese anime I’ve been meaning to check out for years now and this might be my jumping off point.
Link Click – 9/10