Sayaka OharaSaori HayamiMinori SuzukiSatsuki Yukino
Also known as: Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Fumitoshi Oizaki
Writer: Reiko Yoshida
Original creator: Rin Asano
Actor: Hiroshi Iwasaki, Izou Oikawa, Kozue Yuki, Maaya Sakamoto, Miho Yoshida, Minami Takahashi, Minori Suzuki, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Rikiya Koyama, Saori Hayami, Satsuki Yukino, Sayaka Ohara, Takuma Nagatsuka, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 23 November 2023
deai mon
It's about Japanese traditional sweetmakers in Kyoto. Nothing SF or supernatural. It could easily have been a live-action TV series, with a small cast, a gentle tone and a low budget. Our heroes make sweets, have unsuccessful love lives and complicated relationships with their parents.
I liked it a good deal. It's charming.
The most interesting thing about it is that its most important relationship is a pseudo-parental one. Nothing romantic about it. There will be girls who fancy Nagomu, but Itsuka definitely isn't one of them. She thinks he's an irresponsible airhead (which isn't entirely untrue) and she finds his existence threatening. Until now, she'd been in line to inherit the shop after Nagomu's parents died or retired. Now he's returned after a decade of guitar-playing in Tokyo and ignoring his responsibilities, so technically he's got a stronger claim to the inheritance than her.
Also, just as problematically, he's in her thirties and he reminds her of her missing father. (Who was even dodgier than Nagomu, but he'd still looked after her on his own for years after her mother walked out on them.) She's only ten years old. It would do her good to have a father figure in her life... but she neither likes, trusts nor respects Nagomu. Ironically, he'd be a fantastic dad. You'll never see anyone happier to play with children and spend time with them. As a husband, though, he'd get annoying.
The show's thoroughly nice, but with a sharp edge that stops it from becoming saccharine. Itsuka dislikes Nagomu, as does Nagomu's cranky hostile stubborn-as-a-mule father. Nagomu had a girlfriend he left in Tokyo in a manner that left them both thinking they'd been ditched. (She ends up following Nagomu to Kyoto, but in a slightly prickly way that makes it clear that: (a) she'd be happy if they got back together, and (b) she'll be damned if she's going to make it easy for him.) There's also a schoolgirl who likes Nagomu, but the heavens would fall before he noticed this.
In an odd way, Nagomu's one of the deeper characters in the show. He's an idiot, but he's deceptively good at remembering things and you can never be sure whether he's oblivious or simply choosing not to worry about something. He can see through Itsuka's defences better than almost anyone, for a start.
There are some heartwarming mini-stories like that unhappy child's encouragement in ep.7, or that bloke visiting his mother's grave in ep.10. People help each other. I don't think anyone here really has a complete clue (except maybe Masa), but they're doing their best and they're nice people. Mostly, approximately. There's darkness in the backstories, e.g. Itsuka's abandonment and her mother having hired detectives for five years to try to find her, but if it hadn't been for that, then we wouldn't have cared as much as we do.
Ep.12 doesn't conclude the story. The manga it's based on is still ongoing. It does, though, find a nice place to pause, which fits the understated nature of the series. I liked this show a good deal. Definitely recommended to anyone who's happy to take a break from guns, battles, isekai, etc.