Rie MurakawaAri OzawaIs the Order a RabbitRisae Matsuda
Is the Order a Rabbit?
Also known as: Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2014: I
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Director: Hiroyuki Hashimoto
Original creator: Koi
Actor: Ayane Sakura, Inori Minase, Maaya Uchida, Risa Taneda, Satomi Satou, Motomu Kiyokawa, Rie Murakawa, Saori Hayami, Sho Hayami, Sora Tokui, Ai Kayano, Ari Ozawa, Ikumi Hayama, Naomi Ozora, Natsue Sasamoto, Rina Dendo, Satsumi Matsuda, Shizuka Ishigami, Tomo Muranaka
Keywords: Is the Order a Rabbit, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15718
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 8 April 2015
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka
It's empty calories. It's nice and even charming in small doses, but it's the anime equivalent of sitting there with a bag of sugar and a spoon.
It's a "cute girls doing cute things" show. There's no plot, drama or character development. It's based on a four-panel gag manga and you'd have probably guessed that even if I hadn't told you, except not particularly funny. Each episode is basically built of lots of gentle mini-beats in the "set-up and deadpan punchline" form of that kind of comedy. It's quite nice. The characters are pleasant. I don't dislike it, but it's soothing rather than funny, with the occasional exception of Rize-chan.
It's about schoolgirls running cafes in a town that looks German, has writing in French, uses yen for its money and is culturally Japanese (kimonos, school uniforms, etc.) Don't think too hard about it. It's based on the French town of Colmar and it looks lovely. You could imagine going there on holiday. Anyway, this magical town has three cafes. The Rabbit House is a cafe run by Chino, with the help of Cocoa and Rize. It has a rabbit. The Ama Usa An is a Japanese cafe run by Chiya and that has another rabbit. Finally there's the Fleur de Lapin, which is rabbitless but does employ Sharo as a waitress.
These girls are all cute, in a moe blob kind of way. You might think them all way too young to be plausibly working, even as waitresses, but that's another "don't think too hard about it". They even have a few character traits. Cocoa is a good-hearted super-enthusiastic airhead. Chino is a nearly emotionless little girl. Rize is a soldier's daughter who carries a gun and a combat knife while talking like a drill sergeant, but she'd also like to be girly. (She's the one who's sometimes funny.) Sharo is a poor girl pretending to be rich (although this doesn't make her happy), who's also in love with Rize. You may or may not think you've detected lesbian subtext with other characters, including a couple of suggestions that Sharo might be in with a chance with Rize, but this is the only place where it's explicit.
There's plot development with Sharo's poverty, which gets uncovered halfway through. Otherwise, though, Status Quo Is God. I'd have liked to see something done with Sharo-Rize, but alas no.
The characters' intelligence level isn't high, regardless of their scholastic talents. (Sharo is clever enough to be going to a top-flight school on a scholarship, while Cocoa is a genius at mental arithmetic.) They can fail to recognise a friend who's wearing an out-of-character outfit, even after having a conversation with them.
Almost vanishingly rarely, there will be a few crumbs of emotion or meaning. Chino's mute happiness at seeing her friends is sweet, I quite liked Sharo's mild emotional fallout from having her secret uncovered and ep.6 is saying some mildly interesting things about how people can be jealous of other people who are in fact exactly the same. I think that's mostly it, though.
There's some mild fantasy with the rabbits, who are talking reincarnated grandfathers. This is never explained, although I did like the flashback with tiny Cocoa talking to Chino's pre-rabbitification grandad. There's also a female novelist who was emotionally attached to him and wishes he were still around to criticise her work.
It's nice, but that's it. It put me to sleep a couple of times and you shouldn't even consider trying to marathon it. Ep.11 is a Christmas episode, incidentally. This show is basically a cue to check your insulin levels and have a peaceful time. My attitude towards it ranged from "amusing and sweet" to "no drama, weightless, nearly pointless". The finale is just another random episode. There's nothing wrong with this show as such and I'm not outraged that it's getting a second season later this year, but it took me a little willpower to keep going to the end.