Junji MajimaSumire UesakaKeiji FujiwaraYu Kobayashi
Lovely Muco
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2015: L
Also known as: Itoshi no Muco
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Director: Romanov Higa
Original creator: Takayuki Mizushina
Actor: Hitomi Yoshida, Satoshi Hino, Hiroki Takahashi, Junji Majima, Kaori Nazuka, Keiji Fujiwara, Sumire Uesaka, Yu Kobayashi
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 25 twelve-minute episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=17043
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 13 September 2016
Itoshi no Muco
It's an anime based on a manga about a man (Komatsu) and his dog (Muco). He's a glassblower. She's a Shiba Inu. The show's nothing special, but it's amiable and sort of nice. It's the kind of thing that you'd watch for a few episodes and find modestly amusing, but probably not feel any need to continue.
You'd expect the original to be a four-panel gag strip, although it's not. What's different from Garfield, Snoopy and other comic strip animals is that Muco's a real dog. She's not a human with a few doggy traits. She's a dog. That's the point. She does real dog things and has a dog's worldview and mindset. Admittedly she talks, but that's just a representation of what's going through her unsophisticated doggy mind and we're the only ones who can understand her. She destroys towels. She can be distracted by anything, although as it happens she's brilliant at waiting if ordered to wait. She's aware that jumping in the pond is bad, but she has a problem with staying focused on this. She worships Komatsu, runs manically around his legs and will do anything she's told to do... if she can process the request and hold it in her brain for more than three seconds.
It feels observed, not made up. It feels to me as if the manga-ka knows dogs and created this manga after wondering one day what they might be thinking. (Humans and dogs here are spectacularly bad at guessing each other's thoughts and opinions.) The show's driven by Muco's over-excited feeble-mindedness and by the gentle interactions of the humans around her. Is it a comedy? Sort of. Personally I didn't actually find it that funny, but it's a happy, good-natured show that occasionally finds a laugh or two. Our heroes are:
1. MUCO - joyfully simple in how she approaches life. It somehow surprised me that she was female, because her voice actress is giving her the brain of a four-year-old and the voice of a duck. (She's oddly charming.) She also believes some utter rubbish, for instance being thunderstruck at the start of the show on realising that Komatsu isn't another dog and spending the rest of the show waiting for him to turn into one.
2. KOMATSU - a normal bloke, really. He's about thirty.
3. USHIKOU - Komatsu's fat best friend and a bit pathetic, but also happy and enthusiastic. I presume he's doomed never to make Shinohara into his girlfriend, while he tries really hard to entertain Muco and buy her treats... which generally don't work as hoped because he's not Komatsu. He wears death metal shirts and never takes off his shades.
4. RENA - a small girl who tortures Muco. The show improved a bit when she showed up.
5. BOUDA - Rena's dad. He's divorced, with a huge afro.
6. SHINOHARA - a hot babe who lives nearby, but never gets as much story time as you'd expect. You'd expect her to become Komatsu's girlfriend, given the law of Conservation of Dramatic Resources... but no. She just drops into episodes occasionally, being sweet. Muco's jealous of her and growls a lot.
7. DR MUTOU - a flaming camp homosexual and Muco's vet. If he mattered at all to the story, you could imagine offence being taken in some quarters at the stereotype. Muco thinks he's Satan.
The visuals are super-cheap, which is faithful to the manga. I'm pretty sure the show's Flash-animated, or some other computer tool that a ten-year-old could use. It looks fine, though. It's deliberately crude, simple art that suits the show's style. I think the only time I really noticed that this was CGI animation was a brief shot of Ushikou and Shinohara running in ep.25.
Technically this is the third Muco anime season, but Seasons 1-2 were just interstitials on another TV program, made by a different studio. The two Muco shows are unrelated, except for being based on the same manga and using all the same voice actresses. (Only the male voice actors are different. Don't ask me why.) Is it a good show? Umm... sort of. It's relaxing, but by no means unmissable. Bizarrely it also introduces a new regular and some important backstory in the last few episodes, when you'd think the show could have made more out of that material had it not shoved in at the end of the series. No storyline whatsoever. Sometimes funny. Everyone's likeable. You could try an episode or two to see what you thought, I suppose.