Onigiri
Medium:
Year:
2016
Director:
Writer:
Takamitsu Kouno
Actor:
Aina Suzuki, Eriko Matsui, Izumi Kitta, Natsuko Hara, Suzuko Mimori, Katsuyuki Konishi, Monya Nakane, Nozomi Kishita, Yuki Nakashima
Keywords:
Country:
Language:
Format:
13 four-minute episodes
Url:
Website category:
Review date:
3 March 2017
oni giri
It's based on a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and it's almost content-free. I'd watch an episode, but then afterwards I wouldn't have been able to describe what happened in it. Even for a four-minute gag anime, it struggles to find a point. The cast's fairly big, but that's not such a good thing when you can't tell them apart except by their clothes. What could I compare it with? It's... ah, it's nowhere near the level of something like Bikini Warriors, for instance. That was another silly four-minute fantasy comedy about underdressed adventurers with big boobs, but at least that show's episodes felt like episodes. They had a story, instead of just random stuff happening. There were character-based jokes and you knew who everyone was. That's not true here. An average Onigiri episode will have girls being generically and indistinguishably perky in a fantasy setting, with random light-hearted stuff happening for four minutes. It's inoffensive, but it's also forgettable.
The things I can remember about this show are:
(a) quite a lot of jokes about this being a computer game universe, e.g. the server going down, the players' accounts being suspended for unauthorised behaviour, etc. This overlaps with a modest amount of fourth wall breaking, such as when the characters tell us that the server load has increased because there have been more game users since the anime started. Also, in ep.13, we're told that the show's budget won't stretch to any more action scenes after ep.12's mecha battles.
(b) eps.8-10, which tell a story and are actually good.
(c) come to think of it, ep.3 isn't bad either. It's just another comedy episode rather than an actual story like eps.8-10, but it's based around quite a good joke.
(d) the title sequence, which will have been the biggest reason why the audience watched this show. Jiggling girls dance in skimpy outfits. The theme music's quite fun too. Admittedly that's a bad reason to watch an entire TV series, even a short-form one like this, but on this occasion that's the best you're going to get.
The show's premise is that everyone's a warrior in a fantasy version of ancient Japan. You're hunting monsters called Kamikui (literally "god-eaters")... and that's it. The characters can only be distinguished by their appearances, although in fact they tend to be real figures from history or myth. The one whose name I managed to remember, for instance, is Shizuka Gozen (1165-1211), a court dancer and mistress of a famous warrior and herself one of the most famous women in Japanese history and literature. Others include Ibaraki douji (a demon in tales of the Heian era), Amaterasu (sun goddess), etc.
However if you're actually watching the show, these potentially interesting people will have become in practice: (a) a pink kimono, (b) a tiny bikini and a red-and-black hairdo that looks like horns, (c) pink hair with braids, (d) a red maid outfit, (e) a flame-coloured robe and silly pigtails, (f) a boy whose unheard voice is only conveyed through subtitles, because "this show only uses female voice artists". Later we'll also meet (g) a busty dark-skinned blonde in another tiny bikini, (h) someone else, and (i) someone else. Remembering the characters in any more detail than that would mean you had to have been taking notes.
That said, though, it's watchable. It passes the time good-naturedly, while occasionally it does manage to raise itself above its usual level. These episodes are always actually about the monsters. Ep.3 is about a 1870-metre tall colossus called Master Kamikui Mephistopheles with the face of a half-eaten dinosaur and the heart of a tender maiden. She's insecure about her height and thinks she can't get a date. That was funny, but eps.8-10 are actually worth your time. Two gargoyle sisters live happily together in the mountains, feeding each other udon and agreeing never to eat anyone. Again, they look like reptile roadkill. They're monsters. If you saw them, you'd run away. However this is a point-of-view episode that gives them the voices of schoolgirls, while the humans who hunt them are speaking in animalistic roars. This three-part episode dabbles in tragedy, jealousy, vengeance and more. I liked it. There are attempted comedy bits and the ending's too abrupt to work properly, but that was still format-breaking by the standards of this series.
Otherwise, though, it's just pretty anime girls being silly in a computer game fantasy environment. Ep.12 has a mecha battle. Ep.7 turns everyone into chibi versions of themselves. It's the kind of thing you'd watch because it's only four minutes long and because the title sequence is fun.
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