Keiji FujiwaraAyana TaketatsuTatsuhisa SuzukiManami Numakura
Dagashi Kashi season 1
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2016: D
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Director: Shigehito Takayanagi
Original creator: Kotoyama
Actor: Atsushi Abe, Ayana Taketatsu, Keiji Fujiwara, Manami Numakura, Tatsuhisa Suzuki
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 15 June 2017
There's not much point in it. It's another rural slice-of-life anime, like Non Non Biyori, but with even less content. I spent the first half of the series wondering why I was still watching it. It then perhaps improved, slightly, but only to the level of being mostly pointless.
It's about dagashi, which are a bit like old-fashioned penny sweets. There are many different kinds and they've been around since the Edo era. Traditional dagashi stores have been declining for a while, as often seems to happen these days with anything traditional, but ironically this anime renewed people's interest in them. (I told Tomoko about it and she approved. She used to eat dagashi and has fond memories of them.)
The show's problem for a non-Japanese audience (e.g. me) is that it's almost entirely about dagashi. The characters talk about dagashi. That's it. They don't have independent motivations, desires or any dramatic context. They're dagashi conversations wrapped in anime characters. Imagine a middling standup comedian doing a long, rambling routine about the penny sweets we all used to eat as children. That's all you'd have left if you took a transcript of this show, then topped and tailed the introductory lead-in bits. Nothing here matters. Nothing is important. It's a show about dagashi. The characters' dramatic function is to be a vehicle for dagashi monologues. The show isn't even reaching the level of iyashikei, in which the characters' dialogue and actions will at least be based on their personalities and take place in conventionally written scenes, even if those scenes will have less weight than candyfloss and have nothing happening in them.
That said, the observations seem quite good. I'm not qualified to judge, but I got that impression. I'd have probably enjoyed listening to them if I'd grown up eating dagashi. It's also worth pointing out that the cast are reasonably entertaining and occasionally show signs of independent life. They do have personalities.
1. HOTARU (purple hair, big boobs) is a larger-than-life dagashi freak for whom sweets are practically a religion. She's the show's main engine. She can go off on a dagashi rant at the drop of a caramel flake and she's actually quite an entertaining person.
2. KOKONOTSU wants to be a manga artist, but unfortunately he's the de facto owner of a dagashi shop in a rural village that probably gets about two visitors a decade. (The real owner is his father, who's almost as mental as Hotaru.) Do they have any customers? There's no sign that anyone visits the shop. Admittedly they haven't closed down yet, but that's not conclusive evidence since Kokonotsu's dad's a whack job. The only time we see someone go in is, I think, in ep.11 and that's a small boy who spends ten yen (i.e. nothing) and gets given sweets for free anyway.
3. SAYA helps run a local cafe and has a crush on Kokonotsu. She doesn't really like sweet things, but she puts up with it all good-naturedly.
4. TOU is Saya's twin brother and a bit of an idiot. He always wears sunglasses.
Occasional episodes have a bit of Saya-Kokonotsu business. It's not going anywhere, but it's quite nice. Eps.6-7 have some flashback incidents from their childhood. There's some horror pastiche in ep.8 for the stories Tou tells because of Super Scary Story Gum, which I found the best thing in the series. The show's second half managed to amuse me, in a low-key way, and I'm now wondering whether it got better or whether I simply acclimatised.
Everyone has huge, unnnatural eyes. They're not manga-style big eyes, but instead some kind of vaguely alien staring with cross-eyed pupils that are either too small (Kokonotsu, Saya, Tou) or big and spiralling (Hotaru).
It's a pleasant show, but a bewildering one. I don't get it. My imagination reels a little at the idea that someone created this, since it's like the opposite of any argument you might propose for fiction to exist. However I did manage to get through it, although I'm not sure why. It's sort of nice. I was amused sometimes. I've already deleted my copies of the episodes and there's absolutely no chance of my ever feeling the need to rewatch it.