“THIS IS THE SHOPPING DISTRICT OF LOVE!”
I didn’t really get the second episode. Like it seemed like Midori’s melancholy came out of nowhere, and it was kinda weird to halfheartedly focus on Midori for the episode as kinda yet not sideplot to the whole Valentine’s Day makeover of Bunny Mountain Shopping District.
Then it dawned on me when Tamako reaches for Midori’s hair, Midori is feeling all melancholy for Tamako. By process of elimination (unless they are pulling a mysterious man X thing like Raki Suta), it’s either going to be the bird or Tamako that Midori is blushing over, and I doubt it’s that dumb bird. Still, the whole episode felt a bit off as it should have focused on the holiday or on Midori as a main plot, and it couldn’t decide which was the main plot and which was the subplot so both seem a bit underdeveloped. It didn’t help that we haven’t really had more episodes already to establish some sort of longing over time on Midori’s part.
(And, of course, the narrator at the end says, “Some flowers bloom unseen.” Well, this is 2013. Midori can love whomever she wants. And, really, does this show need a narrator? No. It does not.)
So totally 100% confused by this scene that I won’t even try to rationalize the fact that there’s a talking mochi-addicted bird who can somehow be a projector by chomping on an S-video cable (S-video has no power!!!). Anyway, if I assume this premise of a bird who can plug in an S-video cable and then display the contents on a screen and also receive video phone calls from halfway around the world, I can’t get over how no one asks about this occurrence. The town accepted a talking bird pretty quickly, and they barely noticed that the bird had this extra function. And then they totally forget about this random Prince that shows up on the projector. There’s not even a slight “Hide yo daughters, it’s gonna go down like Eddie Murphy ‘Coming to America'” concern. That, to me, if unbelievable. If this happened in modern America, not only would Dera be dissected, but the Prince would receive a visit from a Predator drone.
Asagiri is the generic quiet and cool character. It’s a character archetype that pretty much every harem anime has, and one that Kyoto seems to love. Mai, Yuki, Kotomi-chan, Mio, Mai (the other one), and, Mao. You could argue Mori Summer aspires to be that way. There’s not much special about Asagiri except she doesn’t need a four episode arc to defrost herself (or is never defrosted a la Mao). The interesting thing is with Asagiri, there’s the quiet and cool character. There’s the spunky heroine type (Tamako), there’s the little sister (Anko), there’s the more energetic one (Midori), and there’s the scatterbrain one (Kanna). Toss in the obligatory crossdresser and doofy male sidekick Mochizou, Tamako Market is a harem anime. With a fucking bird as the male lead. And… you know what? It’s an improvement considering the other harem anime on recently. Generally male harem leads lack personality, well, Mochimazui, has plenty of it.
Also, it feels like Kyoto came up with the character names during a drunken 2am brainstorming session. I bet the staff was lost in giggles as someone suggested “Mochizou” as a character name. Really? “Mochi Store”? Not even Nisio Isin would resort to this lame pun (okay, maybe he/she would). “Mochimazui” just sounds like a pr0n name but not as much as “Mochioishi,” I guess. The rest of the names… Kanna, Shiori, Tamako, Midori… are pretty generic. Colors! Oh well, not everyone can have an awesome name like “Lennay Kekua.”
(Bunny Mountain Shopping District? I would so shop there just for the name. Much better than Westfield Shoppingtown or Twelve Oaks Mall or The Grove or The Galleria.)
She got a birdie! Get it?
(Asagiri is in the badminton club. Badminton is played with shuttlecocks; however, shuttlecocks can also be referred to as “birdies.” Hence, the visual pun is that Asagiri caught a birdie. However, the jokes goes one step further in that it follows the traditional comedic pattern where something is repeated 3 times with the last time slightly variant for comedic effect… in this case, Asagiri fails to catch the birdie in the third attempt. That, my friends, is textbook comedy.)
Tamako’s dad is such a softie. Only in anime can we have a parent who genuinely cares for and fawns over their kids. If this were a Hollywood drama, Tamako’s dad would be either a drunk deadbeat struggling to reacquire his love of making mochi, or he’d be a superstar asshole mochi mogul who bums around with Anthony Bourdain. There’s no in between.
(And, yes, if Anthony Bourdain can sell out and be on The Taste, he can sell out and play a minor character on a mochi drama set in Beverly Hills. Mochimazui, of course, would be voiced by Seth Green.)
The cafe that they go to is kinda like the point in the episode where Tim the Toolman Taylor goes to talk to Wilson. Always a place of personal revelation for the characters. It’s interesting in that it’s not the bartender or really the setting that does it but rather the company and sometimes quiet introspection. Or maybe it’s the music. The cafe is a great excuse to play a greater variety of music during an episode.
(Record covers as a background? Mmmm… never been done before. It does make me want to decorate my office the same way, except I own zero records or record players. But I could start a collection starting with this one… nah. Digital media 4eva.)
Tamako is like 20% cuter with her glasses. Also, wouldn’t it eventually be painful for such a fat bird to be sitting on one’s head?
(Kyoto’s animation prowess… they’re just showing off at this point. It’s like the end of an NBA All-Star game when it just degrades to a non-stop cavalcade of dunks and alley-oops because no one wants to play defense.)
They even nail all the same touches like “Dera’s Chair” for the stack of manga magazines. They do not cheap out, unlike oh, Minami-ke.
1. Dera Mochimazui. Because he’s the hero Bunny Mountain Shopping District deserves, but not the one it needs right now.
2. Asagiri. I like the cool and quiet ones. Especially if they are also fulfilling the meido role. Ah Yoriko… the one character missing an analogue in Da Capo III.
3. Tamako’s Dad. Doofy dad is doofy.