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vivafruit

  • Boulder, CO
  • Joined Jan 1, 2007
  • 29 / M

To call Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou “slice-of-life” is quite the understatement, for this anime is not merely a “slice” of life; it’s the entire goddamn pie. Never before have I seen an anime that so single-mindedly focused on realism. The anime has no conflict whatsoever, but instead relies entirely on the general mood of the show to entertain the audience.

What, exactly, is the mood of the show? Good question. Some may make the case that the anime is cheerful, but this, in my opinion, is not entirely true. While watching the show, I was also struck by an overwhelming feeling of isolation, a separation from all that mattered. Ironically enough, the main character seems trapped among a prison of open fields. Although she can see miles in every direction, she will never wander farther than a few miles away from the Cafe she owns. While the calm, stress-free environment is peaceful, at the same time there is always a frightfully forlorn undertone that runs through the work. One gets the feeling that she is separated from reality, in a pocket of the world that no one will ever remember.

Probably the most interesting question that came up in my head as I was watching the show was whether the main character was actually happy. She certainly appears to be, but as she obsesses over trivial issues like making coffee and taking photographs, a subtle undercurrent of yearning seems to permeate her entire being – a yearning to be something more, to have a place in the world, to see what is beyond the seemingly endless countryside.

Despite what I’ve said, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou never quite manages to be wholly entertaining. The anime is undeniably quite relaxing, but it also happens to be frightfully dull at times. In the end, I’m going to recommend this (this anime has certainly piqued my interest enough to watch the second OVA), but with a strong warning: if you heavily value storyline, dynamic characters, or any sort of action whatsoever, then this anime is probably not for you.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
6/10 overall

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RingoStarr1991 says...

Really good review. I love the manga but his OVA just seems.....not as well done as it could be. To everyone don't let the anime drive you away; just read the manga its really good.

Aug 25, 2011
Elwood says...

I'm not sure if I can entirely agree with your assessment on the show. I can't argue that it's slowpaced, has no plot and is almost entirely focused on mood. But some of the finer points of your review just didn't ring true to me.

Perhaps Alpha isn't joyously happy with her existence, maybe there is a sense of longing. She's definitely a character that has known a very simple existence, and only occasionally stretches a bit and goes outside her comfort zone. But I find some of your comments about the world she lives in odd, as if she's tucked away from the "real world."

You say that she's isolated from "reality," that she's fixated on trivial matters, but considering the world she lives in I'm not so sure that's true. As she says at the end of both episodes, this is a world in it's twilight years. You say she's living in a pocket of the world seperate from anything that matters, but in all likelihood the world IS only a bunch of pockets full of people now. Just small towns and a some folks scattered here and there living simple lives.

Civilization as we know it doesn't exist in this world anymore, so really, what matters in a world like this? For the people who exist in this world, just living is enough. Enjoying the small things is all there is to do for most of these people. Maybe you're right that there's a forlorn tone to some of the scenes, but I think that this is to expected when we're looking at the end of an era, with constant reminders of what used to be there, like the submerged neighborhood at the end of the second episode.

I can understand not liking this series. It's slow, it's quiet, there's no real story and as a two episode OVA nobody is especially fleshed out. Who knows, maybe the material was handled better in the manga (I haven't read it, but I'd like to). It's not going to appeal to everybody, but I enjoyed it and wouldn't mind looking into this world again. If nothing else, it's nicer then the usual bombed-out Hell-hole scenarios we get with most "after the end" type fiction.

Oct 10, 2010