Shin-Ei Animation’s 2014 otaku-culture-fest may tick a lot of boxes for manga store fans but its zany antics fail to impress. The action focuses on the lives of seven employees at the Umanohone Bookstore (abbreviated to just “Uma” and meaning “the horse’s bone” – a tongue-in-cheek-reference to real-world doujin shop Comic Toranoana – “the tiger’s lair”). It is a fairly obvious setup for a self-referential manga. Why not read manga about people who read manga then watch an anime based upon that manga? It sounds like it could be a lot of fun and the young shelf-stackers are your typical slice-of-life stereotypes: we have the manga guru, the innocent newbie, the shy girl obsessed by zombies, the amateur manga author/artist and so on. When the manga artist needs help they all muck-in to form in impromptu doujin-circle. Like that is normal huh? Then they all troop off to Comiket. This is the first show we have seen where season one has two Christmas episodes and two Valentine’s Day episodes. It is so lacking in imagination it has to repeat these significantly over-cliched celebrations to piece together a story. Other than stacking books, talking about girl’s panties and having mad unfulfilled crushes on each other not much else happens. To keep the thing steam-rollering along the anime is filled with over-the-top visual gags such as bashing imagined zombies with a base-ball bat and other such violent-looking action. It thinks of itself as “crazy” and "whacky" in delivery but sadly the humour is way wide of the mark and it mostly fails to deliver any humour. A typical scene has the bookstore clerks getting drunk in a park. We wanted to like this show but it fell pretty flat. The visual humour just isn’t funny so we assume that fans were laughing at the otaku jokes. We weren’t. Dull.