Winter 2018 Season Wrap: Mitsuboshi Colors, Takunomi, Slow Start, and The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!


Part three of my winter wrap is here, complete with rampaging children, drunk advertisements, overly self-conscious high school students, and shogi that doesn’t focus enough on shogi.

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.

Mitsuboshi Colors

My children! Half of the time I wanted these kids to look up to me the way they do Whale Factory’s owner an Sat-chan’s Mom, and the other half of the time I just wanted to be their age and join in on their foolishness. Mitsuboshi Colors impressed me right from the beginning with its portrayal of children. Usually, kids are painted in an overly optimistic style. That, or they’re presented as evil incarnate.

The Colors gang, however, act exactly like many of the kids I know. They’re immensely impressionable, adapt quickly to circumstance, and regurgitate more than we often want them to. They can be dumb, clever, sweet, and mean. They’re free to roam and learn from their actions. Theirs is exactly the kind of childhood I’d want for myself, or for my own hypothetical children.

On top of the excellent writing, the show also looks top notch with its near photorealistic backdrops of Ueno Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. I had a lot of fun my past trip visiting some of these spots and recognizing scenes from the show. While I didn’t see the Colors fort, nor the police box they terrorize so frequently, I did watch people paddling swan boats in the pond, take a picture of the panda post box, and walk through Ueno Park during its sakura festival.

Rating: 2 dango

Takunomi

My one short of the season, and an advertisement to boot, Takunomi turned out to be a surprising delight this winter. I don’t know what it is about these sponsored shows lately, but they’ve stepped up their game or something. Takunomi presented a new alcoholic beverage within fififteen minutes every week, including classics like the shochu highball, Sapporo’s Otoko Ume Sour, and Super Dry Asahi. I was delighted to see they even included one of my recent favorites, Wednesday Cat.

The anime succeeded in charming me by providing a setting I immediately found inviting: a house of adult women all dedicated to work or school, yet friendly enough to hang out at night drinking and talking. I’ve never been much of a girl’s girl, at times from choice and at other times from shyness, so seeing their seemingly effortless friendship made me want to jump right in. The history and etiquette to the drinks that followed made me like the anime even more. Because of Takunomi, I started pouring Wednesday Cat into a glass instead of drinking straight from the can. Because of this anime, I sought out Otoko Ume Sour and made sure to muddy mine with umeboshi. Takunomi gave me exactly what I wanted, which is more than I can sometimes say about other shows.

Rating: 0 dango

Slow Start

I have such mixed feelings about Slow Start. At times, it was exactly as its title describes, slow to start and get going. At others, the sharp humor would click along at a breakneck speed, hopping from one topic to the next. The further along the season went, the more this show improved.

Then there were the scenes of sudden sexual tension, which always seemed to drop in out of nowhere. While I would sputter in surprise, I also couldn’t help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the circumstances, particularly between characters like Eiko and her teacher. In no way, shape, or form do I condone that kind of relationship between a student and teacher, but I also can’t deny the clever dialogue and imagery between the two of them.

At the heart of the show, however, is the idea of belonging. Hana, the main character, suffers through the entire season from the fear of others finding out she missed an entire year of school. She didn’t miss it because of poor grades or laziness, but from an illness. Even though she couldn’t help it and isn’t to blame, she still shoulders this overwhelming fear of ridicule. As the show goes on, we find out that many of the other characters have their own version of a “slow start,” like her cousin the landlady, as well as another tenant in the apartments they share. They all question their placement and future to various degrees, but through interactions with one another realize there’s nothing to be ashamed about. These feel-good moments often get buried under the comedy, but I don’t mind in this case since I know the feelings are there, steadily growing stronger.

Rating: 1 dango

The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!

I’ve always been a sucker for sports or games, so it was an obvious move for me to watch The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! The anime had good bones for a worthwhile story, but suffered from the meat of its characters and dialogue. From the standpoint of the game, the path from amateur to master, then later the stress of maintaining a title, is always an interesting one. Yaichi holds the master title of “Ryuo” right from the beginning, and is praised throughout the series for being the youngest to ever do so. The accolades are high, but so are the challenges. If this show had focused solely on him battling against others to hold his title and perhaps even go after other tournaments, I would have been even more interested.

Instead, they decided to bring in apprentices for Yaichi to nurture—young girls. While it’s not odd for trainees to be children, particularly with the aim to go pro, I certainly wasn’t interested in the humor that accompanied these girls. It didn’t take long after Ai’s first appearance in Yaichi’s home for the jokes about her age and their relationship to start rolling out. In the first episode alone there’s a fresh-out-of-bath mishap that results in him falling on top of her while she’s naked. I don’t care that he has no intentions of ever following through on these scenarios, or that his peers frequently condemn any inappropriate actions. I wish the anime had chopping out or rewritten these scenes altogether. Nothing valuable would have been lost by focusing on the games instead. But, that’s not what happened.

I’m still fond of the moments where the anime did decide to turn away from loli jokes towards more interesting subjects, like Keika’s dream of becoming a pro, and of Yaichi’s fight to hold on to the Ryuo title. There were even moments between Yaichi and his young students I appreciated, like when he took one of them, a girl with an overly confident attitude, to a community center to face off against some sly oldies. She gets her butt soundly kicked and realizes she still has a lot to learn, even in the unlikeliest of places.

Rating: 0 dango

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13 thoughts on “Winter 2018 Season Wrap: Mitsuboshi Colors, Takunomi, Slow Start, and The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done!

  1. “There were even moments between Yaichi and his young students I appreciated, like when he took one of them, a girl with an overly confident attitude, to a community center to face off against some sly oldies. She gets her butt soundly kicked and realizes she still has a lot to learn, even in the unlikeliest of places.”

    This was my favorite storyline. The interactions that other Ai had with the shogi community was enough to make the series just keep going and goind, and the Yaichi stuff would have given us the real pro persuing more. But yeah, the loli jokes got really dumb and old from the get-go.

    I work in a local city Market that about 1/8 the size of the one featured in Ueno. It’s also in the middle of an urban center that is part ghetto/part gentrified “community”. So me seeing kids running around is somewhat common, but not to the extend they do here. We do have a really cool park down the way, but smaller. I just can’t tell you which kids are local. But regardless. Colors was a great show. It was just the thing to watch, winding down from work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Watching Colors reminded me that even if I get annoyed at kids doing what I consider dumb things, it’s all part of growing up and learning. While I wish they could do so without the extra burden of all the technology we have these days to record and humiliate them with further down the road, it’s still important that they have that time period to make mistakes. The show really was wonderful to watch and unwind with after a stressful day.

      I really do wish we could have had more time like Yasajin Ai’s training sessions at the center. I don’t necessarily think the show needed to be longer–perhaps if they had cut out all the unnecessary humor and used that time for more valuable character building, the show would have been stronger and had better reception among viewers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m probably more tolerant of playing up male gaze on little kids than you are, but Ryuou was way too much. That’s Project No. 9 for you. They just can’t let it go. Some aspects of the show were really enjoyable. Keika was a good character with a good arc, I thought. I thought both Ai’s had good stories when it wasn’t about cohabitating. But then the show and story dropped the ball, or more like spiked a melon, with Yaichi turning into a total ass for the last story arc, and showing Ginko just flail around trying to get his attention with that hail mary kiss attempt, almost like she’s trying to get Yaichi interested in her before she loses him to Ai, not because he’s actually interested in her, but because she put out first.

    I don’t know if these shogi shows would be more enjoyable or what if I actually knew anything about how to play shogi. At the moment it’s kind of like cricket: You can watch it, and you can see that things happen, and you can understand most of the actions, but you can’t actually figure out how the game is going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I discussed knowledge of shogi with you while the show was ongoing. I cannot help but feel there, if not deeper levels, is a side story going on with the moves. If not saying something more, the game underscores the relationships. If only you can understand the game.

      Liked by 1 person

    • …as for Project No. 9 and Ryou? They’ve actually shown some restraint with this show. Ro-Kyu-Bu! was ridiculous with what it bloody well got away with.

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      • Ro-Kyu-Bu! was a show I tried to watch but just couldn’t get into, but another of their works I partially watched that also shocked me was Tenshi no 3P. I’m not one to usually avoid particular studios, but I should really try to remember this one so I’m not always so surprised.

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    • Yaichi’s complete change of character did feel very off compared to how he was the rest of the season. While I enjoyed seeing the pressure the matches put on him, I still thought they wrote him far too extreme. Then they made it worse with Ginko’s involvement staining her own professional position.

      Maybe knowing shogi would make these kinds of works more enjoyable, but I don’t think it necessary when strong writing is involved. Take, for example, Hikaru no Go or even Saki. Both of those went pretty far with descriptions of the games yet I never lost interest thanks to my attachment to the characters and the tension built up for each match.

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  3. I really liked Slow Start, it was probably a little ahead of Yuru Camp for second best show of winter for me. I really liked the banter between the characters. I liked that it would suddenly shift to feelings of interest in another person, whether it was Kamu worried about losing Eiko, or Eiko the ladykiller having Enami turn her from the hunter into the hunted (not that Enami is going after Eiko, but more that that’s how other girls feel about Eiko), showing her that difference between being serious about a person and being nice to a person.

    There were also a lot of little touches to the show that I thought were really authentic. Things like Hana having different knowledge with different people, like Eiko telling only her about her side jewelry business, and the thing with the three women being “ronin” from different circumstances, or Hana and Tama having that more traditional friendship. And also things like Tama’s two grandmas, which I’m totally going to believe is a long-term lesbian partnership.

    I just really found the show fun and engaging. And everyone has the coolest clocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah! I didn’t even notice the clocks. Now I’m going to need to go back and look out for them.

      I had a hard time figuring out why I liked this show so much since I constantly felt like the rug was being pulled out from my expectations, but you give a strong explanation. I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said. The jewelry bit between Eiko, Hana, and the teacher was so small, yet so important to my understanding of them separately and together.

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  4. I mentioned that toddlers are not my favorite in the School Babysitters part of your reviews, but I’d much rather deal with the Colors. Independent minded, self-actualizing, not hanging around the adults trying to get attention. Going out and being bratty kids, and learning how to be their own people.

    One of the things I liked the most about Mitsuboshi Colors was the Yui bait and switch. They kind of played her up for a long time as being the softy of the group, the one that’s picked on by Sat-chan and Kotoha, but then when you push her just the littlest bit too far, she is just brutal. So, so brutal. Like totally blowing off Nonoka with her attempts at stories, and destroying Kotoha about her lack of talent at video games, which Yui then proves by beating the game she’s working on in minutes. I totally loved what they did with Yui.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Between School Babysitters and Mitsuboshi Colors, I definitely always looked out for Colors. It was easily one of my favorites of the season and I’ll always recommend it for comedy lovers.

      Yui really was a great character. Just as you describe, most of the time she seems like a doormat to the other two. But push her too far, and you quickly see why they might have made her the leader. Imagining them as adults I think she’s the one I’d be most wary of!

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  5. I watched Takunomi, and it was fine, but I don’t have much to say about it, because I really don’t ever drink alcohol. I can’t relax enough when I do to enjoy it. The thought and act of drinking alcohol makes me conscious about drinking it. Plus, I’m huge (6’2″ 250 pounds) so it seems like it doesn’t affect me at the low levels I can really tolerate, because I don’t really like the taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alcohol isn’t for everyone, and even though I like it very much, in reality I don’t drink very much of it. Maybe a couple of instances a month, if that. My tolerance is pretty good, but for beer I just don’t like the feelings of fullness and gas afterward. I’d rather eat! Another thing I like about alcohol is that it does sometimes help conversations move along, especially if you have a little shyness or uncertainty. Most recently, it helped when I was in Japan with my exchange sister’s husband, who understands more English than he can speak. Once he had a drink, he was much more confident in talking to us, and more relaxed.

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