The Fall 2017 Anime Preview Guide
Fall 2017 Short Anime
In the wake of last season's phenomenal Tsuredure Children, it's looking like this won't be much of a season for short anime. Outside of a scattering of sequels, there just plain aren't many shorts, and the ones I saw didn't really impress me. On the other hand, neither of these shorts are truly terrible, either—they're just not things I'm looking for.
First up, we've got Love is Like a Cocktail, which basically feels like the cozy adult version of Umaru-chan. Chisato Mizusawa stays quiet and professional at work, but when she gets home, she enjoys diverse cocktails courtesy of her mild-mannered husband. This show is essentially a combination of liquor porn, food porn, and accommodating house-husband porn, making for a generally pleasant but not terribly thrilling watch. The appeal of shows like this often rests in how well they can capture both the tastiness of their chosen foods/drinks and also the comfort of their overall setting, and I felt this first episode's plum cocktail didn't really stand out as a beverage. Still, the show's production values are reasonable enough, and it certainly creates an inviting sense of place. Wakakokaze is still probably the king of this particular subgenre, but if you're looking for a new show that acts as a quick shot of liquor porn, this is a perfectly okay production.
Next and last up, there's Taishō Mebiusline Chicchai-san, which centers on Hiiragi Kyoichiro. Chicchaisan spends most of its first episode establishing its setting - Imperial Japan just after World War I, in a world where some people like Kyoichiro can apparently see the spirits of the dead. But instead of going in any sort of ghost-hunter direction, Chicchaisan's main conceit seems to be “going to Tokyo turns some men into chibified versions of themselves, which they themselves are actually conscious of.” The first episode unfortunately doesn't reveal where the show's going with this strangely meta premise, but the show mostly seems like a vehicle for cute boys in both full-size and chibi varieties. There's just not enough to this first episode to say more than that—there's no hook beyond the weirdness of the premise, and Kyoichiro doesn't get any further than realizing what's happened before the episode ends.
Overall, Love is Like a Cocktail is easily my favorite of these two, if only because its first episode executed on a clear appeal. But on the whole, I wouldn't actually recommend either of these shorts. That's fine by me, though—in a season this stacked with excellent full-length productions, I've got much less need to rely on shorts. This is a great time to be watching anime!
Love is Like a Cocktail kind of baffles me. That's probably because as a non-drinker and someone uncomfortable around drunk people, I just don't get the appeal. (I have nothing against alcohol; it's just not for me.) I suppose there's something sweet about the house-husband wanting his wife to be able to relax and be herself when she's at home de-stressing from work, but if she's so uncomfortable being herself, shouldn't perhaps seek treatment for her anxiety? I'm sure I'm overthinking this. But if a three-minute short raises so many questions, perhaps that means that I shouldn't be watching it.
Oh, Rainy Cocoa, I didn't miss you at all! But now you're back, spicing things up with a tsundere Shiba Inu, so I may have to give you a third chance. There's not much to this episode, which may be the shortest of the season's shorts at only two minutes and thirty seconds, so all we know is that a new Rainy Cocoa coffee shop has been opened in Hawaii, and it's not doing nearly as well as it should after a brief opening rush. What's to be done? Bring in a dog! I'm not sure how Hawaiian laws feel about that, but as a dog lover, I'm all for it, and it will probably trick me into watching at least another couple of episodes to see what this third season of the harmless short will have to offer.
This is clearly the season for Shorts that Confuse Me, because Taishō Mebiusline Chicchai-san is absolutely bizarre. But I think it might turn out to be so in a good way—the base story of a young man coming to the city to attend university but suddenly turning into a chibi version of himself because he wished that Tokyo ghosts would be cute is kind of fun. He appears to have spiritual powers of some kind that are caught up in the sword his family insisted he bring with him, and I suspect that he's also got a guardian spirit who misunderstood his wish. There's also the bonus for some viewers that this may be our only BL offering this season, and the ending theme makes it look like there will be plenty of contenders for the hero's affections. This is weird overall, but it's worth a glance and could be a lot of fun.
And speaking of weird, there's Onyankopon, a three-and-a-half minute CG outing that will make you never, ever want to hear the word “kawaii” again. Seriously, even though the joke that the girls are just reflexively saying it after every increasingly strange costume suggestion (Drill-hands! Natto-face! Half-Zombie!) is amusing, the sound itself becomes grating quickly. It is cute, though—the basic premise appears to be that Onyankopon is a cat god of some kind who looks in his magic mirror to help humans in trouble. His first humans are four middle or high school girls who need costumes and choreography for their school festival. Onyankopon to the rescue! Honestly, there's not much to this and I'm very much afraid I'll be singing “pon pon pon” in my sleep tonight, but if you're in need of sugary cuteness, this show has you covered.
Another season, another collection of shorts, though there's only a few non-sequel shows to cover this time around and all of them are quick watches, clocking in at under four minutes each. Honestly, I'm perfectly fine with this; fall is positively bursting with quality show after quality show, so the shorts can do what they do best: offer a brief reprieve from the season's many main attractions without overstaying their welcome.
First up is Love is Like a Cocktail, which is a romantic comedy that revolves around cocktails (shocking, I know). The main gag seems to be seeing Chisato, consummate office professional, acting all giggly and cuddly with her husband Sora after downing some drinks. This is fine, I suppose, though it isn't so much funny as vaguely cute, which might be good enough for a three minute short. Honestly, the real appeal seems to lie in seeing what new drinks are served up each episode (we even get a convenient recipe!). The plum splet is a drink I've never heard of, but it looks damn tasty, and while the art isn't quite nice enough to consider the show “food porn”, I was craving a drink much more when the show ended than I had been before. Whether that alone makes Love is a Cocktail worth watching is matter of perspective, though I can't say I'll be eager to revisit it.
Taishō Mebiusline Chicchai-san is next, and unfortunately that title is the most memorable thing about this show, which is otherwise a total bore. It revolves around a young Japanese man named Hiiragi Kyoichiro who wishes to attend the Imperial University in a post WWI Japan. Wary of spirits and other dangers, he arrives in Tokyo to find he has become a cutesy, chibi-fied version of himself, though nobody seems to find this odd. That's literally all there is to this episode, so unless you find this very specific setup entertaining, there's not much else Taishō Mebiusline Chicchai-san has to offer. It isn't funny, it doesn't look very good, and almost the whole episode is devoted to Hiiragi's bland exposition. I have no idea who this show might be for, but it's definitely not for me.
Last, and most certainly least, we've got Onyankopon, a computer animated short about extremely colorful anthropomorphic animals that seem to be loosely inspired by the mythology of the West African Ashanti people. Based on my research, Onyankopon is one of the Ashanti's most revered deities, but he also has “nyan” in his name, so in this show's he's a black cat that wears a sheet over his head, because why the hell not, I guess. This short is generally just awful. From its terrible animation to the obnoxious song the animals sing to help some random Japanese schoolgirls pick out their cultural festival costumes, the show manages to fit an unbelievable amount of obnoxious loudness into a paltry three-and-a-half minutes. It is a nightmare from which I am still trying to wake, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
So there you have it! For a season that's gotten off to such a strong start, the shorts this time around are unfortunately lame. Love is Like a Cocktail seems harmless enough, but that's the best thing I could say about any of these shows. I haven't see Rainy Cocoa, Love Rice, or Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls Theater, but I sure do hope they end up better than this lot.
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