The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
How would you rate episode 1 of
Community score: 3.3
What is this?
The Onigami sisters are surprised one day when a strange, round creature with a horn on its head shows up at their house. Youngest sister Mei convinces her oldest sister Mutsumi to let her keep it, at least until she finds its owner, and soon "Mochi" is a beloved member of the household...and that's when his friends show up! Now there are twelve strange little horned ball-creatures living with the sisters, and soon enough their owner does appear - but he's Jabberwock the 8th, a demon from hell!
How was the first episode?
The hardest thing to review isn't something that's good or bad—or even something that's mediocre. No, the hardest thing to review is something with no substance whatsoever... which brings us to Chimimo. For nearly 10 minutes after I finished watching, I stared at my blank notepad, struggling to figure out what to write. I think that's pretty telling about what to expect from this anime.
I have to admit, I'm not completely sure who exactly Chimimo is for. Judging by the art style, permeating cuteness, and occasional gross-out humor, I'd assume it was for children—if it weren't for the fact that it airs at 1:30 AM in Japan. That pretty much means it is aimed at adults—and granted some of the jokes are things that only adults would understand. The “hells” of normal life we see are very much things that most Japanese adults have experienced. (And let me tell you, that apartment hunting hell you see here is absolutely not an exaggeration.) However, simply pointing out something exists isn't exactly the peak of humor.
Still, it could potentially work if we could empathize with the characters. However, despite spending 22 minutes with the three Onigami sisters, they're still pretty much blank slates. The middle sister is a struggling artist (and a drunk) and the oldest is strict about being online too much but that's all we get. I mean, I don't even have a clue how old the youngest sister is. With this art style, she could be anything from six to 18.
In the end, the only things about Chimimo I enjoyed were the pastel color pallet and simple character designs. The show itself, however, is basically nothing but cute fluff—and I need more than that in the anime I watch.
It's nearly a guarantee that at least once every season we'll get a show that has absolutely no business being a full half-hour long. Sometimes, the premise and cast clicks so well that I can find myself engaged despite my usual hang-ups, but most of the time I just end up bored to tears. Thankfully, Chimimo is the rare instance where the needlessly elongated version is still pretty okay, but just think of what could have been. Here we have a solid comedy premise that has been brought to life with a relatively fun and fresh day-glo aesthetic, and yet the final product simply wasn't very fun for me to watch, because I spent the whole first half of the premiere checking my proverbial watch and begging time to go by faster.
I appreciate the average family that Chimimo introduces us to: the Onigami sisters are sweet and likable each in their own way, even if their preferred meal of broiled fish head is literally the most god awful horrifying thing I've ever seen put on a plate in my life. The little mochi squishos that show up to bounce around and eat all the rest of their foodstuffs, though, didn't do a thing for me, at least until their more demonic origins became apparent when Jabberwock arrived. If this were a ten or fifteen minute long short where the visual jokes came at a quicker pace and we didn't have to deal with so much dead air in the dialogue, I'd probably have had a better time all around, but the extra dozen or so minutes tacked on to this thing honestly felt interminable at points.
Things pick up a lot when Jabberwock shows up, however. Am I juvenile to have laughed at the sight of a drunken Hazuki pukes rainbow-sparkle vomit all over the giant demon in her backyard? Yes, yes I am. I also just find the character of Jabberwock to be much more interesting than anything that was going on with the Onigami ladies or the runaway hell spawn. I'm always down for seeing an ostensibly terrifying nightmare beast turn out to be an incompetent and completely out-of-his-depth nincompoop. I'll pass on all the scenes of the squishos bouncing around and squeaking; give me more of Jabberwock struggling to navigate the truly hellish world of securing a rental contract.
I think Chimimo will end up finding an audience, for sure, because it does what it sets out to do very well. It's vibrant, silly, and chock full of precision-engineered cuteness. It's also not at all the kind of anime I plan to sit down and watch on a regular basis, but don't let that stop you from checking in on the Onigami gang and seeing what all of the squishy fuss is about.
If little kids aren't your preferred variety of cute, give Chimimo a try! Falling somewhere between “mysterious creatures” and “impish cats,” the gooey little round demons are nothing if not adorable…and yes, they do appear to have escaped from hell. Or maybe left hell in advance of their master, Jabberwock the 8 th ? It's a bit hard to say, but the key to summoning both them and him appears to be to say the word “hell” enough; that's what brought first Mochi and later his eleven little Chimimo friends to stay with the Onigami sisters, and once they're all assembled, they conduct a mysterious summoning ritual on the lawn to bring over Jabberwock. Who knew evil could be so darn cute?
There is a story in here, too, but it's honestly eclipsed by the antics of the monsters themselves. Apparently Jabberwock wanted to destroy the human realm, but when his plans are stymied by middle sister Hazuki barfing on him and then his minions defecting to youngest sister Mei, he's out in the cold all alone. He's still determined to at least turn the human realm into a hell on Earth, but to do that he needs money and a place to stay – and a quick, hard lesson in how virtually nothing in life comes free and that one may not want to trust women holding scissors. The sisters' lives may not be turning into a living hell any time soon, but Jabberwock's almost certainly is.
The plot is fun enough, but make no mistake, it's really about the cute factor. The soft, pastel shades and simple lines of the art work well to keep things feeling light-hearted and easy-going, and if you don't think too hard about the Chimimo's horns and how they all stick together, there's a major appeal in how they look and act. There's not much to say about this really: it exists to be cute and a little funny, and this first episode succeeds in those goals. It could easily have been a short and worked just as well, but it's fine as it is – fluff that will sell a thousand plushes.
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