You’re not alone if you’ve been thinking this season has a lack of original shows, but now there’s a remedy: Moyashimon (もやしもん Tales of Agriculture) just started airing in the Noitamina slot on Fuji TV, Thursdays at 24:45, where it will run for 11 episodes.
Previously known for the splendid Uninhabited Planet Survive, director Yano Yuuichirou joins prolific screenwriter Takahashi Natsuko (Bleach, School Rumble) to animate this peculiar manga by Ishikawa Masayuki. It’s currently out in 5 volumes, having been in publication since 2004, and with its cutesy deformed design seems popular among children, despite actually being meant for adults.
The main character is Sawaki Tadayasu, a regular Japanese blond guy (uh) who’s just moved to Tokyo to attend a college of agriculture, along with his best buddy Yuuki Kei (with proper black hair). The trouble is, Tadayasu isn’t very regular at all – in fact he can see, touch and speak to germs. Being able to discern what types of germ inhabit a puddle of goo can be quite useful, and this potential is clear to Itsuki Keizou, a germ researching professor, who’s an old friend of Tadayasu’s grandfather. Not everyone is convinced Tadayasu is telling the truth, however, and to prove his abilities he’s put through a rigorous test by the department’s graduate student and resident bondage babe, Hasegawa Haruka.
With the enormous audience of the Noitamina block, this production appears to have been supplied with ample money, because few shows have looked quite as HD as this, with wonderfully crisp art and solid animation by Shirogumi. I’d like to praise the music composed by the excellent Satou Naoki (Eureka Seven, Heroic Age) , but the fact is that it’s so subtle that I barely even noticed it. On the vocal side, Tadayasu’s played by Sakaguchi Daisuke, who’s recently been showing up a lot in supporting roles, most notably as Sunohara in Clannad, and he’s good at giving his characters a slightly retarded comical side, which seems fitting in this case. Childhood buddy Kei is handled by Saiga Mitsuki, a woman who always seems to end up playing young men, lately with Jomy in Terra e. Miss Hasegawa’s done by Oohara Sayaka (Alicia in ARIA), which is interesting, because she gets to be much nastier than her usual “kindly elder sister” parts. Looking at the website’s character page, it can also be noted that we’ll eventually hear familiar voices like Konishi Katsuyuki (Kamina in Gurren-Lagann), Noto Mamiko (Matsuri in sola), and Kanda Akemi (Asuna in Negima!).
Moyashimon is an amusing show, in spite of how wacky it sounds. It’s easy to think these floating germs and viruses would be gimmicky and annoying, but it’s done tastefully without feeling excessive, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of stories they can create with these remarkable little buggers. With the more adult setting of a college campus, we’ll hopefully be spared any ridiculous teenage angst romance as well, which there’s quite enough of this fall. On top of this, Moyashimon was also given one of the most interesting openings I’ve seen in a long time. I really need to learn more biology terms to follow this, though.
Reminds me of: You tell me, mister. Mushi-shi?