Moyashimon – 02
Sawaki runs out to the balcony of the laboratory with Kei to look for the source of the sudden influx of lactobacillus fructivorans. Professor Itsuki and his assistant, Haruka, join them. She talks about lactobacillus fructivorans being a species of bacteria that simultaneously feeds on mevalonic acid and spoils sake, which is abundant with said acid. All this talk brings up a flashback to Kei – the lactobacillus bacteria caused a mass spoilage of numerous kegs of sake in the past, which almost lead to the bankruptcy of his family’s sake business and resulted in the suicide of one of his relatives.
Kei fires up with this past memory, and brings Sawaki along to look for the mess. The professor and Haruka, curious, follow them to the first floor. Here, Haruka demands Sawaki to look for the storage room that contains the secretly brewed and contaminated sake (while Sawaki mutters about being treated like a dog). With some nagging and kicking from Haruka, Sawaki locates the room and the four individuals enter.
The storage room indeed housed a barrel of sake, which has now spilled over due to the lack of support – the wooden floors of the room are worn out and weak. With murderous passion for something he cannot see, Kei requests for ethanol and gas burner to set the room (and the lactobacillus) to a burning pulp. Professor Itsuki ignores the command and instead opts to “douse” Kei and Sawaki with a generous handful of ash. The professor goes on to explain that cinder has been used to counter sake that has been spoiled since medieval times, due to ash neutralizing sake’s naturally acidic qualities and quelling lactobacillus from further reproduction. He scatters more ash around the room and leaves with Haruka.
Unable to withstand all the soot and the putrid smell, the culprits of the failed sake production – two sophomores named Misato and Kawahama emerge from their hiding place. After some awkward introductions, the sophomores invite Kei and Sawaki to their dorm.
The dorm turns out to be quite rickety and ruined, but the four students head straight to the showers to wash off all the soot that accumulated on their skin. After changing into some awkward looking includes, Kei and Sawaki follow Misato and Kawahama to their equally dingy and cluttered dorm room – which is so full of airborne mold and other microscopic “goodies” it makes Sawaki quite disgusted. Having settled down, the two sophomores talk about originally brewing their own sake in the hopes of financial profit and for the university’s festival. Knowing that Sawaki can see microorganisms (Professor Itsuki “slipped” this information to Misato and Kawahama earlier), they beg him for his help. Sawaki looks around, but fails to find anything of any worth including the common penicillium chrysogenum, from which one of the compounds to penicillin can be extracted.
Desperate for some way to make up for their financial loss, Misato encourages Kawahama to sell his prized stag beetle, although the insect maniac respectfully declines. The two then enter a rather amusing argument, as they start throwing and stuffing objects at each other, including a box which contains Kawahama’s dead silkworms. Sawaki peers over the box and is surprised to find one of the dead silkworms providing nutrients and residence to a culture of cordyceps sinensis. Knowing that fully grown cordyceps sinensis are a valuable and pricey ingredient in Chinese medicine, he suggests growing the culture into mushroom form and selling the harvested fungi to some pharmacy. Misato and Kawahama immediately stop quibbling, and ask for Sawaki’s help to raise the culture – while Haruka eavesdrop by the door. She quietly departs and immediately informs Professor Itsuki about this development.
The four students have a celebration at the dorms as they wish for successful financial restitution, and fall asleep. Sawaki wakes up at the middle of the night, and looks around to see Kei also awake. Kei decides to walk around for a bit and also reclaim his bag that he left over at Professor Itsuki’s lab, and departs. The lab is empty, except for Haruka who stayed behind. She approaches Itsuki, and warns him to not have any more people know about Sawaki’s ability – an ability which she (seriously) estimates to be worth around 300 million yen.
This week’s Microbe Theater: Microbe theater, or 菌劇場 (kin geki-jou), is an animated short that lasts for around a minute after the ED and before the (very) short preview for the next episode. While brief, it does a good job in explaining the many microorganisms that are featured in Moyashimon; and this time around, it goes over…
Thoughts: Moyashimon continues to serve us some quirky humor, SD expressions, and mini microbiology lessons. The Microbe Theater itself is quite amusing and considerably more entertaining to watch than the depressing and painfully cheesy science videos we were forced to watch in biology class. The characters continue to be rather off beat, especially the carefree Professor Itsuki and the Moyashimon cards were quite a fun addition to the episode (it really does resemble some of the prize cards that are included in certain Japanese snacks). I’m fairly certain that Moyashimon is *the* unique show to watch this season, and like Dennou Coil (which still isn’t over) before it, something I will look forward to for the next few weeks.
I also have to go over the OP and ED, which are really catchy and pleasing to listen to. The OP by Ifu Sarasa especially, sounds like a modified aiko or Otsuka Ai tune, which is great. Ifu Sarasa, upon further research, is the biological daughter of J-pop legend Inoue Yousui which was a surprising bit of trivia to run across. I must add that the Japanese Wikipedia article (seriously) and Moyashimon fansites has been a general godsend – if it weren’t for them I’ll probably be wading through numerous Japanese search engines looking around for a specific microorganism and its description…
Those who have not yet watched Moyashimon, but are interested in following the show are also encouraged to check Patrik’s snapshot. Thanks! :)
Next time: What can I say… The preview barely lasts for three seconds and shows just one image! (therefore no preview screencaps) The title,
「菌でかもすぞ!」 (kin de kamosuzo!) suggests that bacteria will spread rapidly and/or ferment something, although this is something that takes place every episode and not much of a clue. Looks like we’ll just have to wait. >.>