Ooya-san wa Shishunki! – 01
OP: 「Shining Sky」 by every♥ing!
「 大家さんは女の子！」 (Ooya-san wa Onnanoko!)
“The Landlord Is a Little Girl!”
Ooya-san wa Shisunki! is a short. Very short. At only a round two minutes of length, including the OP, there’s only so much one can expect from each episode. For example, take this pilot titled The Landlord is a Little Girl!
She is a little girl.
Aaaand that’s a wrap. Two minutes of anime is literally just establishing the premise and introducing one or two extra characters. Actually, I should actually be impressed about how much they got done. When a couple of establishing shots can eat a quarter of your airtime, there is a real need to budget your episode. While a full-length feature may have time to dally about, maybe show of its settings and designs, maybe philosophise a bit, a short really needs to get the essence of their show, work out what makes it entertaining, serve that up, then say goodbye.
Which begs the question: what’s the essence of this short? We have, from what I can tell, been seeing a steady increase in short-form anime in recent years, and there must be something to this format besides ease of production. Judging from all the anime that are stuck with only one cour when they really want three and have to rush their pacing, one would 2 minutes per episode would be simply anathema. But then again, there’s no particular requirement for grand narrative. What else is there in the fundamental anime experience? Tried a Japanese desert recently? Cute and sweet. Japan’s great loves. And Ooya-san packs its two minutes with it. Look at the titular landlord. Don’t you dare turn your eyes away! Look at this thing! Big eyes, long sleeves—she’s had the moe settings cranked all the way up. She does her cute whatever. We d’aww. And, ta da, we have anime!
Such is the charm of a short like Ooya-san, beyond just brief sketch comedy. It’s a brief shot of positive feelings, just a tiny dose so that we can savour. We’ll watch this young girl managing this property, building a rapport with a fellow tenant (‘don’t try anything foolish just because she’s cute’), and be won over by her earnestness. And that may be enough for us to feel that tiny tinge of empathy (or alternatively, schadenfreude), which brightens the day. And that will be it. Mission accomplished. Was anything else ever needed? It’s only two minutes, after all.