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Hakumei to Mikochi – 01

「きのうの茜 / 舟歌の市場」 (Kinou no Akane / Funuata no Shijou)
“Yesterday’s Dark Red / Marketplace Shanty”

Imagine if J.R.R. Tolkien started writing The Hobbit, stopped after the first paragraph, and decided to do something completely different. No wizards feel like meddling. No dwarves show up at the door. There is no dragon gold, no demon-spiders, no elf-lords. Bilbo Baggins goes on with his hobbit life just doing hobbit things, and his adventuring career is restricted to only that he might naturally stumble into while hiking in the mountains or shopping in town. That, with some influence from the ghost of Kenneth Grahame, would have ended up as something like Hakumei to Mikochi.

But of course, either way, oversized birds will be staple.

When I first started researching for the preview I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with Hakumei to Mikochi. But I had blogged Made in Abyss, I was watching Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko, and decided that I couldn’t really go wrong with more potato-people. Sure enough, Hakumei to Mikochi turned out to be much more than a fun-sized slice-of-life, and I found myself devouring chapter after chapter of the manga. When a manga has very simple character designs, that’s usually a sign of one of two things: 1) it’s a light, dialogue-driven comedy-thing and it doesn’t need any detail, or 2) it’s conserving detail to be used somewhere else. So it was with Hakumei to Mikochi, and as it was with Made in Abyss and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou: the detail was in the world. And by ‘world’ I don’t just mean backgrounds, but also in cultural artefacts like costumes and food. Hakumei to Mikochi is pure fantasy, purely about a world different from ours without any trappings. There are no heroes nor villains, no titanic struggle against evil, and no life-destroying upheaval. It is about the world as it is, which is why it is also a slice-of-life, an exploration of status quo, simply a story about Hakumei (Matsuda Risae) and Mikochi (Shimoji Shino). That is, it’s a story about people, because worlds are built upon by people, and people are shaped by the context of their world.

The end is a rather pleasant experience, comforting because of the idealistic setting, and interesting because of the fantasy elements. There is no need for a big fantasy setup, and instead we slide naturally into story from the moment the curtain rises. The anime team did a bang up job with this pilot, capturing well the gentle mood and carefree whimsey of the source, though perhaps we should have expected no less from director Andou Masaomi and his team’s mastery with sound and pacing. It’s a fairly faithful adaptation, though they have shuffled the chapters around a bit for the sake of chronology, and perhaps more importantly to create a juxtaposition between nature and civilisation, which is a motif that will play in the background of Hakumei to Mikochi throughout. Another big motif: food. Hakumei to Mikochi features a lot of food, both because food is culture and for the special kind of happiness that comes with a good meal. What did I tell you? They’re hobbits, and they’re never going to be anything more. For a show about peaceful life in Hobbiton, that’s how it should be.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Harvest Moon Knight」by ミコチ (下地紫野)、コンジュ (悠木碧) (Mikochi (Shino Shimoji), Konju (Aoi Yuuki))

January 13, 2018 at 12:01 am
19 comments »
  • January 13, 2018 at 12:58 amAngelus

    You mention Andou Masaomi, and there right away was my first problem with this show – the visual style just screams Scum’s Wish so much that I kept expecting Hakumei to start undressing Mikochi at any moment. Looking into it further, I found that Lerche had brought quite a bit of the Scum’s Wish team over, so no wonder it looked similar to me.

    The second problem was that it was so damned obvious right from the start that the “evening kite” was the same bird that Mikochi had fed, which kind of negated the reveal. The third problem was related to the bird too – why couldn’t it speak when every other creature seemed to be able to in some degree? Clearly this is nothing to do with relative intelligence, kites are some of the most intelligent animals out there and have documented records of tool use.

    I’m really conflicted about this one because, apart from the Scum’s Wish tonal whiplash (if you can call it that), the visuals are consistently excellent and the atmosphere it creates is just right. Can’t say the same for the the storytelling, though, but I guess it’s worth another couple of episodes to see.

    • January 13, 2018 at 1:50 amPasserby

      I personally have no problem transitioning from one show to another, especially one from a year ago, but that’s probably up to the individual viewer. Maybe if Kuzu no Honkai starred tiny potato people I would be more affected.

      As for the hawk, you make an interesting point about how it doesn’t speak. If you continue watching, you will find that birds, while deliberately portrayed as intelligent, do not speak. None of them do. There are little details about the ecosystem buried here and there (for example, in this episode they eat fish) and this show is for those who enjoy soaking those up.

      • January 13, 2018 at 2:06 amAngelus

        Interesting point about the potato people, because comparing the visuals to Made in Abyss, Lerche have managed to create a world that still towers physically over the protagonists but completely without the looming sense of menace that pervades the Abyss’ scenery. Even the “giant” insects don’t seem menacing, which is quite a feat.

  • January 13, 2018 at 1:22 amRederoin

  • January 13, 2018 at 2:04 amGlutton

  • January 13, 2018 at 3:33 amWorldwidedepp

    @Hakumei to Mikochi

    If you ever wanted an sequel or an “spinoff” of Studios Ghiblis “Arrietty” then this is your Anime. It is cuter and the drawing style reminds you of watercolors, but the heart is alright.

    i fell in love right from the start, thank you for this anime

    You should have at last an look.. at best if you are looking for an oasis of calm and fluffy world

    copy & pasted

  • January 13, 2018 at 6:31 amMatti

    As someone who adores the manga, this adaptation left me cold. I guess I’ll stick to the original.

  • January 13, 2018 at 11:48 amsealouse

    The only thing that bothered me was the size of some of these animals. They rode on beetles, but that monkey didn’t seem that much bigger than them so basically they either have some really big insects in that world or really small versions of other animals.

    • January 13, 2018 at 12:30 pmWorldwidedepp

      but in the end, it is all fantasy..

      enjoy the trip with your heart..

  • January 13, 2018 at 2:15 pmClayton Barnett

    Given the character design & lighthearted nature of ep1, I’m going to call this “Girls’ First Tour.”

    • January 13, 2018 at 2:25 pmWorldwidedepp

      that was also one of my thoughts, but then the 2nd part prove it wrong. their world is full of peoples and other living things.

  • January 13, 2018 at 7:52 pmRedjuice Fan

    For those didnt read the manga, the first part is chapter 1, the second part at the markets is chapter 6. The chapters in between are for introducing new characters every chapter (almost). I guess this is for setting up the world that they live in, and I think its a good thing looking at the medium as a whole.

  • January 13, 2018 at 9:36 pmhaseo0408

    This was way more fun than I thought it would be! It was like I was hypnotized by the rich fantasy world and its charming characters, truly good old day in Hobbiton.

  • January 14, 2018 at 2:42 pmrenasayers

    Yet another Anime where the audience gets pulled from the reality and brought to another world upon the beginning. In my opinion titles such as, “Made In Abyss”, “Mahoutsukai no Yome”, & “Hakumei to Mikochi” are great examples for shows. If I had to pick a few titles for people who are looking to branch out from Shounen, Shoujo or senseless action genres I would have them start with these three.

    “Hakumei to Mikochi” is in every sense of the phrase, ‘Visual Novel’, you have wonderful art, adventurous story. The characters are pristine, they aren’t muddied up by negative motives, condescending responses and actions. All the characters are palpable just like that Minestrone soup:

    http://randomc.net/image/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi%20-%2001%20-%2012.jpg

    http://randomc.net/image/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi%20-%2001%20-%2014.jpg

    I do want to note I don’t like Minestrone soup. It was what I ate before attending a friend’s house warming party and I got extremely–ahhh we Chinese get really red when severely drunk. Let’s just say that Minestrone soup is the last thing you want to taste when puking up because your #$%^faced.

    …Where did Hakumei get that peanut?

    http://randomc.net/image/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi/Hakumei%20to%20Mikochi%20-%2001%20-%2016.jpg

  • January 26, 2018 at 1:54 pmWorldwidedepp

    Ep 03:

    With this Episode this Anime “official” land on my Watchlist

    Also, this time is also an “camping outside” one (Part A).. Me really likes

    Please continue i love it

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