「至福の店 ビフォー & アフター」 (Shifuku no Mise Before & After)
“Fortune Cafe Before & After”
One glance at Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru and I knew I just had to watch it. From the promotional material, it looked like a fairly interesting slice of life, and it had maids in it. I don’t really care for maids, but I’m not against them. Not only do I get overflowing amounts of maid awesomeness, Soredemo Machi piles on the jokes. The entire episode had me cracking up so hard, especially with Omigawa Chiaki playing our main character Arashiyama Hotori. Just because of her voice, it’s just that much funnier. (When I first heard her in Soul Eater as Maka, I found her voice very interesting. I didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me. Then when I found her again in Seitokai, I was completely in love with her voice). With the kind of voice she has, it’s easy to tell that Arashiyama isn’t meant to be your typical maid. Her voice is just.. kind of low and tom boyishy (…but I still Love it!). When Arashiyama invites her friends Tatsuno Toshiko (Yuuki Aoi) and Haribara Harue (Shiraishi Ryoko of Hayate no Gotoku and Mahoraba fame among countless others) to the cafe where she works, all hell blows over. Tatsuno being a maid cafe enthusiast, explodes with rage over how bad Arashiyama is at being a maid. Eventually deciding to start working there and teach Arashiyama the ropes.
That training though, being everything but maid training. Starting with a simple lesson on how to greet the customer, it ventures into how maids need to have a controlled clumsiness. It might just be me, but I don’t see how making someone sneeze into burning hot coffee, then tripping headfirst into a bucket of water while sliding on the floor really makes for a good maid. I’m sure Arashiyama agrees with me. Still, it’s really funny. With all the training that Arashiyama gets, it ends up being for naught when pitted against their homeroom teacher Mr.
Mikuriya Moriaki. When you’re dealing with a teacher who is completely impervious to this, I can’t see how anyone can win.
In the midst of all the jokes and gags, there is a love triangle that is slowly revealing itself. The maid cafe’s regular (and usually only) customer, Sanada Hiroyuki (Irino Miyu) has feelings for Arashiyama. Tatsuno, has a crush on Sanada. And Arashiyama has no idea about anything that’s going around her. When a girl takes you into the bathroom, and gives you specific information that only someone with stalker status would know about someone, I would think it’s a pretty good indication that something is going on. Too bad our Arashiyama is completely oblivious, but I can see the ground work for some great comedy building.
Overall, the first episode of Sore Machi really caught me off guard, and then punched me in the stomach with all the jokes. I had no idea what to expect, other then a slice of life featuring girls in maid outfits. What I got, was a freaking hillarious anime packed with jokes and tons of gags. The comedy mostly came from over exaggerated scenes (thank you SHAFT), filled with lots of under-skirt action, but still struck home with me. Some of the dialouge toward the end is pure gold. Animation-wise, most of the scenes are crisp and sharp as Divine put it, but I don’t have a keen eye for those kinds of things. What I did notice is that there were a few scenes where someone looks odd, but it doesn’t detract from the viewing experience. Next weeks episode has the words “Sexual Harassment” and “Smash Hit” in the same sentence. I can’t wait to see where this ends up.