「ふしぎの国の」 (Fushigi no Kuni no)
“…In Wonderland”

Megaton levels of cute. Toxic levels of cute. This was one big stream of adorable from beginning to end, spliced with a fuwa fuwa atmosphere that made it all go down super smooth. And it’s funny too!

Super Cute!

Not to toot my own horn, but I so called it – cuteness reigns supreme in Kinmosa, and atmosphere is number two. First of all, let’s talk about the cute. It’s at dangerous levels, people! I don’t know how to actually explain it other than link a bunch of pictures and let them do all the work, but it definitely has something to do with the characters. Alice Cartelet (Tanaka Manami) is weapons-grade adorable, but ditzy, genki, and silly Oomiya Shinobu (Nishi Asuka) does a great job at playing the natural boke in the most adorable of ways. Plus it’s hard not to get swept up in her own enthusiasm for all things cute (and Alice!).

Next, atmosphere. As expected, Studio Gokumi has done wonders using their A-Channel magic to give this a light and fluffy atmosphere that gently swept me away. I’ll admit, I’m predisposed to like this kind of show – this is the kind of thing that will relax me, and then send me skittering around squealing about the adorable characters and laughing heartily at every single joke – but I think this one was done especially well. Put it down to good source material and a good studio – this really was a natural fit.

Flashback to England

The pleasant surprise for me (since I’ve read some of the manga) was that they started off with an extended flashback to Shinobu’s home-stay in England. First of all, I was impressed by how good the English we heard was. Oohara Sayaka (playing Alice’s mother) was especially good, but Alice’s Manami Tanaka did a respectable job as well. I appreciate that they took the time to find seiyuu who could do speak good English, because it undoubtedly contributed to the “foreign” feel that a Japanese viewer would get from this, and just wasn’t completely laughable for those of us who are fluent in that particular tongue. Touyama Nao (playing Karen Kujou) could use some work though. Ah well, two out of three isn’t bad.

Anyway, I liked that they went back and thoroughly cemented how the friendship between these two girls began…and it didn’t hurt that it was, once again, completely and utterly adorable! Special mention goes to the fact that neither of them really had a clue of what the other was saying the entire time, to the point where they were yelling “Hello!” and “Konnichiwa!” at each other when Shinobu was leaving. How cute is that? *dies*

Bonus points go to Studio Gokumi for using the black bars to show when we were in flashback-ville, which were then taken away when we went back to the story’s present. It truly is the little details that count.

A Blonde Girl in Japan

Of course, this all leads up to Alice arriving in Glorious Nippon. Surprise! Having read this part of the manga, these were all gags I had seen before, but let me just say that they truly were enhanced by being on the screen. Not only Alice and Shinobu, but Komichi Aya (Taneda Risa) and Inokuma Youko (Uchiyama Yumi, i.e. the woman in every major Studio Gokumi anime…I’m starting to think she lives there) were greatly enhanced by both the animation and the seiyuu backing them.

Looking Ahead

Of all the slice-of-life shows I have introduced to you this season – which is approximately all of them – this is the one I enjoyed the most. Personal preference definitely plays a part there, but if this is your kind of thing then it’s a very good example of the form. I don’t plan on covering this weekly (sorry, even good slice-of-life shows are hard to talk about week after week), but I will be watching it avidly, so follow me on twitter if you’d like to chat. Until then, thanks for reading!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Adorable, adorable, so fricken adorable!! Plus the atmosphere was spot on & the animation was fuwa fuwa amazing. Loved it! #kinmosa

Random thoughts:

  • “The time will very.” Ohhh, so close!
  • You all knew I would have to get a picture of the English people drinking beer, out of what looks more like a stange glass – suitable for a local Cologne Kölsch – rather than a proper English imperial pint. But what do I know, its been a while since I was drinking beer in England, and was sober enough to remember it.
  • This scene reminded me of the time I made cookies in the shape of my nieces’ and nephew’s names, from scratch and without cookie cutters. TOOK FOREVER! (The A’s and the R’s were the hardest.) I say this mostly so you’ll all know that I’m the best uncle in the world, and also a total masochist. But we all knew that already.
  • “I don’t taste very good.” False. That’s a lie and you know it. You taste delicious.
  • I still don’t get the weird fascination Shinobu has with foreigners. Okay, actually I do – Japan is a fairly homogeneous island, so foreigners are pretty rare. It’s just really weird to my American point of view. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I want to go to Japan. A week or two of my 6’7″ blond ass running around the place and they’ll get used to foreigners! Or not. I don’t really care, I just want to go!!

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 33.

 

OP Sequence

OP: 「Jumping!!」 by Rhodanthe*

ED Sequence

ED: 「Your Voice」 by Rhodanthe*

Preview

60 Comments

  1. I may be stuck with a permanent smile after this episode. I was expecting cute but this.. This was simply dangerous on so many levels that it simply was not fair by any means. xD

    Luxrays
      1. Haha sleep is but a dream so far gone that I have all but given up on it myself. Watching anime till you pass out seems like a practical option though, Stilts 😡

        Luxrays
  2. Izzard
    1. It was pretty similar! I absolutely loved the beginning half when she went to Europe… that was just so nice. >.<

      I hope we get more flashbacks of Euro-land, otherwise I'll go re-watch Ikoku or something in my off-time.

  3. Having read the first volume of the manga I was also pleasantly surprised by the extended flashback of Shino’s homestay that showed rather well the foundation of her and Alice’s friendship and the quality of the English must be amongst the best I’ve seen, with only a few small mistakes (desert/dessert). Although, since the official site announced last month that they had gone to the trouble of getting British English language instructors to help them, I did have high expectations.

    It’s adorable enough that it should come with a health warning and a good adaptation so far of the original 4koma. Looking forward to episode 2.

    xiao32615987
    1. They really got British English language instructors? That’s really cool! This is just another reason I like Studio Gokumi – maybe they don’t go for the meatier shows (though I’d love to see them try), but whatever they do they do it well, and lovingly slather it in that lovely atmosphere.

      Stilts
  4. really cute and adorable! looking forward to the second episode. the broken english was both impressive (by anime standards) and cringe-worthy at the same time, but i’m definitely following this one through based off character designs and the superb quality it’s shown so far. it’s a shame no one here will be covering it.

    bolton
  5. As someone who enjoyed A Channel, K-On, and Ikoku Meiro I was looking forward to this show and was not disapointed. Have not read the manga but from the preview I figured this was going to be good. Glad I wasn’t disapointed.

    I was shocked at how good the english was.

    Karmafan
  6. I literally couldn’t watch this without pausing about every 4 minutes and just sit back in my chair and go “man… that… was really friggin cute…”. To think I’m going to get a weekly dose of this for the next three months…

    I… I’m going to have to see a doctor about this.

    Nitro
  7. Oh man, I just realized the amount of shows of this caliber this season: Kiniro Mosaic, Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS, Love Lab…
    Stilts will really have a hard but intoxicating time…
    (so will I by the way)

    J-Luke
  8. I was really impressed by the fact that I didn’t have to read the English subtitles to understand the English 😉 The accents were surprisingly good as well, they didn’t sound even remotely British but neutral accent was a good choice.

    I’ve often wondered: why do we call it Japan when they themselves call their country Nippon?

    Roguespirit
    1. Random aside, that’s always kind of annoyed me. I feel like we all shouldn’t go around renaming other people’s countries (and cities, and individual’s names) just because we want to. What’s wrong with Deutschland and España and Nippon? Might as well call them what they want to be called!

      Stilts
  9. This show is adorable. They are apparently trying to kill us this season…. Death by Moe indeed…. Ro kyu bu and now this….

    And Oohara Sayak and Tanaka Manami’s English are pretty good. I wasn’t expecting them to be able to do it that fluently.

    Euzio
  10. Quite possibly the best English in anime so far?

    Really cute, definitely going to re-watch this with my mom and cousin later (My mom prefers to watch the episodes in bulk, rather than waiting for 1 episode per week).

    On another note, how in the world did she qualify for a homestay/exchange program with her english skills!? O_o

    I mean I’ve never been part of an exchange program but I guess there isn’t any requirements for the programs? Only have one friend who has been on one of these but he already knew some spanish before going to the Dominican Republic.

    Azuma
      1. Even better, it was explained when Shinobu was talking with her friends back in Japan about going to England to stay with some of their parent’s friends for a week. I would imagine that since they were from England but friends with people in Japan that they would know some of the language to be able to communicate with Shinobu.

        Bookkid900
      2. I was originally a bit confused about that when I read the manga, but like Bookkid900 said, Shinobu was only there for a week, so it was pretty much just a vacation. I guess she called it a home stay because she was staying in a family friend’s home without any of the rest of her own family.

        Stilts
      1. It already is. I mean, a Japanese loli stabbing her English contemporary in the neck. Could it be symbolism? But, nah, this show is too sugary for such.

        TheMoondoggie
  11. All of the cuteness that would normally be in every other show this season has been concentrated into this one. It’s the only explanation! 😉

    I think this one’s a keeper.

    Wanderer
    1. Yes, this show would have us all dying of diabetes. I’m very sure it’s a plot by Japan to have the world population reduced with people dying either of moe or of diabetes.

      TheMoondoggie
    1. Her Mother know Japanese, too. Perhaps that gave a Boost to it

      Perhaps they where working in Japan for an Company, and moved back when they have the Child or something like that. And keep have Japanese Homestay’s because of the Old Feelings

      Germanguy
  12. This really was a gorgeous show. I liked the OVA feel to it for the opening flashback. I hope that the rest of the series keeps with the longer format stories and topics, rather than too many short skits and vignettes.

  13. I see people are reminded, like me, of another SoL anime I liked, Ikoku Meiro.

    Yeah but unlike Ikoku, which is about a loli learning to live in 19th(or is it 18th) century France, this feels like “what is Japan now in modern times”.

    Anyway the grammar of the English is good, but the accent seems a bit off. You can tell they hired Japanese to talk in English instead of real English-speaking people, which would have added more realism. This is actually the same problem I have when an anime tries to have English in it, like season 1 of Symphogear.

    TheMoondoggie
  14. I’m not entirely sure if I should thank you or blame you, Stilts, but either way, your songs of praise for this series have convinced me to add it to my list. =p Being a slice-of-life fan myself, I’ll bite. So far so good.

    Chalryn
  15. Cuteness is justice, but this.. Chernobyl levels of cuteness radiation? I can’t even watch this without having this warm and fuzzy feeling in me even after going full rage.

    ImpetusZwei
  16. Finally got around to watching Kiniro… KYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I melted… I melted real gooooood… And knowing there’s plenty more where that came from… This show will stop a few people’s hearts.

    Mutare

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *