My screenshot folder is 95% Nao.
Or, The Booze Tour With Cute Anime Girl Stilts.
Like I said in my introductory post, Takunomi pressed a lot of my buttons. The schtick: four women of legal drinking age have drinks after work at home. It’s an exploration of different Japanese drinks, with the explanations delivered with excitement by a fun cast of characters. This is a formula that served it well through to the end.
The biggest part of this show was undoubtedly the explanations, delivered with Hotaru-level aplomb. Speaking as a beer aficionado—6,793 different beers sampled and counting*—I have absolutely no nitpicks about any of the knowledge dropped by Nao and the others about beer, so I have every faith that the information was of equally high quality about the rest too. (And I know a little something about whiskey and mixed drinks. I couldn’t tell you much on wine, but there was only one wine episode anyway.) This is one of those shows that is trying to get you interested in something, and it’s giving out good information. You could use some of these factoids at a party and probably no one could correct you. You’d be an insufferable bore, so I wouldn’t suggest it, but at least you’d be right!
I also really enjoyed how they kept the focus on drink/food pairings. This is an area I’ve been trying to improve on personally, as I’ve transitioned more into using alcoholic drinks as meal accompaniments rather than as fuel for the weekend kegger—what with the latter not being as fun, or as physiologically tenable, once you reach Nao or Kae’s age—and the way they pointed out how different flavors interact between the food and drinks is a really good primer. Japanese food is well suited to this, of course, since it focuses on balance among the five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami) and is often served on small plates so that multiple combinations can be sampled in a single sitting. Mostly it just emphasized that this is a thing we adults should be paying attention to. And we should! Life is too short to drink shitty booze. Drink something nice and pair it with some delicious food. It’s delightful.
The characters ended up about as three dimensional as they were at the beginning of the series, which is to say, “somewhat but not terribly.” They’re not complex humans who are roiled by internal contradictions, they’re mostly just working adults who have fun conversations and serve as vehicles for the explanations and comedy, and that’s all right. That’s the point of this series, so while any surprising depth (like the occasional bursts of restrained depression/cynicism) would be appreciated, it’s not mandatory. That does mean Takunomi never rises above its premise, but its premise is plenty enjoyable.
For me, the best part about Takunomi was how easy it was to watch. Like an Asahi Super Dry, it goes down smooth after a hard day of work. I could watch these four women talk about booze (while drinking some of my own) all the time. And not just because Nao is Cute Anime Girl Stilts! Though that helps. Nao Best Booze Girl! No arguments.
I suggest Takunomi. Check it out if you want to learn more about alcoholic drinks, or just relax after a long day at work. That’s what the ladies are doing, so we might as well join in for a drink. Kampai!
* No, I did not make up that number. Yes, I have a meticulously maintained list. Going to the Great American Beer Fest three separate times and working in the craft beer industry helped boost that number somewhat, though I was at 2,000+ before either of those happened. Life goals!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Book 3 Progress Report.