I wasn’t sure whether Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki would be a short anime that captures a small snippet of Nagoya or a longer form anime that brings out the personalities of our main cast while I was waiting for it to be eventually translated. To my disappointment, the show was only three and a half minutes long and ended way before it felt like it began.
Of the three minutes worth of content, Tomatsu Haruka stood out the most in her performance as Yatogame Monaka. She plays many of the girl’s quirks effectively as her character revels in her cat-like personality and constantly clashes with the transfer student Jin Kaitou (Mitsuhide Ichiki) over his perception of Nagoya. Jin merely serves to act as our eyes and ears in discovering what there is to know about Nagoya, but what makes the anime worthwhile is how adorable Yatogame is as she yells at him in her regional accent and takes him to task for purposefully brushing aside the city’s culture. In fact, Yatogame is doing the most work in making Nagoya appealing because of how cute she is and how proud she is of how she carries herself as a Nagoyan. One of the main reasons I’d continue following it would be because of Yatogame herself and the hope that she would force the series to focus on the positives of Nagoya.
And that’s what ultimately makes the short anime a sad endeavor; you have a story that’s designed to promote Nagoya and the richness of the city’s culture, and yet we have a bulk of the show just having Jin drag anything remotely related to Nagoya he sees. Whether it be mocking the way she says Ebi Fry or taking the time to list all the things that make Nagoya “a poor quality Tokyo,” the short sets up Jin to be the Scrooge who may eventually be converted to liking the city by Yatogame. But with only three minutes to operate off of, there’s no leeway or ping-pong between Jin or Yatogame. It’s just Jin being confused by Yatogame’s behavior or habits as she gets defensive about it. The whole “she would come to bring more Nagoya into my day” schtick feels unearned when we see him just take a massive dump on the city with very little leeway of eventually liking anything.
He might find Yatogame to be cute by the tail-end of the episode, but for a show dedicated to giving us reasons to be pulled into the town of Nagoya or what makes it stand out, it does a more effective job at showing us why Nagoya is mediocre, their residents are either very bland or talk with a weird accent, and their buildings look like a swirly poop. Even shows about fake towns do more to make their town look appealing, even in the first episodes when the fish-out-of-water stories hammer on how it’s really not for them. Here, what ends up selling the anime isn’t the glory that Nagoya deserves, but the cuteness of Yatogame as she embraces every bit of her city’s cultural stereotypes. The anime may still have potential to give us more moments where Yatogame is adorable and some scenes where we get a better glimpse of Nagoya, but it is disappointing that the first impression of the series doesn’t do much to make the city look as intriguing as it should be. It pains me to bring the series down because Yatogame definitely saves the anime by being brash, cute, and unashamed of her Nagoya upbringing, but if it were longer or didn’t linger so much on Jin ragging on the town and her customs, the first episode would have really done the city justice.
ED: 「Deluxe Happy Happy」 by Tomatsu Haruka