An After Dark Review by Alex-senpai
Everyone has a bit of a sweet tooth, right? Right!? Well, if you’re anything like me, then you enjoy an occasional snack—be it sweet, salty, sour, or anything in between.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the occasional snack of anime. I bring you the joy that is Dagashi Kashi.
Dagashi Kashi is a winter 2016 anime series based on a manga of the same name. It’s produced by Studio Feel; the same studio that brought us such greatness as the incest-fueled ecchi romp that is Kissxsis, the incest-fueled melodrama Yosuga no Sora, and the what-the-Hell-am-I-even-watching, borderline rape-fest Makura no Danshi. So I thought I knew what I was in for when I started this. Fortunately (at least for me) Dagashi Kashi is none of these things.
The story of Dagashi Kashi centers on a dagashi—confectionery—shop in a rural Japanese town. The shop is run by the excitably eccentric You Shikada, along with his son Kokonotsu. One day, the relative tranquility of the dagashi shop is disturbed by the arrival of Hotaru Shidare. She’s come with the goal of recruiting You to work at her family’s company, a famous sweets manufacturer called Shidare Corporation.
After initially refusing to leave the
shop, You tells Hotaru that he will join Shidare Corporation on a single condition: Hotaru must convince the unwilling Kokonotsu to take over the family business. And so begin the hi-jinks…
The show follows a relatively formulaic and episodic structure from then on, with each episode devoted to Hotaru gleefully demonstrating the veritable joys of several dagashi to Kokonotsu, while also explaining their colorful histories.
That’s kind of it, really. That’s the whole show. I know, I know… Sounds like a pretty dull anime, doesn’t it? Stick with me, though. This is, after all, a comedy anime. And the strength of comedy often lies in a shows characters.
Hotaru loves dagashi. She’s a city girl (rockin’ that lolita chic superbly, I might add) who comes to recruit Kokonotsu’s father for her family’s company. A majority of the comedy in this show stems from her quirky, overly-gleeful—and sometimes orgasmic—reactions to the various sweets featured on the show.
Hotaru really loves dagashi. From combining Umaibo flavors, to “becoming adult” by getting drunk on non-alcoholic beer, to counting calories with Pocky…
Did I mention that Hotaru absolutely loves dagashi? Okay, might as well face it. Hotaru is a sugar slut. That’s all there is to it. An addict of epic proportions, who should probably seek help before diabetes sets in. But doing that would be like taking the crowbar away from Ted Bundy, it just wouldn’t be the same.
Kokonotsu is a man with a
dream. That dream, however, is not to run a dagashi shop. His dream is to become a manga artist, something for which he has natural talent. He refuses to take over the dagashi shop from his father, so Hotaru attempts to convince Kokonotsu to take it over through her dagashi “lessons.” These lessons sometimes have an opposite effect than intended, annoying Kokonotsu in the process. Despite this—and the fact that most people around him call him “Coconuts”—he still comes off as generous and caring.
Saya is Kokonotsu’s childhood friend and classmate. She has a long-standing crush on Kokonotsu; but, like a good little main character, he’s completely oblivious to this fact. Because Saya wants Kokonotsu to stay in the town and Hotaru wants him to take over the dagashi shop, the two work together like Bonnie and Clyde trying to make it happen.
Also, Saya looks like she could lapse into a Vietnam War flashback at any time.
Tou is Saya’s twin brother and a good friend of Kokonotsu. Like
many anime friends before him, Tou is kind of a pervert. He dresses like someone who will be featured on the next episode of To Catch a Predator.
You is Kokonotsu’s father and the owner of the dagashi shop. According to Hotaru, You is world-renowned within the dagashi industry. Though, the evidence for this would seem to be circumstantial, as he occasionally acts more like a child than his own son.
Although the premise may make it sound like the dullest thing ever, Dagashi Kashi just works. However, it’s very difficult, at times, to ignore some of the shows faults. Chief among them is the fact the show basically relies on a single character, that being Hotaru, to carry itself along. This reliance is so strong that just about every scene without Hotaru made me want to fall asleep. It’s not that these characters are generally bland or boring, but compared to Hotaru they’re simply uninteresting.
Another issue became obvious after the first few episodes. I realized I was essentially watching a 12 episode long commercial for the Japanese junk food industry. At first I found this slightly irritating; it felt as if the show was pandering to me. However, once I came to terms with the fact that the show had no real overarching plot, I started to actually enjoy this aspect of the show. Learning about the histories and manufacturing processes of these real-world snacks—several of which I have eaten myself—was entertaining. Though it helps that 90% of the time it’s Hotaru giving these over-the-top lectures.
So, despite these faults, would I recommend Dagashi Kashi? Quite simply: yes. It’s a quirky, fun little show; the type of show you can really turn your brain off while watching. The lack of an overall plot actually becomes the show’s strong point, as it allows sole focus on the interactions between the characters. The interactions between Hotaru and just about every character was enough to keep me coming back for more. And I actually learned a little bit along the way about Japanese snack food history and culture.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed Dagashi Kashi. And if you like hot girls, or junk food… or hot girls eating junk food and then talking your ear off about it, you should give this show a try.
I give Dagashi Kashi a 7/10.
Have I ever told you the definition of insanity?