Friday, January 05, 2007

Pia Carrot 2DX

Pia Carrot 2DX is a six-episode OVA series that came out back in 2000--I just finished re-watching it, and while it's probably not real well-known, it's one of my favorite romance/comedy series. While the setup (male lead working at a family restaurant full of bishoujo) may make it sound pretty generic, it has great chemistry between the two leads along with a love rectangle and some accompanying drama thrown in to make things interesting.
To give a brief summary of the first episode: Kouji, the male lead, ends up getting run over by Azusa, the somewhat tsundere female lead, as she's sprinting to try to get to her part-time job on time since (of course) she's running late. Something about running late must be moe, because you never see heroines in anime walking casually down the street, glancing at their watches and saying "Damn, I'm early for work AGAIN, maybe I'll kill some time at Starbucks." So Azuna and Kouji collide, he lands on top of her, she slaps him for squeezing somewhere he shouldn't, he notices the old-fashioned locket she'd been wearing and makes a snide comment about it, which annoys Azusa--and they start having a verbal smackdown in the street before Kouji's friend Shinji, who's kind of struck by Azusa, pulls him away. Azusa gets fired from her part-time job since now she's really late, but her sister Mina works at Pia Carrot already and convinces her to apply to work there as a waitress. Meanwhile, Shinji and Kouji go to the pool, and Kouji gets pulled into saving another Pia Carrot waitress, Tsukasa, from nearly drowning when she falls into a swimming pool while cosplaying. Yes, Tsukasa is a cosplay fanatic, with her own fan club full of otaku, and she immediately falls for Kouji because he saved her. The next day, Kouji goes to apply for a job at Pia Carrot, runs into Azusa doing the same thing, and they're both hired. So at the end of the first episode we have: Kouji and Azusa (who so far seem like they want to kill each other), Shinji (who likes Azusa), and Tsukasa (who likes Kouji).
What makes Pia Carrot work for me is the relationship between Kouji and Azusa--as one of the other cast members observes, they fight like a married couple from pretty much the moment they meet, and they do a good job showing the development of their feelings for each other. They're one of my favorite anime couples, I think partly because I met my wife at work and we do a lot of bantering back and forth just like they do. Pia Carrot also has the usual bishoujo game-to-anime side characters, but they don't get much attention--since there are just six episodes, Pia Carrot forgoes the "one episode for each side character's story" formula that you usually see in the genre and spends almost all its time focusing on Kouji, Azusa, and Tsukasa. For that reason, I don't feel like the story suffered much due to the short length--it did a good job with the time it was given, and it was refreshing to see the focus on the main characters from the get go, with zero side character stories or filler. And it also has a solid, satisfying ending, something that much longer series have trouble pulling off (or they make you wait for the DVD-only ep 13).
Pia Carrot 2DX was fansubbed by Choco fansubs, and you can find the torrent at their website. Unfortunately, it's probably more likely we'll see Benedict XVI telling everyone ex cathedra that Suzumiya Haruhi is God than we'll see 2DX licensed for region 1 (there's a hentai Pia Carrot anime that is licensed, but not the 2DX series, which is NOT hentai). While I'm eternally grateful to Choco for subbing this, the downside of it being subbed way back in aught-two is that it's encoded in DivX 3.11. It was state of the art at the time so I'm not blaming them, but there's a lot of pixellation and it really shows how far video quality in fansubs has come in the last four years. Don't let that stop you from watching it though, you just get used to it.

Broccoli must have been involved in this somehow, since the Di Gi Charat characters get cameos in just about every episode. While I can't say I liked the whole cast (Tsukasa was just kind of annoying to me), if you're a fan of romance/comedy series, I think Pia Carrot 2DX is well worth checking out--Kouji and Azusa alone make this worth watching.


Hinano said...

Hey that's my fansub! XD

suguru said...

You have my eternal thanks then, since I love this series ^_^