Sunday, July 01, 2007
Cabbage Project: Yoakena 1
Our story begins with a recap of the Oedipus War, a deadly conflict between the Earth and the Moon in the past--fast-forward to the present, and Princess Feena, from the Kingdom of Sphere which governs the Moon, is on her way to Earth for the first time since she was a little girl. Cut to our protagonist, Tatsuya, who's your average high school student, and surrounded by bishoujos--there's his little sister Mai, osanajimi Natsuki, and other random classmate Midori. After school, Tatsuya and Natsuki go to work at an Italian restaurant, along with Tatsuya's friend (and Natsuki's brother) Jin. Tatsuya goes home afterwards, to find Mai's in shock--his older sister Sayaka, who works at the U.N., informs him that Feena's studying abroad on Earth and will be staying at their house and going to the same high school. After Tatsuya's strange nose-pinching fetish briefly threatens to start World War III, everyone goes to Trattoria Samon to celebrate, and Feena insists Tatsuya and everyone else calls her just Feena, rather than put '-sama' or '-hime' after her name.
For a first episode, this was actually pretty good--clearly Doumu's 'A' team did the artwork for this one, and Team Cabbage has yet to show their unholy hand. The character designs are simple, the artwork is more Lucky Star than Kanon, but hey, it's still watchable and the bishoujo live up to their name. There are some pans over static shots that should have warned me they were on a budget, but in hindsight I'm impressed at least none of the characters are drawn off-model. The cast is likeable too, with Tatsuya a nice, if somewhat generic guy with a habit of pinching noses, and there are some good laughs in addition to some nice moments like when Feena gets Tatsuya to drop the -sama. And the story--there definitely seems to be potential, with the prospect of a love triangle developing between Natsuki, Tatsuya, and Feena, and with the angle of a princess falling for a commoner and all the complications that could fall out of that. At this point last fall, I was optimistic that while the animation lacked the swirling snowflakes of Kanon, Yoakena could still be an awesome series.
- Tatsuya's waking up Natsuki when she fell asleep in class by whispering 'irrashaimase', making her jolt awake and belt out 'Trattoria Samon e Yokosou!' like she was at her part-time job.
- Midori trying and failing to get Tatsuya to give her the nose pinch.
- Feena faceplanting when she walks into the house from the yard.
- Mai's over-reaction after Tatsuya nose-pinches Feena, where she imagines everyone getting executed.
- Natsuki beating down Jin.
- Feena. It's not Kawasumi Ayako doing her voice, but she still just looks and sounds perfectly princess-like. Plus she's not your typical harem doormat--she's smart, good at almost everything, she'll kick your ass at kendo, and she's cute.
- Takano-sensei's appearance--it just wrecks the whole scene, there had to be a better way to get Tatsuya to say Feena without the -sama.
- Lunar makes the uncharacteristic mistake of subbing Feena's name as "Feena fam Ashlight" (instead of Earthlight).
The Verdict (on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 5 is awesome and 1 is like watching "Joanie Loves Chachi")
Four and a half stars. If Takano-sensei had gotten lost in space en route, I'd give it five.