Thursday, September 27, 2007

Potemayo

Potemayo was definitely the surprise of the summer season for me--I had zero expectations for it and I don't think I'd even heard of it until subs started coming out, but I picked it up and instantly fell in love. I won't say it's the greatest anime ever, and I don't think I'd even recommend it to most people because they'd probably just look at it and ask questions like "did that baby just pee on that guy's head?" with horrified expressions on their faces. But if you like your comedy served with leisurely pacing, watercolor backgrounds, a pinch of gradient hair, an interesting cast, and a metric ton of crack, then you might like Potemayo as much as I did.

I don't think I can do a decent summary without sounding completely insane, but the hero of our story, Sunao, is a reserved junior high student who's practically living alone--his mother died (I swear, anime parents have the worst mortality rate on Earth...) and his father is something of an absentee thanks to his job. So one day Sunao is walking past the refrigerator, hears a rattling noise from inside, and finds there's something in it that isn't food--a baby girl with cat ears and a rabbit-like tail, who he names Potemayo. Whereas your average person would freak out and call the police and/or Animal Control, Sunao keeps his shiznit together and matter-of-factly adopts her/it, only briefly wondering much later exactly what Potemayo is. Shortly after, Guchuko appears out of the fridge, a Potemayo-looking being that also has horns that can...er...move on their own and shoot frickin' laser beams at things, although she's conscientious enough to always tape things back together after she breaks them. She also has a scythe, but fortunately this didn't get the Nice Boat treatment, since she doesn't use it on people. Guchuko ends up living outside a classmate of Sunao's named Kyo's house, and takes a liking to Kyo, who gives her food.

It's impossible to describe the humor in the series--it's something you have to see for yourself to determine if it's up your alley or not. But for me the cast and their interactions are hilarious to watch, and JC Staff develops the characters well enough that they can actually pull off some good more dramatic moments towards the end too. I enjoyed watching this every week just to see what they'd think of next, from flowers growing on Potemayo's head, to Nene making Mu-tan into her personal slave when he accidentally gives her chocolate on Valentine's Day, to Guchuko's various 'offerings' to Kyo, to Mikan's nosebleeding over her classmate and crush Sunao. (That's something you don't see very often in anime, a girl doing her best Ikuto impression...) Kawasumi Ayako did a great job voicing Mikan--her character in particular was a lot of fun to watch.

The animation quality is nothing to write home about, but JC Staff did a solid job overall, with watercolor backgrounds and simple, but consistently drawn character designs. I don't know why, but since Manabi Straight I've taken a liking to gradient hair, and that's out in force in Potemayo as well. The background music is light and matches the feel of the series perfectly, and the voice acting is solid too. It's hard to find anything to complain about, other than the narrator's voice--to me she just felt a little off for the tone of the series...but I'm probably just too hung up on hoping Onsokumaru would narrate every anime series ever made...

There are far better reviews of each episode at Tenka Seiha than anything I could write (even if I wasn't too lazy to do episode-by-episode reviews to begin with). I think the Earth will Crash into the Sun before Potemayo gets licensed in region 1--but if it does, I'd order it faster than Potemayo can say "honi honi ho".

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your review. It was the best comedy in ages... best comedy of the year imo.

suguru said...

True...I like the fall season so far, but I think Potemayo is probably irreplaceable.

Lou said...

It's suprising how little press it got. One of the bets anime's I saw in years and years. I even created a website, potemayo.ca, I dont want this one to be forgotten like other anime's.

Timoi said...

As a 21 year old male, I wasn't expecting much when I started watching this at my local anime convention over the weekend (animethon) however, I was pleasantly surprised as I LOVED the series. I even decided to start drawing some of the characters and they turned out nice (my drawings turning out nice? That NEVER happens normally :S By the end I had 2 completed drawings and one about 2/3 done... Potemayo and Guchuko's scythe-poleaxe hybrid were drawn and I was almost done drawing Guchuko herself/itself) Anyways, I'm currently trying to gain access to the series...

Anonymous said...

Next time draw Guchuko's baby. VERY cute.