Anime Review: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru Episodes 10, 11, and 12 (final)

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 1/28/11)

Anime Summary Review: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru Episodes 10, 11, and 12 (finale)

Rather than the longer reviews with all sorts of pictures and such, this is just a quick summary review. For a series that I’ve already been watching for several episodes, there’s not much of a reason to go into much detail. At this point in the series, you’re either still watching it (so you already know what’s going on and a long detailed run-down of everything is not really needed), or don’t care. So, without further ado:

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru Episode 10 – Futaba excitedly talks to Hotori about the mysterious “holes” that have appeared around town; Hotori breaks down, confessing that she’s responsible for the destruction when she found an alien raygun and played around with it. Rather than think she’s nuts, Futaba believes her story, because she also found a mysterious item that can fix anything. Later, the ghost of an old man wanders about town, unnoticed by everyone except the animals, later revealed to be Uki’s dead husband.
My thoughts: More of the Twilight Zone-ish weirdness, that ultimately goes nowhere. There’s no point to this episode at all, other than for Hotori to act like Hotori. I suppose the old man’s spirit bit was supposed to be sentimental and touching, but I really didn’t care because it didn’t have any connection to anything else.
A better review: Random Curiosity

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru Episode 11 – Mr. Arashiyama takes the family dog, Josephine, for a morning walk, but his peace and quiet is constantly interrupted by the shopkeepers and town residents, talking about the coming typhoon. Hotori heads over to Futaba’s place and makes a pest of herself waiting for their summer trip to the beach. But on the next day the typhoon rages, her inflatable ring is punctured, her bikini top ripped away in the surf. Worst. Vacation. Ever.
My thoughts: One of the most annoying minor aspects of this show is the chapter breaks with nonsensical brief eyecatches with Josephine, the family dog, in a high-pitched, distracting voice. They shoved as much Josephine-related bits into the first half of this episode, I guess to get it out of the way, centered around the father’s walkabout with the dog and his lowly stature on the family totem pole. The second half was more of Hotori being Hotori, which is what she seems to do best.
A better review: Random Curiosity

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru Episode 12 – Hotori unveils her prized ‘invention’, a pen with a magnifying glass glued on the end. But when learns how expensive the pen really is, she freaks out. Upon learning the prize money from a detective story contest will pay for the pen, she submits her masterpiece, only to be rejected in the first round. Stunned, she falls into traffic and is hit by a truck. Hotori wakes up in Heaven, where she is shown around ‘town’ by a guide. Using special binoculars she looks back down to Earth, only to learn that everyone honestly misses her. She then discovers she is actually just in a coma, and is offered the opportunity to have her memories erased and returned back to her body, where she can annoy the heck out of everyone all over again.
My thoughts: Actually a really touching ending. Throughout the entire series Hotori is a bit of a klutz, a bit of an idiot, a bit slow on the uptake, not really good at anything yet never really bothered too much by anything, either. It seems like the default reaction to Hotori is one of annoyance. But when she is gone…there’s a huge hole that’s missing in everyone’s lives, they never fully appreciated her when she was around.
A better review: Random Curiosity

Series Final Grade: B+ – A fairly enjoyable comedy, and I think its success hinges on two points. The first is the uniquely dissonant voice acting of the main character, that was absolutely pitch-(im)perfect for Hotori herself. Nailed it. Usually voice acting is really unnoticeable (as it should be), but every once in a while the perfect match really elevates the character. The second point to the show’s success is that it doesn’t rely on a linear story or a faithful reproduction of the original manga series. Instead, it picks at various chapters from the long-running series, jumping back and forth to find the right mix. As a result, the producers have the opportunity to pick the “best” parts of the manga and leave the dross behind, resulting in more comedy hits than misses.

The show was at its best when they simply let Hotori be herself: Wind ‘er up and watch ‘er go! That’s true with pretty much all character-driven situational comedies: define the characters well and the stories practically write themselves. A prime example that leaps to mind: Azumanga Daioh, or another example would be the first season of K-On (Hey, don’t laugh! I’m not holding it up as a bastion of greatness, just an example of a successful formula for storytelling.) If they decided to make more SoreMachi shows in the future (specials? OVAs?), I’ll be watching them.

The show also had a catchy, interesting opening theme song and closing theme as well (something I usually avoid mentioning because I’m more interested in the story itself), worth watching instead of just fast-forwarding past like most of the crappy j-pop synthshit you find on most shows these days. Also, despite the positive review, SoreMachi is only the *third* (or even possibly *fourth*) best comedy series of a season that was jam-packed with mostly comedies, so it may have ended up overlooked by many. I have a feeling this will end up as one of the quiet little “sleeper hits” that many people eventually discover years down the road.

Up next: My Annoying Sister Can’t Be This Tsundere (finale), Slutty and Loligoth with Afroperv, Pretentious Detective Yakumo (finale), Invasion! Squid Girl (finale), Jellyfish Triumphant! (finale), and ArakawaxArakawaxBridge

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