Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki ~ Winter 2012 taste test
January 7, 2012
With a new season started, I have been trying out the first episodes of various shows. For the most part I haven’t seen anything worth keeping, with one possible exception. I’ve watched the New Prince of Tennis, Recorder to Randsell, Kill Me Baby, High School DxD, and Senki Zesshou Symphogear, and IMO none of them is worth even a taste test review. Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki (Poyopoyo Observation Diary), however, surprised me. Poyo (Fluffy) is the name of an “totally round” cat, and the show is really just a short (3 minutes) series of gags about Poyo and the Sato family that took him in. While the humor was amusing, it was the artwork that impressed me the most.
The first comic surprise to me was Moe’s drunken meeting of Poyopoyo. The show doesn’t comment on this, but Moe is clearly drunk, and passes out in the street. She uses the fluffy round thing as a pillow. Since this is supposed to be a children’s show, I wasn’t expecting a scene like this. You can also see, from the screen shot of Moe waking up, that the artwork is very nice. The animation seems “real” (not Flash-based). The character designs are mostly chibified that are familiar to all anime watchers. The backgrounds however are fairly distinctive; they show a lot of flair (I love the color scheme in the “Moe wakes up” scene, for example), and are handled in a loose, painterly way.
The humor isn’t bad. It has mostly been situational, that is, instead of jokes about how whacky these characters are, they have really been jokes about the situations someone encounters when living with a cat. In the situation above, Moe brings Poyo to bed with her, but Poyo slips off after Moe falls asleep. When Moe wakes up, she finds that Poyo has crawled into her little brother, Hide’s, bed. She is jealous, but Hide is suffering to have the cat on top of him.
These very short anime don’t have a strong track record. I have never seen one with production values as good as this. The length is typically too short to develop characters and plot, so it is mostly used for short, easy humor. Double-J failed in part because of the poor production quality, but also because the jokes took so long to set up that there was only enough time for one joke per episode. On the other hand, to me, a show like Kill Me Baby fails because the jokes are so simple that a full-length (~20 minute) episode of them seems to go on forever. Maybe Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki can hit the sweet spot.
Let me be clear. I’m not guessing that this is a must watch anime. It probably won’t teach us anything, or cause us to care a great deal about the characters. I am thinking it will add up to nothing more than some jokes and pretty pictures. I did find watching it painless, though (which is more than I can say for most of the other shows I listed at the top of this post). Mostly the humor is pretty harmless, so it is something you could watch with your mom. It is being streamed on Crunchyroll, making it convenient for those who can watch shows there. I’ll probably keep watching it, without expecting it to do much more than provide a pleasant diversion for a couple of minutes each week.