Dagashi Kashi Review
Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the show Dagashi Kashi. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.
Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:
I think we can all agree on our opinions on food:
Superwoman explains it perfectly. I'm a big fan of food in general, my favorite typically being anything dessert. I'm one of those people who will probably binge on some Oreo's or typically any dessert while at a party or special occasion. Of course, I eat healthy as well, and my eating habits have changed for the better over the years. For starters, I'm not getting fast food every weekend like I used to.
This series didn't appeal to me right away, even though I am a big fan of candy (and comedy for that matter, considering that's what this show is). It took some convincing on Luke's part in order for me to watch the first episode, and after that I was eager to watch more. This, from what I've seen, is definitely one of those shows that people are split over. Where did I fall into this mix?
I'm definitely a part of the higher mix of this series, because I found it to be really enjoyable. The characters were all really good even though one should have appeared more, the story does a good job mixing facts about candy with just plain goofing off, and the animation is actually quite pretty. Yes, even with the swirling eyes.
There are a couple of minor nitpicks that I have here, but I don't think it's anything too major other then the character issue. So let's get moving, shall we? We have a story to tell!
Kokonotsu (nicknamed Coconuts by his friends, the twins Tou and Saya) is an aspiring mangaka who is the son of You, who runs the small town's candy store. Kokonotsu's aspiration clashes with his dad, who wants him to run the Shikada candy shop when he gets old enough, as it's been in the family for eight generations. Though Kokonotsu often finds himself manning the store while his father is gone anyways, it's not something he'd do for a living.
Enter Hotaru Shidare from stage right. She is from the Shidare family, which is known for their famous snacks, and has come to this small town to recruit You for her father's company. However, You refuses once he arrives back home after going out for a bit, saying that he will not leave the shop unless Kokonotsu decides to inherit it. So, a bargain is made: Hotaru will stay for as long as possible until she convinces Kokonotsu to take the step to become the 9th owner of the Shikada dagashi store. Then, You will join her father's company.
What follows is a mass stream of histories of candy, sexual innuendos, and just plain craziness as Hotaru worms her way into the small town's hubbub. Also, there's more convincing involved. Oh, and mouth ulcers. Friend antics, too. Yup, they're all there!
But will Kokonotsu give up and take over the family store? Or is he still passionate about his own dreams? Only time will tell.
Overall, for a slice of life comedy anime, the story for this one was actually pretty strong. The show is mainly centered around 2 12 minute episodes revolving different kinds of candy, an explanation of their history, and random events. There was one mainly plot focused episode where Hotaru holed up in her house due to her mouth ulcer (which was the weaker episode of the show), but besides that, the episodes are very laid-back in their approach.
Also, the comedy is this show can get pretty hilarious, and there was various times where I burst out laughing. The first episode was probably the best indicator of it, when Hotaru fell off her bike into a pile of mud after starting intently at the letter a (or the word You, depending on the translation) on he Popsicle stick, or formed accidental sexual humor jokes. For example, this one (but it also has another funny moment later on):
If there was one problem in the story for me, it was probably the fact that they focused on Kokonotsu, Hotaru, and Saya too much compared to the other 2 characters in this anime (yes, it's a very small cast), Tou and You. I thought the both of them were pretty hilarious (Tou was my favorite though, for reasons that will be explained later), and the anime seems to limit a bit of their potential (mainly on Tou) to focus on the possible love triangle between the other 3. This isn't really a bad thing, but I think there were a few episodes where Tou definitely could have benefited from appearing, and it was a little disappointing to find out he wasn't going to pop up in those cases.
But other than that though, I really enjoyed this anime's more relaxed pace to the main question, which is still unanswered by the end of the show, but the way it's handled was actually pretty surprising, and I liked how it turned out. I also was a big fan of some of the random candy facts too. Guess who got hungry even after they ate dessert?
Let's go on to the characters now:
Since this cast is pretty small, and because I think each of them offer some different to this anime, we're going to talk about all 5 of them! There are a couple of small characters, but they don't really make enough appearances to warrant discussion.
Kokonotsu is up first, of course:
Kokonotsu is a 15 year old aspiring mangaka who lives out in the country where his father runs the Shikada Dagashi. Though not interested in running the Shikada store as the potential 9th head, Kokonotsu does know a lot about candy, possibly more so than his father. It won't level Hotaru's expertise, but it's still quite impressive. More often than not, he is seen managing the register far more often than his dad typically does.
He is probably the most bland character of the series, which actually makes him a pretty good straight man when it comes to situations bound beyond his control. Like his friend Tou, he strives to become popular with the girls, even though that can only go so far as to wishing it with candy.
He is also given a nickname by Tou and his twin Saya, which is Coconuts. This is actually pretty clever since the Japanese word for coconuts is kokonatsu, which is an excellent pun in my book.
Aside from that though. Kokonotsu is still a decent protagonist. Though he is probably my least favorite character from the show, he still had some pretty good moments, especially with Hotaru and Saya. I just feel think he was a bit bland at times, and didn't offer as much intrigue compared to the others (yes, including his dad).
Speaking of intrigue, let's talk about the poster child for this anime, Hotaru:
She's special, so she gets a GIF header. HAPPY DAY FOR ALL!
To say Hotaru is very energetic is kind of an understatement. She always seems to be full of energy and life, even when hit with a mouth ulcer. The daughter of the Shidare family, Hotaru hopes to bring her knowledge of candy and snacks to the rest of the world. In the meantime, she's stationed in Kokonotsu's town until she is able to convince him to become the 9th head of the Shikada candy shop. Her house is a decorative mansion, seemingly built just for her stay.
Despite being full to the max with her knowledge about candy, she can often be dramatic with it, such as inviting the others to see how the world's longest gummy worm can have many uses, to asking Kokonotsu to restrain her during a fugashi taste test. Some of these activities often end up going to very bizarre territory.
Above all else though, she's always got her head in the clouds. And even though it may take a little effort for her to get on ground level, she'll always be welcome into the Shikada Dagashi. I mean, all that enthusiasm has to go somewhere, right?
Overall, Hotaru was a joy to watch on screen. Her excitement on all things candy is pretty relatable, considering that I often linked it with my intense voice actor and seiyuu knowledge. Her character is very eccentric, and it's hard not to find her annoying in my book. At various points, it was nice to take a break from her and focus on the other characters, because I can see some getting exhausted with her after a while. I mean, she's the star of the show, but it can be rewarding to focus on the others.
Now onto those said others. Saya will be first/the third overall:
Besides being one of Kokonotsu's childhood friends, Saya has managed to harbor a gigantic crush on him since they were kids. The signs of course are obvious, from instances where she blushes or when she thinks back to a time where they played doctor with Yoguret. She doesn't admit out front though, and often gets angry when her brother teases her about it. Both she and her brother run the Cafe Endo
Besides that, she can be pretty engaging and pretty sweet, unless you piss her off. Note her punches and her almost scary like appearance when she gets angry. She forms a pretty good friendship with Hotaru, who also respects her in a way. This way having to do with the fact that Saya is always fantastic at playing games, or with contests build on lucky. Hotaru calls her Saya-shi (Master Saya) after witnessing her slay at a game of Menko.
I really liked Saya more than I probably should have. She can easily be brushed off as the childhood friend character who has a crush on said other childhood friend (who's a boy), but I like how the manga creator and the writers gave her more of a personality beyond that. Besides having a great streak of luck with winning prizes from candy or games, Saya's also a great character to be around, and you can easily see why she easily formed a bond with Hotaru and why her bond with Kokonotsu has remained strong until this day.
Now let's talk about her brother Tou:
Tou is the older twin brother of Saya, but is much more laid back than she is. He probably does work and help his sister with Cafe Endo, but we don't really see that either than him just sitting at a table in the corner. He typically wears Hawaiian shirts, and has 3 of them on rotation (the shirt of the key visual, a purple one, and the blue and white striped ensemble in the screenshot above). Oh yeah, and let's not forget the sunglasses.
He is known to be a bit perverted, as times drawing over the girls' chests in Kokonotsu's art book so that they have bigger breasts and being impressed about Hotaru's assets. In Episode 6, he flips up Saya's skirt with the gummy rope, basically claiming that that's the main use for it before getting punched in the face.
Honestly, I loved Tou. I was really bummed when he didn't appear as often as he did, because he is hilarious. He is so obnoxious to the point where anything he does is just funny. He adds a nice presence to this anime, and I think we can all think of an actual Tou in our lives. But this is where it honestly doesn't become an annoyance.
YO YO You is last:
You is the current head of the Shikada candy store, and is also a bit of a slacker. Though he does care about the shop, and we do see a decent example of him helping out some kids with a candy game in Episode 11, he isn't really shown to be present at the dagashi, which means that Kokonotsu has to take over more often than not. You can also be a little lazy, though he does strike up a very good friendship with Hotaru due to their crazy at times energy levels.
While not running the shop, You has been found making vlogs for Youtube (terrible ones, mind you), or consuming vast amounts of binramune. He also schemes up a devious plan with Hotaru in order for Kokonotsu to further understand the value of candy in Episode 3 by hiding candy in the pool, before realizing that their plan failed because the pool had a "No food or drink" sign that they forgot to remove.
Overall, You was such a goofball. He'd be the parent in real life who'd probably accidentally embarrass his kids without him knowing it. He has this tendency to be an absolute comedy magnet when he comes on screen, and that is always fine by me. I expected him to be far more annoying than he was, but good news was that he actually turned out to be pretty funny. Much like Tou, I'm sad that he didn't appear as often as he did, because I thought he was great.
Other than that, there isn't really a lot of other main characters to talk about. There's some guest roles, but other than that, we have a fairly small cast this time compared to a show like Jitsu wa Watashi wa.
The animation for this series was produced by Feel, who are also known for doing the animation for the series such as So, I Can't Play H!, Locodol, and Outbreak Company.
I really liked the animation for this series overall. The characters are animated very well, and the settings all look nice, especially the river shots we get. The water always looks very sparkly, and the scenery was always engaging. What were also engaging were the character designs. A signature trait that almost all of the characters have is a swirl in the center of their eyes, which looked pretty cool when I first saw them. Pretty soon, I actually managed to forgot they were there, since they worked with the eyes and they didn't really bother me as much as it did with other people.
I really didn't notice any problems, other than some slight off model issues with the characters and the odd CGI goldfish. But besides those, everything else was great.
The score for this series was composed by 2 people; Nobuaki Nobusawa and Tomotaka Ohsumi. The former was involved with the OST of Madan no Ou to Vanadis (along with Masaru Yokoyama), and an anime that is currently airing this season, Cerberus. The latter hasn't been involved with any other anime scores other than opening and ending composition.
First thing I want to mention is that Nobuaki Nobusawa's style from Madan no Ou to Vanadis does make a reappearance in a couple of the pieces. A couple have that rustic feel to them, and I think it was more distinct here compared to his first score work in an anime, as that gave me average results. I will say that the score for this series is pretty good though. It's a different feel than what I typically receive from comedy anime OST's, as it's more laid-back than pure bouncy. My favorite track is probably the one that plays when things take a turn for the suggestive. I cracked up when it first appeared in Episode 2 (clip linked earlier in review).
As for audio wise for the original Japanese and the Broadcast Dub that FUNimation produced for this season, the Japanese is very good. All of the seiyuus sound great in their respective roles (Keiji Fujiwara plays a completely different character than what I've seen him as in the past, and is one of the reasons why I like You as much as I do), and help bring their characters to life. The English dub I'm not as crazy of, since I've been kind of meh on what I've seen of clips and the first episode. I liked some of the performances, but if I feel like it in the future, I may check more of the dub out.
Highlights in the original Japanese go to EVERYONE!
As a whole, I thought this show turned out to be a very fun and pleasing watch. The story was pretty fun, the characters were great, and the animation managed to be nice as well. While there were some slight weaknesses that managed to pop up, this was still a great comedy series that I wouldn't mind rewatching in the future.
I recommend this series for anyone who's a big fan of slice of life comedies, candy in general, need a pick-me-up, or are looking for an anime to combat a rainy Sunday.
A more relaxed story compared to other comedy anime.
Performances are all fantastic.
Will have you craving snacks/dessert to no end.
2 characters (mainly Tou) don't appear as much as the rest, which restricts some development.