Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari – 08

pocos udon world 8001

Like a furry angel, descending from heaven

 It’s finals/exams/submit my abstract to the biggest conference of the year for my field time so I apologize for being behind. I was also writing about magical girls and suffering for MAL, so you can check that out as a sort of peace offering for my tardiness!

I went through an interesting process while watching this one. Since this month has been balls-to-walls busy (probably not how you’re supposed to use that term but whatever), I started to try and save time by thinking about what I’m going to say in these posts while I’m watching the show in question. I usually try not to do that, because then I just try and critique everything instead of enjoying the moment. So, unfortunately, I was pretty put off by the beginning and I think I spent the rest of the episode ignoring what was onscreen and piecing together my inner monologue.

What rubbed me the wrong way was what felt like a forced attempt to be more iyashikei than usual. This show has had good vibes since the beginning, but this episode felt like they were trying to be aggressively soothing. There were more scenery shots than usual, Poco was being absurdly adorable, and even Souta reacted with childlike reverence to an island he’s already been to befoe.

It all felt a little too contrived, and this made me basically sit there crossing my arms when Poco got lost and we went through all this melodrama. It was only until the two were reunited that my heart took over and I was suddenly touched. Now I’m a bit torn. I was sure I could peg this episode as being overly melodramatic, as were the thoughts running through my head at the time, but the reunion scene somehow worked in the end. As with most things, I think the answer is that it’s a mixture of good and bad things, and different people will split those two up differently.

pocos udon world 8000

If this show is trying to boost tourism, it’s working…

Another issue I had with this episode was that it seems to be running away from the parts I enjoy the most. Yeah, it still had Poco being cute and it pushed for making everything feel like an adventure, but it left behind anything meaningful to do so. Great iyashikei shows don’t just indulge in scenery porn for no reason (despite the fact that these kinds of shows seems frivolous). There’s usually a meaning to each shot, an emotion attached to each location. Most recently, I can think of Tamayura, where Fuu’s hometown reminds her of her deceased father, and so every meandering scenery shot is supposed to evoke that bittersweet sense of nostalgia. In this episode of Poco’s Udon World, the only real driving emotion behind this trip was dumbstruck awe. There was no profoundness to it, he was just…there…killing time until he could talk about his prospective new job.

I really enjoyed the personal, deep, yet casual conversations Souta had with his friends, so this felt like a huge step back. After all that set-up, were they really going to throw it away and have the rest of the series be a fluffy, time-killing, exercise in showing off how shiny they can make water? Because boy can they make water look shiny! Just watch them go! Other than that, I started to worry that the show was going to continue to shy away from the bigger issues at hand here, as has been the case for the last couple of episodes. Hiroshi biking all the way over and then pulling a bunch of horribly awkward gags with his sudden crush on Rinko didn’t help either.

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I’m still not sure I believe this guy is a genius…

My heart softened a bit around the time Souta started hopelessly chasing a brown dog through the forest, nearly turning himself into roadkill to protect this mis-identified critter. It was around then that the themes this show had been too scared to talk about finally came to the surface. It turns out Souta had been worried about things such as how long he could raise this tanuki child without getting it killed or having it run away. He’d just been too afraid to think about it too deeply. That’s a bit of a cheap reason to never address it in the show until now, but at least it tries to explain it.

Understandably, thinking about anything that could ruin Souta’s rather pleasant daily life would be painful. There are just so many ways it could go awry. If Poco doesn’t age then Souta will be in trouble. If other tanuki exist, Souta may have to give him up to be raised properly by his own kind at some point. If no other tanuki exist, then oh man, the pressure is on for Souta to protect the last living raccoon dog on earth. There are more complications here than if Souta adopted a human child, and they all make for really, really interesting potential storylines. In fact, I wish we got more than Souta’s brief moment of panic. This is a very real problem that isn’t going to go away as long as Poco is here in all his tanuki splendor. It’s what makes this show unique, and I think it should be embraced more to avoid what happened in the first half of the episode with bad jokes and lots of fluff.

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I’m still enjoying this show, but I can’t help but think about the kind of show I want it to be. I like fluff, but this isn’t the right kind of fluff I want. This is cotton, and I’m a cashmere girl, ya know? Would it actually be better if Souta was constantly worrying about the logistics of taking care of a mythical creature? Maybe not. Maybe it wouldn’t be as exciting if it were all about cooking udon either. It’s hard to say, but I still feel that there’s just something that’s lacking. As such, this show is probably the most solid 7/10 show I’ve seen. It’s good! …and then that’s about all I’d say in terms of a review.

Weekly reminder that Poco is still hella cute though. Nothing’s lacking there!


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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One Response to “Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari – 08”

  1. skylion says:

    Genius means being good at one thing, not all the things, unfortunately. LIke being a fuzzy angel, it’s a matter of learning.

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