Showa Monogatari: A First Impression

And here I thought Shoujo got all the fluff.

Well, my fellow Rabbit Poet blog readers, summer is pretty much around the corner and now it’s the time of year where we start to see an increase of sunburns as well as anime watching. I admit, I’ve feeling a bit neurotic myself after spending a good couple of weeks writing research papers and studying for final exams.  So what better than kick off your free time by losing yourself in a very breezy, easy to watch anime? Even if it’s a bit too, uh, sweet for the senses.

Okay, I’ll cut the crap, the Anime under the spot light today is Showa Montagari. It got some buzz around the anime blogosphere seeing that it was being advertised as the first anime aimed at senior citizens…

And, well, it’s exactly that.

The series takes place in year 1964, or more technically, the 39 year of Showa. (For those of you that don’t know, The Showa period was when Emperor Sh?wa ruled from 1926 – 1989. ) The anime series is told through the eyes of Kouhei,who is in the fifth grade and is the main protagonist. Sure, he maybe the only character that is narrating the story to the audience, but the series is pretty much told in an Omnipresent (Read: God like) point of view,  as audience follows around other members of the Yamazaki family as well.
In the first episode of Showa, we see that the New Year has just begun. But, oh no!  Our pal  Kouhei has traveled all the way to down town only to find that he can’t speed his otoshidama (New Years eve money given as gift.) because all the stores are closed on new years!  Awe, Gee willikers!

If you can gather anything from my sarcasm from the last paragraph, you can gather that the creators of Showa pretty much ripped the basic premise of the series from god  awful titles Full House, Seventh Heaven, Growning Pains or some other cheesy family oriented programing that I rather not post here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am telling you this is all about fluff and more fluff with a hard candy coated outside sprinkled with even more sugar…fluff.

Yes. I can feel the diabetic shock settling in.

Alright, sure. I understand there are people out there who love this kind of stuff. After all, no one would even bother creating these kinds of shows if there wasn’t a market for it, right? I mean, sure, there’s nothing  wrong with liking a series. It’s wholesome and has it’s bright moments. And it’s great entertainment for all ages. Though, this is the time where I’m going to climb on my soap box here and say that this sort of abundance “happiness” in a series sort of worries me. Primarily, in situations where normally this over abundance of glee, is quite frankly, inappropriate.

Oh don’t worry Kouhei! Your father just came home completely plastered after a night out with the boys!  But it’s okay! We’ll just cue the cheery music and that fancy white glowing effect as your family eats their New Years Day feast while your drunken father sleeps on the floor. Honestly, what annoys me most about a series like this. It’s the classic, “Oh no! something bad is going to happen! Oh. Wait. No. Just kidding with ya! Everyone is going to live happily ever after!” cop out.  Because, as we all know, nothing bad could ever happen in a family series, because they’re designed to be made so sweet so that they can make your teeth rot.

Corniness aside, if there’s anything redeeming with Showa, it’s the production quality. The style is simplistic, but I suppose that’s what gives the series its charm. True, it may look simplistic, but don’t let that fool you. In actuality I liked how there seemed to be this seemly effortless flow through out the episode.  I even will admit, the animation is really the high point of this series. Case in point, I don’t belive I’ve ever witnessed falling food to be so dramatic in all of my anime watching career.

Food falling off a table 300 style!

The Final Verdict?
Showa Monogatari is an absolutely perfect anime if you’re a fan of family oriented  shows or you need to give something to your grandparents to watch while you baby sit them.

But as for me? No thank you.

I think I’ll spare my teeth from falling out from all the excess of all of this cotton candy fluff.

2 Replies to “Showa Monogatari: A First Impression”

  1. Watching the first episode, I could tell that this was like Leave It To Beaver in anime form, just with more warm fuzzies and less 50s stereotypes. I’m sure this has its fair share, since my knowledge of this time period is limited to Mouryou no Hako (And I doubt there was really as much forlorn lesbian love and mysterious countryside murder), but I feel less of a desire to feel the icy hand of death upon me.

    Still won’t follow it, mind you, but as far as other shows set in the 50’s go that’re family friendly… not terrible.

  2. I don’t agree with you at all on this show having “fluffy” vibes aimed to squeeze our hearts with images of families and old-fashioned values. I would prefer to use the word “nostalgic,” since the show definitely harkens back to a time when there weren’t video games, computers, or cell phones. Showa Monogatari shows us what many people, regular people, did in their regular lives, in a very special year that premiered the first Olympics to ever occur in Asia, even more important since it took place in Japan not too long (20 some years) after World War II. Episode 2 reflects this a bit when the father remembers the moment his older brother went to war and left him to protect the family back home.

    There are some definite moments of darker reality that I also appreciate are included, including the moment you mention with the drunken father. Again, I don’t see how it’s possible to align that scene with cheesiness, but, different interpretations are bound to occur no matter what. I instead saw it again as a nod to the realities of everyday life, where the family must move past the embarrassing act of the father–who drinks maybe a little too much and has a quick temper, often aimed at his older son who he cares about quite a bit–and try to enjoy the holiday any way that they can.

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