Finally, I’ve gotten around to reviewing all the first episodes on my watch list this season! This anime is really freakin’ adorable, and now I just want to turn into a little person and live a blissful, tiny life.
Plotless cuteness: there is plot in the sense that characters do have desires and encounter conflicts, but these are easily resolved and not really the point of our mini episodes. The first episode was split into two separate mini adventures, and I predict that future episodes would be split this way as well. The characters are pretty carefree – even Mikochi, the more responsible one, decides simply to forget about her lost wallet even though the whole point of their market trip was to stock up on things. Anything that bugs the characters at all goes away by the end of the incident, it seems, which has quite a therapeutic effect.
So why are they tiny?: Hakumei and Mikochi are 9cm tall. It was super cute when Hakumei was chopping grass with her special knife and when she took out a whole peanut from her backpack, but I feel like the anime could have done a better job exploring their world. If you look at The Secret World of Arrietty, you’ll see that the world’s giganticness gets explored from the perspective of someone tiny. This is mostly done by showing how tiny people interact with the same things we see every day in an entirely different way compared to us. In Hakumei and Mikochi, the camera doesn’t really give us a view of what the world looks like beyond our protagonists’ immediate surroundings. As well, the characters all make their own replicas of our everyday items (e.g. plates, mugs, dressers) instead of using ready-made things in a clever way (like how Thumbelina uses a walnut shell as a bed). I think the anime can do better in this respect.
Free to be themselves: I think the anime is highly successful in making Hakumei and Mikochi characters outside of the restrictions of age and gender. They have to deal with the practical concerns in life, go on adventures like children, and interact like a married couple. Yet, this all seems quite natural, simply because they’re tiny humans in a magical world that lacks rules. Their voices are neither adult-like nor childish – quite pleasant to listen to as well. If we must label them, Mikochi is quite the traditional wife while Hakumei is the husband, but then they’re both females with adorable, jelly-bean faces. It’s just such an innocent show.
Nice people: What you’d expect in a CGDCT (cute girls doing cute things). Hakumei and Mikochi keep getting free stuff in the market, which was pretty pleasant. What surprised me a little more was how friendly all the animals and insects were as well, even if some seem the predatory type. Curiously, the little people are non-vegetarian (so far, we seem them eat fish and octopus). I’m curious as to how they distinguish between which creatures to eat and which to hang out with.
Fairy tale: The episode opens with its credits listed in English and the line “Tiny little life in the woods.” Each flashback is coloured a warm shade of chestnut, and is surrounded by flowery borders. The fairy tale feel is well-established, and the second half of the episode had a hint of Japanese folklore with its kaleidoscopic market of tiny people, animals, and exotic merchandise.
Adorable: well, of course. I love jelly-bean faces, as I’ve mentioned when I was talking about Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon. Hakumei and Mikochi’s faces are even more distinctly jelly-bean-like… I think they are drawn in an ideal chibi proportion. How can you not fall in love with them at first sight?
Lovable ED: Sung by Hakumei and Mikochi’s seiyuu! I love the style of it, as well as how they use the opportunity to list interesting facts related to the tiny people’s world.
So, am I going to keep going with this? When I’m only allowing myself two anime from the current season, I might have to go for Sora yori mo Tooi Basho instead of this… I do give credits to Hakumei and Mikochi for being a more adorable show that brought a smile to my face consistently, but I guess I’m the type of person to go for a little more plot and character development. Definitely watch Hakumei and Mikochi if you’re having a bad day though – I know it’ll be my go-to the next time I mess something up at my intern position.