And we return full circle! It’s rare to see Valentine’s Day happen twice in one episode, but hey, I ain’t complaining! Now then, how’s about a second helping Io and Tsumiki to end this cute little romantic-comedy?
Part A is Valentine’s Day, and the girls prepare their chocolates for another sweet-filled day, while avoiding a repeat of last year’s tragedy. Unfortunately, that sweet day turns sour when poor Tsumiki forgets her kitty brownies for Io. Everyone else in the meantime gets together for some more Mayoi-ness, St. Frog jokes, and to remind us just what a colourful and lovable bunch they are. I wish that Ami Kirino joined in on the fun, too.
I’ve always loved the comedy in Acchi Kocchi – from it’s subtle jokes to its outlandish humour, I found myself laughing more often than not. In the end, however, Io and Tsumiki’s affections for each other won me over. I stated before that this anime was a comedy first-and-foremost, but now I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve recently began to feel as if romance was its stronger suit, and I think others feel this way, too. ‘Can’t really put a paw on it, but the moment they shared an umbrella on that rainy Valentine’s Day, all of a sudden everything felt right with the world.
Who said guys can’t be sweet? Part B is White Day, and what better way to kick off than a random Japanese weather warning? We learn a couple of things here; Hime might actually be a covert pervert, marriage is the perfect gift for White Day, being Mayoi is suffering, and Tsumiki is the goddess of love. I think I’ll just nosebleed to death in that locker over there…
While I don’t have anything against the conspiracy theory behind Valentine’s/White Day, y’know you’re doing something terribly wrong when you get Io mad. Even worse when the pervert (of all people) starts lecturing you. Although, I’m surprised at what a tsundere Kyouya is… frankly, it’s disgusting. Naw, I kid. It’s actually kinda cute, in a “little kid” kind of cute. Not exactly sure how I feel about the whole Kyouya x Saki shipping, but it’s endearing in it’s own way. I can say the sweets that Sakaki, Kyouya, and Io all made looked like nothing I ever made! Btw, does anyone have a recipe for gummi candy?
Before the sun sets, everyone’s together again for one final hurrah. What better way to end a sweet day than love words and pig-feet? The final moment shared between Io and Tsumiki. After cursing the ceiling several times and breaking the table with my head, the reality that the two didn’t get together finally caught up and threw me off my chair. After everything the previous episodes built up, the finale was a real heart chipper. I can forgive the ending, though, since it was still cute and innocent enough to satisfy my sweet tastes. On all accounts, there could’ve been worse ways to end off (We meet again, Korezon). Thank you AIC for giving us such a treat. Even though I’m sad to see such an adorable series go, I certainly hope this isn’t the last we see of these fun-sized idiots.
Is this Acchi Kocchi better than Lucky Star? I honestly don’t care anymore! On to the series review!
Bright, colourful, and simply all over the place. The colours burst onto the screen from the very get-go, like blobs of paint all over a canvas; it all comes together smoothly, filling everything – the characters, back drops, and even the transitions – with such vivid life and rich spectacle. The character models are an unusual mix of typical fun-sized chibi and a western cartoony style; the result are characters so squishable and huggable, seamlessly shifting between normal to fun-sized proportions at a drop of a hat. The models are consistent and without blemish from beginning to end, which is impressive when you consider just how well animated the entire series is. And it doesn’t let up, even during passive scenarios.
A plentiful and colourful cast fills that white spot on the canvas. Tsumiki fits the role of an aloof cat-like tsundere perfectly, and seeing her become increasingly more aggressive in her attempts to get Io to notice her feelings is fun, if a bit sad. Io is blunt, charming, kind-hearted and unbelievably dense; the way his words pluck at your heart makes it impossible to hate him. Hime is a plushie; she’s clumsy, timid and friendly, but beneath that gentle and gullible exterior is a covert pervert prone to sudden nosebleeds. Mayoi is crazy and intriguing; she fits the role of comic relief a little too well, and it’s never a dull moment when she’s scheming. Sakaki plays off as the perverted playboy and the butt-monkey of the group, but bounces off the rest of the cast nicely (especially Io). Other characters like Saki & Kana all add more colour to the series, despite having less appearances. Overall, the characters – although archetypical and practically the same throughout – are all varied and tons of fun.
The soundtrack is fantastic and memorable, filled with all kinds of flutes, pipes, pianos, violins, beeps & clicks, acoustics and guitars. There’s a huge variation of musical scores – from orchestral sounds to electrical riffs, to a delightful kindergarten tune to an awe-struck piano solo by Io himself! The OST – much like the characters and animation itself – is brimming of all sorts of colour. The voice acting is very strong – special mention goes to newbie seiyuu Rumi Oukubo for her splendid performance as Tsumiki Miniwa, sounding like both a soft-voiced tsundere and a convincing cat at the same time.
Being a slice-of-life, there isn’t much in terms of plot. It isn’t a laugh-out-loud comedy nor is it a sappy love story, but Acchi Kocchi strikes a nice balance between the two. Most of the series is spend making the ordinary outrageously stupid, with the first half more focused on comedy, while the last few episodes are spent fleshing out and building Io and Tsumiki’s feelings for one another. The ending is satisfying, despite leaving episode 11’s build-up in the dust.
I’ll admit that Acchi Kocchi was a pleasant surprise this spring season. It isn’t unique like Sankarea, nor is it a strong coming-of-age story like Kids on the Slope, but it’s a great treat filled with charm and delight. It won’t win any awards, but it’ll be remembered for years to come and even now as we speak. Casual anime fans won’t find much to enjoy here for the humour is often a hit-and-miss, and the lack of actual fanservice will turn off some viewers. But if you’re willing to enjoy this anime for what it’s worth – snowball fights, a cat crepe shop, Mayoi-bear – or if you like nosebleeding girls, dense pretty-boys, a cat-eared lolita, bright colours, and many, many arrows going here, there, and everywhere, give Acchi Kocchi a shot.
Thanks for reading!