First Impressions: Shouwa Monogatari

I think it’s important to say right at the beginning that this series is probably quite unlike any other anime you’ve seen on TV recently. Self-titled as a “TV Manga”, I’ve seen it marketed as the “first ever anime aimed at seniors”. While I have no idea if that’s part of the official marketing or not, I don’t think it’s accurate – this is really aimed at the entire family and at both fans of anime and non-fans.

It’s a strange road the show took to get here. Three preview eps aired in the winter, there’s a movie as well, and the whole thing seems to have been airing out of sequence in the first run. I don’t know why all of that happened the way it did, but I know that it was a long wait to see it finally subbed. And the series makes a terrific first impression with the OP. it’s a sequence of Tokyo shots starting with a still of the cityscape today, transitioning to a still of 1964 (Showa 39) and finally the location animated. It’s a really lovely effect and does a great job setting the mood for what’s to come.

So this is really an unapologetically nostalgic look at family life in Tokyo during a simpler time. Seen through the eyes of 5th-grader Kohei, it tells the story of his family – hothead factory-director father, traditional mom, and teenaged older brother and sister. If ever an anime deserved to be called “slice-of-life”, it’s this one – I don’t think we can expect a lot of huge events and action – it’s going to be about the trials and tribulations of the Yamazaki family and growing up in the 60’s. If that interests you, you should enjoy this because it’s sweet and quite involving, if slow-paced. But I certainly recognize that it won’t be for everyone.

In terms of production quality, the animation isn’t especially high-end – it’s decent enough, but movement can be a little blocky and some of the character details are lost in background shots. But it does a beautiful job at the neighborhood and cityscapes – it’s clear that’s where the love went on the production side. There’s also a great bookend to the OP in the “casual stroll” segment at the end – where scenes from the ep are visited in live-action film with narration. I’m a sucker for that kind of thing, I admit, but I really enjoyed it – it made me wish I’d visited Kawasaki-daichi when I was in Tokyo…


Leave a Comment