Shouwa Monogatari – 4

I really enjoy Shouwa Monotgatari. Despite it’s old-school animation, simplistic storylines and lack of any modern sophistication, it has a distinct charm to it that I find really enjoyable. The long waits between episodes for us non-Japanese speakers make it seem almost like an OVA rather than a TV series.

This week’s drama focused on Yuuki, and her romantic travails. Having grown up with two significantly older sisters I can sympathize with Kouhei’s plight – the verbal and physical abuse, the fights over the bathroom and the TV… It all hits home for me. When you’re 11 and you have a 17 year-old sister, she may as well be from another species.

Yuuko’s sour mood comes from her longing for a hunky sempai she can’t quite get up the nerve to ask out. She pines after him constantly, seeming to verge on the stalker – even as far as the basketball court – but while she’s built up to small can’t she can’t quite get over the hill. Then she goes home and takes out her frustrations on Kouhei – I feel ya, Kid.

This being Shouwa Monogatari, there’s always going to be an excess of family drama – but you know things aren’t going to end up too badly. The conflict over encroaching modernity between Kouhei’s older brother and his father seems like a weekly staple, and this ep was no exception. This time it surrounds Dad’s plan to take a loan to buy a new lathe for the shop – which his son considers a poor decision what with transistors and tubes and all those newfangled gadgets on the way. This leads to the usual physical intimidation by Pyshco-Dad, and indirectly to soy sauce being spilled on Nee-san’s school uniform. The embarrassment keeps her from asking her sempai out at his graduation, but lady luck smiles and delivers her a chance meeting outside Kamata Station, which leads to a dinner invite. And Kouhei smooths things over with her by telling her all his buddies think she’s hot. That’s still about a year away from moving beyond the cute and flattering stage, so Yuuki reciprocates with politeness and a pat on the head.

Lastly but by no means least, we have the welcome return of the casual stroll this week. This week the neighborhood surrounding the aforementioned Kamata Station is covered. I don’t know this area from my Tokyo travels, but all of these strolls are pure win for me. They make a perfect pairing with the OP, which remains possibly my favorite of the season – I love the transition from modern digital photo to grainy 60’s black-and-white to animated.

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