Dagashi Kashi is the first of the true bubble series to officially make the cut this season, but it’s been at the head of that pack for a while. To be honest I’m a sucker for shows like this one and it just pushes a lot of my buttons. The minutiae of daily life in Japan never fails to fascinate me, and I can’t remember a single season where there enough good anime comedies (true comedies, I mean) to satisfy me.
As I said last week, one of the things I love about Dagashi Kashi is that it puts to the test the question of just how seemingly trivial a subject a person can be passionate about in Japan. Not only would I ask whether anyone needs to know as much about candy and snacks as Hotaru does, but whether anyone needs to know as much as they’re going to learn just from watching the series. Yet I’m fascinated – and when I saw that Baby Star (one of my favorite Japanese snacks) was going to be featured in next week’s episode, I actually let out a little whoop.
Both skits were winners this week, starting with the Fugashi “blind tasting”. Fugashi isn’t a delicacy I’ve acquainted myself with as of yet, but really this was just an excuse for some hilarious double entendres and endless reams of trivia about the product in question. “It’s so big – don’t force it in!” Sophisticated? No, it’s pretty lowbrow stuff – but in this kind of guileless environment it’s almost sweet. And You-san walking in on his son blindfolded and tied up waiting for Hotaru was perfect way to bring that sketch to a close.
Then we had the sketch sketch, which was actually one of my favorites of the series so far. Tou is responsible for all the trouble of course, writing “Big boobs” on Kokonotsu’s sketch of Hotaru and “Tiny boobs” on the sketch of his sister. There’s actually a sort of tension here (well, sort of) as Coconuts forgets his sketchpad at the cafe and doesn’t realize it until he’s back at the candy shop. That leaves him desperate to retrieve it before Saya sees it, and Hotaru steps in with a box of Glico to theoretically save the day.
Just a few cultural notes here… Yes, 80 meters a minute is the legally recognized walking speed in Japan – and that’s critical, because how many minutes an apartment or house is from the nearest station is the first thing renters look at on every housing ad. And small towns in Japan do generally have pretty bad public transit, and places are often a lot farther apart than you think they will be. It was initially a bit surprising to think the cafe was 1500 meters from the candy shop, but on reflection that actually sounds about right. 562 seconds to run there? I can’t vouch for that.
Why does all this work as well as it does? To me, I think it’s because the comedy is not mean-spirited and victim-driven – it’s just silly with gleeful abandon and mostly on the wistful side. That, and the fact that all – and for me it really is all – of the characters are really likeable. Nobody is an asshole, and the ones who aren’t the sharpest knife in the drawer mean well. And Kokonotsu and Saya, the “normals”, have a wacky side themselves and don’t shy away from a pointless caper or two. It’s fun to spend time with these guys in this place – and if a comedy has that going for it, it’s in pretty good shape.