Oijisan to Marshmallow – 01
I actually didn’t realize this was a 5-minute series when I sat down with it, but that feels just about right. This show is as light as the confection in its title, but fortunately almost as sweet. It’s the story of an overweight middle-aged salaryman called “Hige” who loves marshmallows, and the much younger office lady Wakabayashi-kun who loves to tease him.
She comes off as a bit of a meanie, to be honest, but there’s something quite cute about their interplay – and I hope for the sake of the series that Wakabayashi actually sort of likes Hige, because otherwise what comes off as rather quite will suddenly feel kind of ugly. I enjoyed five minutes worth of this -we’ll see if it has any staying power.
Sushi Police – 01
Sushi Police packs a lot of LOLs and WTFs into three minutes, I’ll say that much. The funny thing is that this CGI short, absurd as it seems, is actually based (loosely, of course) on a real-life task force set up by the Japanese government in 2006 to combat the scourge of California rolls. As far as I know this nonsense was pretty quickly abandoned (for obvious reasons) but the mere idea is so utterly Japanese (and I don’t mean the sushi association) that I can’t help but love it.
Studio KOO-KI has won awards at Cannes for their TV commercials, and Sushi Police is definitely visually clever and funny. It looks much more like a Hollywood cartoon than anything anime but that’s fine. The Sushi Police – a fat guy, a thin guy and a robot that runs on shoyu – fulfil the titular role of patrolling the world for violations (like alligator sushi and mayonnaise) of the sushi aesthetic as they see it. In the process the robot’s head keeps flying off and the press keeps freaking out about this violation of freedom of food expression.
I’m not sure this is really anything more than a 3-minute lark, and it’s a pretty amusing one if that’s the case. But there is the potential for some fairly potent satire here, both of Japanese and foreigners, and I think the humor will have a lot more bite if that’s a part of the equation too. We’ll see.