Time for a break from promoting lesser known comedy series I think, since about all I can say to try and convince people to give them a go is that they’re funny! The plan was to dig up something with a strong plot that would more or less sell itself… instead, I somehow ended up writing about Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. This one will be a challenge.
Plot summary: YKK is a ‘Iyashikei’ (healing) series, with no plot, action, or even much in the way of comedy. The main character is an android named Alpha, who runs a coffee shop in a post-apocalyptic world. The series simply follows her daily ‘life’ running the cafe, riding through the countryside on a motor scooter, admiring the scenery and conversing with the locals.
Not a lot happens, but in a way that simplicity is the beauty of iyashikei. TV Tropes actually puts it into words better than I ever could: “YKK is a (manga) series that gives you something to think about, and time in which to do it”.
The two episode OVA linked to at the start of this post, along with another two episode OVA made a few years later (Quiet Country Cafe) are the only anime adaptations of the series. However, the manga series they’re based on is much longer at fourteen volumes, allowing us to see much more of Alpha’s world; different locations, additional characters – but also how the same locations and characters change with the passing of time.
What makes it worth watching? I first watched YKK simply because I wanted to be able to claim I’d seen an anime series beginning with every letter of the alphabet – and in a time before Queen’s Blade and Quiz Magic Academy, Quiet Country Cafe was one of very few options available. 😛
So even I’ll admit that it wasn’t the synopsis that attracted me to the show to begin with. But by the time I had watched both OVAs, I’d fallen in love with the setting and the characters, and wanted more… hence why I read the manga, and also went on to read other works by the manga-ka (Ashinano Hitoshi), such as the single-volumed PositioN.
So seeing as the manga is the original, is longer and is fully available scanlated, are the OVAs actually worth watching? I’d say they are, whether you choose to start with them as I did, or watch them as an existing fan of the manga (which is probably the audience they were intended for). They may be short, but they capture the calming feeling of the original perfectly, adding fitting voices, great animation and even better music to it.
Possible reasons for it’s obscurity: Aside from the fact that OVAs seem to get less notice than TV series, Iyashikei is a sub-genre of slice of life, which is itself quite niche (with some exceptions, of course). And because series like this are such an acquired taste, neither the anime or manga are likely to get licensed any time soon.
Overall thoughts: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is great for when you’re too tired to watch anything complex and just want to relax. 😛 Best enjoyed slowly – marathoning an anime or manga series like this defeats the whole point of it!
Anime-Planet average rating: 3.5/5
My personal rating: 3.5/5