Synonyms: YKK, Yokohama Shopping Log, Yokohama Shopping Trip
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 21, 1998 to Dec 2, 1998
29 min. per episode
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.451 (scored by 3712 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
slice of life
SynopsisThis is not so much a story as it is a slice of life. Or rather, it is a look into portions of the life of a girl named Alpha, together with the people around her. Alpha runs a little cafe on the outskirts of Yokohama. There are almost no customers, but Alpha does not mind at all since she has the occasional company of the old man who runs the gasoline stand down the road, as well as that of his grandson Takahiro. This is a Yokohama of the future, when the sea covers most of the land and roads have disappeared under sand or water. Alpha is in fact a robot, looking after the cafe during her owner's indefinite leave of absence.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
Sequel: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe
Characters & Voice Actors
If for some reason you wanted to give a try to this OVA before tackling the manga series, or if, as a fan, you considered checking out how well the Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou adaptation fared, this is the only thing you need to hear: do it.
Released in 1998, this 2-episode OVA (based on the long-running manga of the same name) starts with Alpha. She is an android. Then we see the barren land of what looks like the countryside, but soon come up names of familiar cities like Yokohama. With humanity slowly declining, the End of Everything is scheduled soon, and Alpha already knows she might witness the end of an age.
A sci-fi backdrop in all respects, but woven of the author's magical slice-of-life thread: despite a post-apocalyptic premise, exposition is absent; we are thrown into an intriguing setting that is daily life to the characters. They are shown next to flooded and ravaged buildings, but their topic of conversation is as mundane as the operating of a camera, unaffected by what the viewer may think of as a nightmarish panorama. Drama is silent. Disaster is understated.
There is something wistful about the end of the world--something much sadder than the end of the world as we know it through fiction, in which apocalypse is above all violent and challenging. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is about a mankind who has long realised and accepted its disappearance, for perhaps it is only after accepting fate that we can truly experience the sadness of this tragedy.
Readers of the manga should feel familiar with this story. And although it is crucially limited in what it can cover, the OVA boasts the same qualities as the manga, if in a more subdued way. But how is the transition from paper to animation? Certainly, the manga's contrasts, absorbing empty spaces and rich shades of grey are lost, along with some of the expected impact. And more essentially, the series' pacing might put off watchers; it fits considerably more the manga medium.
This is, however, not to say that the transition to anime is entirely negative, as all features of animation are brilliantly utilised. The sound of the wind harmoniously blends with the sound of Alpha's routine. The colour of the day darkens as the night closes in. The moving shadows of leaves and clouds on the ground, the ripples and reflections on the water, and the motion of plants as the wind blows--all of this makes for a terrifically lifelike environment. At times, a somewhat low framerate may betray a limited budget, because YKK is not a high-budget anime. It's made by people who mean to do well--and with the talent to do well.
A note can be made regarding Alpha's voice actress: whilst some of her cheery tones may annoy, they contrast splendidly with the solemn voice she uses for introspective scenes. Compared to Akari from Aria who remains cheerful at all times, for instance, the varied acting adds a much appreciated layer of depth to the OVA's characters.
This OVA is a fine introduction to the series for newcomers, and a welcome addition to the manga for fans of the franchise. It has the same subtle yet powerful, melancholic yet serene depictions of life as its source material, and all the benefits animation provides. Granted, the manga's vast horizons of melancholy have been noticeably narrowed this time--this glimpse of the world of YKK lasts, after all, only 58 minutes. But those 58 minutes are masterful.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is a two-episode OVA based on the manga of the same name (please read my review of the manga for more details). Specifically, it is based on a few early chapters in the manga. After reading over some other reviews, it seems that the transition from still images to animation has been somewhat of a hit-or-miss kind of thing with many people, but for me, I think it weathers the transition very well; the OVA takes advantage of the medium to showcase the world and characters, but in some ways doesn't go far enough.
Story: 9 (Great)
The story concerns Alpha Hatsusueno, an android (or gynoid, to be gender-specific) who lives on the outskirts of what's left of Yokohama, Japan after rising sea levels destroyed most of the city. She spends her days running a cafe and waiting for the return of her owner, who has left for reasons and parts unknown. One day, she receives a visitor - a young woman named Kokone, who is here to drop off a special package for her along with a message. When Alpha asks for the contents of the message, she discovers something special about Kokone - she, too, is a robot!
Alpha and Kokone quickly become friends, and the two begin to explore the world around them, aided by the gift sent by Alpha's owner - a camera that can directly interface with robots. Kokone returns to her delivery service, leaving Alpha feeling lonely again. She then decides to head out on her own to discover for herself what the world offers for her to photograph and preserve.
After going out to pick up a new rake, the skies above Alpha's little scooter start to darken; before long, a heavy rain sets in. Suddenly, a lightning strike out of nowhere! Alpha will now have to cope with trying to survive and the changes she'll face after her recovery.
Alpha decides to try out her new camera and becomes greatly dissatisfied with some of the shots she takes. She searches for the perfect shot, but is suddenly overtaken by a faint memory she barely remembers, one that goes back to the very day she was first activated.
The corresponding manga chapters covered by the OVA's two episodes are, in order,Chapter 7 Afternoon February 2, Chapter 8 1 by 1, Chapter 9 300 Image Capacity,Chapter 4 Rain and After, Chapter 12 Navi and Chapter 22 Yokosuka Cruise - note that Chapters 8 and 9 and Chapters 12 and 22 have been combined into a single half-episode each.
The story faithfully reproduces the ones told in the original manga chapters, but adds special touches as well. We see the dynamics of the wonderous splendor of Alpha's world, as well as the dynamics of her special relationship with Kokone (special in more ways than one :). Many of the subtleties of Alpha's character that can only be told through movement are revealed to us as well. We also see a little more backstory and a few changes here and there between the OVA and the manga - Alpha remembers or at least admits a little bit about what it was like being around before robots were common. Overall, the execution is great and it's clear that the animators and producers were careful to preserve and enhance the environment and characters of the manga, though I wish we could've seen the world through the perspective of Alpha's camera more often.
Art: 9 (Great)
The art is terrific and faithfully reproduces or even enhances the art style of the manga, but sadly the colors come off as a little washed-out, especially in regards to Alpha and Kokone.With that said, the animation takes us one step closer towards experiencing this futuristic world of Yokohama for ourselves, and brings Alpha and Kokone one step closer to our world.
Sound: 10 (Outstanding)
The music sets a benchmark for anime of this genre and is performed by Choro Club who also gave us the soundtrack for ARIA; much of it is performed with a gekkin, the same type of stringed musical instrument Alpha plays in the manga and seen in the OVA. Background an incidental music factor in heavily, much more so than other works. The music very much correlates to the imagery on-screen and tells us through audio the type of laid-back world Alpha sees, despite the many hardships she and her friends have to put up with.
Character: 10 (Outstanding)
In many ways the characterization of Alpha, Kokone, and the others exceeds that of the manga, since we're treated to many nuances the manga is simply not able to show. We see in Alpha a certain kind of endearing naivety as she begins to see things for the first time from differing perspectives, yet at the same time, we see a strong-willed young woman who is not only capable of taking care of herself but highly values the bonds she has with what has become her human family. The animation does much to bring these characters alive through these nuances and interactions with others and their environment, bringing these characters one step closer to reality.
Enjoyment: 9 (Great)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is almost as much of a masterpiece as its source material but is not without its flaws that detracts from its enjoyment. The washed-out colors are distracting, especially when I was expecting the vibrant green and purple of Alpha's and Kokone's hair to be carried over from the manga. Despite that, the OVA still does a magnificent job of breathing life into Hitoshi Ashinano's still images and ephemeral snapshots, and for this alone it is a highly recommended and regarded piece.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is given a final score of:
10: Outstanding read more
Both are slow-paced, easy going anime with a loveable and calm lead character.
Both have a slow pace and focus on the daily lives of regular people in a semi-realistic sci-fi world.
Great enigma aura.
Transient existance of human civilisation and human beings in Big Mystery Universe.
Slice of life in fantastic future world.
Drama plot is covered by comedy / adventure plot.
Many hidden facts about the world that are meant but not said directly.
Beautiful nature and music.
Girls as main characters.
YKK is more concentrated on mystery while Aria have more slice of life & kawaii.
Plot in Aria is much more slow paced.
However, the world in both animes looks stationary at the same rate.
Feels like the same atmosphere, soft, laid-back. Yokohama is more homey feeling, whereas aria feels futuristic
Opening Theme"Cafe Alpha" by Gontiti
Ending Theme"Closing Time" by Gontiti
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