'All those rectangular faces? Oh, they'll turn round as well.' - Maru Maru, OP to PKN
Laydees. Dudes. Everything in between. Non-organic lifeforms. This - and I repeat, this - is the stuff. The anime of the season? There's some stiff competition, but quite possibly - there's a lot of potential in this lovechild of Chi's Sweet Home, Welcome to the NHK and Mawaru Penguindrum.
So, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki (that's Fluffy Observation Diary to you peeps who like Anglais) is a story of a totally rad cat. The deal here is, and I'm not kidding, he's circular. Try to wrap your head around that for a bit.
We've seen many cat-based anime in the past - the memorable but ultimately disappointing Nyanpire, Asobi ni Iku yo!'s sci-fi satire spin the utterly sweet LoGH-level epic of the Chi franchise, and even the homolust drama of Loveless, but no show has ever gone as far as to turn their protagonist into a symbol of eternity and the samsara of life alongside a material, inexplicable portrayal of cuteness in distilled form, serving as a visual and narrative metaphor for the innocence of childhood. And hell, that's not even getting into the content of the show!
So let's talk about some other stuff. The cast we've seen so far are well developed - nothing amazing, you might argue, but think about it, how long have we known them? Three minutes, and already we can see a complex family relationship, multi-faceted characters and curious symbolism and parallels. For example, take Moe's distinctly 'mature' outlook on work, being an OL and getting utterly smashed, and compare them to the distinctly teenage characteristics she has - a focus on cuteness and severe jealousy, and still living under her parents' roof; what we've got is a woman trapped between the sexy, inviting woman she wants to be and the adolescent world she has yet to throw off, her motherly instincts leading to her adoption of the titular Poyo-chan/Fluffy. Sure, it's no Utena, but the show's communicated this in about a minute, even less; how many shows have characters that are barely as fleshed out as that over 13 or more episodes? Poyopoyo's got a strong sense of writing at its core.
Even the less-developed figures, like her father, are distinctive - his lack of face beyond basic lines creates a strange, nostalgic illusion, of a child unable to perceive the world properly - much like Poyo, as the child/parent illusion parallels continue - and her brother highlights social issues as a layabout who seemingly has much more free time to spend than the rest of his family - is this a reference to impending NEEThood? I have a feeling that as more characters are introduced (for which I'll update this review) we'll see even more depth and suprisingly difficult questions tackled.
That's not to say the comedy is neglected, either - the off-key yet distinctly anime bent of the show's wit isn't necessarily the most original, but is pulled off expertly - not since Bakemonogatari's pantsu-timer has a more bizarre, mortifying and hilarious sequence opening sequence been pulled off, as our drunkenheroine finds the mysterious Poyo in the street and uses him as a pillow, before being woken up the next day by a crowd of onlookers. It's cutting, vivid and bizarre, much like the rest of the show - Poyo becomes a local celebrity (an homage to the also cute and charming Tamayura?), is seen as an alien creature to society and instills a massive family feud in about two and a half minutes. Yet the pacing never feels breakneck or jarring - the soft watercolours and good-natured vibes means the show remains consistenly charming and lovable.
The animation for the show isn't a SHAFT or A-1 Pictures job, but it's definitely successful - Poyo is ridonkulously round, and utterly appealing. Not one of those series where you're told frankly average-looking characters are appealing, PKN delivers in visual beauty in simplicity. The other characters are drawn in the same cute style, but none of them come off as hugely visually appealing - a clear sign of the otherworldly adorability of the titular character.
Music and seiyuuing is similarly low-key but effective, again with the exception of the stunning OP. Evocative of The Tatami Galaxy (a clear inspiration for this series, visual components aside) and its legendary Master Higuichi's Circle Song, the opening track starts as a low key guitar-driven kids' song that evolves into a summery pop-beat that perfectly suits the series, even highlighting the concept of 'sum[ming] up even the most complicated stories nicely and roundly'. A more appropriate song could not be used. Poyo's voice is similarly charming - the strange utterances from its mouth deviate from the regular 'nyaaa' and similarly derivative examples in other series, going for something much more accurate to real-life mewls. It's unique, and utterly sweet.
Clearly, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki is one to definitely keep an eye on. The short running time may put some off, but the substance present in the show, along with the lovely attention to detail and potential present, means it could become the underground phenomena of this season. Be round, or be square.
A post-script: Having finally finished the series, much to my dismay, I can confirm that Poyopoyo keeps the same level of quality throughout, with some spectacularly brave turns at points. The introduction of a canon gay lead in a non-yaoi-centric series, and a male love interest for Poyo; the slow, budding friendship between Poyo and Hide; the themes of racial conflict and eventual understanding when the Satou family gain new neighbours; and even a few touching messages on the meaning of love and loss. Consistently and hugely enjoyable, entertaining to all ages, and utterly charming - Poyopoyo remains still nothing but a ball of pure brilliance.
If you have a heart problem, don't watch this anime!
I am a perfectly healthy human being, but for ~50 Sunday night, I have had a near cardiac arrest due to the CUTENESS of Poyo!!!
This isn't anime to fill you with joy, nor is it suppose to be a masterpiece. Its modesty is equivalent to that friend who's always there for you, but never in your way. Yeah, that guy who you just cannot hate, and who does not hate. If you don't have a guy like that, allow Poyo to fill in that empty space. I implore you.
So, who is this 'friend' I talk
about? he isn't the talk of the group, he isn't the guy who makes a fool out of himself every time you guys go out... no, he's much cooler and subtler than that. He's the guy you run to when you have relationship troubles, because every word he says, somehow makes a lot of sense. He's logical, and perfect as a human being. but he chose to stick with you, what does that say? He fancies you, duh!! But every time you go to him, can't you see that you're breaking his heart? can't you see the 'bestie' facade he upholds rots his innards slowly overtime? At the end, you're left with this empty shell of which you always retreat to. And he never makes his move, as he is clever, he knows the end in nigh if he did. So he holds dearly on the thin thread of string you call friendship, and he shuts himself within. Until finally, he leaves this Godless planet into the realm of emptiness, whilst you play on the record, oblivious to the pain he endured, the pain you caused.
Poyo is the same, you love it, like your best friend. But without attention. Poyo is always there for you, a supplement to your favourite animes, like Steins Gate or Full Metal Alchemist, but when you're bored, you always turn to Poyo. Because he's there. Like the attention you give to that 'friend', Poyo is short yet fulfilling. But Poyo can rot still, he can stop putting that fake smile on, but you'll never notice. You're too busy enjoying the life with your endless lines of boyfriends, or fuck-mates. But after all was done and said, you always return to Poyo. But like the silent passing of your friend, you do not appreciate Poyo's importance in your life until it is too late (like 50 weeks too late). And all you're left with is an empty, lifeless shell.
And this review is not dedicated to someone at all...
It is inspired by my best-friend's story. Who loved a woman very much, for 30 years too much, until his sad passing.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not read the manga/light novel.
Poyopoyo is a seinen 4-koma short anime about a family and their spherical cat. The major focus is on daily life issues and occurences with pets – mostly cats, and how they bring people together.
There is somewhat of a continuous story as the events are portrayed in order over the course of a year or so. But being a 4-koma, most skits are able to stand on their own. The transitions between each one is quick and well-done. Each skit has either a somewhat informational or comedic purpose.
The art is a very basic scratchy style
that is neither bad nor anything special. The animation is similarly basic, but it has the occasional impactful moments to fit with the humor.
The intro song is cute and catchy. The in-show music is pretty basic but matches the light nature of the show. Sound effects are basic.
Poyo is the titular cat whose life the show primarily revolves around. He is spherical in shape and is therefore constantly mistaken as various different things.
Poyo’s owner and main caretaker, Moe (haha) is a 22-year old girl who lives in the country with her student brother, Hide, and bad-ass, farmer father, Shigeru. Moe is generally obsessed with Poyo and anything that remotely looks like him. While her father likes Poyo – with somewhat of a façade, Hide and Poyo do not get along very well, especially at first.
There are other animals and neighbors that appear constantly in the show, a few which have their running gags, but there is a surprising versatility among the characters. They bring plenty of possibilities to the anime.
Voice acting and character design are pretty basic, but the ‘voice’ of Poyo is Ootani Ikue of Pikachu/Chopper/etc. fame. There are a few other big-ish names in the cast as well.
This anime is very enjoyable for its cute moments, as well as the somewhat more mature themes and impactful humor. There are a few references thrown in as well.
Including characters of many different ages gives the show an interesting dynamic, along with the various pet owners and their personalities.
OVERALL: Silly and cute 4-koma about pets for more mature audiences, great to binge or to watch in chunks.
Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki doesn't really have any story whatsoever - every episode is an 'observation' ' of daily life of a cat named Poyo ('fluffy'). What's so special about that cat, you ask? Well, first of all, he's completely round and has amazingly adorable voice. You can't help adoring Poyo and his silly, cute behavior in different situations.
As a cat lover, I LOVED this show. It showed all the best sides of being a cat owner (and a pet owner in general). Everything about the show is simple, bright, cheerful. It uses the same music in every episode, but I had no problem with
it, since the song is nice and unostentatious. Every episode is made of cuteness. It never failed to make me smile and laugh. Overall, this is a really hearwarming, pleasant short anime that will deffinitely 'sum up even the most complicated stories roundly' and 'make all those rectangular faces round as well!
2/22 is Cat Day in Japan because two (ni) sounds like the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound cats make! Instead of meowing, they go "nya nya!" In celebration, here's our collection of cute cats and cat-like creatures in anime!