A talking dog is a beautiful story that you should have dreamt of as a child. But if you have forgotten about it, this is a reminder of that fable story. This is the story of a dog that talks, but ordinary people cannot hear his voice.
The main character, Mametaro, is an adventurous crossbreed dog. He loves his owner, Iku-chan and his girlfriend Hanako-chan very much. However, he just cannot stand Iku-chan's friend, Akiyoshi.
During this story, which will be told from Mametaro's point of view, the warm days of spring are finally here. The school and the riverbank, which is actually just an ordinary neighborhood for people, seems like a mysterious world that extends infinitely to little Mametaro and his friends.
massugu ni ikou is a tiny little series from many years ago that I stumbled across while looking for cute, relaxing things to watch, I wanted a short series to fill the time between doing other things, and at 4 episodes of only 20 minutes each, this anime totally fit that description.
the series did have some sort of loose plot, but mostly ambled along at a pleasantly slow pace, focusing on the lighthearted adventures of the main character, a mixed-breed dog named Mametarou and his friends! each episode fits a pretty standard pattern: Mame and friends are curious about something, they end up having to somehow resolve a problem, usually do so with the help of one of their human friends and a lesson is learned at the end. sort of like mini aesops! throughout the series Mame is worried about his mixed-breed heritage, and how to break this news to his girlfriend, a purebred Kishu, but it's not explored consistently, rather it features as a character quirk before finally being addressed in the last episode.
all in all, it's a sweet little story that's simple enough for children to follow, or for an adult to watch whilst multitasking, nothing special on its own!
so I personally would've liked to rate this a lot higher because it's the sort of late 90's-early 00's elegant shoujo art style I really love, but objectively, it's definitely not the best out there. I feel like the colours of the characters were supposed to be 'muted and pastel', but especially for the humans they ended up a little muddy in the end. the dogs were pretty consistently rendered in a very charming and bright way, which is a plus! many animators on shows like this actually struggle drawing dogs, but all of the characters were stylised nicely, and apart from the abundant chibi scenes, were rendered in loving detail (even the nails and pads on each dog were drawn semi-realistically, as well as detailed leashes and collars!), which was super important in this case because so much of this anime is still scenes or scenes with very very limited animation. where massugu ni ikou really shines, in my eyes, is how its scenery is handled. everything is rendered in vibrant watercolour, and it's an absolute joy to watch.
in terms of incidental music, there was nothing that really stood out to me, bad or good. the opening theme was a little lacking, with no real catchy or consistent melody, but the ending theme is a lovely, slightly jazzy tune that really fits the pace of the series. the final episode also had an insert song, which was nice for such a short show.
the characters' roles were pretty simple: provide cute and lighthearted entertainment, and to this end, most characters were simple archetypes applied to dogs. despite this, Mame was still an endearing protagonist, Hanako and her love of melonpan were very sweet, and I found myself genuinely wanting to know more about them and their friends! it's established pretty early on that the human characters are relatively minor, and aside from Mame's master Iku, made to be generic school students, as opposed to the usual shoujo trope of pets bringing their masters together. this isn't something I had a massive problem with since I came to the show wanting cute dog adventures, but if you like all of your characters in a series to be fleshed out, then it might bother you. I gave this section a 7 regardless because I feel like the show doesn't actually set out to do that much with most of its characters in the first place, and having relatively little character development and drama worked very well with its theme of being a slow-paced 'anime for the summer holidays'
as a fan of shoujo, josei, slice of life and similar, I'm a big fan of the idea of 'ma' - the intentionally storyboarded time between important plot points, or significant action by the characters, seen often in the form of real-time scenes of character doing mundane things, pans across beautiful scenery. it gives the audience time to take a breath or two and think about the underlying emotions of a scene. massugu ni ikou is definitely no ma masterpiece, but it does use its slow pace to great effect, and prompts the viewer to just enjoy the beautiful scenery and lightheartedness of the series. this series is far from perfect, but it can make a perfect accompaniment to a lunch break, or cup of tea at the end of a long day.
I completely adored massugu ni ikou, and I highly recommend it for shoujo and josei fans who are looking for something that isn't a massive time commitment. though I've been reviewing it from the perspective of a grown-up fan, I would also consider it a good series for young children who like animals!read more