Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Souta Tawara returns to his hometown in Kagawa. Though his parents are no longer around, his former home and family-owned udon restaurant reminds him of the times his family was still together. Reminiscing about his childhood, Souta enters the udon restaurant and discovers a grimy young boy sleeping.
At first, Souta thinks nothing of the chance encounter and provides the boy with food and clothing. However, to his surprise, the boy suddenly sprouts a furry pair of ears and a tail! Souta soon learns that the nameless boy is actually the rumored shapeshifting tanuki that has been inhabiting Kagawa for many years. Thinking that the boy has been living a lonely life, he decides to take him in and name him Poko.
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari follows the heartwarming relationship between Souta and Poko, and through the time they spend together, Souta recalls his own past, the place he left behind for the city, and the relationship he had with his father.
One word is all you need to change the path you lead. The detrimental choices of life is but a commodity that leads you to a whole. Here we follow a Web designer named Souta Tawara, who, after his father’s death, visits his childhood prefecture of Kagawa, the home of Udon noodles, which funnily enough doesn't play a part in the body of the story, but to an extent remains part of the overaching plot. He soon meets and houses a young “boy”, and the story begins from here.
Considering this is a Slice of Life anime, story isn’t something of total necessity, however there
is a fair supernatural backdrop of Poco being a Tanuki which was something I liked during the early stages, however as I delved into the series, I don’t particularly believe that it was something of true value, as the whole scenario hardly plays a part during the series, but I assume it was something added to differentiate this series from others that are within the same regime. Regardless, I felt it could have been improved, but it didn’t hurt the series either, so don’t assume as such in order to have incentive to avoid the series. Other than that, the story is bare bones SoL, so you shouldn’t expect much here.
The characters is where this genre truly shines, and I feel this series does a fairly good overall of portraying them. All characters I feel from the cast felt refreshing and unique, and most importantly memorable due to those features. Although there are some generic tropes re-used here and there with them, but I feel they still do the extra than your bare average series. Character development is also very much vocal for its positive aspects. The ones most affected, as you would expect are the main two, Souta and Poco. For Souta, he became a person that didn’t want you shoulder responsibility, to something a parent would dream for. Poco, on the other hand, becomes human in personality. I really love Nakajima’s character, and I’m not sure if this is intended, but I feel he is, what Souta couldn’t become. He inherited his father, whilst Souta couldn’t. He did it before he could regret. If this was intended, kudos! One character that stood from other background characters for me was Rinko; Souta’s sister. I enjoyed her transition from being a quirky and lazy woman to one that makes the effort, as she become pregnant, she speaks for many people in real life that change to accommodate their later family. There are other background characters, who whilst don’t develop per se, they continue to show up throughout the series, and just assist our main characters, as you would expect from an SoL.
What I also really enjoyed about this series is all of the visual imagery, especially during the introductory episodes. I felt it did a good job for rural Japan. But its key purpose I feel was to reflect the emotions of the characters. There was a scene where the sky went dark to represent the darkness in the heart of Souta, but it cleared up, as he found someone he can finally cherish in his life. He and Poco are alike in that approach, as Poco has lived for 1000 years under the same loneliness. However, this series delivers a touching, bubbly bonding of the two, which makes you forget the dark connotations underlying their origin. One complaint I have however is how perfect they can be together, in a sense it can be unrealistic at times, but who cares right when you have the “kawaii”.
Something I didn’t like was the structure of this series as it honestly felt out of place. To put it in retrospect, the beginning and the latter parts of the show had a serious tone, however their transition into your typical SoL or out of it, which was the body of the show felt almost incoherent. I could piece those two jigsaws of a puzzle and they would fit with each other, but they don’t fit how they are currently locked. However, tying up some loose ends of the series made it soothing to watch as I slowly got used to it. I feel like this anime, similar to many others, suffers from the lack of episodes provided to it. Had it been 24/25, it would have made for better pacing.
Artwork for this series is clean and simple, as it should be, there’s nothing truly too melodramatic about a slice of life. I liked the use of the white outline as a colour of purity, which sums up this series whole. OST is also befitting the series, as they use violin/piano/acoustic guitar for light sounds which complement the scene, but never take your attention away from it. The opening, conveys a feeling of brightness, whilst the ending chooses slow tempo to again follow suit with the simplicity aspect.
Overall, I feel this anime is worth giving a shot, as it exhibits the tranquilising yet loving father-son relationship between Poco and Souta, loving characters and beautiful visuals. Aside from that, it has a mild overarching plot which I believe is hardly worth mentioning, however doesn't interfere with your viewing experience.
The story of Souta and Poco is, to say the least, heartwarming. Over the course of twelve episodes, the relationship between the two unlikely pair, a web designer and a shape-shifting tanuki, unfolds as they interact with other characters from both rural and urban environments. The general message conveyed is that of familial love and bonds; however, this does not only pertain to conventional families but found ones, too. Though the plot lacks complexity, aside from the occasional drama that comes with exertion and exhaustion on Poco's part (as maintaining a human form is demanding), the story is compelling and certainly draws the viewer in
with its music (most notably the fun op and soothing ed), its gentle art style, and its well-crafted simplicity. Poco's charm captivated me immediately (just look at those eyes!) and my affection toward him only grew with each episode and his childish antics. Overall, each episode brought a smile to my face, even though there certainly were moments where the story brought tears to my eyes, and the end was satisfying, albeit a bit heart-wrenching.
If you enjoyed series like Barakamon or Usagi Drop, you'll probably find yourself falling in love with this one, too.
~This is my first review, but I plan on writing more in the future.~
Have you guys seen barakamon or Amama to Inazuma? If you have and liked them you will surely like Udon no kuni. This is the cheerful anime of this season. Getting straight to the point the anime doesn't really have an elaborate story line. One thing great about that is this anime feels complete this season alone, so no waiting for a new season and wondering if it will ever be made.
Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari is about a guy called Souta and his chance encounter with Poco who turns out to be a shape-shifting tanuki. The story progresses with Souta remembering things about
his past (regrets and stuff) and gaining acceptance about the same and understanding them better thanks to Poco. Souta nad Poco develop kind of a father son relationship which helps Souta understand his father better which again is an important premise of this story, that is, Souta's relationship with his father.
Udon no kuni is a really cute anime which does the job of absolutely soothing you. Now talking about art, music and other also important aspects while reviewing an anime I would say the voice actors definitely suite the character designs and the art is just easy on the eyes. Not too much detail and not too little to make it look like a cheap production. Music that goes time to time with the episode add to the emotions that the episodes try to convey so that is definitely well done.
All in all this is the anime one should if they do not want to worry about continuations and just feel cheerful. That ends my review. Thank you
wow, just wow. the characters are developed so well that when anything emotional comes up it has really substantial weight. I really enjoyed this show. I had expected it to just be a nice intermission between other shows I was watching, but this one stole my attention in a heartbeat. There are definitely some sad parts to this show, and I got pretty teary at points too. Not all out bawling like in Violet Evergarden for example but it was a different kind of sad then I'm used to. it's not tragic or painful. it comes from the skilled and well thought out storytelling of
the show itself. 8/10 very good. definitely worth the watch, but be prepared for more than just a goofy story.