It may seem silly to judge a 30 second commercial aired on the internet as if it were intended to accomplish anything other than get people to purchase a snack at a time of year that would otherwise be unpopular, but as a professionally produced Japanese animation it can and should be treated as an anime. What’s funny about this anime is that it was first aired at the end of May which isn’t even all that hot, but I guess they had their reasons.
There isn’t exactly a story to this anime, but unlike other anime commercials it isn’t just telling you to buy a
product but rather is suggesting what you do with it which is slightly more story-like. There technically is a story here showing Hatsune Miku finding a package of Pocky, opening the box, putting it in the freezer, then opening it back up with the package somehow turning into a glass and then eats the frozen pocky. It doesn’t say how long you’re supposed to put it in there for and instead just tells you to “wait long enough”. She doesn’t wait long at all, but it is a 30 second commercial. Hatsune Miku seems to keep her freezer empty for some reason yet there is a thick wall of ice that has formed inside. Although usually a story will show the characters facing a problem and then proceed to solve it, this anime simply assumes that the viewers have the same problem as the character has, likely Pocky melting in the summer months, and then announces that she has found a solution, or that the producers have told her what the solution is judging by her initial mistake of attempting to eat the Pocky normally. She holds back from opening the package before putting it in the freezer, but with an implied seamless timeskip and the conversion of cardboard to glass it is unknown if the freezer has magical properties or if she put the Pocky into a glass offscreen. It is possible that the reason why her freezer is empty is because the magic ruins food if it’s stored in there for too long. The fridge part of the machine is never opened, but it might also have magical properties and possibly different ones from the freezer part. The idea of freezing your Pocky also makes it snap more and considering the fact that Pocky comes from the Japanese “pokki pokki” meant to imitate a snap sound this would make it “Pockier”.
It’s quite obvious this was animated using 3D CGI and although this is generally viewed as a bad thing I personally think it works best for the anime. Hatsune Miku is characterized as a robot girl with her name even translating to “sound of the future” so it’s logical to have her animated with more robotic methods. There’s even a popular 3D animation tool that uses her name called Miku Miku Dance and I wouldn’t be too surprised if this was animated with that program. The animators behind this are professionals so they were able to animate it a lot better than doujin or “amateur” animators are. Even the highly regarded 3D animated Western film production of Disney’s Frozen had a scene where entities passed through each other like they had activated noclip, all of the objects in this stay separated and never feel like they’re just supersolids that are allowed to ignore physics for the sake of lazy animation. Miku’s hair looks fun and bouncy, although her detached sleeves don’t resemble any type of clothing material I’ve heard of. Every drawing and animation of Miku has her designed slightly differently and this one replaces her square hair tie things with long ribbons which have a nice look to them. Her shiny teal hair and nails look as cute as ever. She starts out partly hiding at first, goes to a full body shot at 5 seconds in which is then lost at 10 seconds in as they close in on her upper body. The Pocky box itself looks 3D but when it shows not to pull them out the sticks look 2D. When the real ones are pulled out of the freezer they look 3D. I can’t explain why they would choose to show a 3D box with 2D Pocky. Miku’s irises are well drawn, although in CGI where they only have to draw them once this isn’t too big a deal.
As a Hatsune Miku anime naturally the music is a big draw towards it. The song is sung by Hatsune Miku so if you like her electronic voice you’ll like the music and likely the anime. It’s a cute upbeat tune and just like Popipo you don’t have to care about the product to enjoy the song or video. Pocky is such an essential weeb food that it would be hard not to like it, though. There doesn’t seem to be a longer version of the song so it doesn’t really belong on any anime playlists or top 10 anime song lists, but it could probably work as a ringtone. There isn’t any voice acting other than the song, but the lyrics explain everything you need to know by themselves. The song may not exactly hold up on its own, but if you don’t understand Japanese it just sounds like a normal Vocaloid song.
The only character present is Hatsune Miku and considering the context her full canon personality doesn’t have a chance to shine through. Characters don’t really show who they are unless they have someone or something to bounce their thoughts off of. Humanity has Declined is the only full length anime I know of that only has one real character, although even she has the elves to communicate with and show her personality. Although we know the character is Hatsune Miku because of the voice and the character design she isn’t showing any of herself in this anime and could easily be replaced with anyone else. I think they only used her because she’s a popular character who would make people pay attention rather than her character fitting the part well. The fact that she sings about it rather than simply explaining it normally does show who she is since when the Vocaloid program is used for non-singing speech it sounds very awkward and un-cute, but aside from this the character being Miku isn’t that important. I suppose I should still give it credit for making her movements and such reflect the personality we tend to associate with Miku. There isn't too much of a solid character established for Miku anyway, although with her twintails she has been given a tsundere attitude frequently. I still do think they just used her as a type of fanservice, though.
I actually really liked this anime. There are a lot of bad anime commercials that simply aren’t that enjoyable, especially to Westerners who have no plan to buy whatever the anime is trying to advertise, but this anime is enjoyable in its own right. Pocky is already more familiar to anime fans overseas than other Japanese products and the character of Hatsune Miku is recognizable to pretty much everyone. The singing is cute, the animation is surprisingly well done and doesn’t feel off like most CGI anime do, and Miku’s happiness naturally passes on to me as a viewer. There are plenty of terrible shorts you can use to make your list of completed anime more impressive and although most of them may feel like a waste of time there are gems like this that make it worth it.
As a commercial it made me interesting in how Pocky would taste frozen. I bought a pack so I suppose the commercial was successful in that aspect. Out of all the hundreds of commercials I’ve seen in my life very few have actually worked to make me want to buy something. Most Youtube ads I’ll skip after the first 5 seconds but this I have completed several times now. Compared the average TV anime it isn’t very good, but it was never intended to compete with full length anime. Just like how anime like Grisaia, Berserk, and Tokyo Ghoul may actually work better as advertisements for their source material because of the controversy caused by how they could done better even if this works as a really good advertisement it doesn’t make it a good anime as a whole. I wouldn’t skip it if I saw it as an ad on Youtube but there’s no way it would make it anywhere near my favourite anime.
The serving suggestion advertised in this anime is pretty good. I have tried it now and the sticks do snap better than ones at room temperature. I would recommend trying it yourself. It doesn’t change the texture quite as much as Charleston Chew is changed when it is frozen, but it also stays crunchy for longer so it’s still a nice improvement. Whether if you decide this is the “true way to eat Pocky” or just treat it as a one time thing is up to you.