Moyashimon (“Yeast Monsters”)

(11 episodes, 2007)

My previous exposure

There’s a sequel airing this Summer, and since it’s on noitaminA it’d have gotten on my radar sooner rather than later anyway.

Beyond that and the notion that it’s about cute microbes or something, I knew nothing of it.

What’s it about ?

Sawaki, our protagonist, is a new student attending an agriculture university. He can see microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses, the whole lot of them), not as what they look like under a microscope, but as cute inch-tall little critters. He’s not too fond of this talent of his, and tends to keep it secret, but it turns out to be quite useful in the world of agriculture (both with the “good” fermenting microbes, and the “bad” toxic microbes).

But this is mostly a background thread, as the core of the series is a slice-of-life story involving the ensemble cast of Sawaki, his best friend Yuuki, Pr Itsuki (an ineffable microbe specialist who takes them under his wing), angry grad-student Hasegawa, never-do-well second-years Kawahama & Misato, and various over recurring characters.

What did I think of it ?

I didn’t expect this at at all. Sure, it’s very educative about how microbes are SERIOUS BUSINESS in agriculture, and the quirky “Sawaki-vision” does a lot to liven up all this exposition… but mostly it’s just a really good college slice-of-life series. Heck, the high point of the series is that hilarious two-parter with the survival challenge, and that had nothing to do with microbes.

This was well worth watching, and I can hardly wait for the second season.

via [LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond – Page 13.

2011 Young Animator Training Project

Hey, remember the Young Animator Training Project ? Basically, it’s the Japanese government funding the training of a new animators over a set of 4 one-shot episodes ; the 2010 edition was apparently a good enough experiment for it to be renewed in 2011 ; the 4 new episodes aired in March and are now slowly trickling down through the usual channels.

The first one, Buta, was mostly forgettable. Anthropomorphized-pig samurai in a very generic story that’s perfectly decent but fails to bring anything fresh to the table. Perfectly skippable.

The second one, Wasurenagumo, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. It’s yet another take on the “cute eldritch abomination” meme that’s been going strong recently with the likes of Nyarko-san, but way better at striking the right balance between charming and –ing creepy. It’s a very effective tale, this, and especially well served by direction and animation that sells the big moments perfectly.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 21.