Simulcast: Daisuki.net (Europe), Funimation (North America), Anime Lab (Australia)
In a quaint rural Japanese town, Kokonotsu “Coconuts” Shikada dreams of becoming a manga artist; however his father wants him to take over the family store selling snacks, or dagashi. All this is set to change when Kokonotsu shows off his sweets knowledge to Hotaru Shidare, the sugar-loving heir to the Shidare Company, who is determined to buy out the Shikadas’ store. There’s just one condition – Kokonotsu has to take over the store from his father and give up on his dreams of manga stardom.
Dagashi Kashi is a pretty light-hearted comedy show that bundles in a few of the usual anime tropes, but generally gets off to a good start. Kokonotsu is a pretty believable teen guy who wants to get out of the family tradition, and despite whether he is actually good enough you can instantly see he takes his dream pretty seriously. His father does put him down, but there’s less sparks between the two that you might imagine – sure there’s a conflict of interest between the two but they don’t scream and shout at each other. It’s not like Kokonotsu has entirely no interest in the sweets trade, as he has a wealth of knowledge that is put to the test when going against Hotaru in a non-blatant advertisement for a non-specific brand of confectionary.
The Shidare heiress herself fills in the role of the ‘dream girl’ trope, initially stunning Kokonotsu with the appearance that he is trying to achieve with his manga characters. She’s not a bishoujo or anything, but her maid-like outfit and hint of glamour could be seen as appealing. She’s an obsessive, compulsive and blissfully unaware young woman who the production staff can take full advantage of to put into your typical titillation scenes. Considering how done-to-death the caught-in-the-shower scene is it’s a surprise that the Japanese teen guy audience isn’t bored of it yet.
There’s also some requirement in the suspension of disbelief over the whole premise of her desperately trying to buy out this sweet shop, which is frankly in the back end of beyond. The main hook is that Kokonotsu’s father is supposed to be famous in the snacks industry, which we are currently lacking information behind. If we get that then the whole situation should make sense, but as of yet it’s really not clear why Hotaru is so hell-bent on this acquisition.
There’s a romantic arc with ‘cute girl who runs a café’ Saya Endou, whose affections for Kokonotsu are so blatantly obvious that it just makes the lad himself look stupid. That said this is a comedy, and we can probably expect this to run a few gags throughout the show. Hotaru has the potential to drive this into a typical average guy-adoring best friend-pretty rich girl love triangle; but I wouldn’t expect anything to come out of it other than the giggle of “she likes him but he likes her”.
Looking at the production values so far, it’s not too shabby, being able to build a pretty consistent world with some detailed work on the wrappers of the sweets that line the walls of the store and some distinctive character design, particularly with the harshness of the lines for the eyes. It’s bright and breezy and very anime.
And that sentence pretty much sums up my thoughts on this first episode. Feel’s output has been relatively mixed over the past couple of years, with only Locodol and Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru being of note; so it’ll be nice to see them strike up some success with Dagashi Kashi. If it keeps up the good work from the first episode, it may be onto a winner.