Denki-gai No Honya-san
May 3, 2015
Where is the best place to get all sorts of books you want to read? The library. What about books that are not so decent? A manga bookstore, right? Yeah… You’ll find many types of books with questionable contents all under one roof in such stores. And with such ‘weird’ books this means the store employees must be weird too, right? Each with their own taste and fetish for a particular genre. At least that is how it seems in Denki-gai No Honya-san. A famous comic book store in a certain famous electronics street in Japan sells a myriad of such books (including legal ones of course). What makes this seemingly anime-with-no-plot amusing is the comedy and the quirky employees of this store. See, who says books or a book person is boring?
We see the staffs of Umanohone comic store working. Clumsy. Quirky. Ah well, so far s good. Sensei has a nightmare falling into a shrink wrapping machine. However it jams and as Umio goes to fix it, Director calls for Hio-tan because there is a suspicious lady flipping through books at the ero section. Panicky Hio-tan is made to ask her and when she asks straight up if she loves ero books, Director (who actually knew it all along) points out she is from the Tokyo Youth Development Counsellor. In other words, a government agent (G-men) checking if adult books are properly separated from others. She finds one unsuitable and Director puts a seal over it so as it won’t be read easily. Then he has the staffs place seals in boxes and crates of those books. This is going to take days… Hio-tan flusters upon learning BL. Thanks to her numerous facial reactions, Director has lots of rich collection of Hio-tan’s funny faces. Hio-tan and Umio further fluster when they ask each other’s taste in books. They love ero books? Does that even sound right? Then they go to the Great Sommelier Party. This is an event whereby one of their staffs, Sommelier picks out a manga for you. At first they think they don’t like it but once they look into it, suddenly they have found new enlightenment or awakening! He is never wrong! Hio-tan and Umio notice G-men here. They hope Sommelier would give a harmless recommendation but too bad, all hardcore yaoi stuffs! But she’s smiling and thanking him! A panicking Hio-tan blurts out who she is and then tries to calm the situation by saying she too likes ero books. I don’t think that did any good. G-men then says there is no human who doesn’t need eros. Therefore there are all ero book lovers! Everyone rejoices and applauds to her speech. Hooray for eros! Long live eros! We love eros! Yeah. How shameful…
Umio seems to be fascinated with this doujin work by an author named Jonatarou. To his surprise, that is Sensei’s pen name. And you thought that was a guy’s name, huh? Director embarrasses her by revealing she wanted to surpass some famous author on her first day at work here. When Sensei learns Umio can draw, she becomes excited and wants him to come to her home after work. Mind you, not to do anything suspicious but to help draw her manuscript. Hio-tan will also come to help. Things are going fine till Sensei has a mental breakdown from working too hard. The deadline is tomorrow. Actually it is today but she requested for extension. How do you calm a girl who is acting like a baby? Hio-tan offers her lap pillow and in no time they get back to work. Her helpers leave but at the train station, Umio notes he forgot his pass and might have left it at Sensei’s place and tells Hio-tan to go first. Actually he had it all along. He knows Sensei won’t make it to tomorrow’s deadline and returns to help her. He is used to staying up late. Though she breaks down again, it isn’t that bad. After a change of pace and some energy drinks, they get into serious mode. Morning comes and they are able to finish and send the manuscript before the deadline. At the comic convention, Sensei gives a free copy to him as thanks. He couldn’t be happier to receive a work from his favourite author. After a successful convention, the gang thinks Director is kind enough to treat them to an after-party. Actually he wants them to shrink wrap tons of new doujin. The convention just ended, right? Oh, there’ll be 2 more days worth of doujin to come. Feel like dying?
Umanohone opens its late night sales since a manga that has been on hiatus for 3 years is out. Umio seems to be very passionate about this release… The customers stream in and everyone works their ass off. Yeah. Director feels more like a slave driver telling everyone what to do. After that, they hang out at a family restaurant but since Fu Girl is sleepy, Sommelier carries her back. Since this big guy has her sit on his shoulders, I don’t know how many things her head bumps into. He might seem like a lolicon gunning for her while she is sleeping but don’t worry, he is a good guy. Sommelier and Director drink all night till morning. Hio-tan thought she could get back at Director for all the pranks and draw on his sleeping face but Sommelier takes her away. This scene… Fu Girl on top of Umio… Confessing he is her perfect… Zombie?! Umio is in full zombie makeup as she reveals she is a zombie maniac. She wants to use him as target practice! OMG! Full beast mode on! She’s trying to kill him with a bat for heaven’s sakes!!!!!!!!
The street vendors participate in this event whereby the winner gets a grand cash prize. Fu Girl seems to be very pumped up to win this. So much so despite her flustering loli looks, she has got a foul mouth! Want to win this that bad, huh? We have got Sommelier draw first blood by winning the panty race. WTF?! Hey, nobody said this event was anything but normal. Then we have Hio-tan in a huge trauma because she needs to roll a big golden ball. It doesn’t help with Director sexual harassing her and videotaping it. Even a competitor harasses her with sexual harassment puns and causes her to lose. Umio has to carry his wife in the next race. His wife is a figurine. And so are the other competitors. Losers. Everyone tries to bring Umio down but his love for his wife is strong. Till a competitor waxes lyrical about his latest wife and thus Umio lost. His wife got rolled over by a car… For the tug of war event, since Umio and Hio-tan are ‘incapacitated’, Kameko is drafted in. However she is lured with some sophisticated camera lens at a cheap price. She realizes too late it is a trap when it is a cup in a shape of the lens. With a member out, the Umanohone lost. In the final event in which the winner takes all (so what was the previous events all for?), teams of 3 or less must take out the flag member in a water fight. Last one standing wins. Fu Girl goes all out. She’s racking up the body count thanks to her vision of seeing everybody as zombies. Hio-tan is exasperated with Director’s bulgy trunks. Isn’t that sexual harassment? He points out girls have it worse. They have 2 bulgy boobs, right? This causes Hio-tan to start throwing water balloons at everyone’s crotch. When she is cornered, her teammates can’t help because Director would rather film her and Kameko would rather snap shots of her. In the end, let’s say she looks like she has been violated. Was it worth it? Oh yes! Fu Girl has a gone that shoots blood for realistic zombie effect! Umio is also taken out so with Sommelier her only comrade left, they combine! Actually she’s just hiding behind this big guy. Useful. Just when it seems Sommelier has his lolicon instinct turned on and hugs her, it is actually to protect her from competitors using the fire hydrant. She is sad he is sacrificing himself and wants to give up but he won’t. Suddenly the competitors are watered out. It’s Sensei! Then she turns on Fu Girl. Sensei eventually wins the event as a solo team. Surprised? Not as surprising as Umio finds out that Fu Chan is actually 16 years old! Woah!!! So she isn’t an elementary girl?
Hio-tan thought she’d be selling something perfect for Christmas. A bishoujo game. What’s more, she has to sell it in the freezing outdoor cold in only her thin layer of Santarina outfit. She argues with Director that this game is not so Christmas-y and she gets lectured about some event a year ago and the people looking for love. Just brings you to tears, no? Yeah. It was all a joke. So start selling! So cold… Later Director asks Hio-tan if she has a boyfriend. Say what?! If not, why not go out with him? FOR REAL?! Go out shopping, that is. Disappointed? Hio-tan is at Director’s place to help with the Christmas decorations. She already got her finger cut at first go. So after the decorations are in place, the rest of their Umanohone gang show up to party. They put Sensei in a cute dress and it makes her fluster greatly. For the group photo, Kameko doesn’t want to be in it but she is forced to and made to stand in the middle. Thankfully after all that struggling, the photo turned out alright. After food, Umio shocks everyone with his announcement that he has a girlfriend. FOR REAL?! A girlfriend from that bishoujo game. He continues ranting how great everything is but I suppose he is only talking to himself since everybody is asleep.
After everyone leaves, Hio-tan sticks around in Director’s home reading manga. Don’t mind her. So why the shock when she sees him in a towel after coming out of the bath? It’s like she becomes a freeloader, eating his delicious home cooked lunch and playing his video game the entire day. When it is time to go out for dinner, she thanks him because she doesn’t want to be home alone on her day off. She hopes she can come again. Sure she can. If she goes home. And true enough, she comes again the next day. Ironically, for a person who always plays pranks and sexual harassments, she doesn’t mind his company the entire day?
Umanohone opens its store for the New Year’s sale. The customers are streaming in like mad. No, Fu Girl, they are not zombies so don’t try and kill them! Not even Sommelier could protect her from the ‘hordes’. Freaking scary. We see how Umio gets ‘engulfed’ by customers once they learn he is carting a new volume, Kameko losing her voice for greeting too much and Sensei experiencing ‘arm pain’ for placing the purchase in the bag too much. At the end of the day, they survive but not without ‘injuries’. Director apologizes for always making them stay late and work. But they say they don’t mind because they love manga and being with everyone else. And Director had to ruin the mood when he hopes to see them at work tomorrow. Hey, they said they didn’t mind, right? On the way back, Sensei brings Umio to her secret spot at a shrine. A beautiful view of the city lights on a little hill. Her wish is to make her manga debut this year. She notes there is another wish she made and it hints it may have something to do with Umio. But she is left frustrated when Umio won’t tell her his wish.
Hio-tan is shocked to see books stacked like monuments. Director explains he has a shelf assign to a staff to promote manga and a competition to see who can do better sales so they got creative. But Fu Girl’s zombie shelf seems normal. Till she pops out and scares you! At first she used Umio to do the scaring. But it led her to turn on her beast mode and whack him. The ‘best’ shelf has got to be Director because he is using Hio-tan’s image to promote BL books! Here come all the fujoshi girls! Hio-tan realizes everyone has their own manga they like and thus can promote. She talks this out to the other girls so they bring her to their rival store, Mikan Books to get ideas how to push their book sales. In other words: Spying. Hio-tan observes Sensei purchasing any manga she thinks it is good. She might look like judging a book by its cover but she notes that she will regret not buying a good one. So if she has the slightest interest, she’ll buy it. As she talks about true desires, Hio-tan becomes enlightened and gets into the grove of finding the manga she likes. As she packs her shelf, Director gives her more mangas to stack. Although she hasn’t read it and cannot recommend them, let’s say it is recommended by him. She notes he is nice to her when they are alone. He points out he is always nice. She corrects him, he is always mean. So while Director’s shelf promotes BL stuffs using his own image (in that bulgy trunks!), Hio-tan becomes embarrassed after reading the BL books he recommended to her. And so Hio-tan’s shelf became the best seller… The irony…
When Fu Girl gives her Valentine chocolates to some of the staffs, it dawned to Sensei she forgot about this day. Umio got a melting zombie and so as not to hurt her feelings, he says he likes it. This turns on her beast mode and it’s time for another bloody beat down. Yeah. Bloody Valentine for him. Fu Girl is looking for Sommelier but he is in a special Valentine event. Lots of girls want to give him their chocolates! A box overflowing of them is last year’s standards… That’s how many fans he has got. Suddenly G-men enters the scene to point out some indecent materials he recommended. However… She notes she herself is an indecent being and today is here to give her thanks. She gives him chocolates and hopes he will hook up her with more indecent ones. Why is everybody crying at the end of this drama?! Sensei is desperate in choosing a Valentine’s chocolate. However with the guts she got, she could only buy some energy drinks. Fu Girl is looking for Sommelier but he has left. Since there is not much customers for tonight, Director gives her the green light to go home early. She chases after him but cannot catch up. I mean, she had to follow him walking on walls, crawling through the jungle, climbing cliffs… How to catch up?! It’s like he is trolling her. She finally does: At his home. After a lot of hesitation, she finally sums up her courage to give him a present: An indecent manga. “Pour hot chocolate on me”… ?! She thanks him and hopes could come again to read his manga collection. Although Sommelier is happy with this gift (it’s like God sent the way he lifts it up), later we see Fu Girl regretting that she didn’t have the guts to give him the real present: A heart shaped chocolate.
Suddenly… Sensei asks Umio if he wants to see her panties!!! It all began when she showed Director her manuscript and he criticizes there isn’t enough panties fanservice. He makes her setup a shelf filled with panty themed mangas for the panty festival. Don’t ask. Since she is a noob, she seeks Umio’s advice. Yeah. He brings her a stack (a very high one) of mangas containing good panty shots! She learns about the spring time panties thingy and the fearsome ambiguous skirt lifting scene which may or may not have panties underneath. Under his ‘training’, she installs real panties on the shelf, puts a real skirt and fan to blow it up enough for that haitenai effect and of course using a panty as a hat. Superb! As Hio-tan is running late, she accidentally drops in on their conversation and misunderstood everything. She heard Umio asking Sensei to show her panties although she showed everything to Director! Actually it is the manga she is writing. Panicky Hio-tan brings Director here only the misunderstood their conversation further. She hears Umio saying he wants to see not only her panties but her boobs and butt too! Sensei agrees. The shock is too much for Hio-tan that she collapses.
The rainy day is wreaking havoc on the girls’ hair. Except for Sensei whose hairstyle remains perfect. However she thinks she is not feminine enough to have such experience. Kameko’s hair turning into afro?! Suddenly… Sommelier walks into the shop shirtless! All the girls go crazy!!! O sh*t! After lunch with Fu Girl, they were caught in the rain and took shelter. Since she is cold, he takes off his shirt to wrap her with it. But what follows next is totally weird. Fu Girl sitting on his shoulder wrapped with his shirt as he walks in shirtless! OMG! What freaking monster combination is this?! But the girls are going crazy. Even G-men can’t contain her excitement of this ‘indecency’. Taking photos as evidence? All Fu Girl wanted was to walk back with him sharing an umbrella. Flashback reveals Sommelier saw an abandoned cat in a cardboard box and gave his shirt as blanket. He bought food for it but by the time he returns, a couple of bike punks took it back. He followed them but found they were treating it well. He felt sad and left the foodstuff on their bike.
Umio is in utter shock. Some famous writer for Die Heart 2 (WTF?!), Haruka Tsumori AKA Tsumorin is coming to visit Umanohone for some signing event. You know how much he loves her by the way he rants and screams about her. Even more surprising is that she is here to temporarily work with them. On second thought, the most shocking thing he learns that she was an employee of this store before she became a writer. He starts regretting that he should have come to work here earlier and wants to go back in time, blah, blah, blah. Just STFU. Unfortunately he can’t work with her today. Tsumorin is tasked to stack mangas with Hio-tan. The latter learns Director and Tsumorin once dated. As in, a real couple. She observes what kind of girl she is and finds her a very skilled person. At first. Tsumorin then becomes clumsy and this becomes a domino effect wrecking everything in the store! Hio-tan thought this is the way to become a skilled person and imitates her clumsiness! Stop right there! Tsumorin talks to Hio-tan that Director used to scold her for messing up. Pretty much the same treatment Hio-tan gets, huh? She believes he has not changed. As she leaves, there seems to be a hint of romantic indication that she wants to come again. And I mean just not to work in the store. Of course she can. As long as she doesn’t get in the way. Umio is absolutely infuriated that Tsumorin has already left. So many things to ask her… Then everyone suggests meeting at Director’s place but I guess the same thing happened… Umio passionately ranting about Tsumorin. Everyone is fast asleep. Nobody’s listening. And there’s more to come… Give it a rest already!
Umio senses that Sensei hasn’t change her jersey! This means she hasn’t gone back for days! She reveals it is because of some newcomer award, she is working hard to beat the deadline and doesn’t have time to go home. This is her first submission. For the last few nights she has been sleeping here and completing her work in the storeroom. Umio offers to help as usual but since she wants this first submission to be entirely her work, he walks away. Then she changes her mind and needs his help. After all, no matter how much work he helps, it will always be her submission. Things are progressing well and the first night Sensei has trouble sleeping since you know, Umio is sleeping in the same room with her. Does he not think she is a girl? Eventually she too falls asleep… Next day, the stress gets to her and it is breakdown mode again. Umio tells her that she needs to continue working because otherwise all the people who help support her will go to waste. Therefore don’t dismiss you own hard work. This gives her motivation to carry on. But as the deadline looms, they still might not make it. This is where Director comes in as he supervises the rest of the staffs to help out. Just when Sensei finishes the last piece, Hio-tan had to be clumsy with the ink. Spilled! Oh dear. All the hard work. Now everybody starts crying. It is having a domino effect that Director is going to lose it as well! We thought Umio might change the pace of everything with his serious look but he is the one who is crying the loudest! This causes everyone to stop crying and return to work. Reverse psychology? Finally they made it in time and just when they thought they could rest, Sensei brings out another thick set of papers. They’re going to start on the summer convention’s manuscript. Oh… My… God… Umio is still crying…
Sensei is tied up and brought to some secret underground room whereby Tsumorin and Hio-tan start rolling a film directed and narrated by Director. Actual footage courtesy of all the security cameras in all the rooms. Wow. Those must be some awesome security footage. It is about Sensei working overtime for her manuscript submission one night and this film highlights the unlady-like ways of and conduct. From cleaning her glasses with her shirt, drinking straight out from a bottle, wiping her mouth with her sleeve, failing in her instant noodles and eating it anyway, going into that berserk baby mode when the computer crashes, accidentally spilling ink on the floor and since she cannot wipe it away she covers the spot with boxes (oh, the atrocity!), using wet wipes to clean her face, neck, glasses, pen time and finally using it as a coaster (no way!) and the ultimate shock is that when it is time to go to work, she uses the kitchen sink to wash her hair and shower!!! This is way too much! And the ultimate crime is that she wears the same jersey and underwear to work. So how many million minus points has she accumulated? So embarrassing that she could die, huh? Even Tsumorin and Hio-tan are in total shock…
After another successful convention, the gang head to the hotspring for a well deserved rest. This time Tsumorin is tagging along. Umio couldn’t be happier. Hope he won’t die before they reach there. Yeah. The hotspring is called Shingeki No Oji-san (Attack On Uncle). WTF???!!! A misunderstanding causes Sensei, Hio-tan and Fu Girl to rush into a room to get towels. They are totally naked when they realized too late that they need to put on their yukata and wait in this room to get them. Freaking embarrassing. In the hotspring, Tsumorin starts groping boobs but loses interest in those with flat chests. She starts talking and teasing about the ones the girls have a crush on. Even though they vehemently deny, you can tell from their body actions that something is up. So we see them having fun at the festival too but the highlight scene is when Tsumorin has too much drink and uses Director’s lap as a pillow. It might be the alcohol talking or not when she asks if he would like to go back the way they were. He apologizes he can’t because there is someone he likes. Tsumorin knows it because he is always mean to the girl he likes. He never changed. She did. She starts crying uncontrollably and what do you know? Hio-tan might have just overheard everything and is close to tears too.
As the last day of the summer fair is here, the gang pack up all those summer promotion materials and prepare for the autumn season. Hio-tan is thinking too much about what Director said then. So worried that she didn’t pay attention and gets another paper cut on her finger. In the storeroom as Director puts band aid on her finger, she questions about the boobs theme for autumn. He passionately rants about women eating that affect the growth of their boobs. She is not amused and does not react like usual. This has Director think she is not well. However Hio-tan flusters thinking he is on to her about that talk. Actually he thinks she is worried about that hotspring naked incident. He teases her that he might have seen her boobs and tries to guess its size. Hio-tan knows she is being messed with and needs to change the topic and regain control. She messes up when she asks if he likes boobs. Yes he does. Then she asks if he likes her boobs or Tsumorin’s. Messed up again? Director turns into an ‘angel’ explaining how God only created boobs but man categorized them. Therefore he will not judge and boobs of all sizes, shapes and colours, he will appreciate them! However this backfires because Hio-tan is upset this means he is happy with anyone’s boobs. She leaves the room crying and seeks the comfort of Sensei. Role reversal?
The lack of sleep and working too hard must be making Sensei go crazy. She still thinks the workplace is the convention and worries about her manga not selling. After having her rest, Umio asks about the results of the newcomer award. She didn’t win. However it was noted her work was promising and was assigned an editor and asked if she would like to work as a manga assistant. She took up the offer but finds it hard to balance her current work and own doujin. She asks for Umio’s advice and he tells her to make the assistant job her priority. It’s sad to see her leave but she has a dream. So word gets around that Sensei has seen Director to quit. Although they are sad, they have to support her and give her farewell gifts and start ranting how it will be lonely. Don’t forget about them too. Director then clears their misunderstanding. He suggested Sensei work lesser shifts because it will be problematic if she suddenly quits. In that instant, everybody felt somewhat disappointed and take back the gifts… Back to work everyone. Nothing to see. With Sensei still around, Umio continues to be her assistant. He is going to work his ass off with tonight…
We see a short retro silent clip of Fu Girl seeing an abandoned zombie cat. She takes out her bat and whacks it to death! No mercy! In another clip, she spots a stray zombie cat in the crowd and tails it to a cemetery whereby she got spooked by ghosts. When she learns the ghosts are zombie cats in disguise, this turns on her beast mode. They’re all going to die again…
Sensei is in happy mood since there is a movie she wants to see coming out tomorrow. Accidentally she invites Umio to come along so it is no surprise back home she is panicking because this invitation may make it look like a date. She starts flustering thinking all of the ‘romantic’ encounters. She thought of dolling up herself but too much makeup could make him upset. Thinking of the need to be more subtle and rough, I guess being an unkempt and dirty looking girl won’t do either. Stuffing her bra to push up her boobs isn’t going to help either. Thus she calls Hio-tan for help. She knows what is going on and before you know it, Kameko and Fu Girl are also here to initiate a meeting to discuss what a guy wants. Boobs? This doesn’t sit well with the flat chests. How about becoming a guy to understand what they think? After reading a manly manga, Sensei turns into a guy. She starts molesting Hio-tan’s boobs! Then she turns Kameko into a dog and violates her! With Fu Girl having perfect loli attributes, she starts licking and carrying her into a room to do ‘undesirable things! OMFG! Is that what she thinks guy wants?! Still don’t understand, eh? Hio-tan uses her last resort. Why not ask a guy directly? So she calls Umio over and has Sensei dress in several cosplay outfits. Pick which he wants. But Umio gets mad. Because all her cosplay outfits, she did not wear her glasses!!! WHAT THE?! He goes on ranting about glasses as sword and shield. She puts them back on and wonders if she is cute all the time. Definitely. They both fluster as the other girls conclude glasses are what men want. Banzai megane!
One morning after her sister left, Hio-tan suddenly falls sick. She calls in sick and to her surprise Director is at her doorstep to check on her (because she didn’t reply his message). At first she shoos him away but I guess on second thought, she might need his company after all. He cooks for her and then leaves for work. He texts her during his shift and since she didn’t answer, he wonders if she is sleeping. After work he goes to check on her again. Something feels wrong. Her apartment is dark. Did she go to the hospital? Peeping through the window he sees her sprawled on the floor. At that moment of panic, he kicks down the door. The door falls on her. He carries her throughout town trying to find a hospital that is open this late. When Hio-tan wakes up, she is back home and is told she was given some IV at the hospital. Then she freaks out about him staying instead of leaving. He assures her he won’t attack a sick girl and it is dangerous since he broke her door and will stay with her for the night. He can’t leave her alone when she is weak. That calmed her down as she finally manages to sleep. Next morning, she finds him sleeping on the floor beside her bed. While she was sleeping, she clearly remembered he whispered into her ear that she is too defenceless and it won’t be his fault if he loses control. This makes her wonder if it is so much fun for him to play with her feelings. Now that Director has caught her cold and out sick, the ironic part is that Umanohone is in chaos without his supervision! They want to go visit him after work but Hio-tan is against it and doesn’t want them to get infected. Or does she want to keep the privilege of nursing him all to herself?
Again, Hio-tan falls sick and this time Sensei is going to pay her a visit. Another reason why she is doing so is to check out her feminine power and learn from it. Imagine the shock when everything turns out opposite from what she imagined. The rundown apartment to the casual clothes she wears. And she thinks this is part of the girl power and notes it down. Sensei tries to help do her laundry but becomes shock to see sexy lingerie in it. Is this what Hio-tan wears underneath? And there is this bra size… H-cup! Holy! How big is that?! So big that it just couldn’t fit her… There is even a garter belt that Sensei is not sure what kind of garment it is and puts it on her head to try!!! As she becomes infatuated with this girl power, Hio-tan is shocked to see her in this state. Those lingerie belong to her sister…
Director rounds up the gang and it seems all of them have something specially prepared for the Christmas season. There are lots of singles alone on that night and looks like their only company will be such mangas they’ll be offering. Tsumorin is part of the line but Director doesn’t want her to buy such book. She throws a tantrum and starts drinking before him. All the guys are pissed he made a girl cry and throw him away. Sensei then turns to Tsumorin. She tried to learn ways of the feminine power but still doesn’t understand. Tsumorin points out that girl power won’t help her get the attention of the one she loves. Surprised? Because she has the person she loves in front of her. G-men is suddenly here. She drops a sack containing lots of indecent works that were meant to be destroyed. She doesn’t want their fate to be tragic and trusts they would use them well. Sommelier takes over and distributes them to all the grateful customers. They’re ‘saved’. Yeah. From the old to the young, there’s something for everybody! Serious! Merry Erostmas! Gosh, is this what Christmas for singles will be?
Sensei finally remembers it this year: Valentine’s Day. But the battle to make the chocolates has just begun. When Tsumorin checks on her, she sees the placed messed up! A failed chocolate production? And so Tsumorin becomes a cooking teacher for the Umanohone girls on how to bake a good chocolate cake. Of course they’re doing it wrong like Fu Girl who is whacking the chocolates like a zombie to crush it up. Luckily Tsumorin is such a patient and understanding girl to correct and show them the right way. Problems after problems and at the end they manage to make a very delicious one. Now that it is time to wrap up the perfect chocolate cake into gifts, they realize they have eaten the entire cake for it was too delicious. Tears of sorrow?
Sensei is having her weird fantasies about giving her chocolates to Umio. But in reality she is the number one chicken. Accidentally she says out loud about Valentine’s chocolates and this has him remember. What good will it do if she beats him up instead? Tsumorin checks on Kameko who still hasn’t give her chocolates. Kameko notes everyone has somebody to give their chocolates to and she herself is just happy to watch from afar rather than getting caught up and hurt. Tsumorin messes with her hair and lectures her about giving up without trying. Kameko now has the courage to give her chocolates to Director. Tsumorin thinks the same. Time to go bug him.
Today is White Day and Umio is giving his chocolates to the girls. Sensei is hinting that she would love to receive one when he mentions she won’t get any because he didn’t get her chocolates. Damn. Sensei is so sad and mad that she pours some strange liquid on him and points out to Fu Girl that he is a zombie. Oh sh*t! Beast mode! Hio-tan learns Kameko got a turtle strap from Director as gift. She is going to treasure it very much. By the time Umio is beaten to a pulp, he finally managed to say it was all a joke and had chocolates for Sensei all along. Oops…
After a hard day’s work, Umanohone is going to close when Director receives a message to setup new stocks for tomorrow’s new books. Hio-tan heard it and the duo grit their teeth for a long night. They head out to buy some snacks but when they return, the manager has closed and locked the store. He is already home and there is no train left this late at night. Plus, their belongings are inside it. They have no choice but to stay in the staff room until morning where the manager will come and open it. Hio-tan is like half asleep and possibly sleep walking since she poured coffee on her own shirt and it took her a while to react. Director strips his shirt to lend it to her to wear. As she takes a shower, she remembers Tsumorin talking to her about that hotspring incident. She wants to help Hio-tan because Tsumorin wants to give up on him but he is too nice. She won’t allow Hio-tan to pass him up as it means her advice will go to waste. As they sleep, Director tells Hio-tan she is defenceless. How? He goes on top of her. Wow. Hio-tan is cool? She believes the Director she knows will wait till she has an answer. How much does she know about him anyway? After he backs down and goes to sleep, Hio-tan lets go a huge sigh of relief. Man, she was really scared then. Next morning, the duo get to work and manage to setup in time. Tsumorin checks on them and sees how well they’re interacting with each other. She feels she is an awful woman for pretending to give the girls advice but was only using them. She starts crying believing she can finally give up.
When G-men was young, her mother wanted her to study hard and be a civil servant, something she wasn’t too happy about. She comes across an abandoned hut and spots guys from her class reading porn magazines. One of them is Sommelier. At that time G-men hated such books since her brother loves reading them. The boys spot her and drag her in to silence her. It would be bad if she lets the teacher know since she is the class rep. Sommelier tries to ‘bribe’ her with porn magazines but she is not buying. Till he shows a non-porn magazine (is this a tennis or badminton parody?) that she likes. She joins them and even brings her brother’s thrown away porn magazines for them. Throughout the seasons, this becomes their usual meeting place to read porn. Sommelier has got the knack to just bring more. One day when it is just Sommelier and G-men, he shows her a secret underground where he keeps all the porn books. G-men also tells a secret that she wears glasses and will bring one of her brother’s crazy books tomorrow. However in class, the teacher announces that some kids are hanging out at an abandoned hut reading questionable materials and does a spot check. G-men is cowering in fear and when it is her turn, Sommelier distracts the teacher by showing his porn book. He is taken to the office. G-men then runs out to the hut to try and protect the secret stash. She hides when she heard somebody coming in. The teacher isn’t mad at Sommelier because he also did such things his age. He just doesn’t want him to return to that hut since it will be demolished today. Oh no. G-men is terrified for her life as the excavator starts tearing down the place. The books are all messed up. It stops when they see a kid running in. Sommelier saves her but she starts crying that she couldn’t save the books. Soon, she had to transfer away since her father is getting a job transfer. She hands him that crazy book from her brother which isn’t anything porn (Doraemon parody?). He in turn hands over a BL book as parting gift. She is touched and admits she loves porn books and vows to protect them when she grows up. And now that they have both grown up, we see they still keep and treasure those exchanged books.
Tsumorin and Hio-tan spy outside Sensei’s house as part of their reconnaissance to check on Sensei’s girl power. With a passionate narration from Tsumorin, we see all the un-girly things Sensei did from oversleeping (by 4 hours?!), packing her manuscript stuffs so that she can work at a family restaurant but ironically eats an instant ramen at home (because outside food is expensive) and then keeping leftovers refrigerated (Tsumorin admits she did the same thing too – tears of nostalgia?), working for over 8 hours straight at the family restaurant and then continue working to suppress her misery that she cannot afford to buy the restaurant’s food and finally coming home to finish the leftover ramen. And this concludes their report on her. Yeah, they even show it to her, the fruits of their spying results.
Fu Girl is so short that it is no wonder that Sommelier couldn’t see her when she calls. She thinks she needs to grow her breasts bigger or else he won’t notice her. Don’t you think big boobs would look odd on a loli? She tries sitting on Umio’s shoulder. Although she is the same height as Sommelier, Umio can’t maintain his balance. This causes Sommelier and Fu Girl’s head to crash together. Ironically, Sommelier is knocked out while Fu Girl is still conscious. As he is put to rest, Fu Girl feels apologetic and in the spur of the moment goes up to kiss his lips! When she realizes what she has done, she runs away blushing. Then right in the middle of the crowd she lets loose a high shriek scream. What in blazes? Sommelier wakes up noticing something tastes different on his lips. Is that tears of joy or disappointment?
Sensei has drank too much at an after-party. On the verge of puking? Can’t blame the old guy in the train for being very worried. Yeah. She might puke on him anytime… Anytime now… Right at Umio’s stop, she can’t hold it any longer. After vomiting her heart out, she is still feeling drowsy as Umio has no choice but to bring her back to his home. I guess she is still drunk since she somewhat likes Umio holding her hand but making funny faces. Outside his apartment, Umio has her wait outside as he goes to hide all his porn mangas, figurines, perverted stuffs and clean up the place real good. And he did that all in 40 seconds?! Sensei is let in and she wonders why he is so nice to her. Partly because it was his fault for making her drink too much. Trying to take responsibility? Since Umio is obedient and does anything she says no matter how ridiculous (cleaning her glasses?), she takes advantage of it and has him pat her head. After she gets used to it, now she wants to lie on his lap or else she will throw tantrum and vomit. He reluctantly allows but makes a funny noise when she puts her head… When she feels better, she tries to read some manga or look up the internet but Umio becomes defensive since behind everything is where he hid all those questionable stuffs. There is a butt pillow he accidentally took out during the confusion and so to put it back, he distracts her. Sensei panics when she felt his hand touching her from behind (to cover the butt pillow). She freaks out and he falls over her. Ambiguous scene. Umio has never seen her face this close up before. And she’s got some worthy boobs too. For some reason, his hand cannot resist touching it but it ends up touching the butt pillow. Sensei couldn’t be more insulted and disgusted that she has the face that might explode into loads of vomit. Yeah. Butt pillow confiscated!
Director invites his colleagues for a hanami party. However Umio is upset since Tsumorin is not invited. She is away overseas for some signing event. Even so, why is G-men here?! Ah, Sommelier invited her. Awfully quiet, isn’t she? Fu Girl is still freaking out about that kissing incident and when Sommelier tries to get a drink close to her, she instantly runs away! Heart break… Suddenly Tsumorin pops up! Looks like the event was only for a day and even though at Taiwan, you can say how small the world has become. Tsumorin is sad. Tsumorin is mad. Director never invited her and accuses him of choosing this day because he knew she would be away. Director becomes the villain as everyone accuses him of whatever. In fact, Director knows a good reason why she never got invited. Every year she always gets drunk and goes overboard. Well, it already started if you haven’t noticed. She forces Director and Umio to drink till they’re out. Although Sommelier is already out, she continues forcing the sake down his throat. Then she strips Sensei to see her girl power but you can see her messy plain t-shirt underneath it. Hio-tan got her boobs fondled. Ah, drunk as hell. Things quiet down when Tsumorin falls asleep. Everyone is out except for Kameko. Umio wakes up and they talk. She asks if he has anyone he likes since he is kind and perceptive. She is trying to hint that if he keeps this up, he’ll end up as part of the audience (speaking from experience I guess). Kameko drops the subject as Umio says he is also watching over her. Then Sensei had to interrupt and request to lie on his lap. That funny sound again…
Finally. The Manager of Umanohone makes his proper debut and dialogue! He is addressing the rest of the employees of the store. And you thought the entire store was filled with just our zany seven, eh? Yeah well, if you think about it, how can only 7 people handle everything? Because the entire building has different sections like games to light novels too. So in this final part we see Manager giving his morning speech and making the employees repeat after him. Oaths that sound so freaking questionable. Yeah… Boobs… Lolita… And the employees sound dumb enough to repeat everything! At least this shows they’re dedicated and loyal. Hah… Then he leads them to do a morning workout and those positions look so ambiguous that it is porn video worthy. Finally he raps to the company’s theme song which feels like his problems. And now, everyone get back to work and your stations! That goes to the same for Director and his team.
Books Aren’t Dirty – It’s Your Mind!
Even if the anime has ended, the anime and manga in real life will continue. Forever! Ah yes, when animes without any real plots end like that, sometimes it is both a good and bad thing. Good because you won’t feel frustrated and get that WTF feeling with unanswered questions. Bad because you’d expect nothing more. Wait, is that a good thing? But as far as this anime is concerned, I believe that it was fun all the way because of the many funny and comedic moments. Even though the store specializes in lots of manga genres, a good thing is that they didn’t go too deep into it so much so that noobs and casual viewers will have a hard time understanding it all and thus diminishing the enjoyment value.
Therefore why this anime works is that instead of delving into the technical aspects of how these people run a bookstore, we see their daily interactions with each other at work, off work and in other activities that might not even be related. From street festival competitions to hotspring relaxation, the slapstick humour is funny enough to tickle your bones. So much so you wouldn’t think this is some violent anime (Fu Girl whacking Umio the zombie till you need a mosaic censor) or some ecchi series (girls walking naked in the hotspring but only to be saved by mysteriously white lights covering strategic places) or some retro drama (what the heck is that Lime Cat black and white movie featuring Sommelier and a funny looking stray cat?). At the end of the day, you don’t get the slightest idea of how a comic store is run but you know that it is one big tough ass hard job because of all the stacking preparations and overtime work to unwrap boxes and appropriately place them in the shelves or promotion areas. So people, next time you want to b*tch about your book being unavailable or late, spare a thought of how hard these people work behind the scenes just so that people can get what they are looking for. Definitely not fun and games.
The characters are the ones that made this possible and each of them is unique enough to make them lovable and memorable. You get a glimpse of some of their past and they take turns getting a fair share of some screen time so it is pretty sufficient for a short one season anime to get to know the characters enough. Like Umio who may look like a normal guy with glasses but when you talk about the things he love or they appear before him, he becomes a passionate nut that nobody can beat. Or Director, at first he may look like some lazy supervisor how only knows how to pick on cute gullible girls but as we learn, he isn’t such a bad person after all and ironically is the one who keeps his team in line and a very reliable person. So it’s just like he is acting so because well, it’s his character. He can slack because he can do the job himself and perhaps from another point of view, like they say, a clever person is one who hides his cleverness. But I wonder how big is collection on Hio-tan’s various expressions is.
Every character has a personality that all of us can relate to in real life. For example, Sensei. She is the kind of person that breaks under pressure especially when her manuscript’s deadline is near. Most of us would have this frustrated feeling, don’t we? Ah yes, Sensei. We feel your frustration. And she always worries about her girl power but eventually goes nowhere with it no matter how hard she tries. Back to square one. Like most of us who aspire to change and be different but never really got off the ground, huh? G-men is another good example because like many of us who have our day jobs, the work we do for life is sometimes very contrasting to the things we love. Despite her government job to make checks on unhealthy materials, deep down in her heart she loves porn. Who doesn’t? I mean, really. Who in this world hasn’t watched porn or not think about such unholy acts before?
Then there is camera maniac Kameko who observes others and Sommelier who is probably the best character because he doesn’t speak much and yet he knows what you want. Looks can be deceiving because zombie lover Fu Girl may look like a loli but she is much older than that and not as innocent as you think. Just don’t ever make her think that you’re a zombie or you’re done for. It is pretty amazing how Umio can come back without any permanent injuries. Then again, who cares? Then there is Hio-tan who is half the time screaming or flustering. Like as though everything she sees or hears then is like a culture shock. Lastly and not forgetting Tsumorin, behind that smile sometimes hides a dangerous person because she makes a great spy-cum-stalker and someone you can never beat when drunk. So stay absolutely far away from her when she is so. Otherwise, just like every other character, despite their quirky personality, they are actually nice and caring people. Like Director who loves playing prank especially on Hio-tan but at many times he actually helps her out. Sommelier says nothing but he knows what you want. And he really, really knows. Fu Girl likes swinging her bat in beast mode but in reality is just a meek girl. Or is it the other way round, a meek girl to cover her zombie killing craze?
Romance feels like a hit and miss. Lots of teasing moments like Umio’s close up with Sensei and the closest one of Fu Girl kissing Sommelier. But that is as far as you’ll get. You will also get to know the pairings after a while but whether or not they hook up and become an item is another story. Maybe the store has a policy forbidding relationships during work. But that is just me thinking too much because we see the girls holding back confessing to their secretly loved ones is because they’re too embarrassed to do so. So it’s like we have everyone loving somebody. Fu Girl x Sommelier, Sensei x Umio, Hio-tan x Director. These are the obvious pairs but we also have Tsumorin and Kameko liking Director (man, this guy is popular) with Tsumorin despite being an ex, feels like she has a hard time getting over him even if that tear jerking moment that she could felt like a troll moment. Umio’s love for Tsumorin is most likely to be of an obsessed fan and idol type rather than anything romantic. It may seem Fu Girl x Sommelier pairing may be straightforward but don’t forget G-men who still harbours feelings for him. Otherwise, why keep coming back and help the store out?
Art and drawing style of the characters lean towards the cute aspect. Personally, sometimes they look weird. For example, Fu Girl has this kind of face that she is going to cry anytime. Every time I look at Sensei, I can’t help think she is some sort of penguin. No, seriously. Must be the hairstyle that is close to that Sakura girl in Penguin Musume. Kameko’s big fluffy hat gives me the impression that she is one of those boys who sell papers in the streets of London. “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”. Besides, every time I see her fluffy hair, it makes me think she is some kind of sheep. Others have this stereotypical look like Sommelier, all big taciturn guys have this similar look and feel. Just like Bleach’s Sado and Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maiden’s Hibiki. And Umio has this typical plain look that all plain ordinary normal bespectacled guys have. So typical that I can’t even name one right now ;p. Shin-Ei Animation produced this anime and animated a variety of classic favourites like Doraemon, Crayon Shin-chan, Ninja Hattori and Esper Mami.
There are a handful of trivia to spot from Hio-tan’s imitation of Gendou’s signature pose and the hilarious parody of Shingeki No Kyojin. The most interesting one is the hanami party whereby you see the characters in cosplay outfit. If you know your seiyuus well, you will notice that they are cosplaying a character in an earlier anime that they voiced. Because I am not familiar with the manga world (what not such indecent mangas), I am not sure if all the promotion posters you see in the store are based on the real manga itself or they are just made up. In addition to the end card illustrations from several people at the end of every episode, some end cards feature the art cover of a manga (that is at least mentioned or featured in that episode or the next) fully included with its synopsis as well. I am not sure if they are real or not till the Prince Of Shuttlecock was featured. This is definitely a parody. A little trivia about this as I note that G-men said it was a tennis manga (which the parody is based on) but a shuttlecock is only used in badminton (which is what the parody is about), right? But you can view the full list of manga covers in the final ending credits, those mangas that were featured in the series or at least enough for you to notice them.
Speaking of end card illustrations, some are funny but there is one which is just really WTF material. On the penultimate episode, this end card illustrated is just a freaking atrocious scribbling doodles of the worst kind ever! It is like giving your one year toddler a crayon and just scribble like hell! I don’t even know what to make out of this ‘art’. WTF is this???!!! Even more so, this was illustrated by Yu Kobayashi. It’s like she is trolling with us or something. Maybe she suddenly felt some sort of rage and started going crazy with her artwork. If you say Picasso’s painting is weird. You should check this one out. Because if you can call this art, then I am sure all the squiggles, scrawling and graffiti work of every toddler would become world famous paintings. No, seriously.
I thought Kana Asumi was behind the voice of Hio-tan because whenever she starts screaming or gets into her panicky flustering mode, she sounds so much alike. So much so, I thought she was having a cold while voicing this character because otherwise she doesn’t sound like the Kana Asumi I am used to hearing. Turns out to be Natsumi Takamori behind Hio-tan’s voice. She was the voice of Saki in Acchi Kocchi, Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo and Saitou in Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen. Hearing Fu Girl too somewhat rang familiar bells. Sounds like Ayana Taketatsu. True enough it is her. This seemingly cute, innocent and shrieky voice reminds me of the one she voiced in Tamayura as Fuu. Just imagine a more corrupted version of that character here. Not so innocent after all, eh? Also recognizable are Satomi Satou as Tsumorin (Wendy in Fairy Tail) who seems to sound like having fun with her cute character and Yu Kobayashi as G-men (Ayame in Gintama) who sounds like she is trying to suppress her crazy voice like how her character is sometimes suppressing her love for porn books because of her job.
The rest of the casts include Minami Tsuda as Sensei (Yui in YuriYuri), Ryota Ohsaka as Umio (Haruto in Valvrave The Liberator), Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Director (Kirito in Sword Art Online), Mai Aizawa as Kameko (Mio in Nichijou) and Takahiro Tomita as Sommelier (Bluk in Outbreak Company). The generic anime pop-like opening theme is Kajirikake No Ringo by Ayana Taketatsu while the lively anime rock pop ending theme is Two-Dimension’s Love by Denki Girls (which are basically comprised of Sensei, Fu Girl, Kameko and Tsumorin).
Overall, this is a fun and enjoyable anime with lots of funny moments and weird characters to go with. And please do not start thinking that people working at such bookstores are oddballs. For those people hating such unhealthy and indecent books, well you are entitled to your opinion. But sometimes I feel that there is such discrimination just because of its contents. Books are still books, right? So don’t treat them with contempt or disrespect! It is the same and akin to treating a human with a different skin colour and race just because of your stereotype beliefs as eventually we are all the same human beings. Therefore, no matter what kind of books you like, be it porn stuffs or knowledge/enlightening materials or gossip magazines that only has entertainment purpose, the important thing is to enjoy what you are reading. All that being said, now if I can only pick up and read my first manga… After all these years, can’t believe I’m still not into reading… Must be a bad addiction, huh?