Dagashi Kashi

August 7, 2016

If watching certain food themed animes like Chuuka Ichiban and the most recent Shokugeki No Souma might be too heavy for you to stomach not because the dishes are bad but they are so good that they want to make you eat them and it hurts your stomach and brains when you realize you can’t, or even foods like breads (Yakitate! Japan) or pastries (Yumeiro Pattisiere) are too much to handle for an average viewer, why not watch something that is of bite size? Is there any? Yes people, you don’t have to eat an entire Toblerone chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth and sometimes only a small pop in the mouth would suffice. No, I’m not talking about M&M’s either. Bet you don’t know that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of small candy manufacturers that you have never heard of. Some even available in certain regions. And thus that is why we have Dagashi Kashi. A small anime that introduces us to the wonders of those popular and not so popular treats in Japan. They all come in small bite sizes and cheap enough for you to get enough of that sugar rush. Time to see if some of these sweets would bring back the sweet ol’ nostalgic memories of your childhood days.

Episode 1
Kokonotsu Shikada is drawing his manga when his father, You needs to speak to him. About his manga! Father has high hopes of him carrying on as the 9th generation candy store owner but Kokonotsu is bent on walking the manga career. His son even chides him about the bad layout of their candy store that makes children hard to reach and this ‘suggestion’ is probably the reason why You sees him as a great takeover potential. After You heads out, Hotaru Shidare enters the shop. This pretty chick looks like the heroine of his manga! He finds her name familiar. Indeed because her father runs the world’s top candy manufacturer. She has business with You but since he is not around, she challenges Kokonotsu to see if his worthy. I’m not sure about the ranting she did on the umibou and the different flavours available. But it sure makes me salivate! I WANT TO EAT THEM! When You returns, Hotaru and him engage in some silly candy charade. You tries to convince his son to date her but unfortunately she has already someone she loves: The little boy mascot on the snack cover. And you thought it was Kokonotsu, eh? On to serious business, she is here on her father’s request to have You work in their factory. Of course he refuses. The reason being he blames Kokonotsu for not inheriting the shop. So if she manages to convince Kokonotsu to inherit the candy store, he will come work for her? Exactly. And with that, Hotaru will be staying around a little longer. Uhm, welcome?

Kokonotsu patrons Tou Endou, his friend’s cafe. Kokonotsu never knew his father was that famous. When he talks about an odd but pretty girl living with him due to circumstances, Tou’s sister, Saya doesn’t like that one bit and you can see how she takes out her anger by serving her mean coffee to Kokonotsu. It is overflowing with sugar cubes! Kokonotsu can drink them all with no problem because of his sweet tooth. He never likes coffee but her coffee is the only one he can drink. I guess that made Saya feel a little better. As thanks, he gives her some milk coffee candy even though he knows she doesn’t like candies. After he leaves, Tou teases Saya for being so freaking obvious she has a crush on Kokonotsu. Just too bad Kokonotsu is a bigger idiot. She heads out after having her fill beating him up to a pulp. That is when she finds Hotaru stuck in the paddy mud! Don’t worry, she is alright. She brings her back to shower. Tou thinking Saya is back enters the toilet (without knocking?) and sees Hotaru’s naked body. As expected another cold beating from sister. Oddly, Hotaru excitedly thanks the unconscious dude in her birthday suit. Hotaru explains she got into that predicament as she was cycling and eating her ice cream. She thought she won a prize and as she peered closer, she lost control and fell down the mud. When Saya asks about her business here, Hotaru dramatically narrates in RPG style about some quest to obtain the power to succeed the legend. That’s you, Kokonotsu.

Episode 2
A kid wins a prize for a free ice cream at Kokonotsu’s store. But Hotaru catches him and thinks he is a spy from a rival industry! Today’s snack demonstration of kinako sticks is brought to you by Hotaru as she tells the incomprehensible snacks war that led to the destruction of the world and thus the kinako sticks are laying in wait just to bring down mankind. Just go with the flow… She eats them but the crumbs fall over her boobs. To solve this problem, she eats it on top of her face but now her face is powdered. Kokonotsu’s solution is simpler. You use one hand as a bowl and once you’re done with the snack, you just lick off the crumbs. Hotaru tries to show off by eating several off them at the same time and also avoid spilling the crumbs. I bet she is talking while doing so and the reason why she gets choked on them. When Hotaru hints to Kokonotsu of becoming an adult with her, only dirty minded perverts would have hoped for something ecchi. You should have known that snacks will always be on her mind. There is this cheeky named beer but contains no alcohol so minors can drink it and not feel left out in the presence of the other beer drinking adults. They have their own little beer part and although Kokonotsu is amazed with its apple or pineapple taste, Hotaru is completely drunk! Don’t even ask. Expect her mood swings, nonsensical rants especially her imitation on the umibou. At least she is a good entertainer.

Kokonotsu and Saya are lazing around due to the heat. It is going to get hotter when Hotaru is here to show off her whistling skills on this ramune whistle. Yup, there is also a sad back story about this candy. The ramune whistle is taunted by others because he cannot whistle well in the beginning. But a few words of motivation from an older generation candy of the similar type has him whistling right. Although Saya doesn’t understand a word, Kokonotsu does. He does? He knows this is part of her plan trying to make him to succeed the candy store. Kokonotsu is personified as the ramune whistle and his dad as the older generation candy. When Saya realizes what is going on and the horror that there will be no more candy store, she sides with Hotaru for him to continue the shop. Hotaru is glad she has an ally now. Hotaru and Kokonotsu explain menko to Saya. A kid’s game whereby you throw your cards on the ground and if you flip other cards over, it is yours. Saya makes her first try and shocks the duo with a successful flip. Hotaru then does a tactic that allows her to flip 2 cards at once. It took her 2 years to master this, you know. She trains Kokonotsu but that guy didn’t make any headway at the end of the day. I suppose Saya is bored and wants to test out one more time. This time she flips 3 cards at once! In addition to be shell shocked, defeated Hotaru gets down on her knees and starts calling Saya her master! Please teach her the technique!

Episode 3
On the hottest day of the summer, Kokonotsu’s store air-cond is about to break down. Then here comes Hotaru to off it and tell him the way to beat the summer heat is to eat butamen. She has Tou bring over a stove to boil hot water. Man, it’s like sauna in here! I’m sure the reason why Tou agrees to do all this is because of the excitement of watching her eating butamen oh so sexy and the sweat soaking through her clothes makes her bra visible. Yeah, he didn’t pass out from the heat. A different kind of heat if I should say. Hotaru disallows Kokonotsu to turn the air-cond back on but when he mentions the candies will go bad this way, I guess she has to give in. Candies are most important, right? However the air-cond is not working. That is when Tou suggests going to the pool. The guys must be excited to see the girls in swimsuit. But no girls… And You is there working as a lifeguard because the candy store doesn’t make much income. Feeling guilty for leaving the store unattended, Kokonotsu? When Hotaru arrives, Tou is a little disappointed because she is wearing a jacket to cover up those great boobs. It is revealed this entire pool plot is schemed by You and Hotaru. Yup, that being poor part was just a lie. They have hidden jelly snacks at the bottom of the pool. Upon discovering them, this will make Kokonotsu discover the joy of candies and thus increase his interest in carrying on the candy store. Despite finding many jelly snacks, there is a sign that says no outside food and drinks allowed. It disappoints them they can’t savour the jelly. Plan failed.

Hotaru thinks she might have gotten into the wrong store when she sees Tou at the counter. Nope. Correct store. He is helping to man the counter while he is out for an errand. As she waits, she asks him if he likes sweets. Not really. She falls into shock and cannot comprehend that kind of answer. When she passionately explains her love for candies, he gives a casual answer. Not in her vocabulary? When Tou tries to eat a botan rice candy by scratching off the wrapper, Hotaru is horrified since you can eat the wrapper. She thinks if he is trying to test her if there is a better way of eating them. So she does a baseball throw of the candy into his mouth and the spin and his saliva somewhat unwraps it. Screw all that technical crap! As long as it tastes good. Kokonotsu returns with the air-cond repair men. As extra help is not needed, Hotaru is sent to hang out at Saya’s cafe. Saya fears Hotaru may like Kokonotsu when she asks they have known each other for so long. But actually Hotaru is frustrated that she has never seen her eating candy at his store. That is why Hotaru has got this Seven Neon candy for her to try. Noticing Hotaru is watching like a pervert, the pressure is on Saya to eat it properly! You can tell if she is eating it right by the expression on her face. She bites and rips off the candy. Despite this is the right way to eat it, she feels it is a bit troublesome. Hotaru explains the abundance and cheap supply of candies. It will be a waste for kids to buy and eat them fast so some snacks are devised in a way to ‘put some effort’ in enjoying it. They spend the rest of the day eating Seven Neon and talking trivia about it.

Episode 4
If you’re wondering why Hotaru is blindfolded, it is because today they’ll be having taste testing. After she sings praises about the fugashi, she has Kokonotsu tie her hands and feed her one. Very suggestive, isn’t it? She guesses correctly from the taste. Not to be outdone, Kokonotsu is also blindfolded and tied up as she feeds him a fugashi. However he cannot differentiate this taste and only gets correct because of the way the wrapper is opened. They take turns doing this until Kokonotsu realizes there isn’t much fugashi left and Hotaru might guess them easily. So he brings out one and lets her taste this big and hard thing suffocating her mouth! OMFG! Just looking like porn!!! She wants more of it!!! She guesses correctly the sakurabo. Despite only available in a certain prefecture, You was quite fond of it so he stocked up. At this time, tasting all the fugashi has left them dry in the mouth. Hotaru leaves to get some drinks. But she left Kokonotsu blindfolded and tied up… Hello, anybody? He must have waited for eternity till she returns. Too bad it is his dad! He gets the wrong idea they were in some erotic play! Kokonotsu nonchalantly sketches on Saya and Hotaru so Tou adds his nonsensical comments about their boobs. After some time Kokonotsu left the cafe, Tou texts him that he forgot his notebook. Imagine what will happen if Saya sees that… Hotaru can tell from his expression that he is in a pinch. She gives him the Glico caramel and will race there with him. The entire cross country marathon is about them calculating the calories each sweet gives, the time and distance they can run with it. Yeah, it’s freaking technical (but educational) for a dumb guy like me so I’m just going to skip the whole lot. Because I only know how to eat! After a few hundred metres, they will pop a sweet to replenish energy. On the last stretch, Kokonotsu runs out so Hotaru ‘sacrifices’ hers to give him his last spurt. By the time he reaches the cafe, Saya had already seen the sketches. If you ever wanted to know how Saya looks like when she turns into a demon, this is your chance. I hope all the Glico caramel was worth it. He is going to need it. Lastly, I think Hotaru gave him the wrong candy and thus the time lag in reaching the cafe when he should have reached in time. Otherwise if you think about it, if they started out with the same box of Glico caramel and ate them at similar intervals, don’t you think Hotaru would have ran out of hers too?

Episode 5
You sneaks in some powder for Hotaru to taste. Kokonotsu catches them in the act. Is it something illegal? Well, it is bottled ramune. Kokonotsu remembers they used to have stock of this. What happened? Apparently You confessed it was too addictive so he ate them all! Hotaru tries to persuade Kokonotsu not to blame You and coax him into tasting it. Because it is made of powder, he starts coughing. It’s like when a first time smoker smokes. But still, Kokonotsu chides his dad there is no point in selling them if he eats them himself. And so he decides to cleanse himself with some rehabilitation and Hotaru accompanies him. Late in the middle of the night, Kokonotsu hears sounds from his dad’s room. He is uploading candy videos onto YouTube! It’s embarrassing! So how many views has he got? 13 only?! Stop the embarrassment right now! You wants to test video and uses the Baby Star Ramen as his product. In addition to his lame rap opener, he doesn’t know about the product, has to read from a card and goes off track in his topic. Kokonotsu blows his top and passionately shows him how it is done. Yup, this guy is even more creative in coming up stories for this product than his dad. This video is uploaded as Saya and Hotaru watches it. Hey, at least with 100 views, that’s not bad, right? And Kokonotsu doesn’t even know when dad uploaded it…

The guys run out of cash so here comes the masterful financial planner Hotaru to tell them how to make fast easy money via candy prizes. She uses Yattamen as the source as you could accumulate and win money out of it. However Kokonotsu cautions Tou into believing that because no actual cash value is given but a coupon equivalent to it. Hotaru starts off… And makes a losing start! But hey, this is to show that with her losing streak, she has developed a way to identify a winning candy. Something to do about the packaging. She lost anyway. In fact, Kokonotsu knows better about some design in the corner that determines it. You shock, Hotaru? Trying it out, the guys win. Hotaru loses… That is when she reveals she has never won a candy prize in her life. Kokonotsu tells her to stay away from gambling but this gives her another reason to continue her gambling ways. This time she wages Kokonotsu’s life to inherit the store on the line. There are 3 grape gumballs in this candy and one of them is super sour. Whoever picks that loses. So If Hotaru loses, she’ll do anything for him. Want to guess Kokonotsu just had a lewd thought? Hotaru is confident she can win this one as the illustration on the packaging will tell her the super sour gumball (which is of course just a rumour). To her horror she realizes the packaging illustration has changed. There is no way to tell now! They pop the gumball into their mouths. The guys have it sweet. Hotaru’s sour face… Chalking up another one for losing streak. To soothe her, Kokonotsu says her talent for gambling is so bad that it is a talent itself. Poor Hotaru, still bitter from her losing streak that she runs away crying. Uhm, did she forget about granting Kokonotsu his wish?

Episode 6
Hotaru calls the gang so she could show off her long Super String Q. It is some elastic jelly in which you can play with it too. This makes Tou remember about Maken Gummies in which there is an elastic hand toy in it. He demonstrates its ‘true purpose’ by whipping up Saya’s skirt! Wow. Look how far Tou flew. Hotaru explains the many creativity kids used to play with the jelly but can it be edible after that? Suddenly she hands one to Kokonotsu and challenges him to a tug of war in which if he loses he must inherit the store! Thankfully both break and it is a draw. Phew. Hotaru then takes out a longer one as she whips it around. But it snaps so Kokonotsu in his reflex action jumps and eat it. Hotaru believes this amazing skill makes him a good successor to the store. Since Kokonotsu disagrees, they will settle it via ohajiki. The game they play with it is similar to marbles. If you can hit another ohajiki, it becomes yours. Tou and Saya are natural talents accumulating a reasonable number. Kokonotsu sucks with only a couple and if you think he is doomed losing this challenge, wait till you see Hotaru. She has zero! How bad can she get?! Hotaru notices Saya has a penchant to be great in games despite not knowing the rules. She suggests she should work in Kokonotsu’s place to utilize her talents. Saya is so embarrassed that she punched Tou! So powerful that his sunglasses break and perhaps the first time you’re seeing his true eyes! Hotaru thought she has this giant ohajiki as her trump card. However it is heavy as a rock and she accidentally drops and breaks it. Her losing streak continues…

Saya is deep in thoughts about Hotaru’s suggestion. This brings back memories when she was in elementary with Kokonotsu. He introduced her to this Yoguret candy in which claimed it has nutritional values and thus the reason why kids were successful in bugging their parents to buy it for them. In addition to the nice feeling of popping the packaging, the candy is often used in playing as doctor. Despite Saya calling that as childish, she is hinting to play it with him. He has to! But with Saya as the doctor, she is mostly flustering with Kokonotsu’s close proximity. Yeah, it looks like she is the one who is sick. So they switch roles. But each time Saya wants to get him do something physically on her, all he ever does is give ‘medicine’. Is that what doctors only do?! After she complains, I guess it is ‘surgery’ time. Here is the ‘pill’ for anaesthetic. Before Kokonotsu could do anything, he is horrified he has run out of Yoguret. Guess who ate them all up? She feels bad and tries to console him. However they accidentally slip. Don’t expect something like one atop the other. It’s just has them holding hands and staring at each other. That is already something big if you’re a kid. Saya is just embarrassed remembering this chapter of her life. And when Hotaru tries to introduce Yoguret, instantly Saya and Kokonotsu react in an embarrassing way. Yeah, the memories are still vivid. But Saya is glad that Kokonotsu’s reaction means he still remembered it well.

Episode 7
Kokonotsu and You will be operating a monjayaki stall at the festivals. You is confronted by rival, Tamai who accuses him of selling that instead of candies (there’s some link between monjayaki and candies as explained by Hotaru but I wasn’t listening – it was painful to see her climbing down that tree as she explains). When You threatens to stop sharing Baby Star with her, she lost. Then they quickly make up. Yeah, this happens every year. But the adults ditch the kids alone to go drinking. I bet Kokonotsu didn’t see this one coming. As they walk around the area, Hotaru is interested in doing katanuki. She didn’t listen to Kokonotsu’s advice that the store owner usually will find fault in the katanuki and not payout. She starts chiselling her tulip shaped katanuki. Kokonotsu wonders why she is good at this if this is her first festival. She ordered katanuki pieces as practice before and this is her first time doing it in front of others. Can you do that? With Hotaru in full concentration, Kokonotsu can’t help find her cute when she’s not talking! See?! See this kind of charm for men in a woman?! Then she nails a perfect tulip. Because of the high payout, the guys believe the owner is going to find some fault. But it is so perfect he couldn’t find any fault that he happily just pays her off! Time to spend the hard earned cash. This makes Tou want to try his hands. I believe he had many failed attempts and the final one which is also a high value katanuki is enough to cover his losses. He nails it and is about to hand it over when he trips and breaks it… So sad…

Kokonotsu is not happy he has to help his dad with the monjayaki stall. Then here comes Saya looking cute in her yukata. She is hinting about Kokonotsu have to be here to help his dad. But You is quite the perspective father and lets his son accompany Saya around. He’ll handle it. Tou is interested in trying in hands in making monjayaki as repayment for a free one You gave. Kokonotsu and Saya walk around (a little trivia on the history of floss candy too) and you bet she is enjoying every darn second of this. Till that dense Kokonotsu forgot he should call Tou to join them. Saya gives a lame excuse why he shouldn’t and being the dense kid, he agrees. Kokonotsu plays the goldfish game and his foolproof way fails. This brings back memories for Saya how he did the same thing. He tried and tried but failed. Because of his perseverance, the store owner in the end gave him one for free. Kokonotsu gave that goldfish to her in which she still keeps it in her cafe. How long does a goldfish live anyway? Isn’t it a little too big for its bowl aquarium now? History repeats itself as Kokonotsu couldn’t get one so the owner gave him one for free. He gives it to her. Just then they hear word going around that Tou’s monjayaki is selling like hot cakes. Yes, that guy is really getting good and popular.

Episode 8
Tou narrates there is a calendar in his house that cannot be touched. It has always been on the January page and features a baby. He was curious so as he turns the pages, the picture shows the different stages in a boy’s life. In the December page, an old man with his eyes’ closed. Suddenly his eyes open and blood starts streaming out and before he knew it, his hands were bloodstained! OMG! Don’t tell me such scary stories even if this is what the gang are doing during a typhoon!!! Look how scared Saya is! Tou continues he was bedridden with an unknown illness for 2 months. Mom took him to a doctor and when they x-ray his lungs, there is a ghostly face of his grandpa over it! F*CK!!! Saya is about to beat up her brother when Hotaru concludes the story. The boy remembered he didn’t visit his grandpa’s grave and after doing so, he was cured. Hotaru knows this story because it is based off some summer candy horror collection in which she has read all 144 stories. But when Kokonotsu points out the inconsistencies in the story (why would grandpa curse his own grandchild when he failed to visit his grave?), Hotaru talks about the odd part of how despite main characters in scary stories go missing, how come the story is usually told. I mean, if they died or something, then the story will forever be buried with them, right? This is why. A secret she hopes nobody will tell others. All stories are cooked up by the company’s employees. Yeah, I pretty much figure that out too. Saya is still scared so Hotaru explains about a gum that if given to some ghosts, they will leave. Saya finds it odd that ghosts chew gum… When the lights go out, they panic. You comes in with a flashlight on his face. Of course this freaks Saya out and now he is ‘chewing his own gum’.

Tou is bragging how popular kendama is. However Kokonotsu says otherwise as there are some unsold in his shop. I believe it has been there since he was a kid. To prove him wrong, Tou sucks in his pride and buys 2 of them! So they try it out but they suck. Tou did a dangerous move that bends his thumb the other way! When Saya arrives and picks it up, OMG she is such a natural talent! Saya then wonders why he bought them because they have a few back home and even then he said something about them being popular. I guess he’ll never be good at it… Tou talks to Kokonotsu about being popular. Yes, this pop chocolate has this fortune telling gimmick that is it no wonder why girls love them? So they test out a few stuffs like they both never did homework and the chocolate predicted it to be true. Tou then mentions his wish for a pantsu shot. Will he get it? That is when Hotaru comes by to say she was looking for Kokonotsu and will meet him back at the store. As she jumps off, the guys watch in anticipation her under her fluttering skirt… Did they see anything or not? But surely they are excited by this haitenai phenomenon and how the chocolate predicted something like that leaves them feeling amazed. Total respect.

Episode 9
Saya is waiting for Kokonotsu at his shop. But here comes Hotaru. My, what a painful ulcer she has. She thinks it could be from lack of sleep or stress but not eating too much candy! I know that feeling… Against Saya’s advice, Hotaru pops more candy into her mouth. Now, this WataPachi candy has that ‘exploding’ feeling in your mouth. Think of it like M&M’s but instead of melting it pops AKA explodes in your mouth. And thus it starts hurting Hotaru’s ulcer and compounding the pain. So painful that even Saya can’t bear to watch! But at the end of it, Hotaru might be a masochist since she loves the pain. As long as it is candy related… Hotaru than introduces another candy, UnChoco. Because of the way its name sounds, it can mean to be poop chocolate, something that is bothering Saya. The girls have his UnChoco party (poop party?) making Saya feeling all uncomfortable over this bad pun. Hotaru cannot stop ranting and waxing lyrical about it so when Saya can’t take it anymore and tells her to stop, Hotaru reveals she was actually talking about eggs. Wait. What?!

Kokonotsu is shocked to see Hotaru eating rice. This girl eating rice?! Then she reveals she is from Osaka and used to speak in Kansai accent. I think she is doing so, so she can make lame Osaka puns. And introduce this Sakura Daikon candy that looks like radish but is actually a candy that you can eat with rice. More lame Osaka puns… Yes Kokonotsu. We feel your pain of how annoying Hotaru is today. When she finally leaves (thank God), she says she isn’t actually from Osaka. I guess Kokonotsu figured that out since she was doing bad impersonations of it. Making it worse, he realizes Hotaru used his bowl and finished all his rice lunch! Later, she asks him if he likes boobs. Say what? Did I hear that correctly? You know guys have to think hard when a girl asks that kind of question, right? Either way, we’ll be screwed, right? So he decides to give a mature answer that he isn’t into it. Hotaru becomes depressed and walks away seeing he has no business with him then. Suddenly Kokonotsu reverses his decision that he loves them! Instantly she throws to him an ice cream balloon that she calls boobs ice cream. She has him eat it and as he bites off the top, the melted ice cream ‘exploded’ onto his face. Seems this is an experiment of wanting to know how much to melt the ice cream before she could easily eat it. Kokonotsu insists it is called bomb ice cream because of its shape. But do you eat bombs?! So can you eat boobs too? No, you suck on them! Still, Kokonotsu insists this is the name he has been calling it since young. Likewise, Hotaru too. The only way to settle this argument is to eat it. As she does so, she forgot hers has also melted and it splatters all over her face. Ooohhh… White stuff dripping all over her face, hands and boobs. While Hotaru now understands why it is called bomb ice cream, I am sure Kokonotsu understands why she calls it boobs ice cream. Stimulating…

Episode 10
When Tou is at the vending machine late one night, Hotaru is seen rushing towards him. She sounds desperate… Kokonotsu feels something is off. Because Hotaru has not visit his store for 2 days! He visits Saya’s cafe and she is not there too. Worried, with Saya they go visit Hotaru’s home. My, what a freaking big mansion! Rich people… When Hotaru answers the door, she becomes so scared in seeing Kokonotsu that she faints! They put her back in bed and it looks like she is sick. Even when she wakes up, she is still afraid of Kokonotsu. Did he do something? The scariest part is when she sees the candies he brings for her, she cowers underneath her sheets! Hotaru rejecting candy? That’s scary! Saya thought it was insensitive of him to bring candies for a sick person but Kokonotsu knows something like this won’t put her down. So he tries to coax her out with all sorts of candies but she just remains frightened. It comes to a point where he tries to fan the candy smell to her and when she finally bursts out, she is crying incessantly in Saya’s arms! Poor thing… Doesn’t this make Kokonotsu look like the bad guy?

When she calms down, she shows her ulcer has gotten much worse. After last episode of eating those candies, she made a wish on that pop chocolate that her ulcer would go away so she could taste the new Baby Star ramen when it is launched. However the fortune telling chocolate denied her that wish. Whatever she wished for it was denied, Except for outing. Outing? And so Hotaru started running to who knows where and that is where she bumped into Tou and talked to him. His answer was simple: Temporarily stop eating candy. Of course she disagreed as candy is her life. Then he tells her eating all those candies is what got her that ulcer and she won’t make it in time to taste that new release. Besides, if she stays away from candies for a while, Baby Star ramen will taste much better. This gave her the motivation to do so. Just when you think the episode is over, Hotaru now turns into a zombie and tries to eat all of Kokonotsu’s candies! OMG! Such immense strength that the duo has a hard time dealing with her! Is this something to do with her withdrawal symptoms for candy? She only stops when the cuckoo clock sounds. It is time to take her medicine. Despite looking like a poison that only anime girls who are bad at cooking could make, it actually tastes good and soothing. Kokonotsu feels something suspicious about it and to his worse fear, this ‘medicine’ is actually a mixture of pine, melon and American soda powder! See how disappointed his face is? It took Hotaru a while to realize she was drinking candy, thus her enhanced ulcer. Just when you think she would learn her lesson, she succumbs to the sweet taste and is going to drink it only to be stopped by her disappointed friends. I guess she won’t be making it for the big day.

Episode 11
After Saya learns the truth about Hotaru being here to convince Kokonotsu to inherit You’s store, Kokonotsu can’t help wonder why a big company wants to hire his dad. She is going to show it to them as they hide inside a cramped cardboard box to spy on You manning the counter. I wonder if Kokonotsu can keep his hands (or rather elbows in this case) to himself in such a tight space. All they see is You eating the store’s candy for an hour! It just makes Hotaru jealous that he is eating all that without her! Soon a local kid enters and he brings a girl his age in. Most probably he is trying to win her heart with candies. However he has not enough money! The girl feels disappointed! So young, so b*tchy?! You suggests if he wins a prize from this cola gum, he can get another one. So the boy tries but from his face you know he lost. However You acts like as though he won and gives him another cola gum. The girl is so impressed. That easy to win a girl’s heart?! Oh right. They’re kids… Hotaru explains that a candy store isn’t a place where people come to take a break but also bond with each other. Her father’s company plans to open candy-like stores worldwide and needs candy store owners like him and from what they have seen, he sure has the talents. Kokonotsu isn’t so sure about that but Saya reminds him something similar happened to them. When Kokonotsu introduced her to cola gum, she just kept winning and winning! She is going to put You out of business at this rate!!! Just as Kokonotsu has a better thought of his dad, here he is trying to sneak read through his manga. That is when Kokonotsu busts out from his hiding to confront his dad. Things can get ugly…

Kokonotsu and Hotaru missed the train. Looks like a long wait for the next one in this rural area. While waiting, Hotaru says she needs to suck on something. Really? Did I hear that right? Of course, she will let him suck too. Really?! Oh yeah. Bring it on! Nobody is watching, right?! You must be a dirty minded pervert to think of sucking that because Hotaru whips out the suckable konbu Hamakaze. Not what you expect Kokonotsu? Here is Miyako konbu then. Look at his frustrated and disappointed face… So we have a little history lesson from her about this konbu and how it is more fitting as a train station ‘candy’ instead of traditional candy stores as its small size allows you to keep in pockets and bags and you can suck on it while you wait. Hotaru drinks lamune and shares with him. Indirect kiss is all he is thinking? He won’t be fooled this time… And yes, a history lesson how this bottled lemonade arrived on Japan’s shores. Mainly due to that Perry guy trying to open up Japan and used this bottle as his trump card. Of course feudal lord has never seen such invention and is amazed with its great taste. But because Perry left and he didn’t teach him how to open it, I guess that is how they became friends and Japan opened up to the west. BS, right? It gets a little serious when Hotaru mentions about her goal to become the world’s top candy manufacturer. Her knowledge on candies is already exceptional but spending her time here more than expected is eating in to her time of doing more candy research. So Kokonotsu’s stubbornness is to blame? But she understands he has his own aspirations and will not force him to succeed his place. When the time comes for him to decide, she’ll be waiting. It is like something inside Kokonotsu clicked. Like he realizes something important and about to lose it. He chases after the train she just boarded, calling out to her. Because where exactly will she be waiting?

Episode 12
Saya is shocked when Hotaru asks if she knows what the taste of love is… Holy cow! Well, at least she didn’t first think she was implying something with Kokonotsu. Rather, something yuri! She thought Hotaru is serious in giving her a taste of love when she is asked to close her eyes. Then Hotaru pops a candy into her mouth and Saya is left guessing its flavour. Cherry, right? Hotaru is so happy she guessed correctly from this Sakuranbo No Uta candy. Meanwhile Kokonotsu asks Tou if he wants to be famous. There is this candy that can if you will become famous or not. Kokonotsu accidentally shakes 2 pink candies into Tou’s hands. To his dismay, Tou eats them. This is when Tou explains he was fully aware of his plan. The reason Kokonotsu let Tou try his luck first was because he was confident Tou wouldn’t get a pink candy. By doing so, his chances of getting one will increase. Kokonotsu regrets his busted plan but Tou hands to him a pink candy. He pretended to eat 2 but only ate one. Kokonotsu gladly eats the pink candy and they put up a silly dance. I don’t think they’ll get popular this way. The girls spot them and with Saya noticing Hotaru looking longingly at Kokonotsu and talking about bittersweet love, she fears she may like him too. But then she realizes Hotaru is just being Hotaru as she is just fantasizing a candy mascot instead.

When Kokonotsu asks Tou if he himself has been tying down Hotaru lately, Saya gets the wrong idea it is BDSM style! Tou suggests the fastest way is to ask her directly. Oh, here she comes. Oddly, she asks if there is a smoking section. As they observe her behaviour, Kokonotsu realizes the significance when she takes out a milk caramel candy. In the old days, it was advertised as a substitute for cigarettes. Furthermore back in those times, Japanese weren’t used in western dairy products. Hotaru’s face signifies she wants to know more but there is all about to it that he knows. So when he starts giving examples of different flavours, she gets up and leaves satisfied. He remembers he needs to talk to her and rushes out to chase her. It starts raining and they take shelter in a bus stop. Hotaru then shares her Sakumashiki Drops. Its tin can packaging makes it ideal for any situations but it is just hard opening the lid. She is surprised when Kokonotsu uses a coin to open. Didn’t know that, did you? Yeah, she had always been using her will. He picks up a peppermint flavour he doesn’t like and tries to put it back but she doesn’t allow it because it is against the law. What f*cking law?! He has to eat it since her boobs are too close to his arms. Not bad the taste, right? Kokonotsu then mentions about that train station talk where she would wait for his decision. He feels guilty his deferring is stopping her from becoming a top candy manufacturer. She rubbishes that thought because that isn’t a dream. It is her reality. Besides, she can go on a candy spree anytime and even right now. Despite her goal coming to his place every day to convince him, the most important thing is because she enjoys it. The rain stops and they make their way back.

Sweet Romance
Well, that’s all folks. If you expected some sort of dramatic storyline or even a freaking twist, you would be disappointed. But I think those who would be even more disappointed are those who were hoping that their favourite childhood candies would pop up but didn’t make the cut. Uh huh. There is only so much a dozen of episodes can introduce even at most 4 types of candy manufacturers per episode compared to hundreds and maybe thousands of other obscure ones. Basically the entire ‘plot’ of this series is just to introduce some candies and their history. No violence, no sex. Geez, are they trying to change the age old trick of sex sells? Not unless you count sexual innuendoes…

Although there are a handful of pop culture references especially from the anime (Saint Seiya, Fist Of The North Star, K-ON!, etc), the true trivia stars are the candies themselves. Since I am not very familiar with the candies in Japan, there are none that I recognize. It is very obvious. I don’t live in Japan and many of the candies and sweets are produced for local consumption. Though there are some big sweets manufacturers and some of their products are exported worldwide, but for myself as a kid I wasn’t that exposed to the various candies and even my local ones. So it is with mixed feelings that as I watched the series, it felt sad that I never knew them and probably will never ever get to taste them but I’m glad that by watching them being introduced in this anime gave me that sensation of wanting to try it out. You know, like how I want to eat all those delicious foods in food themed animes. For those who have been fascinated by this series and not a native of Japan, this series might have given you the extra enthusiasm to go check out your own local candies. I’m sure you will find a lot of wonders there too.

I later found out that the term dagashi in this case does not accurately refer to candies as I have referenced it in this blog. While it is not entirely wrong either but it is not exact so to speak. To put it simply, dagashi are cheap and filling snacks and usually popular with children. Therefore not all dagashi consists of candy and certainly not all candies can be classified as dagashi. But I’ll continue to use the candy term for consistency in my blog. Yeah, it will be a pain to change my entire blog for a word although there is technology to easily do so…

Truthfully, this entire series could have been one boring affair and a big advertising promotion campaign to promote Japanese candies had it not been for just one amusing character. Yes, that is right. Hotaru. Right from the start, you can tell that she is going to be an oddball character. An eccentric character. Somebody strange enough that attracts your attention. Therefore instead of telling us the boring grandfather-long stories of the candy’s history and its features, we have Hotaru in her unconventional ways telling us all about it. Be it in some silly exaggerated fantasy or some competition showdown. It is never a disappointment to see what kind of things she will do. The only ‘sad’ thing about her is that she is bad at gambling and is still on a long losing streak that will continue to last forever.

Sometimes she is so confident in what she says, even though you know it is a whole load of crap, you can’t help believe what she says. Quite the smooth talker, eh? But Kokonotsu won’t be easily swayed… Of course she has her faults and not entirely perfect but she isn’t all air without any substance. Her knowledge of the world of candies is quite astonishing and I believe she only revealed bits of them here (due to time constraints and we viewers might not want to be bored with prolonged introductions of the candies which will then look like desperate promotional attempts). As Hotaru is such a confident girl, she lacks the self-awareness that would have many other girls feel embarrassed. That’s right. I’m talking about sexual subtexts and ambiguity here. This particular personality of hers is one reason why we guys watch this show. The motivation to do so. Probably she is divulging in the sweet fantasy of her candies that makes her unaware of the sexual innuendoes she is making sometimes. Or maybe she is that innocent and the word porn does not exist in her dictionary. It is all part of the series’ fanservice. Double treat for horny guys who have a sweet tooth. Am I not right? Imagine the impact of it all if her character has small boobs or as flat as a washboard like Saya. Oops! Sorry, Saya…

Other characters are interesting too but they pale in comparison to Hotaru. Like You who could be Hotaru’s partner in crime in whatever shenanigans to annoy Kokonotsu. I guess life of attending a candy store all day long must be so boring that trying to sneak read his son’s manga provides some cheap thrill in his life. That and eating the store’s candy stock. Hey, if nobody is going to buy them, let’s not let it go to waste, right? Kokonotsu might aspire to be a manga artist but he knows his sweet stuffs well enough so as not for Hotaru to pull the rug under him. Then there is Saya whose only existence is to provide the trope as Kokonotsu’s childhood friend and an unrequited crush. And also to balance out the boobs factor… Haha! Aside that, her only other trait is her natural knack and talent in mastering all sorts of games the first time she plays them. Japan should send this girl to the Olympics and she’ll definitely bring back the gold medal. Unless she is only a pro at children’s games… Finally there is Tou whose character is supposed to be so cool that he wears sunglasses on all occasions even if it is night time. He is supposed to be the joker of the series (like being beaten up by Saya at times) but he has his own merits like dispensing good advice and being truthful.

Trying to add more spice and drama to the otherwise would-be drab series other than Hotaru’s colourful personality is the side distraction of romance. We all know it is not going to happen and yet we still hope for it. Me in particular. It might be a good thing it did not happen because you wouldn’t want some cheesy teenage romance to over shadow the great candies that have been around for ages, right? That is why it goes without saying that Saya will forever never have her love returned as long as Kokonotsu is being a dense guy. On second thought, he might have and is just playing poker face as he thinks Saya might not see him that way whatsoever. And sometimes I think Kokonotsu might be interested in Hotaru and there are a few scanty hints about that but that is just when his thoughts get a little perverted about her. And Hotaru? Her first love will always be candies! No doubts about that! For all you know, she might even marry a candy mascot character in the future. They tried trolling us with a few seemingly romantic hints pertaining to Hotaru but eventually it all boils down to her ambiguous actions that will always be something related to candies.

One minor thing that keeps bugging me in the series is how this town feels like a zombie apocalypse! I know that it is a rural town so it is expected that there would not be many people around. However if you noticed for a very big part of every episode it is like the entire town would just consist of the kids and You. Where the heck is everybody else? Apart from a few people entering the candy shop on and off and maybe some old citizens passing by once in a while, therefore at other times it seems like the entire town belongs to our protagonists! Therefore the festival scene was the only scene whereby it was crowded indeed. It’s like the people were hiding in their houses, only coming out to entertain themselves at the festival and then go back to their eternal summer slumber.

While the art and drawing of the series is relatively standard and simple, I believe that lots of emphasis in this area is given to the candies. It would be a waste and redundant for a series that wants to introduce to viewers about the wonderful Japanese candies and they skimp on this visual area. Because I am very sure that with countless of such candies, visual attraction is important and thus you can see lots of colourful and even amusing art on the wrapper to attract customers to buy them. Furthermore, I think that in the case if the candies are parodied instead of in its original form for copyright reasons (heh, you want to know how many times Google, Starbucks and Window brand names have been intentionally misspelled in animes?), which I think isn’t logical, how would you think viewers who would want to buy that candy for real suddenly cannot find it in real life? I mean, as seen on TV, right? Hence I trust that all the candies featured and given the limelight are a true reflection of their real life counterparts.

And still on the topic of art and drawing, the only character design that stands out the most is of course Hotaru herself. Otherwise with everybody else looking so bland and in a boring sleepy rural town in the midst of the hot summer, the candies will be all that we have to feast our eyes on. That is why coupled in with her eccentric behaviour, her seemingly gothic style dress in such a weather makes her stand out the most. Not to mention her enormous boobs! Seriously guys, would you not be more attentive and listen to Hotaru’s shenanigans had she not been this busty? Another eye candy to feast on! Oh yeah!

Ayana Taketatsu has been quite impressive voicing Hotaru. Although she sounds like many of your typical lively Ayana Taketatsu anime characters such as Momoko from Momokyun Sword, Kirino from OreImo and Mio in MM!, this one takes the cake because she really sounds like she is having fun playing Hotaru. Her voice fits seamlessly into her character that it brings out the best (and perhaps worst) in Hotaru’s eccentric character. In short, she did quite a good job and it was quite fun to hear her play this character in various moods. Keiji Fujiwara is also recognizable as his low soothing voice makes him perfect to play cool older men or father-like figures. So as You here, he fits right in. The rest of the small casts include Atsushi Abe as Kokonotsu (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Manami Numakura as Saya (Narbarel in Overlord) and Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Tou (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Checkmate by Michi. Most notably its very funky, jazzy and boogie woogie tune and style which reminds you of something similar like Kekkai Sensen’s ending theme. The opening credits animation itself is amusing because it parodies some of Hollywood’s movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The ending theme is Hey! Calorie Queen by Ayana Taketatsu, a title that is an apt reminder when you are watching this show and binging lots of snacks while at it, sounds like your typical cute idol music. The ending credits animation is amusing as well. After a couple of episodes with boring animation (which ironically lacks any of it) of Kokonotsu watching TV with clips of scenes from that episode, it changes to one with Alice In Wonderland theme. Who wouldn’t want to miss out on Mad Hatter’s tea party, right?

Overall, to say that this is a sweet series depends very much on your taste for sweet things. If you are the kind who prefers bitter, sour or salty stuffs, well, this series might leave a bitter or sour or even salty after taste in your mouth. Only people with sweet tooth will appreciate this series. Like me. Even though it is sad that I have been cutting down on my chocolate and other sweet dessert intakes for years. Blame the price hike and being poor. So I am relegated to just watching the candies being paraded on the store shelves till I have had my fill of salivating and fantasizing myself eating them. That isn’t entirely bad anyway. Because staying clear of sweets help me to be healthy, right? But then again, eating candies will still always be good for you. What do you mean candies are not good for you in anyway? I’m talking it is good for your soul. Always remember, STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards!

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