Marshmallows. When you think of them you think of how much they are as snacks during camping times. Yeah, those fluffy sweet little softness that melts in your mouth if you roast them over a fire. And yes, who could forget marshmallows going well in your hot cup of cocoa. Mmm… Yeah, who can hate marshmallows. We all love marshmallows one way or the other. So what if we use marshmallows as a theme for love? What’s that you say? I doubt there had been any films or series using marshmallows (no, Ghostbusters doesn’t count) as part of the romance theme so it was pretty strange when I first came across Ojisan To Marshmallow. Literally, a middle aged man and his unwavering love for marshmallows. No food porn here. Seeing this is a romance genre and that there is a woman who has a crush on him, which sort of romance will win his heart?
Iori Wakabayashi offers fellow colleague, Habahiro Hige his favourite marshmallows. He hesitates if he should have one. So when she closes the offer, he becomes desperate to get one. Each time Hige tries to snatch one, Wakabayashi evades like a Chinese kung fu acrobat. It came to a point where their faces are almost touching each other’s. He backs out but Wakabayashi continues to tease him with the marshmallow. This time she puts it in her mouth and dares him to take it from there. He tries to snatch it with his hands and thus begins another kung fu acrobat. The other colleagues have watched this for the umpteenth time as they tell us how much Wakabayashi likes Hige. At the convenience store, Hige wants to get his marshmallows but they are all sold out. Who the heck would buy them all? Aha… Wakabayashi! She even has the cheek to tell him she can’t eat them all by herself and to come to her place to help finish them. Why not just put some back? She buys them anyway so Hige begs he will pay any price for just a bag. She gives him one free with a condition: Give her a baby! Hige didn’t get her point so he returns the favour by buying a baby sardine sashimi. I guess Wakabayashi is okay with that too.
One rainy morning, Hige and Wakabayashi get caught up in it and took shelter at a bus stop. Another perfect chance for Wakabayashi to tease Hige as she takes out a packet of marshmallows. Hige calls the office to tell about their situation. Wakabayashi is heard in the background making cheeky statements if he wants to lick it, suck it or bite it! The marshmallow! Then she goes into full mode in making ambiguous sexual sounds!!! The boss must sure have a wrong idea about them. After Hige ends the call, Wakabayashi takes out an umbrella from her bag. Shall we get going? Devil woman! But Hige thinks she might have forgotten she had an umbrella in her bag. It is as good as Hige walking in the rain because I don’t think that small umbrella could shield half his body.
On a train ride to work, Wakabayashi once again offers him marshmallows. He would love to have one had not he been too conscious that everyone is looking at them. He thinks it is inappropriate to eat here. Wakabayashi points out it is because this is a women only coach! As they try to hurry to the next coach, a short bump has them stuck between the coach corridor. Wakabayashi has her face pressed against his chest. She tries to feed him a marshmallow but you wonder if she is just purposely messing with his face since she can’t see. Hige can’t understand what she meant when she says it is getting too intense. Flashback reveals she folded her blanket thickly and sank her face in it to feel what it is like to bury her face in Hige’s chest. Then her brother, Isamu came in and saw this embarrassing WTF moment.
A marshmallow factory tour for the kids. Therefore the tour guide is surprised to see Hige part of the group. Could he be one of their parents? At the end of the tour, the kids get to savour the free marshmallows fresh from production. I guess this is also the moment Hige has been waiting for. So good that he cries! He even notes the different colour packaging despite the same contents. When everybody leaves, the tour guide talks to her colleague about this strange man. She points out he is a fairy. Because he always bows to the factory whenever he leaves like as though he worships it like God. It is no surprise since he treasures marshmallows. He may seem odd but they are appreciative of him.
Wakabayashi is out drinking with her female colleagues. She is disappointed because Hige is not here. Of course! I guess she is having some Hige withdrawal symptoms that when she sees beer foam over her colleague’s mouth, she starts seeing her as Hige! Wakabayashi returns to office since she sees the lights on only to find Hige doing overtime. She asks if he wants marshmallows (of course, you silly) so she starts undressing herself! These boobs are her marshmallows that she has been growing for 24 years?! Definitely drunk. As she rests beside him, she starts punching his fat belly. She thought it was a dream but when she realizes it is real, she bolts out of the room instantly.
Isamu thinks his sister who likes hot men is being deceived by Hige. So he is going to prove this fat moustache pig is an animal by hosting a BBQ party for her colleagues. Then he dresses up as a woman and tries to seduce Hige while blaming he tried to rape him. Unfortunately Hige recognizes Isamu. His voice gave it away. Even more disturbing how the female colleagues think Isamu is into guys! Isamu tries to deflect the blame at Hige that he was happy when he touched his ‘boobs’. Wakabayashi then reveals Isamu’s fake boobs as marshmallows… No wonder… Sister is mad at him so Isamu complains to the chief about his good intentions. But the chief thinks the duo are an item because of the ‘sucking’ and ‘licking’. I think the shock got to Isamu. He apologizes to Hige and starts calling him big brother. So he has accepted Hige? Wakabayashi approves of this and Isamu thought of hugging her. She dodges and ends up kissing Hige!!!!!!!! OMFG!!! First kiss tastes like marshmallow… Sis is going to kill him…
Mioko is being molested on a train. The molester thinks her butt is as fluffy as a marshmallow! Hige accidentally drops his marshmallow and when he tries to get it, he trips and falls over the molester. Mioko thinks he saved him. She recognizes him as his colleague. She tries to talk to him and because he smiles, she thinks she has a chance. Mioko acts as a clumsy girl spilling water all over his shirt. But Wakabayashi takes a picture of this scandal? Mioko then offers lots of marshmallow flavours in hopes of luring him with her hidden cleavage. However Hige gets up and walks away. Subsequent attempts to talk to him, Hige does the same thing. Then she finds out it is Wakabayashi fanning the smell of marshmallows to lure him away. Then they realize they are his love rivals. Things are going to get heated up over this fat guy. Yeah, it’s so hot that it is like hell!
Hige is in shock. Because his favourite marshmallow brand will be stopping production! Horror! Luckily Wakabayashi has stocked up on some so if he wants some, come to her place tomorrow. Definitely! You bet there is a plan hatching right now. So Wakabayashi gives money to Isamu to eat out and get a hard-to-get plushie. Seems Hige is at the doorstep 30 minutes early and Isamu easily won the prize and rushed home. The guys meet outside as Isamu learns his purpose here. Because Wakabayashi is busy cooking her exquisite dinner, she didn’t realize she had given Isamu ‘permission’ to take the marshmallows to give to Hige. Imagine to her shock when she realizes what happened. Isamu is going to die 5 times! Not even Hige’s thanks text could stop her. Hige visits the factory to ask why they are stopping production. It is because they are going to make a new packaging with the same taste but 1.5 times more volume. Music to his hears, tears to his eyes. A happy day indeed.
Isamu sees Hige with Mioko and thinks he is cheating his sister. But when he finds out Hige isn’t dating Wakabayashi and is glad she is still pure, Mioko makes friends with him so she could get some juicy stuffs out of his sister and even plays psychology to convince him to break up Hige and Wakabayashi. Mioko talks to Wakabayashi about being normal. It sends Wakabayashi panicking. It seems as told by Isamu, normalcy is a taboo word for her. Isamu talks to his sister about many fish in the sea. But he gave himself away when Wakabayashi realizes he knows about Mioko. When Mioko is tasked to design a character for an amusement park, Mioko wants to take Hige along. Wakabayashi wants to come along too and this time she has came prepared wearing ear plugs. She has done her homework too and knows Mioko’s weakness is her age. Despite listing as 25, she is actually 30 years old! Mioko has no choice but to take Wakabayashi along with them.
At the park, Mioko tricks Wakabayashi that she needs to go to the toilet so that she will go with her. Halfway, she changes her mind and returns to Hige. Mioko tries to ride in the Ferris Wheel with him but Hige seems to be lured away in what Mioko thinks is that marshmallow fragrance trick. Apparently Wakabayashi is waiting at the marshmallow stall. Seeing how they both click, heartbroken realizes she never stood a chance from the start. She tells Wakabayashi that she is giving up on him. But suddenly a change of heart? Because Mioko confesses she loves Hige and wants to go out with him. Hige rejects her. Because isn’t she the president’s girlfriend? Holy sh*t! She admits it but also loves him. Can’t she have both? She is sent crying after Wakabayashi calls her a whore! Well, isn’t it? Hige suggests to Wakabayashi a place they can go together since they are here. The marshmallow stall. But of course. When a woman and her daughter recognize Hige and the little one starts calling him her papa, the greatest shock ever! While Hige reunites with them, Wakabayashi quietly slips away.
Hotspring episode! Mioko tries to fondle and grope Wakabayashi’s boobs. Pervy men love listening to such sounds… Is Hige trying to hold it in? He looks bloated like a marshmallow this way… The marshmallow factory employees had an accident with a marshmallow experiment. One of the marshmallows gets stuck in between Mioko’s cleavage. Hige can’t understand why Mioko smells like marshmallow and she realizes the marshmallow in her cleavage is what he is reacting to. She uses it to lure him away and cajoles Isamu to be with his lonely sister. So when Wakabayashi tries to go after them, her stupid brother clings on to her. Once she gets rid of him, she already lost them. She bumps into the factory employees. Describing Hige, they know he is that fairy. Yeah, Wakabayashi painting Mioko as an evil seductress taking the fairy away. They form an alliance to rescue him.
The factory girls plan to use marshmallow scented flares to attract Hige but seeing they are marshmallow maniacs too, they fall victim to it. At least it proves to be effective because Hige comes rushing towards Wakabayashi. All in good timing too because Mioko was about to get sexy and showing her tits!!! And she thought he was scared away by those J-cup monsters!!! Hige and Wakabayashi talk. She is still reeling from the fact he is married. However he clarifies they are his sister and niece. As for why the niece calls him papa, she mixed up his first name. Wow. You don’t know how relieved Wakabayashi feels. Then she takes this chance to sum up her courage and ask him to go out with her. Surprised, Hige thinks she is drunk and she has no choice but to play along. Hige then mentions he has always thought Wakabayashi hated him because she always picked on him using his favourite marshmallows. Seriously? This guy didn’t get the hint all along… One day, Wakabayashi just hands over a packet of marshmallows to him. Surprisingly Hige wonders if she isn’t going to feed him like before. Very much obliged.
Episode 13 (OVA)
Hige has a dream he turned into a baby. Fancy seeing Hige without his moustache?! If that isn’t bad enough, here is Wakabayashi as a teenager smothering baby Hige in her boobs! Although Hige’s thoughts are of a middle aged man, he cannot control his baby emotions since he starts crying and such. So what is Wakabayashi to do? Bare her tits and let him suck! Hige cannot resist and gives in to his primal instincts. Tastes good, Hige? Feels good, Wakabayashi? Apparently she too is having this same dream and finds it great. In office, Hige panics when she is near him and keeps his distance. The reason why the duo is having the same dream is thanks to those factory girls successfully creating an experimental marshmallow that allows people to have the same dream. How is that f*cking possible? Unless they eat from the same marshmallow, right?
The Marshmallow Man
Well… This series didn’t make me feel like I want to crave for marshmallows… Hah. I know it is unfair to say that since this isn’t a cooking genre in the first place. But can marshmallows be considered as sweets or candies? Because if it is so, that would be right up my alley. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I didn’t start fascinating over marshmallows because I figure if I turned into a marshmallow maniac and addict like a certain chubby guy, it is hard to find such ‘delicacies’ from where I come from anyway. Oh wait. I shouldn’t be talking about marshmallows but the series. Heh…
This series had its funny moments albeit they are sufficient if you are looking for some sort of office romance and a little marshmallow taste in the mix. However you’d soon realize that the entire series just revolves around Wakabayashi and her futile attempts to get that dense Hige to realize that she has a crush on him. That is what mostly the entire series is about. A one-sided (marshmallow) love romance. Add in another love rival to make her sweat a little and a little more when it is shown that Hige might be a married man. But eventually it becomes a bit too predictable and status quo in the end. Not that it is a bad thing but it doesn’t have anything else special to make me remember this series in the long run.
Marshmallows are supposed to be the stars of the series but somehow I just felt that they were just ‘tools’. Partly I am to blame for having this sort of expectation. Besides, I know nothing about marshmallows so I am not sure if the marshmallows featured here are real or parodies. Too lazy to even do my research because this series is so short, why bother? Yeah… And since I am not really a marshmallow fan, seeing those delicious marshmallows didn’t really quite make me salivate like how other cooking themed anime shows do with their exaggerated effects and make everything so good that you want to chomp your monitor. Nope. No such effect here. Maybe that is why they managed to keep things simple and enjoyable in its own way.
Character wise, they aren’t too deep. You know as much about them as much as it is shown. Like Wakabayashi and her futile attempts to seduce Hige always backfires. Using marshmallows are like a double edged sword. They do attract Hige’s attention but that is just what it exactly does. His attention is always on the marshmallows and he cannot see beyond the deeper stuff than that. And when Wakabayashi gets a bit bolder, he brushes it off that she is drunk or something. I know it is frustrating but she doesn’t give up. Maybe she could have had more success if she put on a smile instead of that scary poker face? A thought to ponder. If Wakabayashi sometimes teases Hige via sexual innuendoes, can that be considered sexual harassment? Swap genders and roles and we’ll definitely see a clear violation…
Hige on the other hand I suppose is the image of what a marshmallow if it takes a human form. Fat and fluffy. At least his belly. I don’t want to go as far as to say that Hige is a dense and retard because I think he is just a decent man who is more in love with marshmallows than women. After all, marshmallows give you happiness when they fill your stomach and never betray you, right? RIGHT?! OH YEAH! Ahem… It is just that Hige is being considerate and views Wakabayashi as his colleague. I mean, workplace romance isn’t uncommon but I’m sure most of us would love to avoid it seeing how awkward it gets and affects productivity. But his politeness and consideration sometimes seem too suspicious because I get this feeling he is just putting up a show and like Wakabayashi using her teasing to get his attention, his density is just a façade to mask his feelings for Wakabayashi. I mean, for somebody who always teases him using his favourite marshmallows, if he doesn’t like her, wouldn’t he just blow his top for her to stop one day? Didn’t happen. So despite what happened throughout the series, I am just keeping my options and mind open that Hige may harbour hidden feelings for Wakabayashi from the way he (suspiciously) interacts with her. That will be the twist of the series if that ever happens.
Mioko brings in the additional ‘tension’ as she is sexier and bolder. Love is truly blind because when you have girls fighting over a fat guy, it could only happen in anime. Because I believe Hige himself isn’t loaded. Yeah… Anyway, Mioko feels like a ‘time bomb’ in the sense that if pushes Wakabayashi to act to secure her Hige because if she doesn’t, she might get Hige all to herself. Although, even if we all know Mioko has a boyfriend and Hige rejected her, that still didn’t stop her from continuing to pursue the marshmallow maniac. And Isamu… The idiot of the series and big siscon.
An interesting end segment has our marshmallow factory girls hosting this short part in live action. I find it odd that the taller girl is portrayed as a chubby character in the anime although the bespectacled one is the same. Not that kawaii… Anyway, what is interesting is that they show us how to make a few marshmallow recipes. The unfortunate part of it is how short it lasts. I know it is just for fun but I don’t think a handful of seconds is going to cut it. Then I start to notice that each segment is getting shorter and shorter. Like as though it has become a challenge for the girls to conclude their show within the allotted time, in which they always do. But it feels rushed. As it gets shorter and shorter with each passing episode, then it just ‘vanishes’. No more marshmallow recipes? Yeah, who could make something in 1 second? Then it took a few episodes break before coming back but this time they have somebody test tasting and eating marshmallows within a short window. I hope he doesn’t choke…
Voice acting sounds okay. Those familiar to me are Eri Kitamura as Wakabayashi, Tetsuya Kakihara as Isamu and Kana Hanazawa as Mioko. Tetsu Inada is the voice of Hige (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill). For a short series, there seems to be many ending themes and most of them lasting only for a single episode. Unfortunately they sound pretty much similar to each other and none that I find attractive. Whether it is Eri Kitamura singing Message or Labyrinth, Kana Hanazawa doing Ano Toki Mita Tori Wa Ima or Watashi Wa Idol Degasu, Yell by Kaori Taguchi and Machida, Genki Tadousha Uta by Shusei and Marshmallow Factory by Chika Yoshitomi and Nozomi Furuki. The ending credits animation seems to be either of Wakabayashi or Mioko in various cosplay outfits. Are they trying to divert the attention from the marshmallows?
Art and drawing feels average. Nothing special too. Done by Creators In Pack who specializes in other short anime series like Danchigai, Hacka Doll The Animation and Military. Characters look pretty average too with your usual fanservice brought to you from Mioko’s gigantic boobs and Wakabayashi’s sexual harassment innuendos. Hmm… Is it me or does Hige have this uncanny resemblance to Kevin James’ Mall Cop character, Paul Blart? Oh sh*t ! They look freaking similar!!!! I smell a conspiracy…
Oh, I just remembered. The only other marshmallow I saw in movies is that giant marshmallow monster in the original Ghostbusters. Maybe that is why I wasn’t really fond of marshmallows despite that ghostly character looks more cute than scary. Uh huh. And now come to think of it, I once mistake the Michelin Man mascot as the Marshmallow Man’s cousin or something. Looking somewhat similar. I know how different they look now… But still…
Overall, this short series isn’t bad but it just lacks anything special. But just like the marshmallow itself, it is fun and nice to have it in bite size so I suppose this series is rather okay. Fans of marshmallows should enjoy it better, though. Food for thought: Better to have marshmallows in your stomach than one as the shape of your stomach. Heh. Crappy marshmallow philosophy there. Speaking of the fluffiness of marshmallows, I kinda realized my stomach is turning into that similar shape like Hige. But why no girls still trying to attract my attention? I don’t think marshmallows have got anything to do with it. Maybe I lack that bushy moustache…