Go! Go! 575

April 11, 2014

I’m not really into those Japanese poems called tanka or haiku. The kind that has 3 lines and each line is exactly 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively. So I’m not pretty excited when I heard that Go! Go! 575 was a short anime released in conjunction with the release of a video game based on this concept. I don’t know how fun that would be unless you can string any silly and crazy words to form such poems. Just think of it as a rhythm game blending in a word building game. And thus probably my misunderstanding and judging the book by its cover led me to watch this series. I thought it would be something like Speed Racer… You know… Mach! Go! Go! Uh huh. See the near similarity? Oh, not to mention cute girls on the promotion poster. Uh huh. Only 4 freaking episodes lasting 3 minutes each. Oh yeah. I’ve wasted my time in a lot of things (mainly in watching animes) so what is a dozen more episodes going to make a difference? Yeah. I can add to the list of “One more non-mainstream anime that I have watched”. Huzzah!

Episode 1
Azuki Masaoka ‘complains’ to Maccha Kobayashi that she wants to go wild. So? What’s stopping her? Azuki thinks and thinks and thinks… Then she gets scared and hides behind her friend because she somehow attracted a kite (a type of bird of prey). While Maccha advises her about dressing so flashy and the possibility it attracted a kite, she notices Maccha passionately starring at the hotcakes poster. Turns out, she was enthralled with the 5-7-5 lines of the poster. Just 17 words used to express them. You mean, she wasn’t interested in the sweets like most girls would? And she used the entire night to think about it? Azuki wants Maccha to join her in doing 5-75 and she agrees. When they go home, it’s raining. Since Azuki forgot her umbrella, they tussle for the little space. Till the lorry splashes the puddle all over them. At least it gives them an excuse to take a hot bath. And Azuki to come up with a 5-7-5 poem.

Episode 2
Azuki wants Maccha to come along with her to the park since there will be crepes. However Maccha is reluctant and views the pond as gateway to hell. However Azuki convinces her that they will also be there to look for 5-7-5 ideas. As Azuki goes off to get the crepe, Maccha sits on the bench and notices a cat. She tries to follow it and prevent it from going to the ‘gateway of hell’. When Azuki returns (she remembers the crepe truck will only be here tomorrow – seriously, how did she screw that one up?), she sees Maccha falling into the pond. Trying to prevent the cat from falling in and she herself got done in? Don’t worry about the cat. It’s fine by itself. Because the sound of the kite scared Azuki, she too falls into it. Another excuse to soak in hot water and this time, Maccha is the one who accidentally comes up with a 5-7-5 line. She is not amused… As they leave, a bespectacled girl, Yuzu Yosano watches them from afar. With heavy breathing…

Episode 3
While Azuki is just being a pain in the ass to Maccha, Yuzu drops by to show them a note she wrote in 5-7-5 format. Because they always seem to have fun together, she thought about joining them. Why not? The more the merrier. As they talk, when Azuki asks for Maccha’s permission to stay at her place tonight, suddenly Yuzu goes into her fantasy mode. Yuri delusions of the duo. Yeah. She really loves it. When she is snapped out of it, she wonders if it is the time to go take a bath. For the hell of it, the trio get into the bath together despite not understanding what all this is about. Again, Yuzu’s yuri fantasies activate upon hearing that they should wash each other’s back. I’m amazed that after all that fantasizing, she hasn’t even had any nose bleed. After that, Yuzu thanks them for hanging out with her. But then she asks if they are going to help each other change. WTF.

Episode 4
Yuzu records the duo dancing and reciting to their 5-7-5 lines. She wants to upload it on the web. Not to mention their yuri interactions… Later the girls discuss dance steps as inspiration. Then Yuzu lets them hear a song her friend wrote after she saw that video. It matches perfectly. Azuki is so happy that she gets yuri with Yuzu. Now it’s her turn to get yuri raped. Maccha is too engrossed listening to the song instead of saving her. I guess she’s the kind who loves to watch others and not do it herself. The duo then record a video complete with that song. Yuzu can upload it right away but Maccha seems embarrassed. Because the sound of the kite once again gives Azuki the creeps, she accidentally throws the laptop in the air. Although Maccha catches it, she realized she just pressed the “Enter” key. While waiting for the bus, Azuki wonders what they should film next. Yuzu suggests in the bathhouse. The duo don’t think so. Hey. Where’s my bating fanservice scene?

Say What Again?
As said, as someone who isn’t familiar with the traditional Japanese poems, I don’t think this anime will retain my interest even in the event if this show really did become a proper full-fledge anime in the future. This anime serves as a teaser to the game but from the way I see it, the characters do not say those 5-7-5 lines often enough despite the 3 minute limit. Just once per episode. How is that going to get new players to play the game? I mean, this is what this anime is also for, right? To get new people to learn about tanka and haiku. Veterans who have been enjoying those beautiful poems do not need to be lured in by such gimmick. And worse of all, the episodes are so short that you can hardly wonder if there is any storyline. None. Heck, might as well put in some random characters saying random 5-7-5 lines and you can call it an episode. Therefore, lots of us might be thinking what the heck are these girls in this show for anyway?

The opening theme Kotoba Colorful by Utayome 575 could have been the saving grace although it sounds like your typical anime pop. It might not be the best ever or one that would stick in my head for days, but I thought it sounded rather okay. The only gripe is that it somewhat ends ‘abruptly’. It’s like the producers found out that it had only 30 seconds for the opening gig and all of a sudden while you’re enjoying the song, come the 30th second, the song ‘suddenly ends’. Oddly too, I thought the song would be in 5-7-5 syllables but I guess the lyrics and the notes just don’t seem to fit. Unless I’m separating the sentences wrongly… Yeah, how is that for starters to get us to like tanka and haiku if the opening song isn’t even in such a way to amuse us.

If the so called cheap fanservice of bathhouse shots and delusional yuri fantasies were supposed to be some sort of motivation for us to try the game, I think it won’t work. If the game itself has fanservice like this and therefore the fanservice in this anime serves as what you should expect in the game itself, then I think it defeats the purpose of having a game like this. Indeed it feels something when you need to resort to fanservice just to draw the crowd. Hopefully it won’t be like that. Because either way I’m not going to buy the game and play.

After watching this show, I’ve come up one 5-7-5 poem just to simply express what I think of this anime in a nutshell:

What the hell is this,
I don’t understand a thing,
Ah crap, forget it.

Now excuse me while I head to the toilet to take a dump.