Urawa No Usagi-chan

September 25, 2015

What is the best way to promote a local place? Well, one way is to turn it into anime! No kidding. You see, Urawa No Usagi-chan as I read from its synopsis is an original anime whose goal is to promote the city of Urawa in Saitama. Yeah, I guess not many of us know about this place seeing cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and even Okinawa always hog the limelight. So what better way than to advertise the specialties of your place via a short anime series that only lasts 3.5 seconds per episode. I wonder if that is enough to cover everything.

Episode 1
Usagi Takasago has all the reason to be happy and lively. Besides being born and bred in this Urawa town, Today is the first day of her middle high school debut. She tells us she got her name from a rabbit of a nearby shrine. She meets her friends Minami Ooyaba and Tokiwa Kamikizaki who tease her for going off daydreaming in her fantasy world again. Yeah well, she claims she was getting to the good part when they interrupted. They really want to know what she was daydreaming but they better get moving or they’ll be late for school. Usagi hopes today will be another good day like always.

Episode 2
Minami ‘complains’ to Usagi that Tokiwa seems scarier ever since they’ve started school. Like how she is always putting up that scary face and yelling at her. Like as though she is some sort of ogre. Don’t look now but there is Tokiwa just listening to what you said! Yeah, she looks scary alright. Minami tries to shift the blame to Kojika Besshou but Tokiwa doesn’t believe her lie and beats her up. Tokiwa is doing some paperwork for the student council and she has this scary face when she mentions about seeing a certain person in there. Later Usagi and Minami plan on joining the railway club even though they have no idea what it is all about.

Episode 3
The railway club president, Midori Saidou is enjoying her tea. Yeah, she has no idea about the other members. Usagi and co drop by and Usagi is taken in with the buns she has. Tastes good. Tokiwa declines the offer so Minami takes her share and teases her that she should just be honest if she wants one. Or is she on a diet? This earns her a whack on the head. When they ask Midori how many members are there in this club, she didn’t say a thing. So Usagi counts four members before quickly correcting herself to five. Yeah, she almost missed out Sakura Tajima who is now in traumatic mode that she was initially missed out. Usagi watches Sakura eat the bun just to hear her reaction. Well, nothing like in the commercials like she thought it would be.

Episode 4
The student council meeting is about to start but the president, Saiko Numakage is missing. Tokiwa makes a sarcastic remark that this is for the best because even if she is here, the meeting will not go anywhere. Suddenly Saiko pops up and her long ranting feels like an excuse to hide the reason why she is late. Because Saiko and Tokiwa hate each other’s guts, Saiko is planning to take down the railway club. Despite the club reports are normal, just a tiny ‘suspicious’ item has Saiko believing they are hiding something and must be punished! But when she heads to the club, nobody is around and only Sakura is there dozing off. Could they have fled? Ah well, next time maybe. When Sakura wakes up from her slumber, she wonders where everybody had gone to.

Episode 5
Minami asks a question if they could eat one thing for the rest of their life, what would it be? Usagi’s answer is daily lunch and Minami thinks it is a good answer. While they are discussing about the 40 freaking calls from Saiko for eating cake after school, they notice a loli sitting with them. Misono Mumuro is from the public morals committee and was just on her way to the faculty. Midori points the way there and she knows this classmate of hers very well. She is very bad with directions. Later she bumps into Saiko who sounds insulting when she says she isn’t lost today. Misono is confident she can get to the faculty by herself and doesn’t need her help. Well, no need to worry since it’s just a straight forward line there. Who knows, she ends up getting lost! I’m not sure which part of the school, Japan or even the world she is in right now! Poor Misono. Looks like it is never your destiny to get there.

Episode 6
Saiko and Kojika talk about ramen and instant ramen. There is a difference between them, you know. Then there is a new product that is all the rage now called Saitama Ninja Ramen that Kojika bought this morning. The great smell of this new ramen attracted Usagi here. When she notices the same stuffed doll rabbit where she got her key holder, Kojika is delighted that she has a fellow comrade. Saiko dreads this but Usagi has always thought Saiko and Kojika are similar to each other. Both which vehemently deny this. Usagi and Saiko then talk about some samurai period game (eel vs bonsai?) and they really click well.

Episode 7
The girls talk about their club advisor, Shibiraki who is away for a marriage interview. Seriously, Minami needs to get her act together because she never knew this club even had an advisor. The girls discuss Shibiraki may have this notorious reputation for attending lots of marriage interviews. Yeah, around 30 times! Minami makes a joke out of it and suddenly Midori receives mail from Shibiraki telling Minami to watch out! She knows… The girls then imitate a marriage interview session but Minami had to go tease Tokiwa about her flab. You can imagine how she ended up in the dumpster. When Shibiraki texts again that she will be coming back early and thus no souvenirs, the girls figure yet another marriage interview failure. Life is tough…

Episode 8
Usagi and Tokiwa are paired up in a quiz game show. Hell, if they don’t know the answer to that, would I even? It all began when on one rainy day, Saiko barges into the railway club to challenge them to a quiz contest hosted by the student council. Tokiwa has got a bad feeling about this and true enough, Saiko lavishly spend on the props and even getting a proper host for this quiz. But after Usagi and Tokiwa see the prize at stake, they vow they cannot lose this game at any cost.

Episode 9
Both teams are now tied and the next question is about the hobby of some guy who owns a tsukune-yaki shop. WTF?! Who in the world could guess he likes surfing???!!! The next question is something this similar but Minami screws up and Kojika guesses correctly to win it for the student council team. The loser will have a wash basin drop on their head but the host presses the wrong button and one fell on Saiko’s head. After that she got scolded and reprimanded by the principal. You reap what you sew…

Episode 10
Usagi is going into breakdown mode… She cannot handle the maths questions anymore! Oh great. She exploded. Damn those upcoming mid-term tests. Why must they study so hard? Even more insulting is that Minami actually did pretty well the last time and has no worries about this upcoming one. Each time Usagi cannot help but feel distracted by Minami playing her handheld game loudly so Tokiwa throws that girl into the locker and shoves the game up her ass!!!!!!!!! Midori suggests to relax and go karaoke. Usagi is up for it and it seems Minami may have this ulterior motive to make her attend supplementary classes.

Episode 11
Usagi sees Misono taking the train and wonders if she is lost. Of course she denies but claims today is her lucky day. Because today she only got on the wrong train once! They hear Saiko nearby talking to Kojika as she badmouths the principal for the punishment she had to go through. Wasn’t it her fault? Saiko tricks Misono by making her think she is a feudal lord and with Usagi they get down on their knees to respect her. Kojika tries her best not to retort. When Usagi suggests going for taiyaki, Saiko reminds he about the test she should be studying. Usagi covers her ears and feigns she can’t listen. Saiko become her best partner in getting those delicious desserts.

Episode 12
Usagi has all the reason to be happy because she passed her tests. Not the highest score but at least a decent one by her standards. Yeah. No supplementary classes and it is fun all the way for summer vacation. Tokiwa reminds her about her homework but Usagi is confident she can do it all on the last day. If everything fails, she’ll just copy from Tokiwa. This girl’s mentality… Maybe she should go back to elementary school. Later Tokiwa treats Usagi to a drink for doing well in the tests. They talk about how they love this place and hope tomorrow will be another fine day.

I Still Don’t Know Urawa…
You know, somehow I felt deceived. I supposed the short synopsis about this show in promoting Urawa felt more like false advertising because I do not really see how they promote the place. This anime feels more like a group of middle school girls doing cute things together in their daily lives. Yes, this is another one of those cute girls doing cute things that doesn’t even have a decent plot whatsoever. Because it doesn’t really matter wherever city in Japan or in the world they come from as it doesn’t really matter. All we see them is living their ordinary lives in a cute way. Heh. I said that again, eh? Yeah, that is what this show is actually really about. Now, had they termed it as that instead of promoting Urawa, I don’t think it would have appealed to people to stay and watch. And thank goodness the duration lasts very short so my disappointment do not last that long.

No doubt that later on in the series there are scenes which I am guessing are real images of the Urawa town but they don’t really say anything about it and for people like me who knows nothing about it, the episode zips by without anything obvious being presented about Urawa. Because for most of the time, you’d be wondering where the heck is this Urawa promotion thingy but all I am seeing are just cute ordinary girls. And those streets may be some random street taken from Urawa but what would I know about it? And that real picture of the guy who owns the tsukune-yaki shop? Why is he the only one getting the good treatment of being featured albeit only a short one? Something tells me he is a friend of some production staff who was promised free food if he gets cameo. Just speculating… Don’t sue me. In the end, what is so good about Urawa? I don’t know. I know nothing about it still. Try harder next time.

Even the characters themselves aren’t that much. You can blame the short duration of the series but even so, they aren’t memorable and clichéd. Like Urawa the happy and lively girl who only wants to have fun. Oddly as a main character created to love this town that she was born in, I thought she should have been narrating to us stuffs about Urawa. But as we go on, the more of her ditzy lazy carefree simpleton character shows. I know it is good to be happy but please be so at the right place. I hope Urawa girls are generally not like that. Then there is the responsible Tokiwa and the other troublemaker, Minami. Saiko who is also another troublemaker who is out to get the railway club for whatever reason and Misono whose only purpose is to be a running joke for getting lost despite making 2 stinking appearances only. Not forgetting Midori the calm girl, Kojika the one who tries to keep Saiko in line and nobody cares about Sakura whether she exists or not. Yeah, great characters indeed.

Art and drawing, okay. Cute girls. What more can I say? Feels like a distraction to make you stop asking “What about Urawa, dude?”. Voice acting, okay. I don’t feel like listing them down like usual since nobody particularly stands out. Not that I recognized anybody anyway. Ending theme, okay. But doesn’t sound like one where it could be the theme song for Urawa. Comedy factor, okay. Good for 1 second laughs with their typical antics. Fanservice… What fanservice???!!! Overall, this barely passes and I’m saying it is okay is because I am such a kind person (yes I am!). Therefore, the big lesson to learn here is that if you really want to visit a place, do your real thorough homework and research on it beforehand. And for those in charge of promoting your local place, please do better and actual promotional activities instead of wasting budget animating a bunch of cute girls that really didn’t deliver the message.