“I never knew: finding out someone you thought was normal is really a pervert makes you cry”
My dear Homies, let’s get one thing straight: I don’t always watch anime for its thematic resonance. Yes, I thought FMA Brotherhood’s exploration of the human condition was amazing; Yes, I think Attack on Titan’s intensity is electrifying, suspenseful and unpredictable; Yes, I felt my heartstrings bend until they broke in Your Lie in April. What is great about the world in which we live, is that we can love whatever we want, we have the capacity to love more than one thing at a time, and for the most part the things we love aren’t mutually exclusive. I can love serious and silly. And this anime, lemme tell you, it delivered on the silly.
Given the intensity and serious themes the last anime’s post contained, I decided to go for nonsensical comedy. Pure, guilty pleasure, people. I wanted laughs. I wanted eccentric. I wanted not to have to think very hard. This anime checked all of those boxes!
Denki Gai (“The Electric Town’s Bookstore”) is a blush-inducing, slice-of-life series about manga-loving book store employees. Seven main characters are all hard-core manga maniacs and spend their days displaying new releases, shrink-wrapping comics, shuddering at their lack of feminine qualities, questioning their love for porn literature.. and basically have fun while working hard (?). Girls and guys call themselves nicknames and some begin to develop relationships!
Review: / 5
This anime fits perfectly into the slice of life genre. It ranks well, sliding in nicely below Blend S. and Recovery of an MMO Junkie. It’s not quite at that four level, but it does a great job at conveying the carefree, light-hearted and fun realism slice of life is known for bringing, and does a great job of not shimmying into the drama category. Several slice series suffer from this: they seem chill and easy, but then they take you down a winding road of anxiety and tears– you become wrought with concern with if the protagonists will get together. There’s none of that in Denki Gai, which is why I chose to watch it: I didn’t want to deal with drama, so A+ for authenticity.
The reason why slice shows turn dramatic is because the tone shift pushes plot–we feel anxious because we want to know if _______ will happen. This show doesn’t have a lot of plot, honestly, other than which character will end up with which, though you can see the canonical pairings as early as episode two. To be honest, I didn’t mind no having a larger plot involved here, probably because I couldn’t handle and wasn’t looking for one. During another week, I might have rated this show a three for its lack of plot, but not this week; This week it was exactly what I needed.
Pacing was interesting in Denki Gai. Like the second season of Nisekoi, we’re dealing with broken episodes which contain multiple mini-episodes. However, in this series it really works! I think this is primarily because unlike Nisekoi, Denki Gai doesn’t establish a clear plot line. Much like Servant X Service. Instead, we work with office-life hyperbole, such as one of my favorite scenes: Sentai getting shrink-wrapped. I mean, just look at this little sausage go:
Delicious. Absolutely wonderful.
These short spurts allow us to see each of the seven employees perspectives, which is really nice for this slice show. The pacing fits the genre. Yay!
Where the series falls short is its characterization. While the characters are entertaining, most of them fall a bit flat apart from Sensei and Kantoku. We could make an argument for Hiotan, but honestly, just having her into porn books as a contradiction to her innocent nature doesn’t make her a deep character. Show me her weaknesses; show me her values. Then we’ll talk about her as a character capable of growth. This is where our pacing and multiple perspectives backfire: 12 episodes is not long enough to give seven separate characters believable growth arcs and backstories. It’s just not feasible or realistic, nor is it something that is done in Denki Gai. For this, we deduct a major point.
The half-point is lost from a necessity standpoint. There was also a lot of fan service, which I usually don’t mind. In this anime, I found it overbearing. Lots of boobs. Lots of dicks. Lots of fondling. Fitting, since we’re talking about erotic manga for most of the show, but when I consider the porn-to-plot ratio, I get a little peeved.
Ultimately, I enjoyed it: it’s silly and simple.
Thoughts? Lemme hear ’em in the comments below!
Watch on, Annieme-niac!