Thursday, August 27, 2015

Joukamachi no Dandelion Review

Joukamachi no Dandelion
Summer Anime Season 2015
Anime Studio: Production IMS

Princess Kanade and Princess Akane

Have you ever wanted to be elected king of a huge Kingdom? Joukamachi no Dandelion (translated to Castle Town Dandelion) presents that interesting modern twist to an age-old fantasy. The anime for Joukamachi no Dandelion was based off a seinen four-panel manga by Ayumi Kasuga for the Manga Time Kirara Miracle magazine. What we get is an interesting slice of life about sibling rivalry to obtain the royal throne. Let us find out whether Joukamachi no Dandelion is worth your time or not.

The story of Joukamachi no Dandelion centers on Akane Sakurada, the fourth eldest child, and the third princess in a family of nine super royals. Her father Soichiro is the King; the King wants the next King to be elected by the people of the nation. At the behest of his son, the first prince, the royal family lives in an average middle class house in the middle of town, but due to the king’s paranoia, there are cameras all over the city to watch over his children. Not only are the Sakurada kids Princes and Princesses, they are also gifted with unique super powers.

Princess Akane being shy
The siblings of the royal family are as varied as their powers. Akane, is the main character who is extremely shy and hates being the center of attention. Her superpowers defy gravity, and allow her and the things she touches to resist gravity. The eldest child Aoi feels she should not be the King, and her power is to remember something once she has seen it, with a hidden bonus power revealed later. The twins Shu and Kanade; are the second and third eldest children, with Shu trying to ensure his twin sister never is elected, and Kanade wants to be the King more than anyone. Haruka and Misaki are the younger twins; Haruka is the common sense one who can calculate probability, and Misaki has the inferiority complex because her clones all excel in specialties, while she is master of none. The three youngest are Hikari, Teru, and Shiori; Hikari can change the age of something for 24 hours, Teru can greatly increase his strength, and Shiori can talk to animals and inanimate objects.

While this could lay the groundwork for a vicious rivalry for the throne that would make Game of Thrones blush, the story is firmly planted in the comedy and slice of life genre. The siblings see each other as rivals to be King, but they all love each other and try to help each other succeed. They all have different motivations to be King, but in the end, they see each other as family and they help each other. With its origins in a 4-koma manga, an episode is split into 2-3 separate storylines, similar to how Azumanga Daioh did it in the past. This allows each sibling’s story to shine and develop. While Akane is the main character, the show gives plenty of development to the other siblings so that they all have a piece of the limelight.

The standard beach episode
As with most transitions from manga to anime, some changes have to be made. The time is heavily compressed compared to the manga, where the story takes place over the course of one year as opposed to two years in the source material. They also combined some chapters into a sub episode, or they completely ignore some material. Overall, the transition from Manga to Anime is an excellent effort and it one of the better ones in recent memory. It helps that they took a similar structure as Azumanga Daioh, which is still considered the best 4-koma to anime transition. K-On is another excellent transition, but it eschews episodic storytelling like the source material and aimed for a more cohesive complete narrative.

I do like the interesting modern take of “big brother is watching you” by having the royal siblings who are the center of attention by virtue of camera equipment everywhere. In the world of the anime, it doubles as security for the royal family, while feeding the Royal family-obsessed media who reports every little detail (kind of like how we are with the British Royal family). What I love is how siblings view this intrusion into their private lives. Akane views the cameras as a personal intrusion and she is scared to death of them, yet paradoxically, those same cameras are why she is extremely popular amongst the public. Her sisters Kanade and Hikari sees them as tools to be used to get voted in as King, so they try to create a public image separate from their private ones, with different levels of success.

If you are looking for deep storylines with plot twists and wonderful character studies, Joukamachi no Dandelion is not for you. If you want a cute slice of life anime about siblings with fun powers trying to cope with fame and popularity, you should give Joukamachi no Dandelion a shot. It came out of nowhere and became one of my favorite anime of the summer 2015 season.


Melissa said...

Nice, would you consider the anime or manga better?

KrisZ said...

While it is nice seeing it in color, I always consider the source material the superior version.

With some exceptions of course.

Holly said...

Judging from your picture choices, you seem to like Kanade and Akane.

KrisZ said...

Yes, I do let my biases show in the pictures I chose.