Anime Meta-Review


Yokohama Shopping Trip


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
  • seen: 1-2 of 2
  • type: OAV
  • grade: weird
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

This came very close to being in the `weird' category...but it is so brave and unusual that it gets an entry here instead. Like many animes the apocalypse has happened, the bomb has dropped (perhaps) and homo sapiens stares doom in the face. Surely martial arts mutants and desert wilds are on the way? Not in this anime. Instead the world seems to have returned to a peaceful, stable state. A state in which mankind is much reduced, possibly fading away, certainly disheartened. And in this world a female robot, alpha, continues to run a beach front coffee shop (though customers are largely absent) as her owner instructed her to do many years before. A messenger brings her news that her owner still lives, but that he may not return for many years. However he sends a camera so that she can record the times in which she lives. This forces alpha to look again at the twilight world in which she lives, and we get to follow along for the ride.

The first thing to mention is that no backstory is given, although many clues exist. These clues all fit into the gentle story and events surrounding alpha (who is a likable character herself). For example in the first episode she is having a coffee, with a gun beside her. Clearly things were chaotic and dangerous once, but seemingly no longer. The scenery includes sunken cities, over-grown wilds and unmaintained roads...yet the power still runs and people still live. The whole atmosphere feels like the calm after the storm, a familiar world yet strangely different and somewhat mysterious. It's actually quite easy to get drawn into exploring this world with alpha. Of course, as you might guess from this review, the pace is dreamlike, calm and story focuses on many small details. The action crowd will go insane if forced to watch this, while even the average anime viewer might find the pace way too slow. Still, if you have sufficient patience this is an unusual and interesting anime to experience.

The animation is interesting. It looks a bit older but is still very enjoyable. Part of the reason it has dated well is because it is carefully adapted to the anime's needs. The character artwork is clean, simple and attractive. Certain characters also seem to be drawn so as to embody symbolic qualities of this new world although this is not strongly expressed. This simple style constrasts with a complex and beautifully rendered world, full of gorgeous images (even on the many gen fan-sub I saw). The fact that many of these images are spooky, such as them watching the lovely view of streetlights in a submerged deserted city, only adds to the effect. This is enhanced by a lot of atmosphere animation, such as rain, wind, clouds and light which is very attractive and well supported by a great attention to ambient sound. In addition the anime has a suprising combination of strengths in character observation and technical detail. The sense of character and mood is excellent (the shoujo crowd should enjoy this one) while at the same time the technology of the world is interesting, well drawn and designed, and adds to the feeling of `like our world, but not' that pervades the series. This careful design, and its understated use, makes the world seem quite believable. The voices are perhaps a trifle loud (bar alpha herself) but are fine, dramatics are low and background is subtle and understated.

I'm sorry to report that none of the sites I source from has a review for this title. In fact there are very few sites for this series at all, and those that do exist concentrate on the manga (which looks excellent). Thus I can't even say how many episodes there are, or what release they had. Fortunately Daniel DeLorme has the answers and mailed them to me, as well as mentioning how much he appreciates this title. Apparently it is a fairly recent OAV, but only two (of a planned 6) episodes were made because it sold poorly in Japan. Not exactly a suprise but certainly a disappointment.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:27 WST 2009