I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Over the past year, I've detected a pattern when it has come to my anime buddy's choices for our biweekly routine. As much as he has enjoyed putting on the sci-fi/adventure epics, he seems to have also opted for at least one mellow down-to-earth show per season based somewhere in the countryside regions of Japan. Back in the spring, it was the serene "Flying Witch" (ふらいんぐうぃっち) out in Aomori Prefecture. Then in the summer, we got to watch the Shizuoka-based "Amanchu!" (あまんちゅ!) which was all about friendship and scuba diving, and then there was "Amaama to Inazuma"(甘々と稲妻)which was actually based in Tokyo but the narrative was nothing more than a single dad ensuring his rambunctiously adorable daughter gets the good stuff to eat.

This season, it looks like the relaxation anime has been "Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari"(うどんの国の金色毛鞠)which literally translates as "The Golden Furball of Udon Country" but has the slightly easier-on-the-ears title of "Poco's Udon World" according to Wikipedia. This time, the peaceful setting is the prefecture of Kagawa on the island of Shikoku which is famed for one of the symbolic Japanese dishes of sanuki udon. At first glance, I had thought that it would be about the main character of Sota re-discovering the wholesome goodness of udon and other home cooked meals in his hometown after years in convenient Tokyo. However, so far it's been a mix of fantasy and reality with the lad adopting a spirit named Poco who seems to switch between little boy and little tanuki; in the meantime, Sota also has to figure out what to do with his life now that his udon-making father has passed on. I gotta say that as much as the glorious scenes of the small city of Hirosaki in the aforementioned "Flying Witch" has had me thinking about visiting the real place someday, the just-as-lovely scenes of Kagawa from "Poco's Udon World" now has me wondering about Shikoku as well.

Even before the story started, I was struck by that theme song by WEAVER. The 3-person band which has been around since 2004 with their first CD single coming out in 2010 has been labeled a piano rock group. But as soon as I heard that synthesizer crashing, I immediately reminisced about the 1980s. Titled "S.O.S.", it has elements of funk and technopop flying about within its pop sound which was composed by leader and vocalist Yuji Sugimoto(杉本雄治).

The lyrics were written by drummer Toru Kawabe(河邉徹)with Sugimoto singing about trying to save that special someone from being consumed by the quicksand of society and life. I'd probably say Sota is going through a bit of that existential life crisis at the moment so the song does fit. And that bright and digital melody does help in setting that hopeful mood, although I think an enka tune would be more fitting with that bowl of udon.

"S.O.S." was released in October 2016 as WEAVER's 7th single which has peaked at No. 26 on the charts. Just so that I don't leave anyone out, the other member of the band is Shota Okuno(奥野翔太)who is the bassist and another composer.

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