Posted by psgels on 3 August 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Showa Monogatari




Anime is dying? Hah. As long as series like Showa Monogatari keep getting released, I refuse to believe something like that. Showa Monogatary may have a few production issues, but I just have to praise the guts that the producers had to actually dare and release it. Here we have a series wit no moe, no bishies, zero fanservice, no pandering and no overblown action. Instead of aiming at teenagers, kids or otaku, Showa Monogatari is aimed at a 50+ audience, portraying the life of an ordinary family in 1964.

Now, this is a slice of life series, so it obviously isn’t for everyone, but I do have to warn people that it’s not what it seems at first sight, because this show has something very misleading about its premise: Kouhei, the rather annoying 9-year-old lead character. Because of him, this show will at first seem like a kids’ series where we see yet another coming of age story of a young boy growing up somewhere. This is not what this series is about, though.

Kouhei is just a member of the cast here. There are a number of episodes that revolve around him, but there are also plenty of episodes that don’t, and instead develop the rest of the cast: his older brother, sister, parents and grandmother. All of them together end up as a charming and down to earth family with real problems, challenges and characteristics. Every character in this series is flawed and this show actually does quite a good job to develop everyone.

This series does have its production issues, though. The animation is quite poor and the direction feels rather mellow throughout the entire series. The worst is Kouhei’s voice actor, though: this guy can’t act for the life of him, and will ruin any dramatic scene he’s involved in. It overall is a series that feels like the production was rushed, and that the creators didn’t get time to make everything click and mesh together, and present things well, because it’s very rough around the edges.

The problems that the cast face are very realistic, but at the same time the creators do force their drama. It’s again one of those cases that has a lot of flaws, yet does a number of other things right, because the cast here remains well developed. In the end though, it does lack a bit of staying power.

Storytelling: 8/10 – The direction could have been stronger, but this one is well balanced and very realistic.
Characters: 8/10 – Well developed cast, but sometimes very badly acted.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation is really jerky, but the background art is very accurate. It really feels like 50 years ago.
Setting: 8/10 – Very interesting premise, historically accurate and realistic. Very authentic.

Suggestions:
Furusato Japan
Rail of the Star
Ushiro no Shoumen Dare

6 Responses

  1. Mushyrulez says:

    The sad thing is that I can’t find any subs for anything past Episode 5. Sigh, I guess subbers just don’t feel like this was a good show…

    I’d watch it if I could.

  2. Joojoobees says:

    I’m glad that some people thought enough to try this. I’m glad that it was produced. I’m disappointed that there are no subs and there is no chance of it being commercially released with translations in my country.

    This is a perfect example of why I think fan subbing and Internet distribution is valid. It might take years for this show to get subbed, assuming it ever does. Is anime dead? Obviously not, but the corporations that are jumping all over every ecchi rom-com that comes out each season are doing nothing to foster the market for anime, the way a select few in Japan are trying to do.

  3. I’m disappointed that there are no subs and there is no chance of it being commercially released with translations in my country.

  4. Marina says:

    I agree with the previous comments that as much as I’d love to finish watching this show, I can’t find any subs past the few that I have. It’s frustrating since I really loved the ones I saw, and was excited about seeing the everyday lives of all the other family members. I’m glad that you were able to finish it and gave it a positive rating :)

  5. Taxy says:

    Can someone help me find the songs of the endings of this series? It looks like every episode has another song, and since I’m responsible for the german fansubs of this series, we need the lyrics. Maybe psgels can help and find out, where we can get those lyrics.

    Thanks all for helping and even we in germany hope, that the english subs will continue, because we count on them to translate it into german… ^_^”

  6. jreding says:

    I came to love Showa Monogatari. The experience was quite different from most other anime I watched. I was surprised how many similarities in the atmosphere and the family there were to my own country and my grandparents back in the 1970s. It was something like watching a historic drama about my own country through the lens of Japan on the other side of the world.

    Agreed on Kouhei and his voice actor being annoying. All characters really grew on me, though, as the slow pace gave enough time to learn their very human quirks and flaws.

    @Taxy: I was also looking for an OST of this. They didn’t announce one in the advertisements in the last episodes, though. The DVDs seem to include only the instrumental compositions. So I assume one would have to collect the songs one by one.

    @Psgels: I compliment you, psgels, on discovering and blogging this gem of a series! Like with Hyouge Mono your blog let me discover a show which are most enjoyable but fell under the radar of most of the aniblogosphere!

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:43 AM)
    @Friend: perfect, I on the other hand am not as fast lol
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:19 AM)
    I should have the rough draft ready by the next 24 hours, so I’ll show it to you then.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:16 AM)
    @Bam :-) “Rome wasn’t built in a single day”
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:14 AM)
    @Friend: very pragmatic- I like your style ;)
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:09 AM)
    @Bam Heres what I’m planning to do: I’ll draw the city as it might have looked like pre-industrial revolution and post-columbian. So, maybe the late 17th century. Then, I’ll add in the changes brought in by industry. Afterall, every building isn’t built at the same time, so it’ll give that contrast of old/new, making the city much more authentic.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:07 AM)
    @Friend: hard question … needs some serious thought if we’re trying to feel authentic.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    What would they use electricity for, if they’ll even accept it?
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:04 AM)
    @Bam I’ve been thinking about that as well. Their irrigation was already a masterpiece, so I think hydraulic piping would only perfect their skill at city planning. Now, energy is what I’ve been stuck on.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 06:02 AM)
    @Friend: you’re on the right track with the modernization of the culture, but I need to ponder a little bit about what would’ve happened in that scenario. Metals, medicine, energy and irrigation would be the significant advances that they could use without serious industrialization, but I need time to think what these would’ve all meant to them and where they could’ve taken their society with it.
  • Friend
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 05:56 AM)
    @Bam Yes, it’s very bright and sentimental. It is a morning prayer/celebration. \.0/

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