Back in 2016 (the 2016-17 period has been a theme this year), I started (and eventually dropped) a manga by the name of Hakumei to Mikochi. Something about its tranquil nature, amplified by the characters being surrounded by nature, spoke to me. Its distinct chibi aesthetic was also a pleasant appeal. Alas, it would only last six chapters read before I dropped it, though I left no evidence as to why I did so.
Then it received an anime adaptation, and I was actually tempted to watch it while it was airing. That did not happen, so this series has been off of my radar for many years. A nice, carefree watch seemed deserving enough after this month of relatively dramatic and/or energetic titles. I gave it another shot, then promptly remembered why I dropped the manga in the first place.
“Nine centimeters (3.5 inches) tall, the tiny girls Hakumei and Mikochi live in the forest. Living in a tiny house in a tree, riding insects and birds, and making umbrellas out of leaves, these tiny girls live a tiny life. Follow their tiny but lovely lives as they live their day to day in a fantastic world of tiny people and gods.“
This article will inevitably be rather short for one reason (literally): I only made it through one episode.
To most, this would imply giant red flags, but let me quell any expectations by stating that it’s more of a “Not my thing” example than a “My goodness, this is trash” one. Usually, I try to give anime a little more time before making a decision on whether I wish to continue. In this series’ case, it only took five minutes to understand that it would not prove substantial.
As stated in the intro, there is no record as to why I dropped the parent manga. While watching the first episode of the anime adaptation, the memories began to flood back: this series is pretty dull. Very brave it is for the mangaka to set a story with no real story, introducing characters with no real introduction and establishing a world already established. Akin to playing an MMO game for the first time and logging in to find you’re in a level 45 zone with a hundred spells and items you’ve never seen.
For the record, this isn’t necessarily an issue by default. There are slice of life stories that have done this before and to better effect (though comparing one episode to whole series is harsh). What makes it risky is that it places a lot of pressure on other aspects to pick up the slack. Characters need to be entertaining, endearing, fun to watch; art has to be spectacular, interesting, bold; situations should have something that the viewer finds entertaining or relatable; etc.
Hakumei to Mikochi, based on one episode, fails that for me. Its central characters are fine, only not terribly interesting. The world as shown is visually distinct, but again, not terribly interesting. Most apparent is the writing, which doesn’t really go beyond the pedantic portions of life. One scene where the two encounter a bird and go on a ride in the sky was the highlight; outside of that, they’re talking about daily plans, going around shopping, and finding themselves in trouble when one loses their wallet.
Its essence—or point, perhaps—is that of a “true” slice-of-life: a series that goes about the trivial pleasantries of life, only this one is set in a forest with two very small chibi girls. My main issue with this is that, through an episode, it doesn’t too much outside of showing the albeit intriguing-looking world. Everything is fine, too fine. A bland, uneventful kind of fine that would have me forget the events soon after they happen. Frankly, I barely registered the first episode.
It is cute, though. Quite like the art style and the environments present. Should that be enough to make the series for someone, it certainly has more than enough.
As a slice-of-life series, Hakumei to Mikochi provides exactly what one would expect, only with a small visual twist. Far more Aria the Animation than K-ON!, though, so that will certainly test the patience of those who prefer the latter over the former. Though I quite liked the Aria series, this one didn’t hook me as quickly or as efficiently, at least in 22 minutes or so. Nevertheless, whether manga or anime, it’s not for me.
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2 thoughts on “Hakumei to Mikochi (Dropped) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)”
As a slice of life fan I had high hopes for this one, but got bored of it as well