- Episodes : 2 (Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou); 2 (Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe)
- Genre : Slice of Life, Sci-Fi, Seinen
- Airing Date : May 1998 - December 1998 (Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou); December 2002 to March 2003 (Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe)
- Producers : Ajia-Do
Although the original manga of the same name by Hitoshi Ashinano is perhaps more beloved and well-known, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, the iconic, post-apocalyptic iyashikei series, also received a couple of late 90s/early 2000s OVAs by the relatively obscure studio Ajia-Do presenting a pleasant slice of this slice of life story. Read on for our thoughts on this unique anime in the present day!
Following the early chapters of the manga, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou gives a glimpse into the life of Alpha, a young woman who runs a small cafe outside of Yokohama. True to the spirit of most iyashikei series, Alpha’s everyday happenings are pretty mundane, rarely even getting customers at the cafe, but things get a lot more interesting as the details of the world unfold, this story taking place in the future after some unknown apocalyptic event has left many cities completely flooded and with few humans around. Alpha herself is actually an android who has been patiently waiting for the return of the mysterious owner of the cafe who is “away on business”.
Mono no Aware - Living in the Twilight Age
Despite its implied grim backstory and sci-fi trappings, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is actually a very relaxing and peaceful anime steeped in a strong feeling of “mono no aware” (a Japanese concept basically meaning “the beauty of the transient nature of things”, somewhat like nostalgia). It’s a strange feeling that is wonderfully reflected in the series’ idyllic depiction of the remains of once-great cities slowly being reclaimed by nature and Alpha’s simple and wistful, yet mostly carefree, life. Alpha’s nature as a machine that will likely outlast her human companions also inspires some introspective thoughts set against the slowly decaying world around her.
What it lacks in action and fancy animation it makes up for with strong art direction in character, environment, and mechanical design that strikes a nice balance between retro and futuristic, particularly in the titular cafe and Alpha’s fashion and various belongings. The music is also quite distinctive, particularly its frequent use of gekkin (a traditional Asian stringed instrument similar to a guitar or lute), and is more prominently highlighted than usual, even having an entire music-focused section in each episode. There are also just a lot of quality tracks, especially considering the entire series is just four episodes!
Happy, Shabby Life
While we’d argue the art direction of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is quite nice, this is definitely a series that is showing its age, especially in 2019. Simply put, despite some nicely drawn backgrounds and pleasing designs, the animation itself is largely mediocre, albeit in some ways the obvious aged nature adds to the experience by playing into that nostalgic feeling. The second OVA series also has somewhat better animation overall The other big possible complaint is that this series is largely uneventful, at least terms of plot progression or really just plot, but with slice of life that’s to be expected. We definitely think that the series would feel a lot more complete given more episodes but considering the source material’s relative obscurity, we’re lucky that we got as much as we did!
Altogether, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is quite an interesting little series that we think anyone who likes the manga or more unusual slice of life series in general, such as Aria The Animation, should definitely consider checking out! One plus side to its short length is that it’s also very accessible, taking about as long a single movie to watch it to completion. We’d love to see a new adaptation in the future! In any case, we hope you enjoyed this short piece on a short show! Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! またね。