Notes on Takunomi.

I wrote about Takunomi in my second Winter 2018 preview post.

This is the “women drinking at home” anime. It’s also adapted from a manga, but I haven’t read even a chapter. Nevertheless, what am I expecting from this? A healing, relaxing anime with working women and beer and snacks. It’s only 15-minutes per episode too.

It ended up being less than 15 minutes and not just beer, but alcohol in general. Still my expectations of an 癒し系 [いやしけい, iyashikei, healing] anime were fulfilled.

From the left: Michiru, Nao, Kae, Makoto.

Among what I’ve been watching, Takunomi was a breath of fresh air—young female professionals doing grownup things. In this aspect it was reminiscent of Shirobako. That was a great show. I feel like there hasn’t been a similar one since. Nothing exceptional at least. Although, maybe Hisone and Maso-tan will fill this hole? I plan on watching that.

Returning to Takunomi, it’s definitely nothing special, but it sure was relaxing.

First off, a quick summary: Takunomi is about four women in their twenties, living together in a house in Tokyo. They each have a set of their problems, are at different points in their lives and fill different stereotypical roles. The main character is just arriving at the house in the first episode and we’ll learn about drinks and, less importantly, about the other women with her.

Now let me introduce the cast. The main character is called Michiru and she just moved to Tokyo to work as an office lady. She’s impressionable, insecure and the older child in this family—just figuring things out, but already a couple of years ahead of her baby sibling. The blonde, Nao-san, works in a boutique. She is very informal at home and the one who introduces the alcohol—I’d call her the father, going with the family analogy. The mother would be Kae-san, a wedding planner. She’s very kind and a great cook. The last one is Makoto, the baby. (Although she’s a year older than Michiru.) She is finishing university, so behind everyone else on the life road. She works part-time at a café and towards the middle of the series starts making the interview rounds.

And yes, Michiru is a pipsqueak, but the others… my husband calls Takunomi “the busty alcoholics show”. The differences in breast size are referenced throughout the whole series. Which I definitely don’t appreciate. Is it supposed to be fanservice?

Yebisu beer: …and Kae’s homecooking. The Japanese-foodie-to-be take away would be that fried foods and beer complement each other. And that premium beer would be wasted on “heavy foods”.

For other Japanophiles I want to point out a fun Yebisu fact:

“The Third Man Theme” (also known as “The Harry Lime Theme”) is an instrumental written and performed by Anton Karas for the soundtrack to the 1949 film The Third Man.

[It] is informally known in Japan as the “Ebisu Beer Theme,” which is still used in Ebisu beer commercials to this day. For this reason, it is also used at Ebisu Station on the JR Yamanote line, Saikyo Line, and Shōnan-Shinjuku Line to inform passengers of departing trains.

Shōchū Highball: …and Kae’s homecooking. I find potato salad fascinating—it’s such a simple meal and there are endless variations. For example, I copied a basic recipe from the newspaper and interwove it with my mother’s recipe and since then it has evolved some more to suit our tastes better. And I imagine every cook is like that.

水曜日のネコ [すいようびのねこ, Suiyoubi no Neko, Wednesday’s Cat]: A pale (Belgian), citrusy (with orange peels and koriander) beer to be drunk midweek, so on Wednesday. The cat is so cute!

Hyoketsu: The can might make it look like beer, but it’s actually vodka and juice. The can is the interesting thing about this drink as it has a diamond pattern that pops when you open the can, creating a bumpy surface. Makoto and Nao explain that this pattern makes the aluminium more durable, so one needs less of it and the cans are lighter. What’s more important though is that it sets Hyoketsu apart from other chu-hi on the market. (Yes, I would say ecology is worth more than sales, but the Japanese don’t care much about ecology.) The fact that they are very snobbish about their ingredients and the mixing process helps the taste, but the diamond-cut sets them apart at first sight.

Kitty: This episode stoops to lowly fanservice. Anyway, Kae-san introduces Michiru to red wine. Michiru doesn’t like it, because it’s tart. So Kae mixes her and Makoto kitties! One part wine, one part ginger ale. It lowers the alcohol percentage, sweetens the drink and gives it carbonation.

獺祭 [だっさい, dassai, otter festival]: It’s a brand of traditional Japanese sake. This episode is about very Japanese alcohol and food—sake and fish! The Japanese say rice and fish are a divine combination and sake is made from rice.

Coffee Rum: Michiru tries to cheer Makoto up with dessert cocktails and donuts. Ice, one part coffee rum and three parts milk. Ice, one part coffee rum and three parts cola. (Coffee Rum is a distilled liqueur made from sugarcane blended with Arabica coffee.)

Kakubin: …and Kae’s homecooking! Kakubin is the nickname of a type of Suntory Whisky created in 1937 as a Japanese whisky tailored towards the delicate Japanese palate. That means it was the first whiskey made in Japan for Japanese people. Notice the tortoise-shell bottle. I think they don’t ship it outside of Asia, but I could be wrong. Either way, it’s whisky and the women make whiskey highballs. I wonder if I’d like that, when I hate the smell and taste of whisky? (It smells like turpentine.) Kakubin is supposed to be made to blend especially well with soda in highballs. And it has been popular for 80+ years now. It’s quite the feature.

Otoko Ume Sour: Have you seen Dagashi Kashi? Then you would have noticed a child Hotaru Shidare making a short ~8 second appearance in a dagashi shop from Michiru’s childhood memory. Dagashi is center stage this episode. Even the cocktail, Otoko Ume Sour, was inspired by a dagashi!

Orion Beer: …and Kae-san’s homecooking! Orion draft beer is Okinawa’s most famous beer. あっりかんぱい!

Daishichi: Here is some more sake, but this time it’s hot, because it’s January. Heating it up brings out its flavor and fragrance. It’s worth noting that Daishichi is made the traditional way. And paired with traditional nabe (that’s another post I will have to write), it’s the epitome of Japanese winter.

Asahi Super Dry: The last episode focuses more on drinking etiquette than on beer itself. Since Makoto has to learn the social norms of drinking with coworkers instead of friends, the women act out a simulation of such an assembly. It was rather interesting and educational, I must say.

Bottom line: It’s not that I didn’t learn anything, but this had so much more potential. It’s a shame that it ended up like this. Many people say it’s basically a series of alcohol advertisements with a bit of a story. Rating 4/10 or bad.

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