Joukamachi no Dandelion – 03

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What JnD lacks in narrative depth, it makes up for in sheer quantity and variety of stories. This week, we get three of them, starting with an exploration of Sakurada Hikari’s power, which allows her to change her age and the age of others. She wants to be more popular (she’s fifth in the polls) so she tries to do a good deed by saving a cat from a tree.

To do so, she has to age herself up, and while she cuts a fine figure as an adult, her clothes remain the same size, and in any case, because she was with Akane, she wasn’t close enough to any cameras for the deed to make any difference in the next poll. Her need to age Akane down so they can swap clothes nets us the national treasure that is Mini-Akane.

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The middle story is about the two youngest Sakuradas, Prince Teru and Princess Shiori. Teru has super-strength but often lacks common sense, but his younger sister assists him on their first shopping trip alone with both her ample stores of common sense beyond her years, and the ability to talk not only to dogs, but misplaced shopping lists!

I also like the callback to the first story, with and aged-up Hikari and anged-down Akane in disguise looking out for their younger siblings…and of course the running gag of Akane always drawing the grocery shopping lot. I can take or leave the shonen-y Teru, but I dug Shiori, who successfully toes the line between responsible young lady and endearing little kid.

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The episode is rounded out by another Hikari story: this time, she wants to become an idol. Only problem is, she’s too young, so she ages herself up. But, like Teru, she often doesn’t sweat the details, like the fact she has to show ID and ends up revealing her identity. She also shows poor judgment by being lured to a studio by a male stranger, though to be fair he had no way of knowing she was only eleven.

In this segment Haruka decides to serves as Hikari’s coach, and after she’s scouted and her identity revealed, the scouts make a plea to the king, who agrees to let her become an idol. She gets on TV, but in her aged-up form, and with an alias that hides her royalty, defeating the original purpose of becoming an idol—to gain popularity and rise in the polls.

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the often ultra-cloying performances of Ogura Yui, but her voice is at least more tolerable when Hikari is aged up.

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Joukamachi no Dandelion – 02

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I had suspected it last week, but now I’m certain (after checking): this is, like Re-Kan!, an anime based on a 4-koma manga. The joke-punchline rhythm gives it away. But that also means it moves along nicely.

We get two separate stories this week: the first about the dynamic between Akane (third daughter) and Kanade (second daughter and twin of Shuu) as they walk to school. Akane gloms onto Kanade to avoid the cameras, but when she spots a cat about to get run over, she doesn’t hesitate to spring into Hero Mode, which in turn causes Kana to do the same to save her and the cat.

Kanade can tell her younger sister has what it takes to be king, if only she could get over her devastating shyness; and would likely vote for her if she weren’t in the running herself. I also like that Kanade has to constantly save up to afford her expensive materialization power, e.g. a surprise 40 million to save Akane!

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The second part interestingly doesn’t focus on the point of view of a Sakurada sibling, but one of their admirers, specifically Sato Hana, who has known Shuu since the fourth grade and has developed feelings for him. Hana is elated that Shuu remembers her, and would do anything just to talk or spend time with him.

When she tries to say goodbye to him for the day, she spots him with Akane and, due to Akane’s glomminess and their out-of-context banter, Hana believes they’re lovers, to her dismay.

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But since they’re royalty, the siblings know when they’re being followed, and confront Hana, who unexpectedly comes right out and confesses with Shuu. Coincidentally, Shuu happens to care for her more than any of the other girls due to her simplicity and honesty, but informs her his priority is keeping Kanade from winning (which, mind you, doesn’t necessarily mean winning the election himself!)

Hana says she’ll wait for him until after the election, and Shuu, for his part, promises he’ll return her feelings then. She declines his offer to walk her home (suggested by Akane, acting tough for the couple’s sake) but is delighted to get a glad-you-made-it-home/goodnight call from Shuu later that night. All in all, a cute and brisk little soliloquy.

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Joukamachi no Dandelion – 01 (First Impressions)

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The Skinny: The Sakuradas are a perfectly normal family of eleven with two important distinctions: all nine kids have superpowers, and their dad is King of the country, making them princes and princesses. The next king will be chosen by the people form among them, so they have to deal with surveillance cameras, TV cameras and competitions designed to help the people get to know them better.

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Pros: It’s a clever, somewhat random premise in a season full of them. This isn’t just a big royal family, it’s a big royal family whose king decided he wanted his kids to stay in touch with the regular people, so they live in a regular middle-class house and everyone does their part (and shares one bathroom). They dress like normal people, and if it weren’t for the crown, you’d never know their dad was King.

I also liked the democratic aspect, and the way the king is uging all his kids to work hard and fulfill their responsibilities as the symbols of hope for their country. Also, the three oldest princesses are voiced by Kayano Ai, Hana-Kana, and Ishihara Kaori, with Kana playing the shyest of the kids, who wants to be king “so she can lead a quiet life,” which does sound contradictory. All in all, it’s a lighthearted, kind, fun little show.

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Cons: The show is, at times, a little too proud of its premise. The superpowers seem almost tacked-on, and the competition that showed them off was pretty slow and plodding. The constant mention of Akane’s panties was also tiresome (if you can fly and don’t want anyone seeing them, wear pants, highness). There also seem to be a superfluous number of characters, though I’m sure they’re all get their focus in time. The stakes aren’t exactly stratospheric either, but this is slice-of-life.

Verdict: As Tuesdays are typically pretty light for anime, but also happen to be Tuesdays, not the best day of the week (at least for me), a nice lightweight chuckleworthy comedy could hit the spot.

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