Sunday, February 7, 2016

Shin Atashinchi ~ Your Mom Is Not This Weird

Ahh, simulcasts. Sometimes they're simple, sometimes you're counting the hours and wondering if you'll be pulling an all-nighter, and sometimes you panic because you have no idea that this week's episode has been preempted for a variety show. My sole simulcast for now is Shin Atashinchi, a continuation of the anime adaptation of the popular slice-of-life manga Atashinchi by Eiko Kera.

The original manga ran for ten years, ending just two years ago, and the first anime ran for seven years and clocked in at 330 episodes. So far, Shin is at 18, but I'm on staff and even I do know how long we're in for.

There are four main characters -- the Tachibana family, as seen above -- and a huge cast of minor characters who pop through on occasion. Mikan, the daughter, is intended to be the main character, as we look at her attempts to survive both family life and school life without getting in too much drama. But the centerpiece of the whole shebang tends to be Mom (that's the large, vaguely fish-looking lady front and centre), a typical Japanese housewife who dotes on her son and is tough on her daughter and thinks she is the absolute coolest because she has a special knack for refilling refillable bottles.

Dad just sort of floats along, content to go to his day job and come home to whatever weirdness Mom has herself worked up by today. And then there's Yuzuhiko, the younger brother, who's an intelligent, well-meaning derp with a pair of fangirls and a fairly chill attitude.

And that's it. If you're not familiar with the concept of 'slice of life' anime (things like Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star), just consider it your weekly 'wow my family is weird' sitcom, but with the episodes divided up into shorter, very focused stories. It's kind of the equivalent of watching a movie of someone telling you what happened to them last week.

To be honest, I knew that Atashinchi existed and I certainly knew the art style, but I wasn't overly familiar with it until I started working on it. And one of the things I really love about it is the extent to which it validates our weird internal storytelling -- writing out a whole narrative for yourself as a struggling restaurant owner while you're making a midnight snack, for instance, or imagining yourself as a revered zen master when you've perfected a certain housekeeping shortcut.

It's a very cute show, and you don't need to know anything about it coming in. Always a plus.

Shin Atashinchi is currently available on Crunchyroll, with new episodes simulcast every Tuesday at 7:30 AM Eastern. New episodes are available as they air to paid subscribers, and on a one-week delay to free accounts.
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