a.k.a. Yokohama Shopping Log
In the peaceful twilight of an era known as the Age of Evening Calm, the coasts have been flooded from global warming. Alpha is a robot left in charge of her owner’s cafe while he’s off traveling. Years after her owner’s departure, he sends Alpha a package containing a camera so that she can take pictures and recall nostalgic memories in the future.
summary by Eek
Highs: A true slice of life; calming and gentle
Lows: Clashing art style at times; Takahiro left unexplained
The anime that take reality into account are in the minority. Everyday life is not filled with fifty-foot mecha, perilous demons or magical powers; as soon as I began watching Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, it felt like a piece of reality I had not experienced in anime in a long time.
While a portion of the elements are science fiction, it still captures much of what life is like for Alpha and the few people that she commonly interacts with. Pieces of symbolism can be found, but Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is not meant to be a mentally-involving anime. It takes a glimpse into a future where life has slowed down, where ordinary citizens have become laid back and robots mingle with humans like they are the same flesh and blood. There are no eccentric personalities to be found here; these are real people that enjoy the small thing in life. Some viewers will find this to be utterly boring, but I see it as a wonderful change of pace and a great insight into the life of others. Just by watching them, you will feel calm and at ease.
Noticeable differences in art styles can be seen a few times through both episodes. The style is usually like that of any other anime, but on several occasions, it lapses into a style common with manga. Drawn lines are used to detail shadows and textures of objects, and while not looking bad, it clashes with the dominant style. Another small problem was the sudden introduction of Takahiro. Since this OVA series follows portions of the manga very closely, it does not take time to explain or give any hints into the relationship between Takahiro, Ojiisan and Alpha. This is because those details are filled in as the manga goes, and anyone who has read it will know that Takahiro is Ojiisan’s grandson. However, those exposed to only this anime will be left questioning.
I doubt that Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou or its manga will ever make it across the Pacific, and this is a true shame. Even a short series like this displays much of what makes anime so attractive: not the silly fictional elements, but the vast amounts of humanity poured into every single person. This is a definite must-see for those who love to stop and smell the roses.