The Wandering Witch – Gets Shorted (Again)!

Posted on May 25 2016


Welcome, all, again. As with the last few viewing seasons, we are once again being introduced to some fun new shorts. And, personally, I’m a huge fan of the style. Shorts offer a quick hit of anime when it might otherwise be difficult to fit in viewing time, or when you just don’t have the wherewithal to watch a full-length episode. They offer an opportunity to explore storylines that might not have the strength to carry longer episodes, while also providing studios with focused test marketing. Thus everyone stands to benefit: viewers, artists, and studios. I have become an ardent fan of Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro, and am also enjoying SPACE PATROL LULUCO, Pan de Peace!, and Usakame, each of which we’ll cover.


Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro is my hands-down favorite short of this season, and one of my favorite current anime series! (Only Flying Witch and Anne-Happy continue to inspire similar affection and likewise demand my most immediate attention.) Not on your radar yet? Agetaro is the eldest son and heir-apparent in a family-run tonkatsu restaurant, but has never been particularly excited about his situation. After all, pig and cabbage, right? What does catch his attention is the club scene, to which he is introduced when a regular customer at the restaurant requests a delivery. What’s a young man to make of lights, music, and bodies all shimmering and colliding within the most surreal space he’s ever encountered? Well, Agetaro makes it his personal ambition! He soon realizes that unexpected similarities exist between cooking and DJing, and he draws inspiration from each in his pursuit of the other. This series is its own little psychedelic experience, from the infectious music to its rough, almost Western style of artwork. And different is now certifiably good!


Next on our list is SPACE PATROL LULUCO, which thus far hasn’t had nearly the amount of gratuitous nudity and graphic violence that I’ve come to associate with Studio Trigger productions. [That is not a criticism, Trigger. Love your work(!), especially when my wife is out of the house.] A thirteen-year-old human girl living in a town shared with alien life forms suddenly finds herself working her father’s law enforcement job with Space Patrol. Her old man managed to get himself frozen, so she must take his place in order to pay for reviving him. But her dismay is somewhat eased when it turns out that the handsome new transfer student in her class is also an agent of Space Patrol. Unfortunately, her much more curvaceous classmate Midori also joins the agency in a plea deal to avoid punishment for selling bootleg apps. Well, more curvaceous and more alien–and things are suddenly more interesting! Teenage confusion and angst get percolated through witty humor and frenetic pacing. . .and know that Trigger hasn’t entirely abandoned its signature visuals!


Going in a completely opposite direction, Pan de Peace! is a light-hearted and syrupy show about four female high school friends who all love baked goods. Minami is rather addicted to bread, which unusual dietary preference propels her to the attention of a group of like-minded fellow students. At just three-and-a-quarter minutes long per episode, this is the shortest of the shorts we’ll discuss today. But don’t be fooled by its brevity! A lot gets crammed into this show, so much that you might even miss something. Its warm, soft artwork and light tone act to camouflage some unexpectedly suggestive situations and dialogue. Can’t possibly be true? Tape a piece of paper to cover everything but the subtitles before actually watching the episode. Told you.


Last on our list is a nominal return to sanity (for your safety as well as ours!). Usakame is a spin-off of Teekyu and focuses upon the rival tennis team from Usakame High School. How can anything related to Teekyu be accused of sanity? For starters, these students actually play tennis. Their club also has an advisor–real adult supervision(!), however infrequent. And episodes are almost twice as long as those of Teekyu, so the pace is more manageable. If Usakame still mirrors its inspiration, then it does so through a funhouse mirror, distorting attributes and redirecting our attention. Same humor, just slowed down enough to comprehend.

And so concludes what is becoming a recurring feature of this column, the seasonal shorts review. But quality deserves recognition, so I hope that these programs might attract your interest. This is good stuff! From the animated acid trip that is Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro to a little yakitate (freshly-baked) yuri, from space strippers to Usakame‘s unlimited potential for double entendres, this season has the shorts you’ll want! (Just do the rest of us a favor and try them on before you show them off–after all, not everyone needs to know everything about you. That’s for cons.)

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