Being an episodic anime blogger who works full time really limits my ability to sample every new anime that’s released, so after picking my 3-4 series I’ll blog episodically, and chosing the other 10-12 series that I’ll watch but not write about, I generally look towards other bloggers’ opinions to see if I’ll add anything to my watch list.
Generally, this system had worked quite well for me until now, but with Kanamemo it failed. As the new anime season began, most of the bloggers that did a “first look” post of Kanamemo rated the series as one of the worst of the year, so I didn’t bother with Kanamemo. But, the other day I had some time on my hands and several episodes of Kanamemo on the computer so I watched the first episode and fell in love with the series.
A short description on Kanamemo’s plot and main characters.
Plot– Kanamemo is the story of thirteen year old middle school student Kana, who up until now had been living with her grandmother because her parents died early in her life. Recently, Kana’s grandmother passed away and after the funeral some moving men show up at her house and start hauling away her grandmother’s furniture.
Kana not being the smartest person in the world assumes that the movers will soon try to grab her and put her up for sale, so Kana rushes into her room and loads up a small bag with some of her clothes and rushes out of the house. Then Kana proceeds to search for a job that provides room and board, as Kana passes a newspaper delivery office she sees a help wanted sign offering room and board, but she runs away when she sees two of its female employees kissing outside the office.
Kana then keeps looking for a job but is turned down either because of her age or that she needs to show permission from her parents or guardian. As night approaches, Kana finds herself walking past the newspaper office when she gets slammed into and knocked unconscious by one of the employees returning from her route by bike.
When Kana wakes up she finds herself inside the office surrounded by its female employees. At first, the office chief offers Kana a job, but withdraws the offer temporally when she finds out that Kana is only thirteen. After hearing about Kana being a orphan with one to look after her, the chief gives Kana the job and just kind of forgets to fill out all the proper paperwork. Soon, Kana spends her days learning her job, attending school, cooking the office meals, and becoming part of the family of misfits who work and live at the newspaper office.
The cast of characters.
Kana-A thirteen year old orphan and middle school student, a very good cook, and a very sweet but not very smart girl.
Saki-The assistant chief of the office, and the only company manager that we ever see; while she’ only a fifth or sixth grader she is by far the most mature person working in the office.
Yume-Is a college age girl who attends a patisserie academy, she puts way too much sugar in everything she cooks. Yume and Yuuki are a openly lesbian couple and show their affection for each other in public.
Yuuki-Is a college age girl who also works at the newspaper, but it’s never shown what college, if any, she attends. Yuuki is Yume’s lover and she is very jealous if anyone gets too cozy with Yume.
Haruka-Is a college student who studies bio-fermentation, she is always seen drinking some form of intoxicating beverage. Haruka is a lesbian who has a weakness for cute girls between the ages of eight and fifteen. She is constantly hitting on Kana and getting smacked around by Saki and Hinata for her advances on Kana.
Hinata-Is a college age girl who has failed her entrance exams for two straight years, she works hard and thinks a lot about money but tends to try and get more money by gambling , playing raffles, and entering contests.
For me, Kanamemo is about the value of having a “family” and not being alone.
Yes, your Honor, the verdict is in and Kanamemo has been found guilty on all charges. Yes, Kanamemo is loaded with silly tropes, a unrealistic plot line, unbelievable characters, and just plain silliness that could never happen in real life but Kanamemo works for me. First and foremost, Kanamemo is about the value having some sort of family that cares for you, looks after you, keeps away the loneliness, and is non-judgemental and supportive. While the newspaper office is populated by a strange cast of weird girls, they form a “family” unit that works for them, and they’re happy with their arrangement. Many critics have been very mocking of the unrealistic nature of Kana’s situation saying that she must have other relatives to care for her, or her grandmother must have had money, or that the state would have sent her to some institution or boarding school for kids in her situation. But, I would rather see Kana being part of a family of misfits than going home alone each night to an empty house or a lonely boarding room at some school (think of Orihime from Bleach at home alone every night).
Another thing I like about Kanamemo is that while most of the girls attend some sort of school or college the series doesn’t spent much time showing the girls’ attending school, and while the girls work six days a week doing early morning and late evening newspaper delivery that’s still a small part of the show. School and work issues in Kanamemo only function to have the girls interact with themselves as a “family” unit, they greet each other before work, eat their breakfasts and dinners together, take trips to the public bath together, and generally hanging out in the evenings together before bed. Also, the employees of Kanamemo function as a full family in the respect that they do all the things a normal Japanese family would do together, such as, celebrating the Japanese holiday of Obon.
I guess, in the end, that I’m a sucker for the ‘family is were you make it” types of anime like Eureka 7, Brigadoon, Maison Ikkoku, and Clannad, which place as much value on the closeness of your relationships with your friends as you would with your normal family, in affect your friends and companions become your real family.
Notes about Japanese newspaper delivery. I did a little bit of research on this topic and found that over 90% of Japanese households take a daily paper, and about 35% of households take both a morning and evening paper. Also, since the papers are delivered very early in the morning and late evening it’s one of the jobs that are considered to be compatible with a student’s schedule with over 45% of the delivery employees being students and almost half of all delivery employees being female. A typical Japanese biking/walking delivery route has about 200 delivery points and takes about two hours in good weather to complete. Also, the delivery person is not paid a large amount of salary, I read a little ditty written by a college age newspaper delivery boy and he said he made less than 22,000 per year before the company deducts any fees they may charge for the use of a company dorm or other such living arrangements, and of course, taxes.