Anime review: Moyashimon
Status: watched 9 episodes (of 11)
Tadayasu Sawaki can see microbes. And not just under a microscope, but floating around in the air all the time. Plus, he can hear their conversations and even – occasionally – get them to do his bidding. But when it comes to superpowers, there’s not much you can do with this one, unless your archenemy is really prone to athlete’s foot. So, Tadayasu enrolls in an agricultural university in hopes of using his powers for good – well, actually, his family forces him to go so he can look after the family business – The Sawaki Yeast Shop.
Sometimes I look at all the new anime releases of the season and think “do we really need more moe/harem/magical girl/recycled mecha shows?” And then something like Moyashimon comes along.
This show is very, very odd on a number of levels. The obvious one is a main character who can interact with microbes. I’m also going to guess this is the first anime ever set in an agricultural university. Then, there’s the obsession, that runs through all the episodes, with fermentation. Before this show, I really never put much thought into it, but I am now fascinated by the thought of millions of unseen – and incredibly cute – little bastards flying around helping to perfect everything from soy sauce to cigars. There’s also an occasional scene right out of a high school biology class, which I found a little tedious. And then there’s the “slice of school life” with all the relationship problems and usual challenges, like fighting a huge ninja-wrestler hell bent on keeping you locked into the campus.
All of this, packed into 11 episodes. This show is remarkably efficient – ideas and concepts aren’t dragged out – with so few episodes, there’s no time for wistful looks and tiresome montages. And by choosing a small cast, only about 7 main characters, you really get to know them and, like Genshiken, wish you could all drink sake together.
One more odd thing I will point out is the flag of the university which looks almost identical to the flag of Portugal. Turns out the similarity is not a coincidence. According to Wikipedia, the Department of Agriculture building is a replica of the University of Coimbra (which I’ve visited!). Is it a stretch to assume that one of the manga/show’s writers studied biology in Portugal? This show just gets more and more interesting…