Thursday, December 24, 2015

Secret Santa Project Review: Moyashimon

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This year marks the first time I’ve been able to participate in Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project! I was aware of it even before I started blogging, but my schedule always got so busy around this time that I wasn’t able to take part until now.

I received some excellent recommendations from my Secret Santa—all of which I’ll likely watch at some point—but since I only had time for one, I picked the show that I’ve been meaning to watch for years—Moyashimon!

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I’d heard a little about this show in the past, but it wasn’t until Silver Spoon aired a while back that I started to hear people singing this show’s praises. I can see where the comparison comes from—both shows take place in an agricultural school, and both revolve around characters who are going through a story arc about what it means to grow up and start to become your own person. However, Moyashimon has something that Silver Spoon doesn’t—

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Adorable microbes!

For the first half of the show, I was mainly just fascinated by the microbes. They’re adorable, sarcastic, and make threats using the word “brew.” What’s not to love? I felt like I learned more from these guys than I ever did from a science class since the little lessons with the microbes at the end of each episode were as silly as they were entertaining. For a while, I was watching each episode for the sole reason of seeing what they would do next.

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Part of this was because I did not find the main characters very interesting at the beginning. Tadayasu’s ability to see microbes is interesting but the only thing he had going for him, his friend Kei might as well have been wallpaper before vanishing, Hazuki and Oikawa felt like they were just added to give the series more female characters, and Misato and Kawahama were the bumbling comic relief and little else. Haruka was a bit better, but for a while her character revolved around her wardrobe and her snark, which was not much better. For a while, the only character that I liked was Professor Itsuki, who is equal parts enigmatic and hilarious. Although his actions in the first episode almost made me barf since I made the mistake of eating while starting the series…

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Imagine eating lunch and then this happens
This isn’t to say that I disliked the characters; it’s just in the first half I didn’t really see a reason to root for them. I was ambivalent and content with occasionally sarcastic microbes. Although I did start to wonder when any of them went to class.

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And then the school festival arc happened.

It was absolutely ridiculous, but it changed my mind on a lot of the characters. Now that it wasn’t just about microbes but also teamwork to achieve a prize of dubious quality, I found myself laughing a lot and liking the series a lot more than before.

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It also helped that it ended in Oikawa embracing her inner bisexual
From there on in, the show seemed focused on expanding on the characters so that they felt like real people, which was the missing piece that I needed to fully fall in love with Moyashimon. I will say that the ending felt like a bit of a cop out—it set up a perfect opportunity for Tadayasu to do some soul-searching, but it ended in “this happens sometime, so whatever.” Oh well. At least the gothic lolita sidebar was entertaining.

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Check out my new ship
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Even though Moyashimon stopped more than ended, it was a fun ride and I can see why I heard so much about it even years after it aired. I would check out the second season, but I’ve been told by my Secret Santa and other reviews that I’ve read that it’s not as good as the first season, so I’ll stop here with my positive impression. I encourage anyone interested in it to check it out! Moyashimon is a unique show that deserves the praise it’s received over the years. Thanks, Secret Santa!

Screenshots are from Please support official simulcasts.


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