Kaushik here, with another anime review. With the winter season ending and the spring season soon upon us, I thought I’d start a wave of reviews starting with the show that surprised me the most this season. Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, or Engaged to the Unidentified. It started as a 4-panel comic strip in April of 2009, but aired as a 13 episode anime series from January to March of 2014.
It was a series I didn’t even mean to watch as I started picking up shows for the season, but I just happened to watch an episode a few weeks into the season, and I was hooked. It’s a comedy/romance series, but one thing that really sets it apart is that it just looks and feels like a high quality production. The studio behind it is Dogakobo, who did another show I really enjoyed earlier, Love Lab. This show is really similar in terms of production style. They also did the popular Yuru Yuri series. Let’s get into the details of it, though~
The plot for Mikakunin de Shinkoukei is pretty straightforward. Like a lot of these comedy, drama, or romance shows, I’d say the characters carry it more than the overarching plot. The situation here is there’s a family, the Yonomori family, is living a somewhat peaceful life. There’s 3 members in their happy little family, the mother Yonomori Akane, and two daughters, Yonomori Benio and Yonomori Kobeni. Of these 3, the main character is Kobeni. She’s kind of a plain girl, generally overshadowed by her older, perfect sister Benio. Her talent is housework. To be honest, she doesn’t have much going on, yet she’s inexplicably the main character. The mother is barely around in the show, and Benio is completely obsessed with her sister. More than that, she’s obsessed with the concept of younger sisters. However, she’s seen as the “perfect girl” in school so most people don’t notice her odd tendencies.
Enter the Mitsumine family. Mitsumine Hakuya and Mitsumine Mashiro, a brother and sister pair who, due to some arrangement with the Yonomoris’ grandfather, are staying with the Yonomori family. What’s more, Hakuya happens to be engaged to Kobeni. Hakuya is around Kobeni’s age, but Mashiro is quite clearly younger. Despite this, through some trickery, Mashiro is somehow allowed to attend high school with Kobeni and Hakuya. This is the first in a string of mysterious occurrences centering around the Mitsumine family. You learn a little later that the Mitsumines are not even human, but some sort of unidentified creatures with supernatural powers. One thing I enjoyed about this show is that they never quite said outright what the Mitsumines were, just that they were “unidentified creatures”. Which is enough for me, and quite honestly not too important to the scope of the story as a whole.
The unidentified Mitsumines are the other main characters of this show. Hakuya, a silent character only has eyes for Kobeni. He doesn’t say much, but when he does it’s generally to or for Kobeni. Between the two, it seems as if Hakuya is the only one is really interested in both the engagement and Kobeni. Kobeni on the other hand, doesn’t quite know what to think. Mashiro, Hakuya’s younger sister, is probably around eight to ten years old. She’s clearly not at high school age, but due to some trickery she does attend school with the other characters. She’s definitely a childish character, though she tries to act more mature than she is. As Kobeni’s sister-in-law, she often attempts to pair the two of them off, or help out Hakuya who is otherwise clueless about romance.
Considering Mashiro’s age, and Benio’s obsession with little sisters, it is no surprise what Benio’s feelings towards her are. Over the course of the show, they even dwarf Benio’s concern for her actual little sister, as she ruthlessly pursues Mashiro. Mashiro, for her part, is completely disgusted with Benio’s feelings. She makes every effort to get away from Benio, but sadly it does not end up working a lot of the time.
Besides the Yonomori and Mitsumine families, there are some other side characters in the show, all of them being classmatesof Kobeni and Benio. They aren’t as interesting as the main characters, though. They generally have some gimmicks or gags that end up being more annoying than funny. Luckily the main characters are by far more interesting and funny and make the show what it is.
Something I mentioned early on about this series is how much of a high-quality production it looks like. Like Love Lab, I really enjoy the style this show is done in. Particularly in regards to art and animation. The style looks great, and it’s very cleanly done. The characters all look unique and great, and I really prefer their anime designs to the original manga designs. The animation is smooth, and while there’s not many high action moments to animate, you can tell it’s well-done.
The music is the show is not that great. The opening and ending themes are “Tomadoi→Recipe” and “Masshiro World” by Mikakuning, which are just the voice actors in the sow. The songs are kind of cute but not that great. What I did really like from these songs though are the opening and ending animations accompanying these songs. They are cute and pretty well-done.
— Strong main characters
— Great style in art and animation
— Good humor
— Music is not great
— Some of the side characters are more annoying than funny or interesting
Director: Yoshiyuki Fujiwara
Character design: Ai Kikuchi
Music: Jun Ichikawa
Original creator: Cherry-Arai (manga)
Original run: January 8, 2014 – March 26, 2014
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