I had actually finished Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou about a week ago, but alas could not make a post about it until now due to lack of internet and whatnot. Much like with Summer Wars, I am going to make the kind of statement about Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou which if stripped of its context is going to make the show sound really bad: why was this anime even made?
Normally, that statement is the lead-in to trashing some poorly-made schlock and lamenting about all the time, energy, and effort that was wasted there when it would have obviously been used elsewhere to create some masterpiece. With YKK, it’s more to do with the fact that the anime medium provides very little added value over the manga. Even the most basic aspects of the medium of anime that are part of the appeal of watching it rather than reading the manga don’t really exist in YKK. And again, this is not meant as a condemnation of a shoddy adaptation.
Instead, this is because Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is so mono no aware and so iyashi-kei that there really is nothing to voice or animate. There is just so little dialogue or narration, period. Then again, considering that the setting is a post-apocalyptic Japan, it’s kind of obvious that there really isn’t anyone around most of the time for Alpha to ever be able to talk to. Similarly, the “plot”—and I use that term loosely—of the series is Alpha waiting around wondering if her owner is going to come back to his cafe that she is currently managing. There’s little animation not because of cost-cutting measures that have characters speaking with their backs to the audience, but because there simply isn’t anything to animate if Alpha is just standing at the counter.
There is one crucial difference, however: time. With the manga, Alpha sits there for as long as you’d like her to until you turn the page. The manga consists heavily of one and two page spreads, so there often isn’t paneling set up to keep your eyes constantly moving across the pages. Similarly, there is little to no dialogue driving along a plot.
However, in anime everything needs to have a fixed duration. This had an interesting effect as I watched the show where sometimes my sense of timing was not really the same as the show’s, and I would take in my fill of the ahh-ness of a scene and almost unconsciously turn away from the screen and pay attention to something else until I almost as unconsciously came back to the screen.
But at least I didn’t fall asleep like I did when I tried to watch Mushishi.