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[Anime Review] Denki-Gai no Honya-san (2014)

Official Website (Japanese)

Plot Summary: Umanohone (Horse Bone) is a comic book store in the electronics district. The story follows the lives of the workers at the store as well as their colorful customers, all of whom are hardcore fans of one genre or another.

Director: Masafumi Sato

Episode Runtime: 12 episodes

Genre: Comedy, Slice-of-Life

Studio: Shin-Ei Animation

Internet Streaming: Crunchyroll

Licensed by: Ponycan USA

Main Cast:

  • Minami Tsuda as Sensei
  • Natsumi Takamori as Hiotan
  • Ryota Ohsaka as Umio

Review: by Nena

I read the plot summary for this show and was immediately interested. From a fan perspective, it's always fun to see different aspects of what goes on "behind the scenes" in the manga and anime world, so I knew that I wanted to check it out. The character designs looked pretty good as well.

What I Liked:

I love a good slice-of-life anime. Denki Gai followed very well in the footsteps of the classic slice-of-life animes that have come before it (think Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star). Those were both based on yonkoma (4-panel) manga strips, and while Denki Gai wasn’t, it felt like it could have been. There was no need for an ongoing plot or unnecessary drama because at the end of the day, it’s all about the characters and how they interacted with each other. The scenes moved at a refreshingly quick pace and everything seemed well-executed from start to finish.

My favorite characters were Sensei, Hiotan, and Sommelier. Sensei was awkwardly adorable and I loved how realistic her character was in terms of being an up-and-coming manga author. I found myself rooting for her in several scenes, especially when others pointed out her low “girl meter” and lack of traditional feminine virtues. She had a habit of acting childish and crying loudly whenever she got overwhelmed, which was always really funny. Her budding relationship with Umio was also enjoyable to watch considering how shy they both were.

I liked Hiotan because she got flustered very easily, so it was fun seeing Kantoku tease her (their relationship was cute too). She came across as a typical innocent and clumsy girl at first, but then her character took on a new dimension once it was discovered that she liked to read porn. She also had a great relationship with Sensei, often going into “mommy mode” and calming her down when she got into one of her childish crying moods. One particularly great scene that had me laughing out loud was when Hiotan accidentally spilled ink on one of Sensei’s manuscript pages. Sensei started crying and rolling around on the floor as expected, but when Hiotan is called upon to go into “mommy mode”, the camera cuts over to reveal that not only has Hiotan begun freaking out as well, she started a chain reaction of crying that affected almost the entire cast (yes, even Sommelier!).

Speaking of Sommelier, he was my favorite male member of the cast. While Kantoku or Umio may have been closer to “main character material”, Sommelier had a quiet intensity about him that really shone through in his interactions with other characters. He managed to say so much without actually saying much at all. Need a great manga to read? Sommelier’s your man. Need something rare and/or hard-to-find? He’s got you covered there too. Sommelier was an expert in his craft and truly lived up to his nickname. Also, his interactions with Fu Girl were very sweet. The two of them were a perfect example of “opposites attract”.

I also liked how they didn’t go overboard with the sexual innuendos. They were definitely there, but it was played up for comedy and genuine embarrassment rather than just being there for the pure smut/fanservice factor. To be honest though, I do think the character designs had something to do with that. It’s hard to get too sexy when a good chunk of your cast looks like they’d probably fit in with the 6th graders from Mitsudomoe.

What I Didn’t Like:

Although I did enjoy the “Fu Girl beating Umio as a zombie” gag, it did feel a bit repetitive after a few times. The only other thing I can think of is that we never really got to clearly see Sommelier’s eyes. I get that it’s part of his character design and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a point of dislike, but I just thought it was weird.

Images Courtesy of Random Curosity

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