My Sister the Osaka Mama
Kyosuke has lived in Tokyo all his life. He has a little sister Namika, but the two have lived apart for many years. Recently she's moved from Osaka to live with him. Kyousuke is learning about the many differences between regions. Perhaps it's not just that she's from Osaka, but a little weird in general.
Warning bells were going off in my head when I came across this one so I simply avoided it. But then by weird coincidence a month or two later I happened to be studying the Kansai accent in preparation for a stay in Osaka and I figured I'd give it a shot. It turns out this anime deserves a chance, however enjoyment depends on your interest in Japanese culture. It also helps to understand where it's coming from.
Japan has many regions with distinct differences. Much of what we're exposed to in anime is the "regular" Tokyo accent and mannerisms, but it's not that way everywhere. Osaka is a city farther south in Japan. People there are stereotyped as being friendly, outgoing party animals that love good deals among many other things. Stereotypes are of course not fact, but often there is a kernel of truth to them. A humorous set of books called the Osaka-mama series, offers a tongue in cheek guide to dealing with people from Osaka. This was transposed into an anime featuring a girl as the Osaka mama. The show struggles by essentially grafting the personality of a 65 year old woman into a teenager, but that's part of its charm.
The show is very short: about 3 minutes per episode, so watching all 12 only takes about 40 minutes. There isn't even an intro; the segment just starts with Namika saying something outrageous after Kyousuke's brief explanation. It then follows what I'm assuming is the book format. Each part is like a skit teaching you something about how Osaka people supposedly behave. I'm sure not how accurate it is, but it was funny to see things pointed out that I've even seen in people in America do. Like talking back to the TV, or giving directions when they have idea where to go themselves. I wasn't particular on the show at first, but it really grew on me.
It's strange to say, but Namika has more of a personality to her than some characters in full shows spanning 26 episodes. Once I had a feel for her personality, I found I liked her quirky Osaka nature. Watching her haggle with the lunch lady at the school cafeteria may sound lame, but it's a bit more funny because it's expected at that point. "Okay, so I can't get a discount... but could I get a bonus instead?" The ending credits are basically Namika singing in a bathtub, and I'm thinking - blah.. pandering fan service... But listening to the songs I found them somewhat amusing and cute.
Technically this isn't much of an anime... it's more like a flash animation. The two main voice actors do okay, but the extras sound unbelievably cheesy. If you know some Japanese, a fascinating feature of the show is the heavy contrast between Kyousuke's Tokyo accent vs Namika's heavy Osaka accent and lingo.
My Little Sister is an Osaka Mama is an interesting watch if you're interested in culture. I found it funny (maybe not gut busting funny, but highly amusing) but the brand of humor is not exactly what people watch anime for. It sits in an awkward spot merging the Osaka mama idea with the "anime little sister" concept, but approaches it more intelligently than even some serious shows do these days. Worth checking into.
Gaijin: Oh Mayonnaise! I like it!
Kyousuke: How is this conversation even happening?
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