Dagashi Kashi blipped onto my radar this past winter after I happened upon a promotional image for the second season. I thought the character designs looked pretty interesting, so I decided to give the series a try. In doing so, I ended up learning more about Japanese snack culture than I ever thought possible.
Dagashi Kashi—literally “Cheap Sweets”—offers up your typical assortment of Shounen-style humor through a uniquely informational slice-of-life narrative. Our story is loosely based around an eccentric girl’s effort to convince a young man to take over his family’s business so that she can then hire his father to work for her own family’s company.
Similar to what you’ll find in something like Food Wars, normally unremarkable tasks such as talking, playing cards, and eating candy are intensified through use of visual metaphor and convincing voice acting. What makes Dagashi Kashi different, though, is its episodic template in which the first half of each episode almost always includes a dramatized lecture about a snack food of some kind, and the second half focuses moreso on our characters’ thoughts and feelings. The style of animation is pretty distinct, and the soundtrack ranges from very laid-back and quirky to surprisingly gripping—often to match the shifts in dramatic intensity for any given scene.
The first season of the manga adaptation was directed by Shigehito Takayanagi (Blood Blockade Battlefront), and animated by feel. (Kiss x Sis). Takayanagi worked closely with Yasuko Kamo (also Blood Blockade Battlefront) on scene composition, while Satoshi Motoyama (Bartender, Caligula) took care of the sound design, and Kanetoshi Kamimoto handled character design.
All of the original voice actors reprised their roles for the second season, as did Motoyama, and one of the writers. Aside from that, the producers really shook things up. Animation/production duties were shifted from feel. over to Tezuka Productions. Tezuka brought Satoshi Kuwabara on board as director, and Mayumi Morita was given charge of series composition. This combination of studio, director, and composer achieved previous success with Black Jack, so it’s not surprising that they’d end up on the same team again. Nana Miura, who helped animate the Black Jack Final OVA, was assigned the roles of character designer and chief animator.
The new crew managed to pretty much capture the same look and feel of the first season barring the addition of two new main characters, and one BIG difference—the episodes are only 12 minutes a piece instead of 24. They ended up getting away with this change easily enough, though, because season one spent so much more time getting viewers acquainted with the original cast of characters.
There’s a line in the first season that goes something like “…the significance of a dagashi shop. Not only is it a place for relaxation, but also a place where bonds are created by interacting customers. It’s a place that creates connections among people.”
This line represents the very essence of Dagashi Kashi. While the first season moves along at a pretty slow pace, it develops connections between the characters themselves, and also between the characters and the audience. Season two then molds those relationships into something truly entertaining. Together, they combine for a subtly sweet mix of slice-of-life storytelling coated in educational opportunity, then sprinkled with just enough drama to keep it interesting.
Season 1&2 Combined Score: 7.5/10
The Weeabros don’t own the images used in this review, bro.
Post Script: So I’m attempting to teach myself how to more effectively use grammatical tools like em dashes, semicolons, etc. Please let me know if I’m making any egregious grammatical errors. Kthanks