Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighbourhood Story) – episode 1

April 2, 2006 on 10:37 pm | In Gokinjo Monogatari | 1 Comment

“The Person I like!”

Ten years before Kobayashi Osamu came along and made the sometimes interesting yet deeply flawed Paradise Kiss, another of Yazawa Ai’s manga was adapted for TV. Gokinjo Monogatari is a prequel of sorts to Paradise Kiss, in that they share several characters and the same design school.

There the similarities apparently end, because Gokinjo Monogatari has a very positive feeling about it and endearingly eccentric characters. In Mikako and Tsutomu we have been given a relationship that doesn’t look like there is any room for wankery; it’s all very flowery, but is a great example of minimalistic mid-nineties style.

Mikako lives in an apartment block, next door to Tsutomu. They have known each other all of their lives and are best friends; as Mikako realises that she is beginning to develop feelings for Tsutomu, he is becoming more and more popular as he “resembles” a famous pop star, Ken Manbou.
This episode involves a misunderstanding between the two of them over the belle of the school, a girl who goes by the nickname of “Nice Body-ko”. On her way home, Mikako finds a stray cat in the rain and the next 49 episodes are set in motion.

Gokinjo Monogatari is animated very sparingly, and stylish characters are spindly in a monkeyish sort of way; it’s no coincidence that Mikako always accuses Tsutomu of being a monkey. These humble designs mean that the show fails in any way to look pretentious, and is instead allowed to display its charm to the full.

This style, of course, would not fly in today’s fickle market. I personally love the solid colours and basic styles on display. It looks very much like a mid-eighties production, rather than mid-nineties; one must consider that its contemporaries were the likes of Macross 7 and Evangelion. It’s the same style that Umezawa Atsutoshi and substantially the same crew managed to bring to Marmalade Boy that same year, and it’s a kind of signature for that era in shoujo that really breathes character into the surroundings.

Mikako is played with aplomb by Shishido Rumi, who reprised her role for Paradise Kiss, and Tsutomu is the always affable Yamaguchi Kappei, who likewise came back to record what was essentially one scene ten years later.

However, where Paradise Kiss had a bitter, poisonous bite, Gokinjo Monogatari is fluffy like clouds. I’ve talked to girls who have liked Yazawa Ai’s work considerably, so here’s to more of it coming out.
2006 marks her twentieth year in manga, and with this being revived and Nana on the horizon, she’s still going strong.

1 Comment

  1. […] Thanks to Cinnamon’s Wake, I was able to discover this little beauty. Seeing as I’m not able to read whatever language that blog is in, I had to go find it. (I thought for a second I’d be the first one to post about this, but I was beat to the punch by this -plus, its a better read anyways-) […]

    Pingback by Kono Sono~This That » Gokinjo Monogatari Episode 1 — April 5, 2006 #

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