Danchigai

Danchigai

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Haruki Nakano lives in an apartment complex with his four sisters. Being the only boy of five siblings, Haruki finds it tougher than most living day-to-day with his perfect older sister Mutsuki, difficult younger sister Yayoi and mischievous twins Uzuki and Satsuki.

Based on the four-panel comedy manga series by Kazusa Yoneda, which has been featuring in Manga 4-Koma Palette since Summer 2011, Danchigai focuses on Haruki’s everyday struggles of being an adolescent male in a house full of sisters.

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One of a fair few anime shorts to be featured this summer, Danchigai immediately shows Haruki trying to help and care for his four sisters. They’re all different ages and have quite varying personalities, which leads to a lot of fun situations and mildy-humorous shenanigans. When Uzuki and Satsuki see him peacefully sleeping, they’re straight in there to pin him down and mercilessly tickle him. Yayoi misinterprets every situation and assumes Haruki is doing something perverted and responds in a typically violent manner whilst eldest sibling Mutsuki tries to re-establish order whilst getting on with the household chores.

I quite enjoyed the first episode, which quickly introduced everyone and the dynamic that exists in the family whilst having fun and being playful with the observational comedy of siblings living together. The first few episodes following that have been relatively interesting and engaging and each has picked a member of the family to draw the focus on, further exploring their personalities without breaking the pace. For example, in the second episode the twins have to talk about their family for a school project, which is a good opening to discuss each character in a bit more depth.

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I appreciate the ways in which short anime series’ get creative and innovative with introducing and exploring characters when only given a short space of time to do so. Even so, they still manage to form a basic plot for the episode and throw in a few gags for good measure. It must be incredibly difficult to add depth and engagement when you’re working on an adaptation of a four-panel manga. I’m glad that these shorter anime types seem to have grown in popularity.

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I’m still not completely sure where Danchigai is going to go in terms of humour. There have been brief instances and allusions to the brother/sister thing, with misunderstandings about peeping or flipping skirts. Whilst I don’t consider it to be intended as creepy myself, I can see why others might think that there might be another layer to it. To me, it just seems like cheap titillation and an excuse of Yayoi to put Haruki in a full suplex. Whilst not all the jokes are like this, I do wonder if it will continue this approach to comedy all the way through.

imageOverall, it’s a show that’s meant to make you laugh and get creative with the different ways that the siblings interact with one another and the trials and tribulations of living under one roof with so many brothers and sisters. Since this dynamic was established right at the beginning, it paves the way for the humour to flow freely so we get to see a lot more family banter.

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Whilst Danchigai is clearly not set out to be groundbreaking, I do like to keep a few anime shorts in my queue just because I enjoy their cheerful and episodic anecdotes and catchy songs. This one caught my attention within the first two episodes, so I hope it continues to deliver throughout the rest of its run.