October 06, 2021

Kiyo in Kyoto

A new anime series based on the award-winning manga, Kiyo in Kyoto, is streaming on NHK World and Crunchyroll.

As you will see from the (lack of) inbetweening, the use of rotoscoped backgrounds, and the monthly release schedule, this isn't a budget-intensive production.

Rather like The Way of the Househusband, it uses what I'd call the PowerPoint approach to animation, more a moving manga.

To be sure, The Way of the Househusband was purposely directed as "an animation that looks like a manga." With Kiyo in Kyoto, my best guess is that NHK World chose to divert their available resources into the adorable character designs and top-notch voice talent.

They certainly are adorable and top-notch.

The setting is Kyoto, so we're also treated to a delightful sampling of the Kyoto and Aomori dialects (coaches for both are listed in the credits). The genre is one of the most reliable in popular Japanese narrative fiction.

Food. With a fascinating setting, Kyoto's Kagai, or geisha district. In other words, cute girls doing interesting things. Don't expect deep drama or complex story arcs. That's not the point. It's slice-of-life comfort food that succeeds surprisingly well at being both entertaining and educational.

Kiyo is the live-in cook at the Maiko House and her childhood friend Sumire is an aspiring maiko, an apprentice geiko (more commonly known in Tokyo as geisha). The reason sixteen-year-old Kiyo isn't in school is because secondary education in Japan is only compulsory through junior high.

Each thirty-minute episode is split into three segments that follow a similar format, a day-in-the-life about Kiyo and Sumire followed by a discussion of the featured recipe (with Sumire doing the research).

The manga won the "Best Shounen Manga" award at the Shogakukan Manga Awards in 2020 (curiously enough, the boy's category). The studio is anime heavyweight J.C. Staff, which does a fine job within the given constraints.

The Makanai (referring to the meals provided by the live-in cook at a boarding house) is Netflix's live-action version.

Related links

The Makanai
Kiyo in Kyoto (CR NHK)
The Way of the Househusband
Cute girls doing interesting things

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# posted by Blogger Joe
10/09/2021 12:12 AM   
Are regional accents across Japan as varied as they are across the UK? Or even just England?
# posted by Blogger Eugene
10/10/2021 12:24 PM   
During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shoguns imposed an authoritarian form of federalism on the provinces. This was to keep discontented governors from banding together and overthrowing the regime (which was exactly what happened in 1868, but they kept it at bay for 250 years).

You needed an internal passport to leave your own province and getting caught without one could get you tossed in jail (though the draw of the big city was often worth the risk). As a result, the outlying provinces developed distinct identities and dialects that have persisted to this day.