Title: Moyashimon aka Tales of Agriculture
Format: 11 episodes
Dates: 11 Oct 2007 – 20 Dec 2007
Synopsis: Sawaki Souemon Tadayasu is the second son of a miso fermenter. He can see and interact with bacteria and microorganisms with the naked eye. As he enters the University of Agriculture, what sort of troubles and adventures will his quirky ability get him into?
Characters: All memorable.
Bacteria: E. coli has never been so adorable.
Educational value: Quite high.
Ending: There’s got to be a second season.
Final word: Traps + Yuri = Serious gender confusion.
Wait. Did someone just tell me there’s an anime about bacteria?
That’s what everyone said, but as Moyashimon‘s own home page specifically states, “Bacteria are NOT the main characters of this anime.” Instead, the anime focuses on Sawaki, a carefree college freshman with the ability to see bacteria and his bumpy ride through his first semester in college. The premise is simple: his grandfather entrusts Sawaki to an old friend, Professor Itsuki. Itsuki is one of the leading microbiologists in the country, and serves as a mentor to Sawaki as he utilizes his abilities for research. Tagging along are Itsuki’s equally strange research group, including masosadistic grad student Hasegawa Haruki, germophobic freshman Oikawa, poor, bumbling sophomores Misato and Kawahama, and school beauty Mutou Aoi.
That being said, the series does not have an awful amount of plot. It’s treated more as separate incidents that occur in the daily life of a college freshman, from working on the farms to research in the labs, all tied together with an overarching storyline that drives the series forward. It’s all right that Moyashimon has no plot, however, as each of the characters are unique in their own special way. It’s rare that such a diverse cast of characters come together, each with their own twists and turns that viewers wouldn’t expect. The voice acting is rather inspired, making the show all the more enjoyable to listen to.
The comedy in this series is golden. From the opening moments of the show to the final blackout, there were seldom periods of time when I wasn’t laughing. The humor assumes the intelligence of the audience; the show never dumbs itself down for its audience. From the doomed-to-fail get-rich-quick schemes of Kawahama and Misato, to Oikawa’s comically obsessive-compulsive nature, to the various characters’ drunken antics, viewers will find themselves chuckling along with the show.
The tidbits of entry-level microbiology are just as interesting as the rest of the show is funny, if not more, due to excellent voice acting by the cast. It’s equally amusing and disgusting to watch cute little 3D cartoon mold eat gluten and crap out alcohol. To its extreme advantage, the biology in Moyashimon is not intrusive at all. Most biology lectures occur in a separate and equally entertaining mini-segment after the end credits. These short segments, known as “Microbe Theatre,” are rendered in a 2D-3D fusion, showcasing Moyashimon’s strongest point: animation.
The character designs are sharp and clean, and the animation is strong and fluid. No one in this show looks “generic.” Everyone has their own unique look and their own “signature” expressions, and this entire medley of great voice acting and excellent animation quality blends together to form a relaxing and enjoyable watching experience.
Yet, the show ends on a bit of a downer. The creators attempted to cover four volumes of manga within 11 episodes of anime; this led to a bit of a rushed feel towards the end. The finale of the series is neither conclusive, nor is it finished. There’s no reason why this series doesn’t deserve a Season Two; in fact, the ending almost makes the studio obliged to create a second season. And when it comes, we will all be waiting, for this is one of the most excellent and entertaining anime to come around in a long, long time.
The Rating: 9
Reviewed by: Akira