Hakumei to Mikochi – Episode 1 [First Impression]
The premise of Hakumei to Mikochi (HTM) is that Hakumei and Mikochi are two very tiny people living in a big world; 9cm (3.5in), to be exact. They live in a tiny house at the bottom of a tree, cut leaves and prepare food with tiny utensils, and use beetles as transportation. It’s a really, really cute show to say the least. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
HTM reminds me a lot of Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (Girls’ Last Tour), a title I started covering last season but dropped it just before the halfway point. Both shows feature two female leads, and even their personalities have many similarities (Chito = Hakumei / Yuuri = Mikochi). However I feel that Hakumei and Mikochi have a better friendship, although this might be partially due to the world that the shows takes place in (a kind world full of nature vs an empty world that is almost completely devoid of mankind). Another thing the two shows have in common is that each episode is made up of at least 2 segments.
But anyways, enough about the comparisons. HTM is a damn cute show. This episode’s two segments focused on two adventures: traveling up a mountain to see a special bird at dawn to get a wish fulfilled, and journeying to a seaside marketplace to do some shopping.
In the former, there is a report in the local paper about an evening kite (a large species of bird) being spotted up near the hills to the north. Hakumei wants to try catching it so it can help them move their belongings around more easily. However once they get going on their trip, there’s a snag – Mikochi has very little energy and has a hard time catching up to Hakumei, who is happily swinging her knife around to clear a path for them. They come across two beetles, who allow the girls to ride on their backs as they travel towards the hills. The girls use the opportunity to rest their legs and have some food.
Along the way Mikochi tells Hakumei about a pet bird she had many years before. She used to feed it minestrone soup, which it loved so much that all the soup would turn its beak a reddish color. Mikochi named her pet bird Kafu and she loved to give it soup once a day, but one day it stopped showing up and Mikochi never learned why.
Finally they arrive at the hills, and the view is spectacular. Night has fallen by this point so the girls can see the light from the other homes in the valley below, while twinkling stars span the night sky. The girls eat a peanut together and Hakumei starts to eat the last of the soup – but it’s taken from her! The evening kite is right behind them! It flaps its wings and the draft throws the girls onto the bird’s back, and away they fly ~
After some explanations from Hakumei, Mikochi realizes that the bird is her beloved Kafu. Dawns breaks and neither girl knows what to wish for (part of the intrigue behind the legend of the evening kite was that if a person came across it at dawn, they would have any wish granted), so Hakumei makes her wish be for Kafu to drop them off back at their house. Once the girls land back home, Mikochi immediately grabs some tomatoes and hurries to the kitchen to make some more minestrone for Kafu. The bird leaves later at dusk, with Mikochi saying that she’ll be happy to make more soup for Kafu anytime he stops by.
In the second segment, the girls are shopping at the Tsumiki Marketplace in the town of Arabi. All the shows are crammed together very tightly, and there are several different areas where people can shop (down by the harbour, in an underground market, etc). Hakumei has never been to this market before, so Mikochi takes her to meet her master. The two ladies have some drinks and relax after having already done some shopping, and this is when Mikochi realizes she’s lost her wallet. She wants to rush out to find it, but her master persuades her to take Hakumei sightseeing around the market instead and to look for the wallet as they explore.
Mikochi has a very refined pallet, and as the girls walk around Mikochi is often inundated with requests from different shopkeepers to try some of their wares, or to help them with a recipe. It is very overwhelming and Mikochi is more often than not torn between trying to stay with Hakumei and helping the shopkeepers.
The girls break for lunch in what used to be the centre of the original Tsumiki marketplace, a bright open space with a large tree growing up out of the ground. Afterwards they come across the fabric shops and Mikochi reveals that luxurious fabrics are her one real weakness. She especially loves Hiromuta cotton, but it’s very expensive fabric and is far beyond what the girls can afford.
Hakumei finds a 500 yen coin in her sleeve and uses it to buy Mikochi a bolt of cloth which is half cheaper cotton, half Hiromuta cotton, which Hakumei fashions into a scarf for her friend. Mikochi loves it of course. (✿◠‿◠)
In the late afternoon the girls are still exploring the market, and Mikochi again has several shopkeepers approaching her to ask for help. This time however Hakumei waves Mikochi off, saying she will walk around alone for awhile so Mikochi can do her thing. As the sun sets the girls make their way to the harbour where they watch the sun go down and listen to the song sung by the townspeople which announces the closure of the market for the day. Hakumei adds her own touch by blowing the conch shell Mikochi bought her earlier.
On their way back to Mikochi’s master’s pub, they meet a young male shopkeeper who has found Mikochi’s wallet and held onto it for her. When they arrive back at the master’s pub, the Port Lounge Kobone, the girls see that the master has prepared a grand banquet for them using some of the foods they dropped off earlier. All three ladies enjoy a wonderful meal together as night falls upon the town of Arabi.
So what do I think? Like I said earlier, this is a really cute show, and I love the friendship that Hakumei and Mikochi share. There are moments when they both get on each other’s nerves, but that’s normal and overall I feel like they have a very healthy relationship.
Thinking back to Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (SSR), my only concern is that this will be an episodic series too. Not because it’s bad or anything, just because I often find those kinds of shows harder to cover. It’s one of the main reasons why I gave up SSR; there was an overall plot, but so little information was revealed about it that the show just became slow and boring. But HTM is a very sweet and heartwarming show, very much the opposite of SSR, so I am happy to cover it. I just hope that a larger plot will be revealed to help keep me interested. >>
The animation is gorgeous, with the characters and environments looking like they have a watercolor feel to them (at least to me). Very easy on the eyes. ^_^v
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