What’s the show? Dagashi Kashi (2016).
Gesundheit. No, that’s the name of the show. It means ‘cheap sweets candy’, which is also what the show is about.
The show is about candy? And savoury snack treats too, specifically Japanese ones, the kinds you’d find really cheap at a corner store in your youth.
It’s not just about that though, right? Well, if by that you mean does it have human characters to interact with the candy, by talking about it at length and consequently ingesting said candy into their bodies via their mouth holes? Because yes it certainly is about… more… than just…
Hello? Are you still there? You didn’t really answer my question, you just kind of tailed off. Shidare Hotaru; nice oppai.
Wow, okay. That came out of nowhere? Who is she? She’s like that trope that a lot of people get annoyed about, you know the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ except this one isn’t remotely interested in the main character Shikada ‘Coconuts’ Kokonotsu, an aspiring manga author. She only has eyes for Dagashi and is there to convince ‘Coconuts’ to run his father’s Dagashi store so she can take said parental figure to come work for her company. And then there’s the owner of the local café, Endo Saya, Coconuts’ childhood friend who is totally in love with him, but he doesn’t see her as anything other than a good friend. Or does he?
Okay good, so there is a plot. Unrequited love triangles, following your dreams or following tradition. Yeah I can see the appeal. No, sorry, I think you misunderstood; this show is literally… just… about… candy.
But what about all that about running his father’s store and the café owner? I’m sorry, is the show called ‘How To Deal With Parental Expectations and Suddenly Attractive Childhood Friends?’ No, it’s called ‘Dagashi Kashi’ and it’s about candy and Hotaru has NICE OPPAI.
Are you okay? You seem kind of stressed… Oh, I’m stressed…
Talk to me, why are you stressed? After watching twelve, 25 minute episodes of Dagashi Kashi I feel like I know more about Japanese candy and snacks than I should! I feel like it’s pushed out actually important information out of my brain like how to perform CPR and trigonometry and what my grandmother’s face looked like and has replaced it with the history of milk caramels, how to eat kinako-bou and how to tell the different varieties of fugashi apart while blindfolded!
Sounds kind of like a series of commercials made into a TV show? Sometimes, yeah! I mean it’s not that it isn’t entertaining. Hotaru makes for a mesmerising ‘host’ of sorts, without her the food segments of this show would be insufferable but she makes them downright charming. Her enthusiasm about dagashi snacks is infectious!
So it is really all about candy. Huh. Then what about all that character stuff you mentioned before? That’s all window dressing. Which is a shame because that’s when the show is at its best, it’s around about the final three episodes when it starts integrating the shameless candy promotion into the narrative much more effectively, at which point it starts to feel like an actual television show. ‘Coconuts’ and Saya have such history and chemistry together that you want them to be together even if Hotaru is…
Best girl? Oh, totally best girl. Even though she is quite possibly the most mentally unstable person in an otherwise pretty grounded universe.
Any other characters worth mentioning? Wow, it’s almost like this question was planned so I could specifically mention it! Ha ha ha… Yes, Shikada Yo, ‘Coconuts’ father and owner of the Dagashi shop. He is comic relief personified, in all the right ways. There’s seldom a moment where he’s on screen and I’m not at least grinning.
So you recommend the show then? Even with its faults? I may have overstated the so-called ‘stress’ this show caused me. It’s jarring to watch a show and suddenly find yourself in a commercial for candy and snacks, but it’s also within character and within universe, and it’s not nearly as intrusive as it probably sounds. In fact it makes it downright charming, though a part of that is undoubtedly just the Japanese coming off as so sincere and passionate when talking about food. I can’t even imagine this show in English.
It does have an English dub though? I dare you to check it out! Go on, I’ll wait. …Fine.
[Several Minutes Later] How was it? Nope! Never again! Hearing an American talk passionately about food is about as jarring and unnatural as hearing a British person talk about sex or an Australian talk about politics. Just, no!
It’s not as bad as the Food Wars dub though? Ugh, nothing is as bad as that.
So, recommended? Sure! As long as you’re not one of those people who have a conniption over product placement.
Final score? Like a bottle of ramune on a hot summer day, satisfying, not perfect but still pretty damn good. 79 out of 100.