The Not so Secret Santa Projects first anime is Rumiko Takahashi Anthology. One of my good Anime-Planet buddies had been bugging me for years to watch this and I decided that this project would be the perfect surprise to tell her that I finally did watch it and she can have a review out of it too!
I've seen pretty much all of Rumiko Takahashi's works in anime form except for Maison Ikkoku which I do plan on getting around to one day. I was rather excited to start this series of one shots because I've enjoyed all her other stuff greatly. Each episode of this series is different and features all different characters. I've always enjoyed series like this honestly because if you don't like a particular episode you have something new to look forward to in the next. They had the same OP and ED for each of the episodes which I didn't mind so much but I didn't enjoy them at all either and always skipped them. Hearing them once was good enough. Visual wise there isn't really anything to talk about since it looks like pretty much like all her other works which is average and old looking. I like the look but I'm sure kiddies that won't watch anything made before the year 2000 won't touch this.
Episode 1 A penguin shows up in the middle of the night brought home by her husband. A very by the rules neighbour part of the housing committee doesn't like loud noises and always enforces the rules. Especially the no pets rule. Later in the episode we find out why this neighbour is the way she is and it is almost understandable. The woman who got stuck with hiding the penguin from her neighbour's the entire time has a son and he asked the cutest question being: "I wonder if penguin hating people exist?" I'm not sure how anyone could hate cute old Pitt-kun~ The woman at one point screams "A person that hates animals is a horrible person." Which I totally agree with haha! Near the end of Pitt-kun's stay at the apartment the woman takes him out for a walk late at night to a park a really surreal moment occurs where we see SPACE and a bunch of stars and stuff. It was quite strange but really calming at the same time. In the end they ended up getting caught by the rules lady but since Pitt-kun was leaving the next day nothing happened. I can't think of a better way to have started off this adorable show. Who wouldn't want a penguin in their house for a little while??
Episode 2 A romance villa is thinking about closing their doors because their father gave away his money a lot so they were always in the red. One of these people the father lent money to came back one day and wished to get married at the romance villa. Because of this old couple the girl who was thinking about closing down decides to keep trying and everyone else that works there agrees. Meh story was meh. There was some side romance dealing with the girl that ran the villa but it was terribly boring.
Episode 3 I dunno it was boring... Some old man and a girl...
Episode 4 We start with a funeral for a terrible mother in law. Everyone at the funeral rumors that it was in fact the daughter in law that was terrible but later we find out that the mother made her daughter in law out to be the bad guy when she was. Her husband ended up dying in the car crash with his mother. Some ashes were put into potted plants and it kind of haunted the poor widow. His last words to his wife was MOTHER and that drove her crazy. She ended up telling her story to a neighbour in hopes she would be believed that she wasn't the bad one in her situation. Pretty boring.
Episode 5 A girl tries to make her dad and mom upset pondering why her parents don't scold her anymore. She starts to assumes she's going to get murdered. Soon she finds out that the family is having financial trouble so she assumes everyone is going to commit suicide together. While on a family trip that they clearly can't afford, the boy she likes is on a date with another girl so suddenly she doesn't care if her parents make her commit family suicide but that thought vanishes when she remembers she has her diary with all her girly feelings back at their home. In reality the reason why the parents were acting so strange is that the dad has lung issues and assumes he's gonna die. Suddenly he drives the family off a cliff but luckily no one was hurt. Turns out he has food poisoning and everything will be ok. What a strange silly story.
Episode 6 A powerful older business man took over his wife's job at a sushi stand because she is ill and he lost his job. He's ends up being uber creepy and scares off all the customers even though he thinks he's doing a good job. Eventually he figures out that he isn't all that great and tries his best to improve. A very cute foreigner girl works there too and helps him figure it all out since he stood up for her to some really rude customers. The shop owner gives the business man a hilarious suit to wear in hopes that it would help to not scare the customers away. One of my favourite episodes of the series.
Episode 7 An old woman on her death bed watches her life flash by before her. She dies and her family is sad. They find a locket and suddenly she springs to life and tells them not to touch it! She seems to have developed supernatural powers now so she could save one man from falling. Falling from many places... Weird story that ends kinda funny.
Episode 8 A woman and her family move into a new apartment complex that they discover is ruled by another woman by bossing the other neighbours around. Kanishabu is the secret word on how to defeat this woman! A crow owned by an old woman knows the secret of the crab dish. Cute and funny.
Episode 9 A wife passes away on their anniversary after they have paid off all their debts. The husband is going to be super lonely from now on. Yet her ghost remains in the living room and only he can see her! Some really cute and funny music plays throughout this episode. A young girl that the old man works with comes to visit him always after his wife's passing because she feels sorry for him being alone. I SHIP THEM SO HARD! One day the girl gives him a wallet as a present and the wife gets pretty angry about that. We soon find out that the reason why the girl was always visiting the man wasn't just because she felt sorry for him. Her boyfriend lives across the street so she always stared out the window at his place. They had grown apart over the last year and she was worried about their fate. The girl and her boyfriend eventually end up at the old mans place together and explain all their troubles. The old man understands and wishes them well. Later the haunting wife tells her husband to look in a drawer where he discovers his anniversary present is. It turns out to be a wallet too and once he finds it his wife disappears for good and he is truly left alone. By far my favourite episode of the series. It brought tears to my eyes!
Episode 10 Garbage has been appearing in front of this ladies house for a long time now that isn't hers. One day some really cool masks show up and this is the last straw! She vows to do something about people leaving their garbage in front of her place. A business man that is an associate to her husband moved into the neighbourhood and they find out that the masks belong to him. His wife keeps getting rid of his things because they have too much stuff but the couple have agreed to return the items since everyone thinks in front of their house is garbage collection. A few characters show up in this episode that were from others which was kinda fun. Pretty cute episode honestly and another of my favourites.
Episode 11 A man gets invited to his high school reunion but he has no reason to go since he left that school early. But this memory lingers of a very cute girl and makes him want to go. His wife is a giant grump and he's pretty depressed with his current life so he goes. Has some laughs but in the end made me feel really awkward...
Episode 12 A little boy spirit haunts a woman because the house they wanted to buy was bad news or something. Boring.
Episode 13 A man that married into the top of the company asks one of his "buddy" employees to take care of his mistresses dog till he can find her a new apartment! Hilarity occurs all throughout the episode. This one would have been my favourite if it wasn't for that adorable old man episode. I mean how can you not love that dog with the hilarious eyebrows that the families kid drew on! XD
And there you have it. 13 fun and some not so fun episodes that are sure to warm or freeze your heart!
If you are a fan of Rumiko Takahashi you owe it to yourself to watch this series.
* Story 7/10
* Animation 8/10
* Sound 8/10
* Characters 6/10
* Overall 7/10