Otona Joshi no Anime Time (2011)

Viewing

Seen in 2016.

Categorization

Like the series that followed.

Subject

A Japanese mother returns from a failed marriage in the US to where she grew up by the Asano, popularly “onna-gawa”: the woman river. Its embankments have grown taller, recalling the troubles in her life. Is it worth wondering what might have been, if she had stayed in her home town, or gotten to know the orphan who used to work in her father's traditional confectionery store? Would she still have a four-year-old? Would she still be mentally ill?

Commentary

There is no particular need to use animation to tell this story, and no particular reason is required, but it does make for smooth transitions between three or four different periods in the characters' lives. The twist ending is admirably unsentimental.

Japanese production animation movie

Sequel:

Otona Joshi no Anime Time (2013)

Viewing

Seen in 2016.

Categorization

Animated episodic drama for a mature female audience.

Subject

Flawed middle-aged women in modern Japan have problems like a husband refusing to have a divorce, or ennui, or estrangement from young adult children. All are in some way lonely.

Commentary

There are moments that could be called soap opera, like when Saori in episode 3 punches her college-age son as an act of liberation. The target audience is that of soap opera, but this is competently plotted by comparison. I probably wouldn't watch this in live action, and a few cuts are just filtered live action, but it is fascinating as an example of what the Japanese dare to do with the medium of animation. By comparison with anime for the much larger teen and geek audiences, this is neatly understated and naturalistically acted. Quite engaging too.

Japanese production animation series