Review of Let’s Make a Mug Too (2021)
Seen in 2021.
This reviews refers to the first season.
Four high-schoolers in Tajimi, a city famous for its Mino-ware pottery, explore the craft in an after-school club.
A fully formulaic production, both in its “cute girls doing cute things” aspect and as a tourist advertisement. In this particular genre intersection, the production values are lower than Laid-Back Camp (2018) and the humour is more sedate than the hypermediated Lucky Star (2007), but the crafting aspect is pleasant enough to carry the brief runtime.
Let’s Make a Mug Too distinguishes itself by following each 14 minutes of animation—which is what I am reviewing here—with alternating 9-minute sub-episodes that follow the voice actors in Tajimi instead of the animated characters they play. This juxtaposition suggests that the target audience—adults with the disposable income to boost tourism in Tajimi by going there—are almost as interested in the actors, who are themselves cute girls, as they are in the fiction. That suggestion may be generally valid, but I found the live-action segments dull and did not follow them. They carry the unpleasant parasocial odour of the Hollywood star system, made worse by the implication that you need to look cute even to use your voice.
The original title, “Yakunara magukappu mo”, means “If we’re firing (up the kiln), (let’s put in) a mug too”, alluding to the main character’s mother’s habit of making unique mugs.