Potemayo was a comedic manga strip by Ogataya Haruka. In 2007, J.C. Staff. The studio behind Shakugan no Shana, Honey and Clover and Nodame Cantabile just to name the ones I’ve reviewed.) Now, they have done some really good comedies so it’s entirely possible that this could be highly amusing. Of course, it’s also possible that this is a major blemish on their production history. Let’s take a look and see which is more accurate.
The titular Potemayo is a strange creature that emerged from the refrigerator of our protagonist, Moriyama Sunao, for no apparent reason. She starts following him to school and getting into shenanigans. Things are further complicated when a second creature, Guchuko, cuts her way out of his fridge with a scythe. This isn’t one of those comedic series that even attempts to have any kind of narrative. Rather, it’s an absurdest comedy about Potemayo and Guchiko being around a group of strange people and engaging in hijinks. So, how does the comedy hold up?
There are quite a few funny moments, especially the Guchiko scenes. The series has a lot of energy put into it as well. The problem is that they’re outnumbered by scenes that aren’t funny. The series uses a lot of puerile humour involving bodily fluids and excrement because mucus and poop are gross and, therefore, must be hilarious. The humour involving romance is also a huge problem, being more unpleasant than actually amusing. We’ve got gay jokes and jokes about brothers who have more than just a familial interest in their sisters. You may commence eye-rolling.
The characters are mostly adequate for a comedic work. Most of the major characters do interact well for comedic purposes even if they aren’t particularly well developed or fleshed out. The issue is that some of the characters are used primarily or entirely in a very narrow way for jokes that are terrible. Nene’s brothers, Yasumi, Kaouru and Mudou all fall into this category.
The art is pretty bad and I’m not just saying that because it’s in the hyper chibified style that I’m not a fan of in general. The backgrounds are really blank. The character expressions are minimal, and I would love to know how characters with glasses manage to keep them on when no one has a nose, and actions are frequently animated sloppily.
They did get some really good actors for this series. Unfortunately, most of them don’t give their best performances. Kitamura Eri, who played Sayaka in Madoka and Saya in Blood+, puts virtually no emotion in her role. Tsuji Ayumi and Hanazawa Kana deliver their lines primarily in grunts. Which does make sense given that they’re playing abnormal creatures who aren’t human, but it still isn’t conducive to strong showings. Kugimiya Rie plays two roles, much like she did in Bleach as Nemu and Karin. One of those roles is fine. The other, Nene, is really painfully high-pitched and hurts your ears. The music is pretty decent overall.
There’s certainly a bit. Kaouru has a romantic interest in Mudou, which is played for laughs as a running joke because… gay people exist. Yeah, that’s his character’s entire “joke.” There are also a few scenes where things get homo-erotic between Kyou and Nene, but they’re relegated to a single episode and played as a joke. So, the ho-yay factor is going to be a 5/10.
Potemayo has some things going for it. The scenario is creative with plenty of comedic potential and it does give a few laughs. Unfortunately, those funny moments are over-shadowed by the decidedly unfunny puerile and unpleasant moments. The art is pretty awful and the voice acting is below average. All in all, I would only really recommend it for people who find human excretions funny or who can tolerate the problematic scenes in order to reach those moments that are legitimately funny. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. I’ve got quite the queue of requests going into August with some of them being really long. We’ve got Dragonball, Gintama, Claymore, Welcome to the NHK, Mawaru Penguindrum & Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Next week won’t be any of them since they’re all too long for me to finish in a week, but I’ll have the Dragonball review up as soon as I can. In the meantime, next week will be Murder Princess.