2-3’s for Dagashi, Divine Gate, Pandora, Marshmallow. Guess which I’m dropping? WRONG!

After episode one, I figured the point of Dagashi Kashi was to show us Hotaru’s various schemes to keep Kokonatsu working at the candy store. I expected devious and funny plans and a good deal of tempting via fanservice. Episodes 2-3 showed us that while Hotaru’s goal is the same, the show is less interested in that than honoring and riffing on the idiosyncrasies of various bad snacks. Okay, if they can keep it entertaining, I don’t care much either way. In fact, in a way it reminds me of Moyasimon in how it decides to ignore the story for awhile when if finds something irreverent but fun to explore. In episode 2 we get strategies for eating kinako-bou, Hotaru getting drunk on namaiki beer (because they wanted a cute drunk scene), the uplifting story of fue ramune, and Saya’s utter mastery of menko card throwing.


Episode three continues with eating Buta-men broth in intense heat, not eating kurukuru bou jelly at the pool (part of an evil plan that fails), while the bontan-ame segment gets poetic with lines about removing the rice paper from Endo’s heart, and we learn, from Seven Neon packaging, how candies are made more difficult to eat to extend the time it takes to eat them, important for kids with little pocket money. Sounds silly, but I recall how Tootie Rolls marketing strategy was to show kids how long it took to eat one. So while the show’s plot isn’t moving forward at all, I’m learning a lot about bad Japanese candy.


Decided to drop Divine Gate after episode 2. It still looks impressive, but it’s heavy-handed on the themes, has not a single interesting character and a character or two (Loki) whom I wanted to strangle after fifteen seconds, and it gets damn confusing to boot. This week they took the concept of fathers and tore it to bits. Aoto supposedly killed his, claims he did, anyway. Akane lost his dad, maybe. And there’s the dad this episode who wanted to save his son but couldn’t. Akane is furious at him, never mind that the man was on a cane and the kid up at least twenty feet in rubble. Instead, we get a inane explanation from Aoto about conscious and unconscious. The only person in the show I want to open his mouth less is that weird kid that Aoto can see, who spouts ridiculous¬†proverbs and then goes away. No, I’ve heard enough.


On the other hand, I’m keeping Koukaku no Pandora for now. It’s just as confusing as Divine Gate is, has a few annoying characters, the story is all over the place, and it doesn’t move forward as much as it gasps and jerks from one scene to the next, or even in a conversation. Even the fanservice is ridiculous, given that these are robots we’re talking about. And, compared to Divine Gate, it looks terrible. On the other hand, it’s so all over the place that it makes you wonder where the next bit is coming from. Since it’s a comedy series it can get away with silliness. Also, it’s cute. I might throw up my hands after episode four, but I kind of want to know what happens next. That’s not something I care about with Divine Gate.

The season's most romantic scene so far.
The season’s most romantic scene so far.

Finally, it’s a no-brainer to keep Ojisan to Marshmallow. It’s weirder and funnier than any of the full-length shows, apart from Dagashi Kashi … which also features snack food that’s bad for you … IS THERE A CONNECTION HERE? … Ahem, it also has Wakabayashi, her strange attraction, and Hige’s defenseless confusion concerning her, you can’t blame him. So will he figure it out? Will Wakabayashi have to fling him down and ravish him to get her point across? Who knows?

4 thoughts on “2-3’s for Dagashi, Divine Gate, Pandora, Marshmallow. Guess which I’m dropping? WRONG!

  1. I found the ‘heavy-handed’ themes in Divine gate, including Aoto’s thoughts about the conscious and the subconscious, to be very well-rooted in modern thinking and many surviving modernist traditions. And of course, that ‘weird kid only Aoto can see’ is his own subconscious, taunting him with the kind of pseudo-philosophical musings most troubled adolescents fall foul of. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s nothing to fault here; the characterisation is even adventurous.

    I don’t think dropping the show for these reasons is doing bloggers many favours; it more reflects a lack of understanding on their part, or at least a lack of willingness to be challenged by themes rather than have the same easy-answer ideologies handed to them on a plate so they can call it ‘depth’ without having to do any deep thinking.

    1. Frankly, I see nothing “adventurous” in any of the characterizations here. And if that kid is indeed Aoto’s subconscious, shouldn’t we make a connection between that and his talk about the father’s subconscious? The father’s seemed to be purely emotions, raw fear, while Aoto’s is that annoying kid who has actual conversations with Aoto before vanishing again. I suspect both are oversimplifications or misrepresentations of what goes on in one’s mind, but this is a work of fiction so I roll with it.

      What bothers me more is how they tried to choke us with the concept of fatherhood in that episode, so hard that I wanted to cry “I get it already!” You can accuse me of wanting my ideologies handed to me on a plate (you’d be wrong), but I don’t like it when they repeatedly bash the plate on my head. I also couldn’t figure out why the hell Akane was so mad at the kid’s father for not rescuing the boy when, even if fear hadn’t gripped him, was obviously physically unable to do so. The dude could barely walk! Then there’s the irritation factor of that kid, subconscious manifestation or not, not to mention Loki and the man who actually runs the school. Nope, I’m done. Too many other shows I like better.

      1. Symbols and manifestations of the workings of the mind are always oversimplifications – that’s part of basic psychology.

        You’re cry of ‘I get it already!’ is false – you don’t. Rather than wrestle with the theme and explore it at multiple angles, as the show does, you boil it down to one mundane aspect and blindside yourself to it going anywhere else. There is no message or idealogy here; only questions. If you can’t draw the link between Akane’s father introduced at the start and his anger at a child’s father and create questions from that, I’m not sure what advice to give you.

      2. Of course I got it. It would be hard not to get it, especially with Aoto’s dead father mixed in. That’s my complaint (one of several about the series). The themes might be intelligent, even profound, but if it’s presented to us in a hackneyed way I lose interest.

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