Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

alpha_scooter

This is a post that I wrote on my old blog last summer. It was one of my better posts and I really liked it so I thought I would republish it here.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (YKK) is one of those slice-of-life series (to be more specific its a iyashikei series) that people seem to miss. It’s a rare gem. I just love YKK. Not as much as Aria but it’s my second favorite slice-of-life series. It’s a peaceful, relaxing series. Very similar to Aria but it’s different in it’s own way.

Summary

So, let me give you a basic idea of the story. YKK is about an android, named Alpha, that runs a small cafe in the country-side. Alpha is taking care of the cafe while her owner is on an indefinite trip. Alpha lives in a world after some sort of environmental disaster where the ocean levels are rising.  The great coastal cities of the past are long gone memories. All that is left is a smaller world population, which creates a less complex, peaceful life. Mankind is living in its twilight years. Mankind is quietly accepting that fact. Alpha will probably be around well after the twilight of mankind has passed.

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YKK is some what like your typical slice-of-life series, in which we get a glimpse of Alpha’s life and her daily activities. Some of the time the story revolves around some mundane things, such as Alpha going out for a walk, preparing coffee, sitting around drinking that coffee, serving her few but loyal clientele, etc. Not all of it is mundane things but a lot of is. I would say that YKK does have a theme. That is the passage of time and how things change over time.

Here is a great quote from Wikipedia that describes the stories in YKK:

Though often self-contained, the stories have continuity—relationships grow and change, and seemingly insignificant details reappear later. Ashinano [the author] explains few details of Alpha’s world, leaving mysteries that engage the reader as the series unfolds in a meandering progression, by turns funny, touching, and nostalgic.

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The OVAs

YKK has two OVAs. One from 1998, just called Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, and the other from 2002 called Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: Quiet Country Cafe. Both are excellent. The second OVA seems to have a better quality but that maybe just the 4 years in animation technology. Both portray only a small portion of the story, just a few chapters. But it’s just enough to give you a good idea of what YKK is like. What I think both OVAs give us is voice to the characters, sounds to the background, and some nice music. They basically fill in the gaps that the manga cannot give us.

The first OVA doesn’t really contain much background music but I really don’t think it needs it. It works really well with YKK’s story. I would say that the character designs are just like the manga with simply drawn faces and bodies but that’s really included in both of the OVA and manga. YKK has more detail in the backgrounds and the scenery. The seiyuu (voice actors) are good but nothing really pops out at you. But the seiyuu for Alpha seems perfect. There is a fitting OP (more of an introduction) but not really an ED to speak of. Well there is a song towards the end of each episode but it’s not really an ED, considering there is some more story afterward.

The second OVA is not much different. The format is exactly the same. The only differences I see are there is some background music which sounds really like the music in Aria. And the graphics are better but like I said before that might be from the 4 year gap between the two.

Anyways, I so wish they would make an anime series out of this. The manga does have enough material for that. But I really don’t think it would work that well. Another OVA would be nice. But that might not happen as well.

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The Manga

The manga for Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou is just wonderful. It adds so much more to the series. It introduces more characters and shows a lot more of story. I just love the artwork. It has a great pen-and-ink drawing style, which I like. The artwork is more focused on the backgrounds. The character designs are simple but works well. One thing to point out is that the manga will sometimes have whole chapters with no dialogue whatsoever. The pages are filled with things that are happening to Alpha or just plain scenery. So you can’t be blazing through the pages. You have to take a second to admire the scenery. It’s a lot like looking at art. I guess that is one reason that YKK is so calming. I guess some would find it boring but I like it.

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Why I Love Yokohama Kaidashi Kkou

So why do I love Yokohama Kaidashi Kkou? Well, there are a number of reasons. I just love how calming and peaceful the series is. The calming/healing effect that this series has on your soul is the major reason for my love of the series.  But that’s pretty much the feeling you get from all iyashikei anime. (I will leave my explanation of iyashikei for another post.)

The next thing would have to be the artwork and the characters. They are really easy on the eyes. And Alpha is just cute and fun to watch. She has an lonely life but she is cheerful and eager to experience life. I guess you could say that she is similar to Akira from Aria.

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There is really not much more for me to say about Yokohama Kaidashi Kkou. I just love this series. Now, I’m not totally sure that everyone will like it, even people that love slice-of-life.  This type of anime is an acquired taste. So I’m doubtful that the majority of people like this. But I don’t really know. I would suggest that people give this a try. You may find that you love this type of series.

2 thoughts on “Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou”

  1. YKK is a great example of the slice-of-life genre. I loved the pacing and art, although I still like Aria more though lol.

  2. The reason the music in the second OVA sounds like the music in Aria is because it’s by Choro Club. I wonder if their music for the second YKK OVA had any influence on their selection to provide the background music for Aria.

    The manga is fantastic, and I just wish it would get an English-language release. Although I can probably see why it doesn’t – alas!

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