Broaden your drinking horizons
(Disclaimer: the drinking age may be 20 in Japan, but it’s 21 in the USA. Enjoy watching this anime at any age but refrain from applying its teachings until it’s legal for you to do so.)
Michiru Amazuki moves from the country (Okayama Prefecture) to Tokyo for a sales position. But since she doesn’t want to face the metropolitan landscape alone, she decides to live in an all-female boarding/share house—Stella House Haruno—with three strangers. Her new roommates may have wildly different temperaments and jobs, but they all share a general workforce malaise and love of the sauce. Michiru injects her youthful optimism into the daily lives of these three Tokyoites and is taken under their collective wing in the ways of wine and beer and everything else that might help make the day end a little more, hic, smoooooth.
Adapting the four-koma manga by Haruto Hino, Takunomi. is a cute-girls-drinking-cold-things short. Each 15-minute episode mixes one part slice-of-life comedy, one part drink-of-the-week, and a dash of fanservice (for garnish). The latter includes the amount of detail given bottle labels and depictions of the accompanying food as well as the usual drunken antics one might expect to come from four attractive young women drinking together. The tone is kept light, and the humor strikes a good balance between adult sentiments regarding both life and work as well as cutting loose to deal with anxieties stemming therefrom.
Takunomi. does a solidly entertaining job of showcasing the history, taste, and recommended pairings of each alcoholic beverage without relying upon dry overexplanation or rapid-fire gags. The language used in the descriptions is very basic and accessible—perfect to entice those new to drinking or those who want to diversify their beginner’s palate. Sporadic tips are also doled out on pouring and glass choice, and some basic insight is even provided into the production of various alcohols. Interwoven amid all the drinking and eating and descriptions are looks into the characters and how they started drinking. These outlooks might be of comfort to beginners and offer some nostalgia for those reflecting on what their own experiences were.
The art and animation in Takunomi. do not attempt to illustrate ludicrously euphoric moments of taste as in Drops of God but do come close to the Zen “pshuuu” of Wakako-zake. In what might just be an homage to the latter, the four ladies of Stella House Haruno often proffer an audibly internalized squee of elation after indulging—isolated from the scene as surrounded by sparkles or flowers or pretty pastels. And while on a comparative binge here, it is a pleasure to note that the characters are more palatable than, say, the codependent couple in Love Is Like a Cocktail. That is to say, these characters are fun to spend time with. Even though most characters are less than three-dimensional, at least there are four of them to bounce off one another in various entertaining combinations, and all of them have their own things going on.
No matter your poison, you’ll have your pick with Takunomi. Each episode, covering a decent range of alcoholic beverages and dispositions, goes down smooth—usually with some light carbonation that tickles the nose and makes the ends of the lips curl up ever so slightly. Sadly, there may never be more animated Wakako-zake, but Takunomi., paired with a little bit of Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, offers up some thoroughly enjoyable, long-form food and drink appreciation anime that may just be the closest substitute yet. And don’t forget to watch the bumpers! Instead of announcing what the next episode will focus on, the narration often continues on in a little more detail about the current episode’s beverage while scenes from next episode plays. Takunomi. is currently streaming on HIDIVE, and I recommend you check it out.