Anime is a great medium; it’s fairly mature and is incredibly versatile. Some of the most moving things I’ve ever seen have come in the form of Anime. Unfortunately, it’s an often misunderstood medium here in the West. Anime is often called immature, perverted, or incomprehensible. I usually spend a lot of time dispelling these myths… Then I stumble across series like Akikan.
So, you know how when you drink juice you’ve bought from a vending machine, it doesn’t turn into a woman? Yeah, that’s not the case here.
Note: Spoilers follow; though this series is so formulaic that they’re probably not that big.
It’s hard to even know where to start describing this series. One day, a socially awkward pervert named Kakeru buys a melon soda from a vending machine. After he gets home and showers, he decides that it’s time to drink the soda (while still naked). Shortly after his first gulp, wouldn’t you know it, he’s kissing some green-clothed woman.
Apparently Kakeru picked his pop well.
But wait, that’s not all! This woman, eventually named Melon, is part of a government effort to standardize pop can materials. How does that work, you ask? Well, Melon is a steel can. It’s her duty to seek out and destroy aluminum can Akikans (which is the name of their “species”, you could say), because if all the aluminum cans are destroyed, the standard material will be steel. Yeah. Let that seep in nice and deep. The government created can-to-human technology (for both steel and aluminum cans) JUST so that they can battle it out and determine what material should be used for cans in the future.
The rest of the series is incredibly formulaic. Melon of course begins living with Kakeru, for one. As an added bonus, his childhood friend (yes, his childhood friend is a girl and has a massive crush on him, how did you know?) also ends up getting an Akikan (who is an aluminum can Akikan, obviously) called Yell.
There’s also the comic relief Akikan, who is a grape soda aluminum can called Budoko.
The vast majority of the series is, as you could suspect, Kakeru juggling the emotions of Najimi (his childhood friend) and Melon, while trying to ensure that none of the Akikans end up fighting each other. So as you might expect, it’s a fairly tame anime in its content. The concept is original and strange, but it falls into the all-too-familiar pits that so many of these harem-like series gravitate toward. Thankfully, there are some things in the series that help make it more interesting, at least.
There’s a character called Amaji, who is quite literally the invisible extra (much like Canada in Hetalia), who has to start yelling before anyone recognizes him and he stops being transparent.
There’s also Yurika, a self-proclaimed lesbian witch who has constantly pining after Najimi. She’s one of the more constant sources of pain for Kakeru; the beatings are often administered by playing cards thrown at incredible speeds.
But above all, it’s the things about this series that don’t make sense that makes me want to write about it.
It’s revealed through flashes that Kakeru shot some men as a child. This is explained in a few minutes in one of the earlier episodes: Najimi was kidnapped, and Kakeru rushed in, wrestled the gun out one of the captors hands, and shot the men in self-defense. For some reason, this caused people to be scared of him, instead of praising him as a heroic kid, and he had to move as a result. However, after this scene, it’s mentioned perhaps once through the rest of the series. For such a character defining moment, you think it might be… mentioned more.
The other comes to light in the last two episodes. It was established in episode 1 that each Akikan has an earing on one of their ears (which also serve as a visual indication of what type of can they are) shaped like a pop can tab. Pulling on the earing will cause the Akikan to turn back into a can (and drinking out of it again returns it to its human form). Furthermore, an Akikan’s power is determined partially by how much juice they have left (Akikans need to ‘refuel’ by drinking the same type of drink they came out of). So, in order to introduce some drama into the last few episodes, we’re introduced to this unnamed Akikan:
This Akikan is a mixed juice Akikan, so she has the power to absorb other Akikans and use their power. As a result, she’s become incredibly strong, and makes quick work of Budoko and Yell. Melon and Kakeru try and fight her, but Melon eventually gets assimilated as well. Kakeru enlists the help of Najimi and a government agent to help track this pink-haired monstrosity down, because he “has a surefire plan.” What is that plan? Beg her to release Melon and the others. …I was as confused as you are now. However, in spite of his plan being entirely half-baked, it eventually works, with Melon, Yell, and Budoko being returned to their owners, and with the combined power of Steel, Aluminum, and Love, they subdue the rogue Akikan and teach her the moral of the story: if you mix lots of drinks together, it’ll taste bad. Seriously. Fine, that’s an Anime ending and it’s all good.
But if your goal was to stop this Akikan without having to destroy her, why not pull the tab on her ear? The majority of the characters involved were close enough to do that at multiple points during their confrontations, yet the thought never seems to cross their minds. When the merciless killer is a can, she can’t do much killing. Drink most of her juice and bring her back, and she can’t do much killing. The entire ending could have been so much simpler had any of these people possessed any common sense. I thought “hey, this is obvious foreshadowing about to be applied here. They’re going to turn her into a can and it’s going to be funny,” but apparently that was just a gimmick so that we could see two girls kissing.
I don’t have much else to say about this series. It had the potential to be so awesome due to its strange concept, but the execution was incredibly lacking. It’s almost worth a watch, especially if you need something to laugh at.
Do you have a terrible anime you think I should watch? Let me know 😀