Is The Order A Rabbit? Season 1 Collection (Cert 12)

1 Disc Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 291 minutes approx.

Release Date: September 13th

In the wrong hands, cute girls doing cute things could be a salacious and prurient way to describe a piece of work so let’s be thankful anime is beyond such cheap, lurid thinking. In this case at least…

Moving to a new town to attend a new school, rabbit obsessed Cocoa Hoto is searching the house which will be her residence for the foreseeable future, coming across a café called Rabbit House. Expecting it to be a heavenly parade of members of the Leporidae family, Cocoa is disappointed to learn there are no rabbits, just drinks and food. The waitress is a quiet girl Chino Kafu, the granddaughter of the café owner, who has a fluffy creature named Tippy sat on her head.

Tippy is in fact a type of rabbit, despite not looking like one, with an interesting back story revealed later in the show. For now, Cocoa learns she has in fact stumbled upon the house she is stay at and has to work at the café to cover her board and meals. Also working part time at the café is Rize Tedeza, daughter of a wealthy ex-soldier which explains the guns and combat knives she has about her person.

Providing friendly competition at the Ama Usa An coffee shop – which does have a rabbit mascot named Anko – is Cocoa’s classmate, the a kimono wearing Chiya Ujimatsu, whilst rounding out this group is Syaro Kirima, Chiya’s next door neighbour and oldest friend, but lives in poverty, which she is too proud to reveal to anyone. Together they study, shop, make coffee and cakes, visit a hot spring, and even inspire a writer to take up the pen again.

Evidently, I am not the target audience for Is The Order A Rabbit?, a title I am still a tad confused about but then again I found this show hard to concentrate on from being a veritable onslaught of moe blob frivolity. One’s tolerance for excitable helium voiced chibi characters will determine if this is a show for you, along with a test of your stamina when it comes to binge watching, which I must confess I was not able to pull off.

Based on the four-panel manga by the mononymous Koi which is still running today, it has to be one of the bigger mysteries in life that something with such a flimsy premise can spawn three anime TV series, a film, and a video game! The is no plot to speak of, just a series of vignettes, usually two per episode, in which the girls are either working at the café, visiting each other’s place of work, or engaging the usual anime activities.

Originality is limited to Tippy, the talking furball/alleged rabbit, otherwise everything else is exactly as you would expect from this gleefully unchallenging slice-of-life frippery. When not serving cuppas, the girls are either helping each other with their homework, going to the cinema, visiting the hot springs or swimming pool, where Tippy plays chess with them (no beach episode however – yes. I’m shocked too), and so on.

Not everything has a payoff either whilst some threads seem to dangle in the air, only to resurface later. For example, the girls become infatuated with a novel about a rabbit that became a barista, which had just been made into a film. The author, Aoyama Blue, has been lurking in the shadow in prior episode before the girls meet her, after which she pops up every now and then in the least likeliest of places, when her character feels like it should be a one an done.

Conversely, an entire episode is dedicated to Rize being chosen to play Christine in her school production of Phantom Of The Opera, but as a gun toting tomboy, she doesn’t feel feminine enough, and asks Chiya for advice on how to behave more ladylike. Yet we don’t get to see any of the play, which would have been a feel good conclusion for this mini-arc; the inference is either Koi didn’t feel like drawing it, or she (he?) was being subversive in not following the standard narrative route in this instance.   

Humour being a subjective thing and with much Japanese humour being localised and often bewildering to us westerners, the amusement factor of this show will depend completely on whether the cutesy character designs and exaggerated reactions count as mirth making material. Not all of the verbal gags hit from being lost in translation while other, more circumstantial jokes are too trite and predictable.

As amiable as most of the cast are, they don’t escape the curse of the trope, with the obligatory loud one, quiet one, quirky one, energetic one, and so on. This at least allows the audience to find their favourite since all tastes are pretty much catered for with this line up. Personally, I thought Tippy was the funniest but I’m an old curmudgeon and so is he – rather inevitable really – although Rize’s weapon obsessed myopia is worth a few laughs too.

White Fox is the studio behind the production and without meaning to appear dismissive, the background artwork is far too good for such a lightweight show. The pseudo-European setting boasts quaint, archaic architecture, cobblestone paths, tree-lined avenues, and verdant open hills, all delicately drawn and heavily detailed. The character designs don’t break any moulds, intent on raising a smile through their perky, cuddly appearances, with only their hair colour to distinguish them.        

Just as I suggested earlier, this is the very definition of a “your mileage will vary” show, not just through its by-the-numbers scripting but the aural onslaught of the shrill, high pitched voices – Cocoa’s in particular – which will grate heavily if, like me, you happen to be sensitive to such things.

Is The Order A Rabbit? isn’t a bad or offensively lacking show and will have a welcoming audience, but for this writer, it is anime at its most anodyne

 

Extras:

Japanese Language 2.0

English Subtitles

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

Trailers

 

Rating – ** ½ 

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