Poco’s Udon World – Mid Season Review
Note: Due to injury, Linny will be taking a diminished roll through the Mid Season reviews. She will return for the full reviews at the end of the season.
Poco’s Udon World:
Original Air Dates: October 8th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Souta Tawara is on a visit to his hometown after his father passed away. He visits his father’s now run down noodle shop and home, only to discover that a strange child has taken up residence. While dealing with this cute little kid, Souta finds himself under pressure from multiple sources to take up his father’s mantle. But things take a surprising turn as Souta discovers that the little boy is actually a Tanuki in disguise.
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Poco’s Udon World is undoubtedly in a similar vein to say, Barakamon, or Usagi Drop, but lacks the unique elements that set those two apart from the rest of this type of slice of life. For starters our lead, Souta, feels rather generic. Sure he struggles with the same, all too common, issue of direction in life, particularly after meeting Poco, but the show struggles to make that element unique, to inject a new spin that would make Udon World stand out.
The other half of the equation, of course, is Poco. Poco is adorable, and the series hammers that home wonderfully, but it fails to make use of his peculair and unique trait: He’s actually a tanuki. The series initially teases the idea that people can’t find out about this, and indeed there’s a couple close calls. But the series ultimately leaves that point alone for much of the time, content to focus far more so on Poco and Souta’s gradual growing bond.
The other big issue is how long it takes for anything big to happen. Six episodes in and Souta is only just preparing to quit his job and find a new path in life. This development feels late, dragged out, something that should’ve happened much sooner. It feels almost like we just finished the set up for a much longer series, but at this point Poco’s Udon World is half over.
It doesn’t help that before this moment plenty of episodes and content are forgettable. Sure we get to know Souta’s best friend, Nakajima, his prickly persona, his family, etc. but I have to sit here and actively focus on recalling any of that. The same goes for Souta’s sister, Rinko, who’s episode is even less memorable. These events feel largely unimportant, as if the series is kicking its feet and playing for time until it feels like getting to the meat of things.
If you’re a sucker for stories like this, the comedy is in and of itself decent, and character interactions can be quite enjoyable, but if the bonding between an adult and a young kid isn’t an immediate draw for you, Poco’s Udon World struggles to elevate itself beyond that specific interest.
It doesn’t help that part of the show’s run time, two minutes after the credits, is dedicated to a ‘cute’ little children’s show called Gaogao-chan. I’m sure it’s amusing content for the kiddies, but as an adult viewer it’s surprisingly boring. The writing is so basic and bland that whatever joke they’re running with gets beaten into the ground.
Ultimately I sound more negative than I mean to be. Poco’s Udon World is fine. Just that. No better. No worse. It hits all the right beats to qualify as that type of emotional slice of life about an adult and a young kid bonding, but it just doesn’t do enough original to make it stand out.
Poco’s Udon World is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com