Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki – Anime Preview
Synopsis: After growing up in Tokyo, high school student Jin Kaito moves to Nagoya where he meets Yatogame Monaka, a fellow student who puts her Nagoya dialect on full display. With her cat-like appearance and unvarnished Nagoya dialect, Yatogame won’t open up to him at all. This popular local comedy is increasing the status of Nagoya through observation of the adorable Yatogame-chan! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Yatogame-chan is one of those anime that demands a familiarity not only with Japan and the language but also with the specific stereotypes associated with the Nagoya Prefecture, or as the anime will quickly correct you, the Aichi Prefecture. In fact, the episode even starts off with a disclaimer insisting it be viewed as a show that points out the stereotypes with loving affection.
From there we jump to Jin, our protagonist who has moved from Tokyo to Nagoya and is voicing his disappointment with how his classmates all seem to disprove the various assumptions he had about the region. This might have made for a modern moment where someone acknowledges that assuming things about people and places you have never been to is foolish. But this is a comedy and so of course, we quickly discover that his schoolmate, Yatogame, is a caricature of Nagoya stereotypes in oh so many ways. Not only does she have a thick accent and uses local slang ripe for misinterpretation but she seems to be a cat girl, with a hairstyle that’s shaped like cat ears and even seem to wiggle on their own.
The comedy presented relies mainly on seeing Yatogame indulge in stereotypical behaviour and speech while Jin constantly acts as the catalyst and then proceeds to mock her for it. By today’s moral standard, it seems in poor taste to be mocking someone for their culture and upbringing. Even putting morality aside, it’s going to be hard to find the humour in this series if you aren’t familiar with the local culture. There was a singular joke I myself got where the local Aichi term for ‘hot’ is the same as the general Japanese slang for male genitalia but even that failed to elicit a chuckle, coming off as something that might only work for a juvenile viewer. The show does spell out some local stereotypes through Jin’s musings but not enough to help every joke land or even be understood. Between the low brow humour and the need for local knowledge, it’s hard to picture this short comedy being a hit. Based off this first episode, it’s hard to even recommend it as a possible semi-educational watch given that the protagonist happily and eagerly mocks the localite every chance he gets. Unless you are someone well versed with the Nagoya region and look forward to seeing it mocked, Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki is a short that’s best left off your seasonal watch list.
Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.