“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!” —Joseph B. Wirthlin
The last time I had written a Yuyushiki discussion, memories of the Great Flood of 2013 were still fresh in my mind, and we were in the depths of summer. I had remarked that it might be possible that I would forget the events of Yuyushiki with the passage of time, were it not for the fact that Yuyushiki excels at a very special brand of humour surrounding everyday conversation. The events of Yuyushiki‘s anime proper concluded with the end of summer and the return to classes: this OVA, titled “Annoying and Being Annoyed” (Japanese title: “Komarasetari, Komarasaretari”), is set during autumn of the new school year, starting with the Yui, Yukari and Yuzuko share a conversation about gestures in conversation. After an ordinary day of classes and the girls’ characteristically non-sequitur conversations), they make for the data processing club room. Chiho, Kei and Fumi soon join their activities, where the topic turns to how Chiho came to be friends with Kei and Fumi. Later, on a brisk autumn’s day, Yui, Yukari and Yuzuko discuss the future as their third year approaches. The OVA marks a welcome return to the sort of nonsensical humour that drives Yuyushiki, bringing back the fun that allowed the anime to provide a lift to my spirits amidst the sunny yet melancholy July days after as the city began picking itself up from the Great Flood.
Puns and non-sequiturs, desultory thoughts about the most unusual of things is central to Yuyushiki, mirroring Yui, Yuzuko and Yukari’s everyday activities at the data processing club — this particular brand of humour is unorthodox and can be difficult to follow in places, with some even counting Yuyushiki as one of the most disappointing anime of 2013 because how things are presented. Such conversations in Yuyushiki are understandably in a format unconducive towards discussions in reality, and so, is not particularly easy to relate to, but the ridiculous situations that arise, usually whenever Yuzuko and Yukari start thinking on the same wavelength and begin exasperating Yui, wind up generating much of the humour in the anime. The OVA ultimately captures this sense succinctly, bringing the girls’ lives back into autumn. Even the change of seasons cannot alter their trains of thought or their easy-going lives — when we consider that Yuyushiki (ゆゆ式) translates directly to “serious” in English, this provides a sort of juxtaposition that shows the anime is not what its name may suggest; the girls come and go as they please, living life in the manner and pacing of their choosing, quite unconcerned with the destination and making the most of their journey.
Screenshots and Commentary
- As it turns out, I’ve not forgotten about Yuyushiki over the past several years since the Great Flood. Yuyushiki was an anime hailing back to spring 2013, running from April through June. However, I did not pick the anime up until early May, wrapping up the anime mid-July and returned in August to write about it. One way or another, it’s been some time since the likes of Yui, Yukari and Yuzuko have graced this blog, and so, for this OVA discussion, I’ve lined up the usual twenty screenshots, which also happens to be the internet’s first and only collection: no other comprehensive reviews of the Yuyushiki OVA exist at the moment of writing, so folks looking for the OVA screenshots will only have this blog as an option for the time being.
- Chiho, Kei and Fumi are the ordinary counterparts to Yui, Yuzuko and Yukari. This comparison is emphasised by contrasting their conversations to illustrate the differences in their content. These two groups generally go about their own activities, but Chiho admires Yui to an extent and longs to know her better. This brings the two groups into contact with one another, whereupon the contrast between Chiho and Yui’s friends become quite noticeable.
- Animated by Kinema Citrus, the Yuyushiki OVA seems to use a colour scheme having a reduced saturation value compared to the vivid colours of the TV series. This was especially noticeable during the summer episodes, where the skies are of a dazzling aquamarine hue to convey the heat of a summer day, so it stands to reason that, now it’s autumn in Yuyushiki, the colours are a bit more subdued to indicate cooler temperatures. The golden-yellows of the leaves pop out in this screenshot.
- Yui suppresses laughter after her conversation with Yukari about how folks tend to move their hands around while talking. From an article in Nature, it turns out that this is an ingrained part of human nature and help people formulate their thoughts, as well as for others to understand them by means of body language — individuals who are blind make gestures when talking, and our inclination is to trust people who are more expressive with their hands while talking. With this in mind, there is a moderation to this: folks who do not gesture might be seen as colder, while folks who make excessive gestures convey a sense of nervousness.
- I use science to provide some of the figure captions that arise from Yuyushiki, but in the anime itself, the nonsensical inclinations that Yuzuko and Yukari are prone to means that conversations usually go sideways, moving in a direction driven more by humour. The sudden changes in topics and ideas are possibly a hint of the shortening attention spans of H. sapiens: in an article I read, the average attention span of a person back in 2000 was twelve seconds, whereas in 2015, it was eight seconds. To put things in perspective, a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds, so that raises the question of how many people actually have enough focus to read through all of my posts.
- It is quite fitting that in the OVA, Yui and the others begin looking up how the act of annoying others works. Reading from whatever in-universe resource stands in for Wikipedia, Yui notes that the act is to bother someone for amusement rather than malice. The English-language Wikipedia article in reality defines an annoyance to be a stimuli that distracts one’s conscious thinking, resulting in frustration and notes that annoyance can be used as a form of psychological warfare, a far cry from the gentle forms of irritation that Yuzuko and Yukari subject Yui to. Curiously enough, there is no equivalent article in Japanese at the time of writing.
- Chiho arrives at the data processing club on short order, and Yuzuko offers her Yui’s seat. The yuri elements are out in full force; Chiho is plainly flustered while sitting down in the same seat, and sweat drops are lightly emanating from her. Despite being intimidated by the shenanigans that Yuzuko and Yukari partake in, Chiho generally gets along with the Data Processing Club’s members.
- The girls’ instructor, Yoriko Matsumoto, is affectionately referred to as “mom” (お母さん) by Yuzuko, and in the series proper, is subject to some rather interesting things in the girls’ imaginations. She’s the only instructor shown at the girls’ school and occasionally drops in on the Data Processing Club to see how they’re doing.
- Back in 2013, I had just purchased a shiny new custom rig and a wide-screen monitor. Previously, I had a Dell 19-inch 4:3 monitor whose maximum resolution was 1280 by 1024, and the new monitor finally brought me into the world of 1920 by 1080. My machine has not changed since then, save a substantial upgrade to my GPU, and from the looks of it, the Data Processing Club is still rocking the computers they had back in Yuyushiki‘s anime.
- One of the aspects that gave Yuyushiki a unique feel was the fact that details in the background art is kept to a minimum. Their world is one that feels incredibly clean, almost sterile, forcing audiences to keep their focus on the characters. However, while minimalist, landscape scenes are still rendered nicely to create a specific atmosphere and backdrop to frame the characters’ interactions.
- The girls wonder about the idea of small talk, which serves a social function in defining social stature amongst a group of individuals, filling silences in conversation and acting as a means of politely marking when more formal conversations end or begin. Their topic soon reaches how Chiho befriended Kei and Fumi in spite of her shyness — Kei initiated conversation, starting off their friendship. It brings to mind the story of how I became friends with half the people in my health science faculty: our story differs in that our interactions were forged by the common interest in not getting eliminated by our first medical science inquiry course.
- There’s a gentle quality about some of the songs in Yuyushiki‘s soundtrack that capture the anime’s friendly and carefree spirits. Whether it be Yui and Yukari’s themes, or the tracks that play in the background when the girls’ minds begin wandering (such as “Monopole”, “Going Home” or “Puppy Love”), the warm songs of the soundtrack contributes substantially to the atmosphere in Yuyushiki despite being otherwise mundane compositions: my mind is pulled to the hottest days of the summer whenever these songs play in my music rotation.
- Yuyushiki kicks off in late spring, at the start of a new school year, but with only twelve episodes, it blazed through the seasons, predominantly focussing on summer and spring: only a few episodes are set in winter itself, and to the best of my recollections, the golden-yellow of autumn leaves were not shown in the TV series proper. While I expressed a distaste that the summer was ending so soon back in 2013, my perspectives have changed somewhat, and I’m presently fond of all seasons save winter, if only for the fact that windchill makes it highly uncomfortable to be outside.
- Conversations about ear-cleaning and curry parties soon give way to a restlessness that sees the girls take a walk outside in the autumn air. Yui begins thinking on her friends’ strong points: despite their relentless messing with her, Yui finds Yuzuko to be reliable and capable despite her outward actions, while Yukari’s curiosity is her most endearing feature. The cool air leads the girls back to Yui’s house, where things are rather warmer.
- Similar to Yui, I’m rather fond of books: ranging from non-fiction books explaining the effects of technology on the mind and how learning to cook our food might have contributed to the growth of human intelligence to Tom Clancy novels and even manga, my personal library expanded over the past few years, requiring a new bookshelf to hold everything. Unlike Yui, who’s rather embarrassed to read her book out loud, I have no qualms reading any of my texts out loud, except for maybe Strike Witches: The Sky That Connects Us.
- One of the most distinct aspects about Yuyushiki is the unusual transformation of the characters’ eyes whenever they are deeply confused, irritated or mischievous. Looking back on my old Yuyushiki posts, I note that the figure captions were much more simple and feature more one-liners. The most infamous one follows Auralnauts’ Bane Outtakes. It’s quite surprising as to how much time has passed since I first found the Bane Outtake reels; besides a hilarious depiction of the first fight between the Batman and Bane, it also has Freestyle Bane, which features one of the best mic drops of all time.
- The Yuyushiki OVA is set in October 2013: in the TV series, Yoriko is looking through a calendar at the end of summer vacation that is dated September 2013. I was enrolled in open studies at the time while trying to figure out my future directions, and was taking a Japanese history course, as well as a course on proteins. Having only three courses meant that I had a bit more free time than usual, accounting for the large number of blog posts during this time frame — by this point in time, I’d largely retired my old website and wrote posts entirely here.
- Evening sets in, and the girls head home; Yuzuko resolves to take a bath the instant she gets back, and resolves to sound like a train before entering said bath. One aspect of Yuyushiki that surprises me to no end is the fact that Yukari is voiced by Risa Taneda (Aya Komichi of Kiniro Mosaic and Rize Tedeza of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?): gentle and air-headed in quality, Risa’s voice in Yuyushiki lacks the shyness of Aya’s or the decisiveness and confidence in Rize’s voice, attesting to her skill as a voice actress.
- Later during the quiet evening, Yui discovers that there is indeed a love story in the novel she’d just purchased and transmits this knowledge to Yukari and Yuzuko. In a quiet evening of my own, while I relax after a dinner of southern fried chicken, my mind turns to how different things are now in comparison to when I first watched Yuyushiki. It’s been quite the journey, and I was happy to learn that there would be a Yuyushiki OVA at all: news of the OVA’s existence was announced March last year, although I only heard about the OVA in January.
- At the end of the day, the Yuyushiki OVA is intended for folks who’ve seen and enjoyed Yuyushiki back during 2013. Returning fans will find it to be a pleasant trip down memory lane, bringing back the best aspects of Yuyushiki, while those who dislike Yuyushiki will find the OVA to be quite disjointed and incoherent. With this OVA now in the books, I turn my eye to Kiniro Mosaic: Pretty Days — this OVA is fifty minutes in runtime and deals predominantly with Aya.
In the three and a half years since I wrote my last Yuyushiki discussion, a great deal has occurred. That I still vividly recall Yuyushiki is an indicator of the anime’s memorability: far from being dull and derivative, the unusual conversation topics, situations and even art style has allowed Yuyushiki to remain a clear memory that brings to mind the events of summer 2013. Thus, the OVA is a welcome return to the world that is Yuyushiki, and a cursory glance at the manga shows that it is still ongoing. If the anime performed reasonably well with respect to sales, it is possible that a continuation could be in consideration. A bit of inspection finds that five years of manga content corresponds to twelve episodes’ worth of material. Since Yuyushiki received an anime adaptation in 2013, five years after it began running in Manga Time Kirara, it might be reasonable to estimate that a continuation could be seen in 2018, although these time spans suggest that this Yuyushiki OVA might be the last of the anime we’ll see in the foreseeable future. This is a shame, since Yuyushiki proved to be quite entertaining with its uncommon approach to building humour — I would’ve liked to see more of this anime and what adventures await Yui, Yuzuko and Yukari as they enter their third year.