Hakumei to Mikochi features a unique setting that it uses the fullest of it’s potential. Each element of its setting is explored and is fully thought out. It’s not just a bunch of random ideas scrambled together. Nor is it just a start so they can get into the usual antics. It feels real, and each episode gives another picture of the tiny world that they inhabit. Small animals inhabit the world as well and their size makes sense given the size of our main characters. Things are much bigger than them, and the show is fine with displaying that. A peanut is small to us but is big to them. A mouse is small to us but is bigger than either of the main characters. And other small animals do appear. It is a life in the woods. It’s not just resized humans. It truly is the woods. Each element of their culture is well explored and utilized. The ending even goes into detail about all of the various places and people that they meet in the episode and goes into their backstory, fleshing them out and bringing an extra element to the characters or setting that we had just watched.
Everything feels thought out. It doesn’t feel like they scrambled something together. Rather it all feels connected and is utilized very well through out the course of the show. Each part of the setting says something about another part and about the general world that they inhabit. The world feels vibrant and by going into the different professions, festivals, homes, taverns, and attractions it makes the world feel that much more real, and has it shine that much more. It’s not a simple picture but rather an encompassing one, where we get to see where they shop, where they work, where they play, and all of the different elements that makes up this tiny life.
The main characters also shine. It’s hard portraying a reserved couple. If the two are too reserved then their bond feels too fake and feels like one of convenience rather than of love. If they are too indulgent then it’s no longer reserved. While it’s easy to portray a relationship by having one pair of the relationship continually glomp, hug, and kiss the other, that isn’t necessarily realistic, nor does it account for all relationships.
But Hakumei to Mikochi is able to do this. The two of them never overtly discuss or confess their love for each other, and yet they feel like a strong pair with an unbreakable bond. It’s about the little things. The two of them know each other so well. Each moment between the two of them comes off as two people who know each other so well that they know how the other will act and why they act that way. They know when to support each other and when to give each other space, which can be just as critical. Both Hakumei and Mikochi can get engrossed in their work and at those times both of them know that it’s best to leave them to their work. It’s hard to get distance right, but it feels like these two know each other well so well that they know exactly when they want to be alone, and that is pretty great. And outside of that? They’re often together. Whether it be something that one party is more interested in than the other it doesn’t matter. The two of them are there to support each other and be with each other. Many times the two of them are together right next to each other. They may not be gushing over each other, but the closeness between the two of them can be felt.
The characters themselves are also noteworthy. Both of them are talented in their fields and show different levels of talent. Hakumei is an adept handygirl, and Mikochi is very good at sewing, cooking and the like. They both respect each other’s talents and so does the show. There is no sense of one being better than the other due to their talents. Rather the different benefits of their talents are expressed in the show. The show is also able to avoid the trap where their skills are too correlated to how one might act. Hakumei may be a good handygirl and be more active but that doesn’t mean she can’t get motion sickness under the sea. Nor does that mean she’s always going to be the one to spring to action. The two of them really do work well as a pair both complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Not only do they work as a pair but they also work on their own. While the show is just as reserved as the characters are there are some hints towards the inner workings of the characters via some of the episodes. For example, Hakumei seems to show a level of need of approval and worth in the world that she inhabits. There are a couple of times in the show where she wants to join a group, usually based off of work, and gets upset when she can’t do so. The show never brings this up in dramatic fashion but it does hint at it with many of its episodes showing this element of her.
And the art and the sound are also fantastic. The show has a beautiful art style and is well adept at showcasing the better points of the world that its showing. It has an interesting style that works very well in the context of the show. Not to mention it can show and make action feel real without actual displaying that much. It may not be the most technical form of animation but they’re able to make everything feel real and storybook-like with the use of style and directing and in my eyes that’s just as good. It never feels like it’s lacking in animation quality. Each moment feels rich. The sound may not shine as much but it certainly does well to help feel the mood of the setting and the episode, and express what the show is going for.
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