This is a momentous occasion! You are reading my first ever requested post. It’s not that I don’t take requests. I am thrilled to imagine that some of you might actually want to read my thoughts on a given show. It’s super flattering. But honestly, no one’s ever asked me before. I have had readers suggest shows in the comments but it was nothing like when Mike reached out to me to personally ask what I thought about Honda-San. This is literally what I wanted this blog for. To talk with someone about anime. So I am more than happy to oblige!
To be honest, the unique premise and weirdo cover art of Honda-San had already grabbed my attention. I was definitely planning to watch it at some point, I just moved it up the list a little.
Honda-San is a pretty unusual offering. It follows the adventures of Honda-San, an unassuming and hardworking clerk at a large comic book store where all the employees seem to be inexplicably wearing Halloween costumes at all times. While Honda himself is an actual skeleton. Aside from these eccentricities, the show feels like a rather authentic, if exaggerated, depiction of working at a bookstore. It’s pretty destabilizing to have something be simultaneously absurdist and realistic.
Little known fact about me, I long wanted to work in a bookstore for a living. Bookstores are just the most comforting places. They’re more lively than libraries and still just as magical. Some days, when the office is being a pain, I still get the urge to just drop everything and go apply at the nearest bookshop. We don’t have large manga stores around here. Probably for the best, I would already have applied otherwise.
I’m telling you all this to give you a sense of my mindset here. I like book store based stories by default. And so, Honda-San had that going for it from the get go. I also like comedy so we’re set for a win win win.
This said, i do feel the series is hit or miss at times. Each short episode is further divided into two to three vignettes, some being better than others. Also, I really believe Honda-San is not a series that should be binge watched. A lot of the jokes boil down to the characters reacting in completely overblown ways to rather mundane situations. This can get very repetitive when watching 4 episodes in a row as I just did. I could easily see myself just catching up on a single episode once a week and enjoying it much more that way.
Moreover, workplace situational comedies tend to be a lot more localized. You need to have a good understanding of the specific workplace culture and social moires referenced to really appreciate it. I have a feeling some of the humour went clearly above my head.
On the other hand, I did recognize and appreciate all the manga mentioned throughout Honda-San. Episode 3 even had a clerk recommending Natsume Yuujinchou (I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it referenced in anime). As you can imagine, this got huge points with me. Also, Honda-san’s voice is just so soothing. I could listen to the guy read the phone book.
All in all, Skeleton Bookstore Employee Honda-San is an amusing short offering. It reminds me quite a bit of Denkigai (because of the setting – I’m not a very deep person). I will add it to my weekly watching and get back to you all with a full season review.
If I had one piece of advice to give, is to take this one a bit at the time. It’s better savoured than devoured.