Yotsuiro Biyori – Come for the Tea, Stay for Everything Else

Yotsuiro

  • Genre: Slice of life, comedy, drama, relax, kitty!
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: ZEXCS

 

There are those perfect little moments in life. Not the big important ones that change your destiny. The ones I’m talking about are the quiet mundane little times were nothing much happens but everything seems to just fall into place. For instance, a lazy afternoon when you happen to discover the perfect little cafe. Not too fancy but pretty and comfortable. Not so popular as to be overcrowded but not desolate either. Maybe the weather is awful outside and you happen to be safe and warm in your seat. Or maybe it’s gorgeously sunny and you’re enjoying the lush green scenery from the huge window you’re sitting by. The staff is kind and friendly. The drinks and food are delicious but reasonably priced. As you text with your best friend or read your latest obsession, you sort of wish you could live in this moment forever. It’s a light effortless happiness that can just pass you by without you even noticing. Those of us who are lucky get to stack up those moments and add them up to a wonderful lifetime. And Rokuhōdō is a place that specializes in creating them for their customers. Perfect little moments in time crafted with tender care that will make you smile, if just for a bit.

It’s no accident that my summary tells you next to nothing about what actually happens in Yotsuiro Biyori. This is a show like a sunny afternoon. It’s more about creating an atmosphere and an idea than telling a specific story. Did I just describe Slice of Life as a genre? Maybe. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Yotsuiro Biyori 1-3 (190)

did you just think I want to go there? you’re going to think that a lot during this show

Now that I’ve sneakily established that Yotsuiro Biyori is a Slice of Life, you probably have all sorts of expectations for its production values and style. If not, I’m sure the pictures in this post gave you some ideas. You’re probably right on every count.

The series invested more in design and art which remains wonderfully consistent, than animation. The style itself took me an episode or two to warm up to but once I did, I ended up enjoying it a lot. Like most aspects of the series, it’s not very flashy or striking but it’s well done and reliable. The voice acting is handled the same way. Calm and understated performances delivered so naturally that you could forget these aren’t the actual character’s voices. Well, they are but you know what I mean.

It’s the type of show you feel safe sinking into because you know what to expect. It doesn’t do anything much out of the ordinary in terms of production, but what it does, it does very well. Much better than average in fact.

Yotsuiro Biyori 1-3 (189)

it’s just tea, but it’s so good!

As for the narrative, it’s also pure slice of life. Sui inherited a café/restaurant from his grandfather and he runs in with a small cooking and serving staff. It’s a warm comfortable little place that aims for a traditional Japanese experience and a happy relaxed atmosphere. That’s exactly what the rest of the show aims for as well, and it succeeds. The stories themselves don’t really matter all that much. My favourite may have been the one about the kitten because of adorableness overload (see header gif) but they were all unfailingly pleasant.

One thing I appreciated about Yotsuiro Biyori is how it refuses to dwell. We know Gure had a difficult rebellious phase as a kid but we never find out why or exactly what happened. Just that he got over it eventually. Tokitaka was a successful artist but gave it up, again we have no idea why. Sui and his twin brother haven’t spoken in years despite being very close as kids. There’s a rift there. They live quite close to each other and could easily visit. You guessed it, we never see what went wrong, and when they do finally meet there’s no resolution to be had. No one screams or cries. It’s just quiet little pains or disappointments that occasionally haunt you for a second then drift out of your mind.

Yotsuiro Biyori 7-10 (85)

my pic choices are very eye centric…

Handling the drama so lightly felt absolutely true to life and fit in with everything else Yotsuiro Biyori is about. It’s a show about enjoying the little things. If I could compare it to anything else, it would be the Flying Witch. It had that same easy-going peacefully blissful atmosphere. Yotsuiro Biyori may have been a touch more comedic or at least more slapstick in its comedy.

I was very surprised by how much I Enjoyed this series. It really is an ideal show to help you unwind and forget your problems. It also made me long for a homey little neighbourhood cafe I could while away afternoons in. That’s something I really miss about living downtown (I’m in a suburb now).

Final verdict, come in, take a load off and enjoy your time at Rokuhōdō Yotsuiro Biyori.

Yotsuiro Biyori 4-6 (57)

exactly

Favourite character: Nakao Tsubaki (he cooks nothing but deserts…)

What this anime taught me: Not so much “taught” but ever since I finished watching it, I switched the little coffee I did drink to green tea and I’m very happy about that. Don’t know why. It tastes better I guess.

Drunken men give some of the best pep talks.

Suggested drink: Tea Tini – simple yet delicious just like this show

  • Every time we see Kinako-chan – take a sip
  • Every time Gure speaks in Italian – Saluti
  • Every time anyone gets a low-key foodgasm – get a snack
  • Every time Sui gets shiny glasses – take a sip
  • Every time anyone says “chiffon” – take a sip
  • Every time Gure and Tsubaki biker – take a sip
  • Every time the show makes you hungry – get another snack and be disappointed it’s not the same as what’s onscreen
  • Every time Sui isn’t wearing a kimono – gawk
  • Every time Gure makes foam art – take a sip
  • Every time Sui isn’t allowed to cook – sigh in relief
  • Every time you spot a return customer – take a sip
Yotsuiro Biyori 7-10 (65)

favourite character and all figured he deserved at least one screencap

This time I really went completely insane on the screencaps.  couldn’t help it, this show translates so well to still images. If you have the time you can take a look at the huge imgur gallery I put together. I tried to curate the pics to really represent the show. I’d love to have your thoughts on it.

For those that think imgur is scary, I also have a Pinterest board of course and a few examples below:

 

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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13 Responses

  1. foovay says:

    I just started this one and it is as lovely as I had hoped it would be. Very much my style. And I miss several wonderful quiet little coffee shops, a cafe/ice cream cafe, and one blues bar from my younger days. I don’t know if we even have peaceful little places like that here in the U.S. anymore. The small mom and pop places have all been driven out of business by the big chains. I don’t count places that pretend to have that atmosphere but cost the moon and the sun and act snooty about it.

    • Irina says:

      I know what you mean. Canada isn’t much better although Montreal still has one or two sweet places. I’m happy to report the show stays just as great throughout – it might even et a little better as it goes along.

  2. If Tsubaki really did cook nothing but /deserts/, I don’t know how anyone would eat what he made…his cooking would be far too hot!

    Aside from that one terrible joke which I knew I had to make (since you gave me the opprtunity to), you made me realise how much I miss Rokuhoudou already…and it’s only been about a year since it finished airing. Luckily, I’ve been planning to rewatch some of the shows I call favourites, to see if I still love them after repeated viewing, and Rokuhoudou is first on that list.

    • Irina says:

      I really hope this gets another season. I feel it’s one of those shows I could quietly watch forever!

  3. David Boone (moonhawk81) says:

    One of my favorite shows of its season! Do you know if it’s available for purchase, yet?

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    After going through the gallery, I noticed how well the show lends itself to a before/after slide show. The visual story telling is even better than I remember it.

    I’m a huge fan of the slice of life genre, and this is one of its best shows. I adored it. Good slice-of-life shows often have a good sense of setting, and does that ever apply to this show!

    I’ll also have to mention just how much I love that pretty water-colour ending with the jazzy instrumental playing to support it. Such an awesome mood.

    The show was definitely in my top 10 last year, and it’d be probably higher up if I made one now. If you watch anime to unwind it doesn’t get much better than this.

    • Irina says:

      The images are quite surprisingly lovely. I was looking over the imgur gallery today and you’re right, the visuals sell this show well

  5. DerekL says:

    I would say the Gure’s foam ‘art’ should be “bottoms up your glass” rather than sipping… 🙂 🙂

  6. sabakuink says:

    Haha, I love Gure’s terrifying latte art!

    BTW, the technique Tokitaka uses to repair Sui’s teacup is a called “kintsugi”, which uses a special lacquer mixed with gold dust to highlight the cracks rather than hide them. It is usually seen in tea ceremony bowls. Hopefully URLs work in the comments—this page shows a few examples, https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/

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