I Still Don’t Know Gunma Yet

Gunma box art

 

  • Genre : Comedy, Slice of Life, School, Short
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: Asahi Production

 

There are exciting days ahead for Nori Kamitsuki. His high school career is about to get a lot livelier. Changing schools is already a challenge in and of itself, but moving to a whole new and little known prefecture makes it an all-out adventure. Sure it’s an adventure that tons of kids have every day but none are quite like moving to Gunma. The small isolated region has a…*charm*, unlike any place you’ve ever been. As Kamitsuki is about to discover, no matter how much you try to learn, you just don’t know Gunma yet.

I remember when this show was airing. Not many people were talking about it, and the few that did weren’t all that thrilled. Of course, they were open about not being comedy fans so I thought I shouldn’t write off the series altogether based on these slanted opinions. Apparently, I’ve chosen to use random words now. What else is new, am I right?!?

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ouch…

I’m not sure how much is due to my obliviousness and how much is a product of my forgetfulness, but it turns out I Did Not Know Gunma at all. Not the prefecture… Well, also the prefecture…I was trying to be clever and it backfired.😟

Despite having read up a little on the series, I had managed to miss everything about the other than that it was a comedy and that the main character was a high school boy. One of the biggest things I missed, for instance, is that it’s a short program at less than 3 minutes an episode if you take out the credits. Well, this changes everything! I automatically like it more!

(*** Sidenote, I have been scouring all types of general stats on AniList lately and it seems I’m in the minority to have a pro short bias. As far as fan ratings go, short programs average out at a whole 2 points or 20% lower.)

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don’t worry, it’s going to be ok!

Longtime anime fans know that short programs do come with something of a production handicap in general. Basically, they almost always look kind of cheap. This one does as well. You know how it is, the character models are just not very detailed and a little awkward especially at angles. The colour palette is restrained. You wouldn’t be super surprised to find out it was an ambitious student project. I don’t think it is. It could be a particularly eccentric publicity campaign to encourage tourism to Gunma. In which case, kudos. I hope Montreal does something similar.

Basically, it’s not very polished but no aspect of the production is punishingly bad either. It seems like I’ve set the bar pretty low there. Let me try again. The production values don’t add anything to the series but I don’t think they actively take anything away either.

So at this point, we are relying entirely on the story, aren’t we? If you go by the rather abysmal scores You Don’t Know Gunma Yet has earned on the popular anime sites, you would figure it to be a flaming garbage fire of a series. To be honest, that’s pretty much the mindset l went into it with. I wanted to see if it was so bad it’s good (at least to me), but I was fully prepared to drop it after the first episode.

You Don't Know Gunma Yet (2)

exactly!

But when I watched that first episode I found out it was a short program so why not watch some more. Not to mention that the set up is pretty good. Then the second episode reminded me of Cromartie High School so it deserved further watching and before I knew it, I was almost done with the season. I watched the whole thing in a single sitting. Didn’t even have to force myself.

So what’s my verdict. Well, I giggled more than once, found a few of the jokes actually smart and the worst I can really say is that some of the sketches didn’t land. Which is basically par for the course. In short, I’m not quite sure what earned Gunma such scorn. Maybe it’s because of my low expectations going in, but I thought it was a perfectly serviceable show.

Although the episodes do follow each other pretty closely, the show remains a series of loosely connected skits. The humour is mostly nonsensical, relying on showing just how odd and extreme the residents of Gunma are. It’s also peppered with little random facts about the prefecture. Local delicacies, history and traditions. That sort of thing. An after end credits tag also gives you a little live action capsule that really looks like a tourism bureau advert. And that’s pretty much it.

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not that it captures the spirit of Gunma

When you take out the end tag and credits I figure every episode is roughly 2 and a half minutes. Or exactly half an hour for the entire thing. With a fairly large cast, numerous locations and those Gunma facts to work in, you can imagine there’s not much time left for character development. Or any time at all. And there’s really no depth here either. It’s one cute or silly joke, then we move on. Don’t look to You Don’t Know Gunma Yet for anything beyond mild distraction.

However, if a mild distraction is what you need, you could really do worst. And although it isn’t in this series, I can see the foundations for a pretty solid absurdist comedy/coming of age here. Something in the vein of Assassination Classroom mixed with the above mentioned Cromartie…

I guess I can’t help rooting for the underdog. No, you won’t miss much by skipping this show but you won’t lose much by watching it!

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I stand corrected

Favorite character: Shinooka Kyou

If you don’t drink, how will your friends know you love them at 2 a.m.?

What this anime taught me: There are only 8 prefecture in Japan that don’t have any beaches

Suggested drink: Yuzu Chuhai (the internet tells me it’s popular in Gunma)

  • Every time the main character gets scared – take a sip
    • if turns out to be justified – gasp
  • Every time the main character says “Todoroki” – take a sip
  • Every time Todoroki turns out to be a troll – raise your glass
  • Every time Kyou is menacing – take a sip
    • if you think it’s a little hot – I understand
  • Every time anyone mentions Jomokaruta – take a sip
  • Every time anyone says “Gunma” – raise your glass
  • Every time anyone looks like Nendou – take a sip
  • Every time we see coffee jelly – get a cookie
  • Every time we see a member of the JKJ – take a sip
  • Every time there are sweet buns – get a snack

You Don't Know Gunma Yet (10)

Since it’s a short, I don’t have that many screencaps. See!

Irina

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

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9 Responses

  1. 7mononoke says:

    Wow, I hadn’t heard of this before.

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    I didn’t watch more than the first episode. I didn’t hate it, but it’s really not a show that lends itself to weekly watching. It also felt like a show that needed more room to unfold (as far as I can say that after one episode).

  3. raistlin0903 says:

    Well…you know me, I’m not a huge comedy fan myself. But then again, I also pretty much always trust your judgement. So…I will try and remember this one, and if I can find some time give it a try at least. The worst that could happen is me not liking it 😅
    Off topic: I started watching Fire Force today, and I really enjoyed that one, so like I said over on Karandi’s blog today I will be watching along with you two now, so yay😊

  4. ospreyshire says:

    That actually looks like a funny series. When you mentioned Cromartie High School, I did smile since that anime series was hilarious. The only other anime I can think of that took place in the Gunma prefecture was Initial D of all things.

    • Irina says:

      I should watch that

      • ospreyshire says:

        Initial D? That used to be one of my favorite series during my teenage years, but I never saw the whole thing. I only went up to the first couple of episodes of 4th Stage. It feels weird knowing about that anime for a long time and realizing that people have been doing these “Running In The 90s” memes. I knew what that song was before it was cool to meme it! Hahaha! XP

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