Castle Town Dandelion or How A Cutsey Slice of Life Got Me to Question the Fundamental Structures of Power

  • Titles: Joukamachi no Dandelion; Castle Town Dandelion
  • Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy, School, Siblings, Super Powers, Fantasy
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: Production IMS

The Sakurada family are perfectly normal. Well no exactly, they do have 9 children and that’s a bit excessive. But those 9 children are just your average everyday siblings, except that their lives are constantly monitored and broadcast to everyone in the land as the most popular reality show out there. But that’s just because they are next in line for the throne. Wait, did I not say that earlier. The Sakuradas are the perfectly normal, everyday royal family and the king has decided that the next ruler would be chosen among his nine children by popular vote. Until then, 200 cameras all over the city will capture their every move. And also they all have superpowers. Other than that, they are exactly like you or me! Especially camera-shy Akane who keeps getting more and more popular despite her wish to just blend into the crowd.

Is there such a thing as wholesome lewd? Look at me playing all coy and stuff. As if I don’t read more than enough doujin to know the answer to that question. Of course, there is such a thing as wholesome lewd and it happens to be one of my favourite genres…

there are a lot of awwws

Production

Production IMS seems to specialize in particular titles and Castle Town Dandelion is the only thing I have seen from them. I’m not sure if they still exist. Too bad, cause this was a solid production. I mean it was nothing special by any means. It’s just that there weren’t any particular weaknesses in the production either. Well rounded and efficient.

Because I watched this on Funimation and I am too lazy to see if there is any way to set my viewing preferences, the player kept resetting every new episode to play in English. So I saw like 3 to 5 minutes of every episode dubbed and that’s how I know that you should absolutely watch this in Japanese. The Japanese cast is not spectacular or anything but they are a charming ensemble with excellent chemistry. What I heard from the dub sounded like a high school production that didn’t really want to be there. And that makes a huge difference.

The earnest portrayal of the characters and the fact that the siblings sounded like they both really knew each other well and actually cared for each other, goes a long way to make this series go from nothing to a surprisingly charming.

they’re my reading glasses…

Narrative

That insane summary is the actual story of Castle Town Dandelion. We mostly see it through the eyes of uber shy third sister Akane but the story is actually short slice of life vignettes that take up half an episode and sometimes less. Throughout the season, we get a chance to know all the siblings and even the parents as they go through their everyday lives.

When I mentioned wholesome lewd up there, I may have been exaggerating a bit. I don,t know if I would go as far as to call Castle Town Dandelion lewd. It does have a lot of fanservice, most of it involving panty shots or weird camera angles of underage characters but the story itself is actually extremely sweet.

The core of the narrative really revolves around sibling love. The brothers and sisters bicker and compete but ultimately, they have each other’s backs and all care deeply for their family. And that never failed to warm my heart. I remember tearing up at a scene where we find out that one of the brothers spends hours each day reporting the more compromising pictures posted online so that his shy sister doesn’t stumble on them and get embarrassed. It’s not some weird incest joke, he just doesn’t want his sister to feel bad. See, wholesome, lewd…

my feelings exactly

And then, once in a while, without being too intrusive, the series asks some really great questions. The oldest sibling is considered by everyone best suited to become the next monarch in both temperament and intellect. But at some point, we find out that her power is that any order she gives is impossible to disobey. As such she has avoided giving direct orders to anyone. Towards the end of the series, she drops out of the running. She believes that as ruler of a country she would be forced to give orders and those orders would be obeyed without question. This means no one would be able to contradict her if they think she is making a mistake. And that by default disqualifies her from being an effective leader.

Now that is a very interesting dogma to drop into your fanservicey SoL. What exactly is the responsibility of power, both innate and given? And is dissent a necessary element for a leader to deal with? This is the question that I latched on but there are others. The right to privacy of public figures, especially ones that have power over the everyday lives of citizens, vs the right of the public to be informed is another. The effects of both celebrity and power on children and on relationships.

I’m not saying that Castle Town Dandelion brilliantly explores all these concepts but it does a surprisingly good job at setting up the questions so that the public can think about them if they want. Of course, you can also just watch the pretty anime girls and ignore all that as well.

a bit bigger than my family

Characters

The actual heart of the series lies with the characters. The only way Castle Town Dandelion works (at least for me) is if you believe in the deep family ties all of these characters share. As such they are developed more in relation to each other than as independent characters. And for me, this worked brilliantly.

I can’t say that I know that much about any of the Sakuradas but I know exactly how they feel about one another. And because of that, I can understand the meaning and impact behind the sacrifices they do or the actions they take.

Ultimately, this is just a light-hearted little series. I have a feeling I will forget it. But it’s also a very sweet tribute to familial bonds and I actually lifted my mood every time I watched it. Also, the camera keeps trying to shoot up the skirts of teenage girls. So make of that what you will.

one of my favourite moments

Favourite character: I honestly can’t say. It changed almost every episode. They all have very likeable moments. This said I think my favourite pair of siblings are Shiori and Teru because I found them the most adorable together.

Suggested drink: a Dandelion (what else could it be)

  • Every time Akane hides   – take a sip
  • Every time there’s an underwear joke  – take a sip (it’s funnier that way)
  • Every time the king wears his crown – curtsey
  • Every time any sibling other than Akane blushes – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions the groceries – get some snacks
  • Every time Hikari goes off on her own – take a sip
  • Every time glasses are a disguise – wonder who is on screen
  • Every time there’s a kitty! – take a sip
  • Every time the fan club president adjusts his glasses – take a sip
  • Every time Misaki uses “All for One” – plus ultra!
  • Every time anyone does something really nice for the brother or sister – awwwww
  • Every time the king gets bullied or manipulated by one of his daughters – take a sip

In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!

Irina

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

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8 Responses

  1. OnyChaos says:

    Wholesome, and lewd? Sign me up. This seems like a good anime to watch. It reminds me of another anime I used to watch before stuff happened. “Kimi ni Todoke.” That was a slice-of-life anime that was pretty wholesome. But I’m rambling, lol. Great post, I will be sure to add this to my anime-planet watch list. ^^

  2. Blue Hawk says:

    The issues with Funimation’s player drive me bananas. They can’t seem to work out their problems.

    Adding this one to my list! Thanks for the review.

  3. Pinkie says:

    I haven’t seen this show yet, to probably no one’s surprise but while reading your post I was thinking.. this would have been such an amazing concept if the audience on it’s initial run in the manga or anime could vote for their favourite royal and in the final episode we’d see them take the throne… I mean not that we would cote as foreigners. .. but with a gimmick like that it might have been a bit more memorable… not that it needs to be .. I just thought it would be a cool concept!

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    Yeah, I remember the show being quite sweet, and I don’t remember any details, though. Also, as far as Production IMS is concerned this is probably top of the line, or near it. In fact I only liked three shows of theirs: This, Inari Kon Kon Koi Iroha, and Gonna Be the Twintail.

    • Irina says:

      I watched this about 5 months ago now. I still remember it but it’s already getting a bit fuzzy. It’s the type of show I can easily watch all the time though. Not demanding and sweet works for me.

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