- Titles: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
- Genre: Comedy, drama, slice of life, supernatural, yokai, food, found family, iyashikei
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: LIDENFILMS
Souta grew up in a small town. Kanata isn’t a bad place. There’s plenty of fishing and people are pretty nice. But small towns can get sniffling. And after his mother died, Souta just couldn’t wait to get out of there. He needed to find his own place in the world. It’s too bad he never managed to really explain it to his dad, and now that he’s finally back, it’s too late. Or is it? A mysterious little boy named Poco might just be the person to remind Souta that family is forever.
Have you guys ever tried Tanuki Udon? It’s really delicious. I can’t find it often and I’m too lazy to make it on a regular basis but it’s very yummy.
Poco’s Udon World is an anime about noodles and yokai. How much more for me could a show get? The only improvement I can think of to this premise is if they had actually called it Noodles and Yokai….
You probably didn’t get all that much from my summary. Poco’s Udon World is one of those calm little slice-of-life anime where the most action that happens is someone accidentally dropping a plate or getting tackle hugged. There are a lot of tackle hugs! So impressive animation isn’t what’s worth investing in for a show like this. There just wouldn’t be an opportunity to really showcase it.
Instead, the production of Poco’s Udon World focuses on creating a welcoming but emotionally wroth atmosphere. The designs are soft and rounded. Especially Poco who is like a collection of cute kid tropes. The colours are similarly soft and diffused. It gives the entire show an almost watercolour quality. I like that.
The art is quite consistent but I did notice some very occasional hiccups with character designs. But the backgrounds are great. It brings that small town to life and makes me long for a vacation.
Basically, the production of Poco’s Udon World does exactly what it needs to do. Which is mainly to keep Poco almost comically cute at all times.
Story & Characters
As for the story. I gave a lot away when I said it was a calm slice of life. Poco’s Udon World is really a celebration of family and a reminder to keep those we love close while we still can. And for my money, it does that very well without becoming too cloying. But it might get sugary for some.
One thing that I did appreciate is that for all its focus on families, the show doesn’t actually go with the tired old message that true happiness can be found in a traditional family unit. Souta himself is a bachelor and surprisingly remains entirely single through the show. I was so sure they wouldn’t resist the urge to throw in a love interest at the last minute, but they did.
Nakajima is another main character who has stated that they want to concentrate on their career for now and are actively putting aside the thought of looking for a wife and starting a family. And the show is presenting that as a completely viable and a fine way to find happiness. Instead, the character is reconnecting with his now-retired father.
The show also doesn’t push the idea that there’s a better way to live. That the slow-paced country life is ineffably better. Sure the main character goes from a busy and unfulfilled life in Tokyo to rediscovering his roots and his joy for life in Kawata but his time in Tokyo isn’t shown as a negative. Sure he was overworked but he also liked his work a lot and his co-workers are shown as real friends. His boss in particular seems to be a great guy. And despite all the flags, Souta does not open up his father’s udon restaurant again. He sticks to being a designer because he did like it.
Basically, Poco is not about stopping to smell the roses, it’s about finding out what’s best for you at the moment. Souta was stifling in that small town as a teenager. He was miserable. And leaving for Tokyo, getting all those new experiences, was absolutely what was best for him at the time. Then, as he grew older, his interests and goals changed and going back to a more relaxed and isolated life was now what was best for him. As far as the show is concerned, both are good in their own ways, you just have to find which one works for you.
And that’s a much more nuanced take than calling a particular lifestyle shallow while prompting up a different one as rewarding. It is easier to have a simpler stance like that but I found the more nuanced and individualistic message of Poco’s Udon World ultimately more satisfying.
It does stumble though. I found the last episode way too sappy for my tastes for instance. And they chickened out of the ridiculous too good to be true ending. I mean if you’re going to pour the sugar on that much, you might as well give us the full Disney treatment! That did dampen the fun a bit for me.
Also, a more nuanced message petty much always means a less focused and impactful one. The show can come off a bit wishy-washy in the themes. I personally don’t mind that, heck I would call it a feature. But it’s not for everyone.
One of the big things that plays against Poco’s Udon World, is that it’s likely to get compared to other similar shows that are just better. It’s difficult to watch it without thinking of Barakamon and that was more visually impressive and had a good deal of humour that is missing from Poco. There are also a lot of parallels you can draw with March Comes in Like a Lion which is an impressive character study difficult to compete with for most shows. And Poco is just too light to really have a fighting chance.
But Poco’s Udon World does have a lot of charm all its own. It might be naïve and occasionally a little shallow for the subject matter it’s trying to tackle. But it is unfailingly sweet and it has something very important those other shows don’t: Tanuki! How can you possibly resist Tanuki!
You might like this anime if:
You like shows about cute kids and/or noodles
My favourite character:
I think it’s Nakajima but it might be Hiroshi as well
Apparently, you should pair udon with a light red wine such as a Pinot Noir or full-bodied, white versions of Côtes du Rhône or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Every time Poco tackle hugs someone – take a sip
- Every time we see young Souta – take a sip
- Every time Poco sparkles – gawwwww
- Every time anyone’s stomach grumbles – get a snack
- Every time we see another tanuki – take a sip
- Every time Souta’s leg hurts – oh no
- Every time anyone asks about Souta’s job – take a sip
- Every time we see Gaogao – rawr
- Every time they eat udon – eat your snacks
- Every time we see Souta’s family photo – take a sip
- Every time Hamada san shows up – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.