Alternative titles: Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari
Manga Adaptation by Liden Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll
After his father’s passing, Souta returns to the small town where he grew up to clear out his parents’ former home and udon restaurant. While in the restaurant he finds a peculiar (and hungry) young boy who immediately grows attached to him.
Jel’s verdict: Waiting to Boil
At first glance this seems to hit all the “Dad Anime” checkboxes: thirty something man mourning the loss of a family member, there’s cooking involved somehow, etc. and yet Poco’s Udon World is a little bit different. There’s the supernatural angle for sure, which honestly started to creep me out once Poco went full tanuki mode at the end. I’m not really sure how much that is going to affect the actual show, whether or not his magical powers will have some kind of impact on Souta’s life other than trying to hide it from everyone. So that’s not really the big difference.
What does feel a bit different to me are the themes that are set up in the first episode. Souta did not want to be a parent nor does it seem he is particularly prepared for it mentally or emotionally. Poco is also not a normal child, or at lest doesn’t seem to have the same needs as one quite yet. So rather than a story about the trials of being a single parent, it looks to me like this is more of a path to self discovery. It’s hinted that Souta and his relationship with his father as well as the family business was somewhat strained. Like many kids with entrepreneurial parents, did he decline to take over the restaurant just because that’s what everyone expected him to do? Could it be that was his actual passion all along? I think those are the questions I think this show is going to ask, and I hope so because I think that might be more interesting to see another dude try to figure out how to care of a toddler.
I am a bit wary that this episode might have been a touch too slow and not much happens, but I can see the potential here. At the very least it looks pretty nice, the soft colors are reminiscent of other works by Liden Films that I’ve had my eye on for years now. I think it’s worth at least another episode to find out if they can capitalize on the setup.
Artemis’ verdict: Not Overly Ambitious, Still Pretty Sweet
If the likes of Usagi Drop and Sweetness and Lightning were your thing, Poco’s Udon World probably will be too. The fantastical element in the form of a transforming tanuki boy definitely adds its own twist to the adult-looking-after-adorable-child plot, and cooking doesn’t look to be the main focus here despite the udon shop, but Poco has that general feel about it – cute, gentle, and heavy on the slice-of-life angle. I’m also wildly excited to finally be getting an anime set on Shikoku, which seems ridiculously late in coming but hey, better late than never.
While the character designs in particular remind me a lot of Usagi Drop, especially in terms of colouration, I don’t expect Poco to be anywhere near as compelling. One episode in and I can already see that this show probably doesn’t have the same kind of breathtaking charm; it lacks both the subtlety and the heartrending premise for that. Then again, I don’t really get the sense that Poco is trying to be anything more than it is, and what’s there already is plenty enough to keep me watching. I mean, why would I not want to watch a show about the reluctant owner of an udon restaurant in rural Japan and his accidentally-adoptive tanuki child? That has me written all over it. I’m not sure whether it’s going to be a constant case of Souta hiding the tanuki part from all the other characters or whether people will find out and just not bat an eye, but I’m hoping for the latter (even if the former seems more likely at this point). Either way, this show is cute and it knows it.