First Look: Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness

Alternative title(s): Deaimon
Manga Adaptation by Encourage Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Nagomu returns to his family’s Kyoto wagashi shop after a decade of failed musical pursuits, ready to inherit the business. But his father has already decided on a successor: Itsuka, a ten-year-old girl who was abandoned at the shop a year ago, and she thinks Nagomu’s a lout for abandoning his responsibilities. Guess they’ll have to learn to get along!

Iro’s verdict: Cute Enough

Deaimon is so generically wholesome that I barely have anything to say about it. If you keep up with this type of show, you’ve already seen the highs (Sweetness and Lightning) and lows (Bunny Drop’s ending) of this kind of premise. What I will say is that the idea that Itsuka was literally abandoned at the shop and nobody decided to call the authorities is ridiculous; it’s not like Kyoto is some small town where everybody knows everybody. Plus (Kyoukai Senki‘s nationalism has ruined me), while the whole “traditional wagashi” angle isn’t quite hoisting the red flag, it is maybe putting it in proximity of the pole. You know exactly what you’re getting when you look at something like this, and that’s just fine for the target audience, I suppose.

Artemis’ verdict: A Sweet Tooth For A Different Show

I think I wanted to like this series more than I actually did. I’m a total sucker for both slice-of-life dramas and dad shows after all, so I more or less assumed this would be a shoo-in. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the high quality of the likes of anime with similar setups (Usagi Drop, Sweetness and Lightning, Barakamon, you know the drill), but something about Deaimon didn’t quite click with me. I didn’t hate it, but I do think part of me was seeking one of those quieter iyashikei-type shows, whereas in this one, it seems like the characters over-deliver – and it’s hard to get into that very specific understated, soul-soothing mood when it feels like most of the cast is yelling about 50% of their lines.

The other main problem is the premise itself, which definitely lacks a certain amount of realism as far as Yukihira’s situation is concerned. I get that not all anime is realistic, and I don’t always want it to be, but when it comes to a modern-day slice-of-life setting like this, something about Nagomu’s parents just taking this abandoned child in as opposed to… I don’t know, calling the police?, comes across as pretty jarring. So while I like the base concept of Deaimon, I think its execution is somewhat lacking, and that pulls me out of the story to such an extent that I can’t help but lean on the negatives rather than the positives in this case, even if that makes me sound way too cynical.

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