"Kodocha Vol. 1": Yes Folks, It's That Good!
All right, before we begin: Yes, I’m an almost-twenty-one-year-old male. And no, this review will not fully convey just how much I, in all my twenty-one-year-old male glory, love this show. It’s directed by the man who did Fruits Basket (another shoujo series I loved) and you can definitely see the similarities.
Kodocha is the story of an elementary school student, Sana Kurata, who stars in a popular TV show, Child’s Toy. Not everything is fame and glory, though, since Sana’s class at school is completely out of control. Bad boy Akito is the class bully, but he may not be all he seems. On the surface, his gang is fiercely loyal to him, but as the fourth episode shows, their loyalty is very shaky. Meanwhile, her ultra-suave manager Rei keeps Sana safe and on time for her various engagements. He often serves as Sana’s voice of reason, but he can be just as scheming as she is when anyone threatens his client. Throw in Sana’s surly mother and Babbit, a strange creature that more or less narrates the story, and you have a great cast. When Sana publicly trashes Akito on her TV show, his gang decides to retaliate. After the teacher refuses to discipline any of them due to a secret Akito holds over her, Sana decides to take matters into her own hands.
Sana is an absolutely adorable and hilarious main character. She’s kind and caring but far from the goody-two-shoes type that Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket was. On the contrary, she is a dangerous enemy. Her television fame adds a neat twist to her character and thankfully doesn’t intrude on the story by making it a cliched “girl juggles fame and private life” series. With her hyperactivity she comes off as a diet version of Excel from Excel Saga, but she is far less annoying. Laura Bailey is absolutely brilliant in this role and could show Jessica Calvello and Larissa Wolcott (both Excel VAs) a thing or two about playing a lovable yet crazy girl. John Burgmeier is great as Rei. His calm voice works well with Rei’s demeanor, and Burgmeier’s delivery of his lines is the perfect contrast to Sana’s perky and hyper personality. Jerry Jewell sounds a bit old for Akito, but the performance is so well done that it can be forgiven. All of the other voices are well done, and overall the show has a terrific sound to it, music and all. It would really have been great if each of Sana’s songs/raps were included as mini music videos on the DVD. Some of them are insanely catchy, and FUNimation does a great job writing the English lyrics and keeping them funny.
Kodocha totally snuck up on me. I haven’t been so entertained in a long time. It manages to be consistently funny without trying too hard, and it doesn’t rely on too many sight gags or any anime references/parodies to get the job done. It has a dub script and story that is perfectly suitable for any age, and I can only hope that this show gets a run on television sooner or later. My final word is this—I love Kodocha. With hilarious dialogue, lovable characters, and a great sense of “funny”, it is a must see for every fan of animated comedy.