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"Kodocha" Vol. 10: Don't Underestimate the Power of the Trumpet!

It’s Christmas time for Sana and the gang, which means “Middle Birthdays,” trumpet vs. karate battles, Akito-moths and loads of character development. Somehow Kodocha still surprises me after all this time, throwing everything imaginable into this four episode volume.

The first two epidodes, “Karate and Trumpet Compete for a Kiss,” and “That Special Christmas Kiss,” automatically sent me into girlish giggles, solely based on the titles. They obviously deal with smooching of the holiday variety, and neither disappoints when it comes to character development. Sana is throwing a Christmas/Middle Birthday party (as the midpoint of Sana and Akito’s birthdays fall on Chrismas Eve). Only Sana could come up with such a celebration, and only she could garner such attention from Akito and Naozumi, who is super jealous of the attention that Sana is giving Akito. They battle, karate vs. trumpet, a battle that is as silly as anything so far in the series. I wasn’t impressed with the battle as it was too over the top for me, but those who enjoy quotes such as “Don’t underestimate the power of the trumpet!” will get a kick out of it.

Regardless, we get lots of classic Kodocha elements, from Mama’s chipmunk head-dress becoming larger than life, to learning more about Akito’s past and his feelings for Sana, and Zengiro struggling to find a date, all of which makes these two episodes worth your while.

Skipping to the fourth episode, “Suddenly One Day, I’m Homeless Sana!” we find Sana’s family has gone bankrupt! (For a complete explanation of what happened, see Mama’s upbeat, catchy tune about the situation…only Kodocha). This episode has lots of sappy, cheesy messages, which doesn’t seem to fit the show. I think the attitudes of Mama and Sana say everything that needs to be said, they are still their go-getting, life-to-the-fullest selves, something that doesn’t need to be stated clear as day several times. However, the episode is worth it, if not just for Mama’s song about the whole thing.

Now, backing up to the third episode, “100 Haya-Moths/Ooga Booga Boo,” a filler episode, and the worst one on the disc. The only time I was amused during these two short stories is Sana’s song during “Ooga Booga Boo,” an episode completely in gibberish with the characters in caveman garb. This song shows the talent of Sana’s voice actor, with the ability to sing one of her many songs in gibberish. Other than that, these two episodes leave me just annoyed. They don’t really deal with anything, and they lack the characteristic bipolar feeling of the show. I love when one minute there’s a goofy pratfall, and the next minute the show is serious and introspective. These episodes are just plain silly.

As far as the DVD release is concerned, there are no special features, not even a textless opening and closing, something that is usually standard. This often overlooked feature would be welcome just this once, as we gain a new closing, something I would like to have seen by itself. As of now I’m not convinced that I like it, the song and animation don’t seem to fit, but I like to save judgment for after I see it sans text.

So, if you’re looking for a title to put you in the holiday spirit, go watch Beavis and Butthead Do Christmas. This won’t do it for you. But if you love the great voice acting and the crazy, silly, emotional story of Kodocha (and you somehow love moths and cavemen), dive right in.

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