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AKA: スパロウズホテル
Genre: Slice-of-Life Comedy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 3 minutes each
Distributor: Available streaming on crunchyroll
Content Rating: 13+ (mild violence, mild fan service)
Related Series: None
Also Recommended: Encouragement of Climb, Love Hina, Wagnaria!!
Notes: Based on the ongoing (as of 2014) 4-panel manga of the same name, by Yuka Santo, serialized in Manga Life.

"Budoha Furonto-gakari", which appears in the copyright info, roughly translates to martial artist front desk clerk.
Rating:
 

Sparrow's Hotel

Synopsis

Perky Sayuri Sato is the cute front desk clerk at Sparrow's Hotel, located downtown. She is also well-endowed ... and superhumanly strong, dealing with downtown altercations with martial arts, all while keeping her uniform pristine.

Review

You'd think a show about a martial artist front desk clerk would be so much better than this.

Sparrow's Hotel essentially fails to excel at anything. For starters, the humor, which should be the driving force of this series, is scattershot at best, and heavily reliant on sight gags, which sort of get old pretty quickly, with a few scattered chuckles here and there.

With three-minute episodes (two not counting the opening song!) there's not much opportunity to actually develop any of these characters - they are essentially perfunctory, showing up as needed and leaving the scene just as quickly. If anything, the characterization is uniformly shallow - even Sayuri (the star of the show) isn't really developed beyond being cheerful and having her strengths be "large breasts and assassination" (actual line from the show). The front desk manager Tamaki Shiokawa is hyper-competent, and constantly annoyed at the attention of her older brother who is the business manager and very obviously has a sister complex (really, Japan?). There's Misono, who's supposed to be the bellboy, but I don't recall him ever actually handling a single piece of luggage - I guess that's supposed to be funny? And there's sometime hotel inspector Yu Kujo who talks aloud to herself, a very poor trait for an undercover hotel inspector. I also have to mention that the girl's faces seem to be magnetically attracted to Sayuri's boobs, a running gag that ceases to be omigaw-hilarious approximately thirty seconds before the show even starts.

It's all a very shallow and superficial look at the hospitality industry. The devil's in the details -- in the very first episode, the creator seems to conflate the job of the front desk clerk, the housekeeper, the concierge, and the bellman into a single person. Even better, Sayuri, being very obviously a ninja from the very beginning of this show, doubles as hotel security. Yay! For those of us who have actually worked in the hospitality business ... just give me a second to remove my face from my desk. It's really hard to type like this, you know! Strangely, one aspect of the hotel business they just about get right is the concept of reservation blocking, something my wife used to do; the Golden Week rush is also very familiar, having myself survived five holiday seasons at Walt Disney World!

The animation is fairly minimal, with the art style looking outright amateurish, simplistic, and cheap, really only barely getting the job done, and largely failing to convey much cuteness or charm due to the characters frequently going off-model. It's like they took the already simple 4-panel line art of the manga and somehow made it look even less detailed.

About the only fun thing about this whole ordeal, really, is the voice acting: Minori Chihara (as famous for her singing career as she is for her often subdued voice roles like Haruhi's Yuki Nagato or Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere's Horizon Ariadust) has as much fun as she can with what is just a really stupid script. Incidentally, Daisuke Ono (Haruhi's Itsuki Koizumi) also shows up here as sis-con business manager Shiokawa, though like the rest of the cast (mostly journeymen and character actors), he really isn't given much to work with. This is definitely not going to be a highlight in any seiyuu resume over the long run.

Really, Sparrow's Hotel, like so many other three-minute anime series before it, feels like a missed opportunity, a glimpse of a series that might've been better served as a single main course instead of a slew of disjointed appetizers. It's rare that anything makes me pine for the days of the one-to-two-episode OVA -- with a bit of polish and some basic housekeeping, this could've been a place worth staying for a while.

Though not without its charm, Sparrow's Hotel is let down by overly simplistic writing, repetitive humor, and poor animation.Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: Some violence (mostly Sayuri beating up rabblerousers and drunks), and Sayuri's boobs seem to be attracted to the other girls' faces for no good reason I can think of. Teens and up.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital Source, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Sparrow's Hotel © 2013 Yuka Santo / Takeshobo / Budoha Furonto-gakari