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AKA: だぁ!だぁ!だぁ!, UFO Baby
Genre: Comedy / sci-fi / romance / school life
Length: Television series, 78 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: PG (mild slapstick)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Akazukin Chacha, Baby and Me, Marmalade Boy, Ranma 1/2
Notes: Based on the manga by Kawamura Mika, serialized in Nakayoshi.
Rating: Five StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive StarsFive Stars
 

Daa! Daa! Daa!

Synopsis

Kouzuki Miyu's parents have just been recruited to work for NASA in the United States. Miyu is forced to stay at Saionji temple, with the priest and his only son, Kanata, who is Miyu's age. The priest decides to go to India, leaving Miyu and Kanata alone in the temple. At first they quarrel constantly and do not get along. However, when a UFO crashes into the temple, the two find baby Ru from Planet Otto and his cat-like babysitter, Wanya in the wreckage. Miyu and Kanata end up taking care of baby Ru, until rescue comes from Planet Otto. This is how a bizarre life in a Buddhist temple with two teenagers, an alien baby, and a babysitting cat begins...


Review

At a full 78 episodes, this is one of the best shoujo anime to come out since Marmalade Boy and Hana Yori Dango. Cuteness abounds, not to mention romantically awkward situations, crazy love rivalries, and just about anything you would come to expect from a heartwarming sitcom revolving around a baby alien.

The lead characters Miyu and Kanata are surprisingly normal, and serve as a wonderful backdrop for what becomes an otherwise insane world for our heroes to live in. Baby Ru is perhaps one of the most endearing and enjoyable anime babies to come along since Himawari in Crayon Shin-chan. Even those who don't go gah-gah over babies (such as myself) will be prone to squeal at some of Ru's adorable antics. Wanya, Ru's official baby-sitter (and the series mascot? Or is Ru better for that role?) is an extremely clever plot device who manages to somehow help the two teenagers care for baby Ru, but at the same time serve as a foil for a lot of the sticky situations the kids find themselves in while trying to fit Ru into their daily lives. Wanya is just as major a character as Kanata or Miyu, and definitely ranks on my top-ten anime critters list.

The large, but creative supporting cast for this series is a bit reminescent of Akazukin Chacha, with pink-haired Christine reminding me a great deal of Marine-chan, for example. Her temper flares whenever the object of her affections (Kanata) is seen paying attention to any female other than her--and slapstick hilarity ensues. To make matters worse, her tiny relative, tricycle-riding Momoka (squee! so cute!) has her sights set on baby Ru to be her boyfriend ... leaving poor Miyu in the dust, making her the target of hate by both girls. What's the big deal? She's just living with the guy--they are passing off as "cousins," so it's not like they like each other in that way.

Sure. Just how long do you think it will take before playing house with an adorable alien baby (that calls the two of you "Mama" and "Papa") will start to nurture sprouting feelings of high school love? Something about taking care of a baby anything will bring out the best in a person. Fortunately, it takes a fair amount of time for feelings to evolve in this series, and the teensy bit of tension that develops with Miyu and Saionji doesn't feel the least bit forced. In fact, I would argue that their growing to like each other is less shoujo-like and more Ranma 1/2 like, which is quite suiting for a comedy of this type.

The animation, music, and designs for this show are only second to the wonderful cast of Daa! Daa! Daa!. The opening themes (both of them) are energetic, bouncy, catchy, and fit perfectly with the lovely animation. The character designs are hugely loyal to the manga artwork, and the colors are bright and cheerful without being too saturated. The animation is beyond acceptable, especially for a television show, and not once does it come off as being choppy or sloppy. The visuals are consistent, the background music is cute and just complex enough without being too in-your-face.

Other than the sometimes confusing continuity (there were at least two times that I thought the episode I was watching was the "final episode"), I really have no complaints about this series. I can only hope the series gets licensed in America at some point. It is clever, entertaining, and somehow succeeds in giving you just enough anticipation and tension without giving you even an inkling of angst. This is definitely one of those feel-good anime, without being sappy or overbearing in any type of message.

'Chicken soup for the anime lover's soul.' Is there any reason not to love this series? Melissa Sternenberg

Recommended Audience: Unless you object to the idea of two high-school students living alone together while their eccentric parents are away, nothing really objectionable.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (57/78)
Daa! Daa! Daa! © 2000 Mika Kawamura · KODANSHA / NHK · NEP · SOGOVISION
 
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