Place to Place
Ah, love. It comes in many forms, but not often as tiny as Miniwa Tsumiki. She's very much in love with Otonashi Io, but alas, her tsundere side demands its dues, so it's not easy to get it out in the open. It also doesn't help that Io might very well be one of the most oblivious people on the planet. This special little relationship isn't lost on their friends, though, who take great pleasure in teasing her about it, often with violently retalitary results.
There's never a more irritating moment than when a show puts a whole load of your worst pet peeves into one single show, but it's also never more surprising when you watch something like that and find yourself greatly entertained.
Place to Place takes some of my pet peeves -- the violent girl, the excessive cuteness, the show almost purely based around comedy -- and somehow manages to not only keep its head above the sea level, but almost literally flying into the horizon.
Part of the reason for that might be because the show never really feels malicious in any way. We start off right above our main character's head (she's short, see?), and are in short order introduced to her friends; Io, the love interest, Katase Mayoi, the mad scientist type whose eyes you'll never see, and whose mouth is perpetually formed in a kitty-type grin. (This kind -> :3 ) There's also Inui Sakaki, the butt monkey and Haruno Hime, the quiet one, but she's so low-key, she's usually lost among her louder, more abrasive peers. In short order, Tsumiki blushes over Io's unintentional showing of affection, rams Mayoi's head into a concrete wall due to her teasing and then heads to class. It's (slice of) life as usual.
It won't take you long to figure out just how freakishly cute Place to Place is. It wasn't enough for the show to make Tsumuki adorably tiny; she randomly sprouts cat ears whenever something enjoyable happens to her, most of which is centered around Io. Oddly enough, despite Io's frightening abilities to turn the ladies' noses into impromtu blood fountains on a moment's notice, the girls aren't exactly swarming around him. (And I'm not necessarily blaming Tsumiki for any of this.)
The most surprising part is how well the comedy worked out in Place to Place, especially since a lot of it is based around slapstick violence, and surprisingly brutal slapstick violence at that. Faces gets plowed into concrete walls, Mayoi takes a frisbee at mach 1 straight in the throat, characters also get piledriven, faceplanted into various rock hard surfaces and other stuff that'll make you cringe or wince. Yet it never gets old due to the sheer variety of chopsockery, and it never gets malicious because most of it is caused either accidentally or as a result of people not leaving well enough alone. (I.E. they had it coming.) Nobody in particular gets picked at.
The dialogue and comedy timing just seals the deal. For all his oblivousness about Tsumiki's feelings, he's sharp as a knife about other people, which makes it all the more hilarious when someone else whispers "like you're one to talk" under their breaths. Most of the comedy is initiated by the comedic duo of Mayoi and Sakaki regardless of whether they're seen in the same scene or not; if they're there, crazy will happen.
Returning to the absurd levels of cuteness, it's also worth mentioning that the art and animation is actually at a pretty decent level. Character designs aren't particularly special -- in fact, they look a little calculated, especially when it comes to Tsumiki and her tiny hands and huge cowlick -- but animation is pretty good. Given the amount of slapstick and movement, that makes it all the more important too. Design and direction wise, Place to Place shares more than a few passing resemblances to Hidamari Sketch, often cutting over to these overviews with arrows and symbols moving around. Place to Place keeps it to a less frequent level than Hidamari Sketch, though, and doesn't have the same amount of variety.
Also helping my enjoyment of this show is its surprisingly nice soundtrack, particularly the quieter piano pieces scattered around during the cuter moments in the show. This doesn't entirely extend to the opening and ending theme, which, while not bad, kind of differs -- almost breaks -- the mood of the soundtrack. (Particularly the "pofu-pofu" moment in the ending.)
Place to Place is hardly the first show I've seen of the cute variety, but it's probably set a new standard for the amount of cute I can take without going into convulsions. It's continuously -- almost manically so -- adorable, which may or may not chase some people off, but it's so worth it.
...I feel so dirty now.
The new benchmark in survivable cuteness. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The show is pretty clean, surprisingly enough. OK, so the slapstick violence gets a little bit out of hand, but nobody really gets hurt... a lot, anyway. (Do not try this at home, though.)
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Place to Place © 2012 AIC, Pony Canyon, Acchi Kocchi Production Committee
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