Don't Worry, Be Crabby.
When it comes to online anime streaming, nothing's less fun than coming away from a series feeling unsatisfied, but sometimes it's hard to tell at a glance if an anime is right for you. “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” seeks to remedy that. Each week we provide additional info and cultural context for an anime in Crunchyroll's library of titles to help fans match up with the sort of series that they crave.
AIURA is a 2013 short TV anime comedy with direction by Ryosuke Nakamura and animation by Liden Films. The series is based on the 4-panel manga by Chama, which was serialized from 2011 – 2014 on the Niconico Seiga website and in-print via Kadokawa Shoten's 4-Koma Nano Ace and Monthly Shonen Ace magazines. Crunchyroll describes AIURA as follows:
They don't always see eye-to-eye, but that just makes these high school girls' daily lives more fun. "Their lives happen when nothing is happening" in this anime based on the lackadaisical four-panel manga. *This story features high school girls, but there's not much romance, and comedy has its place. Don't expect too much extravagance.
AIURA is a high school comedy that follows three young women – the unassuming Ayuko, the laid-back Saki, and the energetic Kanaka – as they become fast friends despite a series of initial mistakes, embarrassments, and misunderstandings.
The Pastel Life.
AIURA is a very well-animated and visually appealing show, with moe character designs by Meiko Hosoi that emphasize cuteness and youth and with color design by Takahiro Mogi that accentuates a pleasant and carefree environment. The lighting effects are also top notch, capturing the details of sunlight dappling through shady trees and even reproducing the brief glimmer of light reflecting off the roof of an approaching city bus when it crests a hill.
Enjoy the Little Things.
AIURA is an “everyday” comedy, so its primary focus for humor is finding pleasure in the minutiae of ordinary events such as accidentally mistaking a complete stranger for a friend or acquaintance, making small talk by relating the bizarre logic of a dream, or not being tall enough able to reach something important, like one's locker at school. The situational comedy is instantly relatable.
Another important aspect of AIURA's humor is a sense of playful transgression. Kanaka in particular loves to gently push the boundaries with her family and friends. Whether her pranks involve awarding unusual nicknames, ringing a doorbell repeatedly, or taking unflattering pictures with her cellphone, Kanaka never pushes her teasing too far, and it comes across as endearing rather than exasperating.
Never Miss a Beat.
AIURA also demonstrates an impeccable sense of comic timing, one that perfectly replicates the lull in the middle of a 4-panel comic. Many punchlines are preceded by just the right amount of an awkward pause while characters process the foolish thing that was just done or said, so when the jokes land, they hit even harder.
Seize the Day.
Crunchyroll currently streams AIURA in 250 territories worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The series is available in the original Japanese language with subtitles in English, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing there are no home video releases of AIURA in the United States.
Each episode of AIURA is only 4 minutes long, so it's impressive how much life-affirming joy and fun this series manages to pack into only 48 minutes. If you've got a quiet afternoon to kill, if you're in the mood for some light humor, and if the series is available in your area, then please consider giving AIURA a try.
Is there a series in Crunchyroll's catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to [email protected] or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.