Written by: Zerogouki
Shonen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan, a new short series about an elementary schooler and his pet seal, has the gentle humor, surreal wit, and comforting atmosphere of a Sunday comic strip. It's relaxing, while still inviting the occasional gut-busting laugh, and the adorable art style is as inviting as it gets.
Short series are a relatively new experience for anime fans in the US and other English speaking countries -- before streaming was commonplace, there wasn't much of a place for them. A lot of them are oddball little pieces that can only really work in a short time slot, or particularly quiet and low-stakes shows that don't quite lend themselves to a full production. Shonen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan is a little of both.
We start out with the titular Ashibe and his dad lazing about after moving into a new house. It isn't long before they meet and ultimately adopt Goma-chan, an adorable little white spotted seal who they take an instant shine to. It's no wonder, when he's such a cute pup. It's no surprise when Ashibe's family and friends are quickly enamored of the little guy. If the show was content to be about that, sort of a Chii's Sweet Home for the seal-loving set, it would be good enough. But its sense of humor is a bit more expansive.
Take the the joke in the first episode, when Ashibe and his dad are worried about Ashibe's mom cooking Goma-chan for dinner. Ashibe rejects his father's suggestion to disguise Goma-chan as a daikon (by putting a leaf on his head) since she'd still want to cook him, but cheerfully accepts disguising him as a neighborhood kid by putting a nori wig on his head. Ashibe's thought processes are just out there enough that he's pretty lovable, and hilarious, himself.
Ashibe and Goma-chan's adventures take them to the local neighborhood bathhouse, where both Goma and one of Ashibe's friends use some soap bubbles to imitate rocket ships, and to the mean elementary school back alleys, where some tough kids challenge Ashibe's high-faluting attitude and are fought back by a powerful hug. Goma-chan also gets a taste for ice pops. His desperate efforts to acquire one lead to a hilarious sequence where the little seal gets confused about cuisine, the economy, and ultimately biology, all because he can't resist the siren song of the sweet treats. There's a few side stories about Sugao-kun, Ashibe's friend from his old neighborhood, who, let's say, hasn't quite gotten the hang of letting friendships go.
You know pretty much exactly what you're gonna get from Shonen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan, and that is entirely fine by me. What you get is cute art, nice colors, and some inspired jokes. You'd be hard-pressed not to have a good time with it, and we should all consider ourselves lucky that it's available to us.