Post Reply Is the Order a Rabbit?
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35 / M / CR HQ
Posted 5/28/14 , edited 5/28/14
by wings6

MOE: the first and resounding word that comes to mind from the first episode of the new anime series, Is the Order a Rabbit? For those not familiar with this term (it’s pronounced “Mow-eh” not “Mo” like Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons), Moe is the unique Japanese characteristic of emphasizing cuteness of sweetness in a character or series; usually the ideal of youthful innocence. And those are the adjectives that adequately describe this series: cute, sweet, youthful, and innocent. Expect eyes that cover most of the face, adorable hair clips, and a lot of bubbles and sparkles. Tired of watching mega mecha fly into the sky for battles over the universe? Not sure if you want to watch another show about death matches between eternal frenemies? Looking for a change from shows about difficult decisions, heartbreaking friendships, or drama raining from the heavens? Then look no further than the refreshingly simple Is the Order a Rabbit? The most difficult problems that appeared in the show were eating celery for the first time, making latte art, and figuring out how to grow taller.

The show has an easy-to-swallow premise: a young girl named Cocoa (you read that right) transfers to a picturesque alpine-like town and enters a local café called “Rabbit House”. Here begin the first of the abundant rabbit references in this show. Rightfully, the first thing Cocoa orders at the café is a bunny rabbit to cuddle, but is crushed to find out that the name of the café is misleading – they only serve the normal café fare. However, Cocoa’s personality begins to shine through: she puts up such a hyperactive fuss about wanting to cuddle a rabbit that the café owner’s daughter, Chino, hands over her personal pet rabbit (in exchange for Cocoa buying coffee). Cocoa’s exuberance eventually convinces Chino to hire her as a waitress at the café and to offer her lodging instead of a salary. The show continues with Cocoa, Chino, and other part-time waitress Rize working at Rabbit House café. Despite hardly any customers ever being shown, they seem to have a successful time of it.

Throughout the series, Cocoa continues to be hyper, outgoing, and a bit of an airhead. She would slip into dangerous “stock character” territory except for her surprising mental arithmetic abilities: she can solve large sums in her head without blinking (think Matilda or Rain Man), though she doesn’t see this as special. Despite Cocoa’s uncanny math abilities (which honestly don’t come up as much as I wanted), the other characters fit a little too easily into the normal anime character models: the stoic Lolita, the tsundere with a secretly soft heart, the sweetheart who keeps traditional Japanese dress alive. Each girl is named after a drink to keep the café theme running: “Chino” is short for cappuccino, Rize is named for the tea, Thé des Alizés, and so on.

The rest of the show is simple: Cocoa adopts Chino as a little sister (despite Chino’s initial resistance to this), befriends other café waitresses around town, and goes to school. This is a slice-of-life show with a healthy dash of Moe mixed in. The series is episodic, lacking an overarching plot to link the episodes together. But this is not a show for pushing boundaries; it’s purpose is to make the viewer feel relaxed, enveloped in the daily goings-on of this little town that offer nothing more difficult than mastering latte art. The lighting is always soft, the eyes are always overflowing with color, and the girls are affirming and naïve.

There are some troubling skin shots for a show with such an innocent vibe; the darker side of Moe, sometimes. Rize is first introduced in her bra and panties, hiding in a closet and holding a gun. While this is waved away with the excuse that Rize is a police chief’s daughter (right, being the daughter of a police officer definitely explains hiding in your underwear), there are enough shots of the girls changing into their pajamas or getting ready for bath-time to raise an eyebrow. However, these few scenes do not detract from the overall youthfulness of the show; they are simply a reminder that sometimes Moe can mean more skin.

The only thing that really sticks out in this town is Chino’s “pet rabbit” Tippy, who is apparently possessed by the spirit of Chino’s slick-talking grandfather. Tippy a.k.a. Grandpa will speak up to offer advice, read fortunes, or comment on cute girls. No one seems particularly fazed by the haunted rabbit or rides on his granddaughter’s head and he serves more as a strange garnish on this otherwise modest show.

Something that must be acknowledged in this show is the beautiful attention to detail: Japanese animation studio White Fox adapted the show from its original manga form and have done a lovely job of adding rich details in every single shot. This Moe show is not all about the kira-kira – there are scratches in the surface of table tops; a close up of a woman’s French tipped fingernails; an entire scene to show the color change of tea water when hot water and lemon is poured onto loose leaf tea in a glass pot. The details add more depth to the otherwise simple show, further convincing the viewer that they are in the town with the girls; and while not much may be going on in their day-to-day, it’s still a relaxing and comfortable ride through their richly-drawn lives.

Watching Is the Order a Rabbit? Tell us what you think!
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M / Canada
Posted 5/31/14 , edited 5/31/14
I started watching Is the Order a Rabbit? recently, and it is, as you say, sweet, not too serious, and relaxing. The background art and character designs are well done. I was sort of reminded of Non Non Biyori and Kanamemo...seems like it has more than a few similarities with these.
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30 / M / Colorado, USA
Posted 6/3/14 , edited 6/3/14
If I die ... tell my waifu Gochiusa is 10/10 supermoe.
5503 cr points
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26 / F / SoCal
Posted 6/11/14 , edited 6/12/14
omg b/c of the anime review bonanza email I got I added this 2 my queue. I've never seen a loli or moe before. (unless K-On! counts? I don't think it does...) anyway I saw the 1st ep and I thought the background artwork was gorgeous (like Kiki's Delivery Service!) and it seems adorable.

I didn't like how they showed that one character in her underwear when this is supposed to be all innocent and cutesy. but apparently that's what loli is. :/ I will be watching anyway tho b/s like the review says it's relaxing and pretty otherwise~ ^^
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