Shouwa Monogatari

Title:Shouwa Monogatari
Shōwa Era Story
昭和物語 (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: FUKUEN Misato
Dramatic story of the Yamazaki family during the year ↗Shōwa 39 (1964), the year that Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics.
(Summary Courtesy of

13 episode series that started airing on April 3, 2011.
Animated by: Wao World
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 7 8 8 6 7 Ggultra2764 [series:2005#1552]
(Rent-/ Watch+)

For as much as Showa Era Story's premise seemed to interest me with its historical premise and the Olympics, I found myself disappointed and underwhelmed in how the anime chose to convey itself. The series is mostly a historical slice-of-life title focused on the everyday lives of the Yamazaki family leading up to the 1964 Olympics taking place at the time. The Olympics, for the most part, only serve as a backdrop on the everyday ordeals faced by the family from Kouhei's mischievous behavior to Yuko's complicated matters in love as a teen to the heavy ordeals that their craftsman of a father puts up with in maintaining his business. From my understanding, this anime was supposed to be made in mind for a much older audience who lived through and experienced the times in 1960s Japan and it certainly shows with the title's simple approach in the exploration of the Yamazaki family and their everyday lives. The anime does believably depict the cultural norms, technologies, major events and trends that were commonplace in 1964 Japan, which would be a plus for fans of historical-based anime.

However, the show's major issue for me is that it lacks a major hook to engage wider audiences considering the audience this was made in mind for. Kids on the Slope takes place in the same time period as Showa Era Story and had its engaging musical elements and complicated romantic developments to keep me hooked on the show throughout its run. Showa Era Story, however, is too mundane with its tone, which makes it kind of hard to engage me into caring for what takes place at many points of the series, making it somewhat dull for me to see throughout its run.

Visually, Showa Era Story is of standard quality for an animated title having vivid color and plenty of visual detail in the designs of its settings and characters. The animation is decent in moments of character movements and there weren't many occasions I recall still frames being used, though animation certainly wasn't the highest priority in the making of this series. Music in the series mostly consists of light piano pieces and popular music of the time period which were catchy to listen to throughout the show's run.

Overall, I found Showa Era Story to be a bit too much of an acquired taste for me, even with my interest in looking into obscure and not-so-popular anime titles. This was an anime that seemed to be geared too heavily towards its intended older audience as the lack of engaging elements and too mundane feel did make the series a test of tolerance for me at a number of points. Unless you have a huge interest in historical-based anime such as this, you may find yourself having difficulty in enjoying Showa Era Story.

Regrettably, this title marks my 800th review here on Mikomi.

Last updated Friday, October 05 2012. Created Friday, October 05 2012.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2005#628]
(Three episodes watched):

As an amateur historian I like anime which has a historical setting--like Taishou Baseball Girls, for example. 1964 holds a special place in my heart, since that was the year I was born. This show has a definite sentimental tone to it; things like the OP sequence contrasting contemporary black-and-white photos with the same sites today (and the animated versions of them), establish a distinct link to the past. The ED song being what must have been a common tune 47-odd years ago was fun as well. On the other hand, a lot of things clearly haven't changed much, like New Years Day customs. The show is historical, but not radically so; you get a sense of what life was like back then without being totally immersed in bygone customs and styles. Come to think of it, I know what's different here: a complete, three generation family, while you sometimes have a hard time finding present-day anime which even include a set of parents. We meet the family members and get an idea of what their goals and priorities are; the big sister has a sort of a crush on a cute guy and the big brother thinks large companies might be the wave of the future rather than father's relatively small workshop. All-in-all, I'm enjoying Showa Monogatari and will definitely watch the entire series.

I can't help feeling that unlikely coincidences occur too often, and the storylines verge on being too simplistic (Guy meets cute girl, is invited to a party, she dumps him, he is heartbroken--all in one episode). Still, the nostalgia of the not-too-distant past is fun--I just wish more care had been put into the writing, since more shows of this sort aren't likely to come along unless this one does well.

Episode three left me feeling that while the storylines are kind of simplistic, this show still manages to do a good job of conveying an idea of what life was like in Japan 47-odd years ago. Life was relatively hard, but there was a definite feeling that things were getting better for the country, not sliding downhill--no talk of a 'lost decade' here. Maybe that's why nostalgia works, because we wish we still had the sense of optimism that was commonplace back then. Talk of technology making life easier in the future seems muted nowadays; the future is almost something to be dreaded, not looked forward to. Some boys taking a long trip just to get a look at the hangar in which a jet airliner will be stored someday is something which would be very unlikely to happen today. The episode seemed to go by relatively quickly, which means I wasn't bored. I was thrilled to see that at least part of this episode's story takes place on the very day that I was born--half a world away, of course.

Last updated Monday, June 06 2011. Created Friday, April 29 2011.

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