By Jason S. Yadao
Kawaii Kon 2013 was only a handful of hours old on March 15 when Keith Kawamura, Crunchyroll senior brand manager, gave con-goers a world-exclusive announcement: Sparrow's Hotel would be making its way to the streaming anime site. You may recall that I posted this picture from that particular event.
Fast forward a month and a few days, and the first two episodes of Sparrow's Hotel have, indeed, been posted. Second episode just went up for premium subscribers around the middle of this week, in fact. (By the way, I've had a few guest passes for 48-hour premium membership trials sitting around in my account for a little while now, so ... here, here and here. Let other people know in comments if you take one. Thanks.)
So how much of a significant announcement did this turn out being? I felt like there needed to be some sort of payoff, so I sat through those first two episodes ... and presented here, for your convenience, is the in-depth review that I feel this series deserves.
Today’s profile: Sparrow's Hotel, episodes 1-2
Recommended age: Older teen 16+
Availability: Currently streaming on crunchyroll.com
Sparrow's Hotel is quick and pointless.***
'Poppy Hill' extended a week (again)
Fandango's weekly update came a few days later than the past two weeks -- Thursday instead of Tuesday -- but for those of you who still haven't made it out to see From Up on Poppy Hill, the newest Studio Ghibli film localized for the U.S., there's now a third week's worth of screenings at the Kahala 8 theaters. Come to think of it, it's a great opportunity to double-dip and see this movie again, especially considering there has yet to be any announcement of a U.S. home video release. There are a few minor adjustments in screening times, but the number of screenings between today and next Thursday remains the same, at 33. Tickets are available online via Fandango. Screenings:
Today and Saturday: 10:50 a.m. and 12:55, 3, 5:05, 7:10 and 9:20 p.m.
Sunday: 10:50 a.m. and 12:55, 3, 5:05, and 7:10 p.m.
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. and 2, 4:20 and 7:10 p.m.
Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meets every Thursday and Friday in Kuykendall Hall, room 305. Catch Cyborg 009, Kuroko no Basket and Hanasaku Iroha on Thursdays, or Magi, Psycho Pass and Toriko on Fridays. Social time/announcements 4:30 p.m.: screenings 5 to 7 p.m.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. April 28.
Free Comic Book Day: The name pretty much says it all. Of course, there will probably be other things going on as well. May 4.
Maui Matsuri: Annual Japanese festival held on the University of Hawaii-Maui College campus. May 11.
Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, June 16-July 14.
Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.
Oni-Con Hawaii: With guest Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $35 for a three-day pass. Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.
Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. Preregistration opens May 1. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.
***OK, so some of you may want a few more details about Sparrow's Hotel -- you've made it this far, past the Poppy Hill schedule and the "Ota-cool Incoming!" calendar, after all -- so here's the deal: Sparrow's Hotel is adapted from a 4-koma (four-panel comic strip style) manga by Yuka Santoh. That manga hasn't been translated into English, and, if this anime is any indication, there's probably a good reason why it hasn't been translated: It's a one-trick pony based around the fact that the hotel's newest hire, Sayuri Sato, is a gal with an ample chest who can charm guys, then beat them into submission.
There are good ways and bad ways of adapting 4-koma manga into anime series. Azumanga Daioh, Adventures of the Mini-Goddess, Lucky Star and Hetalia are some of the better ones. Poyopoyo seems like a good adaptation, too, even though I haven't seen any official translations of the manga. This series, though, has no real story flow between what's obviously a group of adapted comic strips. It's opening credits, setup, gag, setup, gag, setup, gag, repeat, end. Over here, she's instantly breaking up a fight among drunken guys. Over there, she's pulling out a keychain nestled somewhere in that ample chest of hers. People marvel about it in awe or in fear. Woo hoo.
There are some other characters besides Sayuri -- her female manager, the manager's brother, another guy voiced by past Kawaii Kon guest Daisuke Kishio -- but who really cares? They're just around to set up another gag that probably involves some combination of ample chestiness and submission beating.
Oh yes, one other thing: In the time it's taken for you to read through this entire post, you probably could have watched both episodes. They're only three minutes long, after all, 2-1/2 minutes of actual content when you factor out the opening credits. And still I want those six minutes of my life back.