Anime Review: Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-San (2018)

First of all, I really enjoyed this anime. Though very short compared to other series of the same length, (and those short episodes are split into even shorter episodes) Honda-San is a series that just sticks with you, especially if you are a fan of books or have dealt with retail customers as I have for years now. Considering the fact that most of my writing these days is purely relegated to hobby, I very well might end up retiring in the retail industry. In any case, Honda-San is based on the real life account of a man who worked at a manga shop for many years and discusses what it is like dealing with foreigners, angry customers, massive orders of books, special instructions from publishers, obligatory corporate meetings, closing up shop for the night and more. The anime is also done in a unfamilair style, which makes is stand out more than 98% of what is currently being produced. Simply put, you’ve never seen an anime quite like Honda-San. Not only that, but the opening theme “ISBN” is something rather interesting as it combines experimental J-Pop/rock with authentic (Yes, these are authentic) death metal growls, once again showing that the Japanese are musical geniuses. The ending theme of the anime “Book-end, Happy-end” is also very catchy and rather cheery, which feels just right.

Honda-San is meant to be a comedy anime, so the series is littered with jokes. Again, anyone who has dealt with retail (the lifting episode particularly touched me, because my primary job requires a lot of heavy lifting – I laughed so hard I cried) would be able to identify with the ridiculous requests and questions that customers can have sometimes, which have made me want to send them to the moon. If you’ve never dealt with retail business in any format, you may not really understand this kind of anime and aside from one episode where action is hinted at, it is mostly exactly as it sounds – a skeleton who works at a bookstore along with a lot of other characters who are metaphors for people who the author of the manga has worked with in the past. It will also teach you about the processes involved in running a bookstore, whether it sells manga or otherwise. That being said, I don’t think there’s any real interest for the US to localize this one and it’s probably not going to make waves as there are few jokes that were above my head and would only be understood by someone who is Japanese. However, the expressions in this anime have carried on to be used in numerous apps and forums across the world. I suppose that effect is better than none.

(12 Episodes)


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