Hello Hello, Lil Buns!
It's really been a while since I've done one of these! But I have so many anime on my list to watch, I'm gonna have to start working at it. So for this year, I'm going to do just that.
I started this series last year and literally just finished it last night.
So this will be the first of the new year!
Gokinjo Monogatari aka Neighborhood Story is an anime and manga series from the 90s created by the amazing Ai Yazawa!
It's the story of a boy and a girl that have been friends since childhood and have always been neighbors. The series takes place while they are 16 and in an art high school
Mikako is studying to be a clothing designer with her own brand and Tsutomu recycles random objects he finds into art.
While Tsutomu has both of his parents, Mikako only has her mom who is a famous shoujo mangaka. But she has two very close best friends - P-chan and Risa who are also artists. P-chan is a Lolita who makes plushies and Risa wants to make a children's punk clothing line.
Eventually the group of friends gets bigger with Jiro (computer programmer), Yusuke (painter/illustrator), Body-ko aka Mariko, Mariko's little brother Shintarou (sculptor) and Ayumi (3D sculptor).
They eventually form the Flea Market group
All the while trying to deal with school, life, love and growing up.
It's about the lives of high school friends who are all going to school for art and the different scenarios each of them go through. The story is simple for the most part but there are definitely a lot more twists in the latter half of the story. The beginning definitely allows you to get to know the characters and the world in the series which is better than rushing through that.
I have always loved Ai Yazawa's design and work. She was an art student herself, and her character/world design really show it. This series was definitely from the hand-drawn age so it won't have the high computer quality anime has today. But it definitely has its own charm and style.
Each character came from very different backgrounds and had their own flaws. Not a single one was perfect. I think that truly added dimension to each. I did get frustrated with some of them as the characters' trait was true stubbornness so I got annoyed when they acted out. Even as a teen, I don't think I was that bad.
For the most part, the music was pretty good. I just wish they used a few more different songs. Eventually even my favorite tracks seemed played out.
Overall Rating 8.3/10
This series became an instant favorite of mine. It's so 90s but very lovable even today. Even with all of the drama and all the different issues thrown at the characters, they were able to push through. It was a feel good series. One that many people could relate to. Whether it was an issue with parents, love, jealousy or even one's own creativity. Some parts were so emotional that I even cried. I even yelled at the screen at times! And I'm very glad I finished it. I highly recommend it to anyone that's a fan of Ai Yazawa's work, loves are art or into slice of life anime from the 90s.
Did you know...
some of the characters make cameos or are related to the later series Paradise Kiss?
Hope you enjoyed! Please let me know if you watch and/or read it!
That's all for now! See you next time!