A breath of living air

Moyashimon episode 1: Itsuki hits the jackpot

Off the top of my head, I can think of 4 shows about university students, in university. This estimate is easily dwarfed by the number of series set in and/or around a high school. I know that high school was really the last time that “we were all together”, so the high school character is the greatest common denominator, but any number of stories can be told through the slightly jaded – or really jaded – eyes of university students regardless of major or field of study. I don’t have to be in bio, chem, biochem, or agro, in order to find Moyashimon entertaining, and neither should you.

Moyashimon is not about the microbes. There are technical terms and details but the draw is not in how many of these can be thrown at you, but their influence on the characters and the resulting hilarity. Consider that open book and “cheat sheet” type exams exist (and are perhaps preferred nowadays) because the examiner wishes to emphasize application over memorization. In a similar vein, Moyashimon descends from the ivory tower and makes the science relevant to the scenes.

Contrast with Honey and Clover, where art was present but interchangeable with any other discipline. While the main cast was a bunch of art students and an arts professor, their work did not significantly define the scenes that the series did focus on. While that made H&C more accessible, Moyashimon sees Sawaki examine a cow. Which series better integrates its setting?

Random notes follow. With screen shots!

Moyashimon episode 4: Random football player is randomly hilarious

Tacitly approved thievery. It’s at once a great reverse prank, and a slightly disturbing method to get freshmen to expend their enterprising energies in some giant controlled experiment. Not that that prevents less than upstanding behaviour in general. Although it hasn’t been played up too much so far, Sawaki does come across as vulnerable to being used by anyone desperate or conniving enough to accept him as he is. It’s been done to death, but when done right it’s still awful to think about.

Moyashimon episode 3: The beatings will continue until morale improves!
The beatings will continue until morale improves!

One of the neat things Moyashimon offers is its depiction of research. There’s not much, but what is there is kind of ordinary. The lab space is not out of a mad scientist movie, and a full hazmat suit is not necessary to get anything done. Itsuki and company may study wacky specimens but it’s not superhero creating viruses or nanomachines.

Research is more of a job than most people believe, I think. When Haruka first appeared, Hiroko Matsukata of Hataraki Man was the first person that came to mind. Determination and a willingness to work hard are desirable anywhere. I’m not expecting Moyashimon to drive home the point that research can be mundane and mind numbingly repetitive like paper pushing, but it’s already made some contribution by shining a bit of light on what it means to be a researcher.

Moyashimon episode 2: Sub glitch

Spotted the above artifact on Shinsen’s second episode. There is a shifted copy of the typesetting but only in the introduction scene. It goes away if DirectVobSub subtitles are disabled. I’ve seen it pop up before on at least one other 720p release (probably Dennou Coil). No big deal, and Shinsen went for hard subtitles for episodes 3 and 4.