Shifting through random best-of lists of 2016 anime series, a certain weird image popped up here and there that caught my interest. It was an image of a cat in a banana...
At first, I thought it was an add for 9gag, or similar joke sites. But no, this was a genuine anime of 2016.
So out of sheer curiosity, I started watching it! 13 shorts of about 3 minutes later and I'm still left wondering what I just watched.
V Reviews - Bananya
Well, somewhere in 2015 a few business people at the Japanese Stationary store Q-Lia had a meeting about what new kind of mascot would sell them merchandise. Seeing as cats are very popular in Japan, they obviously had to do something with cats.
But how could they make cats look original? While there is no official confirmation on this, I'm pretty sure the Minions movie from 2015 (and its trailer) had something to do with this...
So not that much later in 2015, Bananya became one of the new Q-Lia mascot characters. And to no-one's surprise, the banana-cat became quite popular!
Shortly after its launch Q-Lia launched a crowdfunding campaign to get an anime sponsored (animated by TMS entertainment). And while the campaign wasn't that successful (at first glance at least), they apparently still got enough money to get their animated shorts made.
And in summer of 2016 we were "blessed" with this beauty...
The err... Story?
Yeah, er... It's the story of Bananya, an animal who is both cat as well as banana. And he's not alone. There are other plushies... err, banana-cats as well. And while they're not visible when we look around, they start appearing and do stuff when we leave the room.
And they're technically cats doing cat-like things. But in this case, they have a banana-shaped lower half. And those cat-like stuff includes stuff like sleeping, eating, chasing mice, wandering around town... you know. The usual cat stuff!
Left to right, top to bottom we have:
- Tora Bananya
- Sabatora Bananya
- Kenaga Bananya
- Kuro Bananya
And there also Baby Bananya, Oyaji (old man) Bananya, Taba (bundle) Bananya and a few others.
Art & Sound
The art is simple, yet very charming... And that's it. But honestly, that's all it needs. It's cats doing cat things in a cute way. No matter the art style, people would probably have loved it either way.
Sound is kind of basic, but acceptable.
What is fun to note however, is that nearly all of the characters are voiced by two voice actors: Yuki Kaji & Ayumu Murase. Both are high-level voice actors. Yuki for example voiced Eren Jaeger (Attack on Titan), Arita (Accel World), Citron (Pokemon X&Y), Yukine (Norogami) and many others. Ayumu on the other and voiced Hinata (Haikyuu), Allen Walker (D.Gray-Man Hallow), Rui (Gatchaman Crowds) and many others.
So high profile people for a series of shorts about banana-cats.
Personal opinion and conclusion
Err... I'm glad I watched it. Now I at least know what a Bananya is... And I'll admit: This blog post was fun to write!
But no, it's not a series for me. I like cats and banana's, but that's about it.
If you are a cat-fanatic, you're probably going to LOVE this anime and rate this a 10/10. I mean, just look at the reviews on Myanimelist: Probably all cat-lovers who reviewed it.
For me, I'll give it a passable score of 6.5/10.
It's not offensive, it's not bad. It's just... fluff. All short episodes together are about half an hour of fluff.
Recommendation: If you're feeling down and you need something cute to cheer you up, go and watch this. It will make your day all the brighter. Just looking at cats like Baby Bananya is going to give an automatic "Daaaaawh" reaction from you.
Just don't expect TOO much from it.
Until next time, V out.
I'm gonna go grab a banana now.