Love Kome: We Love Rice anime reviewFriday July 14th, 2017
The Love Rice project anthropomorphizes rice (kome in Japanese) into schoolboys. At the Kokuritsu Inaho Academy (“Rice Ear Academy,” a wordplay on national schools), five new rice-inspired students attempt to supplant bread as the popular grain at the school. The new students form the “Love Rice” unit and challenge themselves to perform at the “Harvest Show” to show the delicious appeal of rice grains. The “heartwarming ‘kome’dy with laughs and passion” promises to let audiences rediscover the virtues of rice (“Japan’s soul food”).
Let’s start with the essence of the conclusion first: Love Kome: We Love Rice is NOT a fantastic series that takes the world by storm. It is neither pretty animated, has a deep plot or characters you can connect with. Why then see it? Because it has the most crazy puns about rice one can imagine, although you first get some of them when you have a certain level of Japanese language.
The actual plot of the series is a thick parody of the idol industry, where people who are grains compete in so-called Harvest Shows to become the most popular. All of their performances are also based on how to treat rice and grains. The strongest technique is to wash the rice and the grain use bread raising and toasting during the performances.
One thing, however, is to parody the idol industry, but the extreme focus on rice puns makes it easy to overlook and forget about this aspect.
As suggested above, the rice puns are the essence of the series, virtually every sentence contains a reference to rice turned so it fits a little more with a schoolboy setting.
The story and the people are thin, but that’s the basis for all the different puns, and they have turned both up to 11 to twist the concept as much as possible. One has a sick little sister, the other is cool but aspire to be the world’s best Harvestar, the third is shy and feminine, etc.
Graphically, the series is also below average, the characters are extremely stereotypical, but without real “personal” details. The same applies to the animation that borders on fluid and often roughly shifts between the scenes and places, of course, keeping the budget down. However, the animation is still far above most Flash animated series, it’s not really bad, but neither fluently good.
The backgrounds are not noteworthy either, as we often approach photorealism nowadays in other series, they are more simple drawings here often. But you do not watch the series for the animation…
The voices in the series are not some you remember. The male idols who voiced the protagonists took good care of a nice promotional trip where they visited rice fields and such to promote the project, but their performance does not live up to this commitment as it is flat and generic. The same goes for the music, which is typical fluffy pop, which however fits nicely with an idol-style group, but it does not make it good. The lyrics, on the other hand, are fine if dripping with puns can be described as fine at least. But you do not see the series for the sound either…
Let’s come back to the conclusion and elaborate it a little. The visuals, the sound and the plot pull the series more down than up, in the case of the plot, sharply down. So what about the humour, I used the word pun in almost every sentence above? It is there, in such extreme amounts that you almost drown in the word games. This is both the strength of the series and the Achilles heel and what made me keep watching it the way through. You just have to see one more minute, which turns into episodes, to see which more or less ridiculous word games and references to rice and grains they imagine next. However, it requires that you can tolerate flat Japanese humor in abundant quantities, so that aspect of the series is definitely not for everyone.
If you can live with a mediocrely produced series that is containing a ton of rice and grain related puns you should check out the series. Most people will however get the feeling that it’s deeply weird and bad, so if you’re in doubt, skip it without looking back.