Like a deranged prospector panning for gold in a creek where someone once found an earring, I sometimes sift through My Anime List with increasingly narrow search parameters, questing for hidden gems. This is often as much of a fool’s errand as it sounds, but earlier this year I had the pleasure of discovering Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (Yokohama Shopping Log), a two-episode, science fiction/slice of life OVA from 1998. It was primarily meant to promote the manga of the same name, but I found it to be a fantastic watch in itself.
The world that is depicted in YKK is immediately accessible yet continuously intriguing, as everything straightforward about the setting is also a source of curiosity. Sea levels rose, androids are integrated into human society, and the main character waits tirelessly for an absent owner, but the details and explanations for these elements are left to the imagination.
It is worth mentioning at this point that despite the heavy facts of the setting, the tone of the anime is very peaceful and nostalgic. It is a true iyashikei, colored by an infectious serenity that slice of life enjoyers will find as engaging as any mysteries of the setting. The small and friendly cast welcomes the viewer to step into their sleepy lives on the twilight of an era for a handful of absorbing vignettes.
The atmosphere and setting alike are rounded out by the fantastic artistic direction. Sweeping landscapes featuring dilapidated infrastructure crosscut the mundane scenes to heighten the sense of slow-paced lives among what is left of an enormous world that is both strange and familiar. YKK isn’t afraid to let the audience take in the scenery for an extended period of time, letting us really soak it in as its characters often do. The whole anime is made even more sharply nostalgic for the modern viewer by the charmingly 90s art style, the sort of thing that would have been plundered for a vaporwave music video years back. The soundtrack is sparse but nice, most noticeable when bookending chapters.
Since the entire run time is under one hour long, I wouldn’t want to say too much about the title without encouraging anyone still here to try watching it, or even reading the source manga. The whole thing may be watched, subtitled, from YouTube.
Adri Persad is from West Virginia, but now resides in East Virginia, and pursues interests in writing, engineering, fitness, and general grousing. You can follow him in real life or via his Twitter, @36_chambuhz