Urawa no Usagi-chan Review (Spoiler-Free)

The review this time around is Urawa no Usagi-chan, by studio A-Real.

A series of short 3-minute episodes, this anime was created to try and advertise the city / ward of Urawa, in Saitama, Japan.

Now if you look at it on a map, Urawa is just swallowed up inside what I’d call the Greater Tokyo Area, although I don’t know the exact borders of such a thing. It’s just not distinctly separate from the rest of the sprawling metropolis that begins in Tokyo and moves outwards in all directions.

But I guess someone in the Urawa city governance decided to try something bold to entice people to visit, and so this anime was created.

Synopsis

Not much to say, because there isn’t a whole lot of substance in the anime, considering the short episode lengths. Basically, it’s a slice of life anime that follows some girls in a certain high school in Urawa. I couldn’t tell you which one – there are three high schools in Urawa!

We follow the girls in two clubs. First is the “railway club”, which was likely originally for railway enthusiasts but it seems is now just a club for messing around and doing nothing. And second is the student council.

The Anime

First off, strictly speaking, as an anime, Urawa no Usagi-chan isn’t half bad. It’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s extremely average, but then, for an anime such as this, I think even that is pretty good. The animation is good, the voice acting is good, and the episodes, short as they are, aren’t bad.

I’m not exactly a fan of cute girls doing cute things, but I guess given how short the episodes are, I didn’t mind this one. I guess in small doses I don’t mind. The girls were cute, there were some somewhat funny moments. When each episode is as short as it is, I guess the anime flowed fairly well, as gags had to be introduced and wrapped up quickly.

Overall, it wasn’t actually that bad, considering it was created to advertise Urawa.

Advertising Urawa

It’s funny because the one area where I felt like Urawa no Usagi-chan fell short was… in it’s advertisement of Urawa! Even if it’s designed to advertise a certain ward in Saitama, that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy it. Hell, I have friends in Saitama, and the next time I head down to visit Tokyo, I’d love to be sold on a place to visit. I’ve been nearby several times, as my original training was very close to Omiya station. I even remember hearing Urawa’s name called on the train, for Urawa station.

But it just doesn’t really advertise Urawa! Most of the anime is just short, slice of life clips in the high school, of which we don’t even know which one (which is probably a good thing). In fact, there are only two locations I can remember that are mentioned: one is a shrine that has a big rabbit statue (which one of the main characters, Usagi, was named after, hence the anime’s name), and the other is a community center.

Other than that, there are a couple moments where the girls are walking down streets, and I’d have to believe that these streets exist in real life. But that only happens a few times, I would have liked to see more of the real world Urawa depicted in the anime. The background art style was cool for this purpose.

That’s it though! A total letdown.

I’m no expert in this, but I feel like there has to have been more that they could do to sell Urawa to prospective visitors. Either that, or they should have never bothered, if Urawa really doesn’t have anything to offer. I mean, it’s not exactly far from Tokyo. It’s just another ward in the Greater Tokyo Area. Hard to compete unless you go all out!

Rating

I think the idea to advertise a city / ward through anime is an interesting one. There are definitely various famous anime that have created real life tourist hotspots due to being based on real locations, such as Shirakawa-go, the real life village that Hinamizawa from Higurashi was based off of.

But then, it also almost seems like Urawa is just another ward in the metropolis, with nothing particularly interesting about it. I could be wrong, but then, why didn’t they mention anything else in the anime?

I’m going to give Urawa no Usagi-chan a 6 / 10.

It’s a cool idea, but I think that they either needed to give us more of Urawa (and less high school), or have some real good selling point, like something the ward is famous for. From what I saw, the only point of interest was the shrine, but there are so many shrines in Japan that I’m not sure this one would really be that amazing to visit over any other.

Surprisingly, there’s a special for this anime, which was released with the Blu-Ray and DVD sets. Surprisingly, there were Blu-Ray and DVD sets released for this anime. Not sure what to make of that.

And that’s it for this one.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

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