Cute, wholesome and inoffensive, Petopeto-san was a throwaway anime that was fun to watch but hardly likely to change lives or produce hardcore fans. With soft, rounded character designs and one of the most insanely cute/grating intros in recent memory, it brought a smile to the face but seldom found itself at the top of the must-watch list.
The world of Petopeto-san is like modern-day Japan, except that all the spirits of folklore have become much more human-like and live alongside them. Some look quite normal – kappa look like everyone else even if their temperaments and abilities are still supernatural – and others less so, like the boy with no face and the girl who is nothing but a tiny brick with adorable little eyes and mouth, plus the ability to shape-shift temporarily.
Our main characters are a human boy, Shingo, and monster called Petoko. While superficially normal (but for her footfalls being cute squeezy noises), Petoko is biologically a seductive monster that clings to someone and never lets go. However, beneath her cheerful exterior lie many bad memories, which begin to cause problems as the two grow closer.
Amidst the cuteness of lil’-sis festivals and sticking-together misadventures, the usual trick of using a fantasy race to highlight real problems of prejudice comes out, and this light series also features many darker themes, though nothing that hasn’t been done countless times before. The traditional monsters, however, can do some spectacular tricks, and there are some moments that are really beautiful, and many more that are very sweet indeed.
Nothing overly special, but I don’t regret the way I spent the time I gave these 13 episodes one bit.
(originally written 6.9.06)