Etotama, Sol/Lull charge!
Retry Rendezvous by Nya-tan
Hello everyone, it’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be looking at Etotama, a 12-episode anime adaptation of a manga of the same name, licensed by Pony Canyon USA as one of their first titles in the West.
Etotama is a comedy series involving the Chinese zodiac. It is said that the 12 animals that made up the zodiac were decided from the results of a race, but the rat fooled the cat into missing the race, so it could not join the zodiac. We follow this cat representative, Nya-tan, who has amnesia, as she takes part in an event that’s rarely held, in which one is allowed to join the zodiac if they can obtain the medals from all 12 current members (medals known in-series as Sol/Lull seals, Sol/Lull being the source of their power, which they gain from gratitude).
These are obtained either because the members like you of by defeating them in battle. However, Nya-tan’s amnesia has caused her to forget most of her combat techniques, as well as the reason why she wanted to join the zodiac in the first place. She meets a young adult named Takeru who’s moved into a new house, with exceptionally pure Sol/Lull. And so our story begins.
Etotama is nothing but slapstick comedy with a basic excuse plot (although it does get more serious towards the end). Each episode contains a small amount of plot-relevant information to carry over into later parts, but it’s mostly episodic in nature, usually involving Takeru learning about each member of the zodiac (represented as anthropomorphic girls because of course they are) or Nya-tan getting into a clash with them over something.
You can tell how little weight is given to the collection of the Sol/Lull seals before the end of the series when Nya-tan ends up collecting them with little context at the start of the episode, or less-important characters end up giving up their seals in groups with someone more important. While 12 episodes would have been perfect to get one seal per episode, they decided not to go that route.
But the comedy is the important part of such series, and the execution is fairly amusing, I’ll admit. While some jokes get old remarkably fast (such as the bird forgetting things after 3 steps), the better jokes can actually make you laugh out loud. Some episodes are quite unusual compared to the rest, like the random recap episode that results in Takeru getting a Sol/Lull seal for some reason, and one about learning shogi, but that sort of thing is par for course for this sort of anime. You just learn to roll with it.
Sorry if this seems short, but the whole point of watching this sort of anime is for its jokes, and I don’t wish to spoil said jokes.
It’s not the best, but it’s not bad, either. Etotama was a good laugh, and that ending was admittedly quite funny (although you could sorta see it coming). That said, it wasn’t so good that I would actively recommend it to people.
If you’re up for a few laughs, you could do far worse. You could also do far better.