Just a couple of days ago I paid a visit to a coffee stand to meet up with my ex-boss, D. He was in the run to become a candidate at the last general elections, but at the age of 27, D decided to leave politics and became a barista, brewing cups after cups of specialty coffee for his customers. No doubt, a coffee business is not an easy business, and I can see from my time there at the coffee stand that business is not exactly brisk - D admits that business is “slower than usual”. D had a law degree from a reputable university in the United Kingdom. He could have become a lawyer and made better money than being a barista. He, instead, took the exam to become a certified barista, and became one. He, together with a partner, set up a coffee stand, and have been brewing cups of coffee ever since. You’ll be surprised at the people who stop by at his coffee stand, people including established politicians and the big bosses of huge corporations.
Now, the question is, why am I talking about all these? The simple answer is because I’ll be discussing Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? (English: Is the Order a Rabbit?) an anime with a pretty similar setting, namely in a coffee cottage and with three cute lady baristas. The longer answer would be because of the plot of the anime, and I would like to quote Chino in the anime “…when I consider the customer who come seeking a place of respite to enjoy a cup of coffee away from the breathless pace of modern life, it’s all worth it.”
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? is an enjoyable anime, one which gives you no stress of life at all. It is set in a colourful traditional town-village with a canal through the town. The usual hustle-bustle of the city is absent and the air is fresh and free of pollution. The village seemed so safe that even school-going children are allowed to held their family run shops or take part times jobs. Lots of wild rabbits can be seen running around town.
Our protagonist Cocoa, an airheaded girl who resembles Yui from K-On a lot, moved into the village as a transfer student in the first episode of the show and settled down at a place where the ground floor happened to be a coffee shop by the name of “Rabbit House”, named so because they have a mascot - a fluffy snow white dessert rabbit. Rabbit House serves coffee and other hot drinks during the day, but at night it becomes a public house serving a different group of customers.
The current owner and bartender in the night time at Rabbit House, Takahiro, has a small daughter, Chino. Chino is still in elementary school and is several years younger than Cocoa and Cocoa was elated to learn that she has gained a little sister when she moved in. Initially Chino found Cocoa to be somewhat irritating due to her stickiness but later learned that she was actually secretly happy to have an older sister to rely onto – of course she never admitted it openly to Cocoa. I personally thought that Chino was as cute as a button and was really lovable even though she may be as cold or expressionless as Yuki Nagato or Toujou Koneko at times. Despite being the youngest in her group, she’s the one with the most sense, somewhat like Nakano Azusa of K-On.
Also working part-time at Rabbit House is a twintail girl Rize. A tsundere of sorts, she is into guns and tanks and seemed to have already undergone conscription despite still being a middle schooler. She somewhat reminds me of Sonya from the anime Kill me Baby. Besides Rize, we also have Chiya and Sharo who are also recurring characters in this anime. Chiya’s family owns a neighbouring rival cafe selling Japanese sweets “Ama-usa-an” and she was, rather unfortunately for the sweets, given the task to name the sweets they are selling. Who’d give a normal serving of sweets names like “Frozen Evergreen” or “Ephemeral Ophelia” or even “Moon and Stars Reflected Upon the Sea” (all translations from HorribleSubs and thus probably Crunchyroll’s translations). Chiya is voiced by none other than Sugar-san Satou Satomi who also did the voice for K-On’s drummer president Tainaka Ritsu and I was surprised as Chiya wasn’t as hyper as Ritsu but appeared much more refined. On the other hand, Sharo (sounds a lot like the English Sharon to me) on the other hand lives next door from Amausa-an, and works as a meido in a meido-kissa selling herbal tea. She thinks she is poor and tries to hide it from everyone but miserably fails somewhat like Azuki Azusa from Hentai Ouji. Sharo looks up to Rize as she goes to the same elite school as Rize and thought that Rize-senpai was pretty cool and brave for being able to chase away the wild rabbits which she is very afraid of. This sounds weird but Sharo gets high from coffee just as normal people get high from alcohol and as such she avoids anything with coffee at all costs (including coffee flavoured milk), well unless if she is unhappy she’d go for a coffee binge lol.
Now, there seem to be an unresolved mystery in the anime. The entire story of the anime seem to suggest that Tippy the fluffy rabbit mascot of Rabbit House is none other than Chino’s grandpa, Takahiro’s father and the old man who founded Rabbit House himself. Lots of hints were dropped in every episode like pieces of puzzle to the effect, like how Aoyama the novelist was writing a novel entitled “The Barista who became a Rabbit” and had sought advice on writing the novel from the old man himself years back, and how Takahiro was heard calling the rabbit “dad” and having an argument with the rabbit. However the pieces of puzzles were never complete as many questions were left floating: how? why? when? where? In one of the conversations between Chino and the rabbit it was suggested that it just suddenly happened one day and they accepted the fact that the rabbit is the grandfather. In a way, it was kind of supernatural to have a rabbit capable of talking like an old man, or to have the soul of an old man take over the body of a rabbit, but nevertheless the anime managed to make it a cute and fun occurrence but in real life anybody would be shocked to see a rabbit talk.
Besides the plot, I also enjoyed the opening theme "Daydream cafe" - the shorter version of the music video of the seiyuu dancing to the opening song can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4faD6XrGoVY. You’d go “kokoro pyon pyon” all day after listening to the song for a while, lol.
To conclude, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? was pretty enjoyable. There is nothing objectionable about the anime besides some fanservice scenes of girls holding guns in their underwear, but even that is so mild that I doubt a kid’s mind would be corrupted by it.