While "Pokemon" and "Dragon Ball" have been on Japanese TV for decades, the title of longest-airing animated series, not just in Japan but in the whole wide world, goes to "Sazae-san." Since its premiere in 1969, a new episode of "Sazae-san" has been ready for viewers to enjoy each and every week.
Through the years, the series has stayed committed to its core concept of heartwarming tales of middle-class family life. It’s also stuck with some decidedly dated character designs.
▼ Main character Sazae, wearing a bright yellow blouse, with her bespectacled husband Masao standing behind her in a lavender pullover.
But after years of seeing the famous couple as they appear above, Nissin, maker of Cup Noodles, has given them a gorgeous modern makeover with the newest installment of its "Hungry Days" short anime series.
In the "Sazae-san" anime, Sazae and Masao are very much the image of mature adult life. But "Hungry Days," in keeping with its themes of youthful passion and desire, time skips back to their high school days, reimagining them as high school classmates.
▼ Character designs are once again by Katsuya Kondo, accompanied by rock band Bump of Chicken’s “Kinen Satsuei.”
In the original "Sazae-san" continuity, Sazae and Masao’s romance begins with an omiai, or arranged marriage meeting. With such arrangements rapidly becoming a thing of the past in Japan, though, their "Hungry Days" versions’ relationship develops more organically, with their feelings for each other growing over the course of the school year.
▼ Blink and you’ll miss Sazae’s contraband in-class snack of Cup Noodle, the only appearance of the product in the video.
▼ This sequence, with its moving background, is worth watching over and over.
“How long does youth last?” Masao wonders, as his yearning to join hearts with Sazae grows. With their senior-year school festival coming up, he decides it’s time to let Sazae know, in no uncertain terms, how he feels about her, asking her to become his girlfriend.
Even with a runtime of just 30 seconds, the short packs a powerful punch, especially since the glistening visuals and atmosphere dripping with emotion are so far removed from the familiar dryness of "Sazae-san’s" normal look and feel. In the end, it’s yet another breathtaking entry in "Hungry Days" (which previously saluted "Kiki’s Delivery Service" and "Heidi of the Alps"), and we can’t wait to see which classic anime joins the series next.
Source: IT Media
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