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Rainy Cocoa Season 1 & 2 Anime DVD Review

6 min read

Rainy Cocoa Season 1-2 CoverA problematic short-form anime series.

What They Say:
Playful banter and misunderstandings are the flavor of the week in this comedy series that takes a light-hearted look at the everyday drama surrounding the adorable boys working at a local cafe!

A part-time job turns into one awkward situation after another for the angel-faced Aoi Tokura. He may love his job but can’t stand the embarrassment of being mistaken for a girl by his handsome male customers and when the rest of the staff chimes in, all bets are off! Things are never quiet for long in this cozy cafe, especially once the rambunctious twins Noel and Nicola show up to lend a helping hand. Clumsy, chaotic, but endlessly enthusiastic, their help may just turn into more trouble than it’s worth. There’s no better place to wait out a rainy day. So come in, kick back, and enjoy a cup of cocoa courtesy of the cute boys at the Rainy Color Cafe!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is about as expected as we get the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 192kbps. The series is one that’s very simple dialogue oriented stuff so there’s not much in the way of directionality or placement, but it does have a few areas that work nicely. The music in the opening sequence is pretty good at expanding things and there are a couple of wild-take moments where it jumps out a bit. The show overall is fairly standard though so it doesn’t have to stretch itself and the end result is a decent one. Fans of the show won’t be surprised but there’s nothing bad here either as it all comes across clean and clear without any problems.

Video:
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in anamorphic widescreen. The twenty-four episodes for the two seasons are kept to a single disc since they’re just two minutes each. Animated by EMT Squared, the show has a good design about it with the characters and color but it avoids going too bright and vivid, angling more towards real world but with enough spice to keep it fresh and engaging. The animation doesn’t have a ton to do since it’s characters standing around talking for the most part but it’s clean and problem free with only a bit of noise here and there to contend with from time to time.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this release comes with a standard sized DVD case that has an o-card which replicates the artwork from the case itself, just with a slight bit more color pop to it. The image is a familiar one from the first season that shows off the main cast walking outside of the cafe so you get the nod that it’s a pretty male-heavy show with some nice designs and quirks of cuteness mixed into it.The back cover works a nice menu style framing for it with a touch of elegance and we get some decent sized shots from the show along the right which are a touch bigger than normal. The premise is well covered and the layout breaks down the simplicity of the show very well. While there are no inserts included with this release, the main case artwork is reversible and it uses the cover artwork from the second season with the larger cast.

Menu:
The menu for this release works quite well as we get the main image from the case of the first season cast, zoomed in a bit, with a blending to white along the left where the navigation comes in. This area with the white background allows the logo to have a lot of pop and the nice and mildly elegant font for the navigation itself to come across in a clean way. It’s bright and colorful, more so than the cover and o-cards, and that makes it pretty appealing. The navigation is straightforward and easily accessible to move around in and the end result is a functional piece with some nice style to set the mood right.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the web manga series of the same name, which is produced in bilingual form with American voice actors, the anime adaptation landed in 2015 with two seasons where the episodes are two minutes long. A third season kicked off this fall as well, though that didn’t get a simulcast pickup. I had watched this property when it first came out and it was one of those series that frustrated me simply because it felt like they didn’t know how to work the whole short-form format well, leaving us with what felt like awkward cliffhangers that didn’t bring things to a close properly. It was a show where the concept was familiar and I liked the cast and characters, as well as the animation, but it was lighter and more story/plot-free than many other short-form shows. Even in terms of the humor it comes up a bit short.

The premise for the first season is simple enough as we’re introduced to Aoi, a young man who has found himself now working at the Rainy Color coffee cafe and having to deal with the problems that come from it. Aoi’s a nice kid and definitely good in the shop and dealing with customers, but since he’s a pretty boy he ends up getting some issues with being thought of as a girl. That’s not a big play in the show but is one that sets things up. Mostly, however, it’s about him getting familiar with some of the regulars that come by there, dealing with the manager Shion, and occasionally the owner as well since he’s a big and boisterous type. With just two minutes per episode, there’s not much to it in this regard as it’s just small gags and how Aoi has to react to things.

With the second season, this shifts Aoi out of the picture for the most part and introduces Noel and Nicola as siblings that are newly hired. They add a different kind of energy to things and also have a friend around their age that comes into the mix from time to time to complicate things. But like the first season, there’s just not much here to latch onto beyond some nice and small moments that are more about feelings than actual plot or story. The owner gets more time here and Shion gets even more since there are a lot of people vying for his attention. Where this season makes out better is that the episodes are almost nine minutes in length. The anime part is still just over two minutes but we get some live-action material with a kind of radio show/fan club with the cast members and a portion of it is spent showing them recording their lines to the storyboard side of things. That has its interest for some I’m sure, but for me I was thankful they were kept to their own chapters and easy to skip over.

In Summary:
Rainy Cocoa is an odd kind of series and one that left me frustrated as I really want to see more short-form shows get picked up. This is one that doesn’t help the cause all that much because it has some big pacing problems and a lack of strong characters to really connect with. There are cute moments but it’s all pretty forgettable once it’s over. I was definitely glad for the inclusion of the fan club stuff that’s here but also wish that the series was given a marathon play option so as to just watch the main content itself. I’ll admit to enjoying some of the show when I saw it in simulcast form but when you marathon it you realize just how empty it is overall.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Content Grade: C-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: September 27th, 2016
MSRP: $19.99
Running Time: 126 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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