“Ashibe the Helper”
What They Say:
A comedy manga, “Shonen Ashibe,” that follows the friendship between baby spotted seal Goma-chan and first-grade student Ashiya Ashibe. First serialized in 1988 and adapted to anime in 1991, the adorable Goma-chan created a massive following and a spotted seal boom. This spring, Goma-chan returns to “Tentere Anime.” A cute, pleasant story of Ashibe and Goma-chan and their unusual school and their neighbors. Sometimes endearing, sometimes bizarre, it’s a fun anime for the whole family!
What helps with a series like this at times is that because it is a part of children’s programming it operates at the whims of that schedule. So, getting a break here and there for a week or two can go a long way where even after a hundred episodes it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. The show has plenty of strengths within to keep it up for all this time and to do it so well, but those little breaks help to ease things a bit so that it’s not ever-present or becomes a chore. It also really does help that the show runs the full cast well with how it shifts its stories, making it so that it doesn’t feel like we’re just getting more of the same every week. And you can even feel that when it focuses on Ashibe and Goma-chan together for a few episodes.
With this one, Ma is under the weather and not feeling well at all so she’s sticking to some bed rest. That has Ashibe stepping up to do the chores, which leads to its own comedy such as him doing the dishes in his underway so that he doesn’t get dirty. Or coming up with a contraption to help keep his mother’s forehead cool that Goma-chan wants to steal. You know Ma is just biding her time until she can clean up the messes herself, but what she can’t avoid are the other ways Ashibe is helping – such as singing to her. It continues to be his worst trait! He is, however, pretty helpful on doing the shopping side of things by himself since everyone likes him and learning that his mother is sick has them helping out a bit more so that she can get better, making for a good community that’s close.
The episode is a cute one for all that Ashibe does but it also delivers a nice emotional component as he realizes how much his mother does for him and having her out of commission like this really makes it clear how much he relies on, needs, and loves her. That he dislikes getting praised for doing the shopping and everyone takes it easy on him reinforces the way his mother is viewed and it makes him love her all the more. It’s a good sweet spot to wrap things up with after all the silliness and fun, which is a hallmark for the show. This one keeps the cast small and largely to the family so it’s an enjoyable piece that doesn’t feel overstuffed or even overly dramatic.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll