Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 5: Overcoming the Trials and Tribulations of the Bookshop

Skull Face Bookseller Honda San Episode 5

Honda-San continues to confuse me in that I’m coming to the conclusion that the booksellers themselves in this story aren’t sure whether or not they actually want to sell books. On the one hand, they enjoy it when they set the books out and satisfy a customer, on the other hand, having plenty of sales, needing restocking, or an author doing a signing leading to potential major sales, are causes for panic. It leaves you wondering where they actually sit on the whole idea of making sales.

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That said, it does make for some great comedy moments as we see Honda dealing with three situations in this anime, most of which involving customer inquiries or a lot of sales all at once. For a skull, Honda-san is pretty expressive. Still his freak out at the idea of an author tweeting which might lead to phone calls and yet more sales was kind of insane because you would think that it would be a good  thing for the visiting author to actually bring in more customers.

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One thing that can’t be ignored though is that five episodes in and this one is already starting to feel a little repetitive. Certainly it is fun, but there just isn’t that much depth to the set ups and basically each situation ends up boiling down to much the same as every other situation. Honda also reacts the same experiencing very little growth so far as a character (much as you would expect from a short comedy but it limits opportunities for variety).

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Still, with its short run time and fairly interesting take on book stores, this one is still worth a bit of a watch even if it isn’t a must see title. Hopefully it manages to keep adding enough variety to make it to the end of the season.

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Karandi James

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Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 4: We’ve All Been There

Skull Face Bookseller Honda-san Episode 4

One thing that continues to be a great draw with this anime is the fact that Honda-San is kind of a great stand-in for the average and everyday viewer who works a day job, probably as part of a larger organisation, and is generally not in a position of great power within said organisation. As such, it makes the events fairly relatable even though most of us probably don’t work in book shops.

Skull-Face Book Seller Honda-San Episode 4

This week particularly, takes Honda out of the books shop and sends him to training and I think I really finally clicked with this character as the sinking feeling he was experiencing on entering kind of matched a feeling I’ve felt many times before as I’ve gone into workshops and training sessions.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 4

It isn’t that Honda is resistant to learning, obstinate, or wanting to cause trouble. It is more the excessive enthusiasm with which the trainer’s take on the role of something as basic as smiling and the cringe worthy lengths they go to in order to impart some of their wisdom on their somewhat reluctant students. However, the anime also makes it clear that the actual concept of training in customer service isn’t actually a problem and the trainers aren’t actually evil.

Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episode 4

Still, eleven minutes doesn’t give a lot to work with so while the scenario is a nice snap shot and most of the audience should be able to really relate this week, the anime doesn’t quite go so far as commentary. There doesn’t feel like there’s any message here other than just one that observes the idiosyncrasies within corporate structures and the zany people you will meet along the way. Maybe that is enough but it would have been nice to see this one push a little further along.

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Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 3: Sales-people and Recommendations

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda San Episode 3

This week we get a definite insiders look at how things work as various sales representatives visit the book shop and talk to the staff. While this might seem like a fairly banal thing to watch, it ultimately ends up hilarious as we see the weak Honda being manipulated into accepting various flyers and the like, other staff literally fighting with the reps to get more copies of a book, and even the cool and calm phone conversation between one of the store workers and a company that didn’t deliver material on time. It is great fun and the episode just kind of rolls along.

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda San Episode 3

Also, if you want to see how many mildly censored titles you can recognise, this episode is most definitely packing in the references (including a Natsume Yuujinchou reference in the second half – and that shouldn’t be my episode highlight but it definitely was).

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 3

Moving onto the second half we shift from sales to recommendations to customers. It was really fun seeing the workers put on the spot with a vague description and needing to think of a manga that met the conditions. Also hilarious when the customer ended up buying something completely different.

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 3

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-San remains a low key kind of fun and the scenarios have so far all been quite entertaining and a little informative. While this certainly won’t be the best show ever anytime soon, it is a fun little watch each week and well worth the 11 minutes the episode runs.

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Karandi James

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Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 2: Too Many Books In The Book Store

Skull-face bookseller Honda-San Episode 2

This week the focus is on introducing the rest of the cast and they do this by having endless deliveries of stock to be sold prior to a holiday period. For those who enjoy the idea of watching staff running around trying to stock book-shelves it works quite well however there isn’t a lot else going on. The over-reactions of the characters certainly help carry this sequence but as it lasts for the majority of the episode you have to wonder if they weren’t driving the only real ‘joke’ into the ground.

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That said, this anime is also informative about the different genres and about the other materials that sometimes come out with books as well as release dates so there is a little bit of insight buried under the absurd masks each of the characters is wearing (and no, I refuse to ask why).

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Despite that, this episode is pleasant enough eleven minutes, though it does bring back fears of perhaps being crushed to death under a pile of books at some point (a legitimate fear that people who own too many books genuinely have). This remains watchable though not exceptional and I’m thinking that’s probably where we’re going to remain for the rest of the season.

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Episode 1: Just Your Everyday Book Store


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Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Episode 1: Just Your Everyday Book Store

There is something kind of intriguing about the concept at play here. The main character is undeniably a skeleton, at one point his lower jaw drops, literally. And yet, the show doesn’t seem to want to address that or the other staff members walking around who have a variety of interesting helmets, masks, and identities. It just kind of is like the elephant in the room and if you actually ask why it feels like you might lose some kind of game you don’t really understand.

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I’m going to be honest, a comedy/slice-of-life has limited appeal to me and literally the skeleton protagonist and the bookstore setting were the only two things that made me curious about this. Fortunately though, watching this episode kind of felt like being in a book store (which I love and I really miss being able to do this on a regular basis given I live in a town without a book shop these days).

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The humour works well enough though is the kind of obvious with Honda getting flustered by non-Japanese speaking customers and then a group of girls wanting BL recommendations, though I’m not entirely convinced there’s enough material here for a season even with the 11 minutes episode run time. But what really makes this one a harder sell are the visuals as it all just seems very roughly sketched in.

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Still, if you want to catch some fantastic references to anime on the covers of books and in conversations you’ll certainly find plenty there to keep you busy. I’ll probably watch this for a bit but like with all comedy anime there’s a good chance I won’t finish it.


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Karandi James

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