Honda really can’t deal with people, and this fact has been the consistent source of jokes and amusement throughout this series. It becomes even more apparent this week when we first see him confronted by fans of a book who missed its release and now can’t find it anywhere. As a book-lover I know this pain all too well having spent many fruitless hours as a kid walking between bookshops for the latest Animorphs volume or whatever else I was into at the time.
However, this then transitions into another teaching moment about what happens to books that aren’t selling and how they make room for new stock. The agonising the characters go through when looking at their shelves and deciding which books to go back is exaggerated just enough to bring a smile to the face without going totally over the top.
What this show gets right is understanding people who love books. Seeing the character early on who yells at Honda-san for suggesting he get an ebook copy after coming to a book store… even readers who like ebooks will understand that when you’ve decided to go and buy a physical copy, an ebook just won’t do. Seeing the disappointed fans who couldn’t get the book they were chasing was just kind of perfect. But what really sold this whole idea was Honda himself and his genuine thrill and enjoyment on being able to get a copy of the book he was chasing at the end of the episode.
If things get a bit weird in the middle with a wrapped book talking to Honda while he tries to shove it into a shelf, then that’s a small quibble with an otherwise fairly enjoyable episode of this. Honda remains a watchable show and an amusing enough diversion, though there still isn’t a lot to this anime other than that.
I’m forever wondering why Honda-San continues to work in customer service considering every type of customer seems to freak him out. This week we get a series of encounters that just more or less demonstrate how ill-equipped he is for dealing with other people including an encounter with a man missing part of a finger, a man buying lots of books, children, and yet more foreigners looking for manga.
One thing I do like about Skull Face Bookseller Honda San is that it doesn’t talk down to its audience in terms of the manga references it makes. It assumes you know that the foreigners shirt isn’t a Natu** shirt and that you can draw your own conclusions from Honda’s single line rather than explaining it to you. While that means some references the anime makes will probably be missed by members of the audience, it also makes the references you catch that much more rewarding, and they aren’t overly obscure in the first place meaning anyone with a general knowledge of anime and manga will enjoy the odd nod to known titles.
I think where this anime is ultimately going to be forgettable is that other than the characters all having weird masks on and being named after their headwear, none of them have an overly distinct or memorable personality. They are strictly one-note and while they fit within the context and it allows for some reasonably amusing banter in the moment, they aren’t the kind of characters who leave an ongoing impression and there certainly isn’t a lot of value in revisiting them.
Still, for a morning watching the goings on in a bookshop, this anime certainly does provide enough entertainment and it continues to offer some insight into the daily life of a book store employee in Japan. Fun enough but eight episodes in and Skull Face Bookseller Honda San remains pretty average.
Skull Face Book Seller Honda San Episodes 6 + 7 Review
Episodes 6 and 7 of Skull Face Book Seller Honda San don’t really deliver anything new in the way of material. We do get a look at some of the more behind the scenes people who keep the bookstores stocked and we also get to accompany Honda San as he goes to a drinking party and is forced to listen to criticism of his own work, but basically this is business as usual for this anime short.
And why shouldn’t it be? The formula works as we are introduced to the set up and then we see the characters run about doing their jobs with ridiculously overblown reactions before the segment ends and a new one begins. While it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression, it remains amusing enough.
Though, I think a lot of people are definitely just in this for the game of spot the reference that never seems to get old. Episode six certainly liberally peppered in titles that you’ll probably recognise in amongst the store talk.
There is one thing that this show absolutely nails every time though; and that is a deep love of books. Multiple times throughout the episodes Honda or another character reminds us that some people just love books. Just finding a book you’ve been looking for can bring a happy smile to your face and holding it in your hands can be the best moment, at least for a little while. It is very hard to dismiss an anime that really does understand people who like books.