Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture

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Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture
Moyashimon manga volume 1.jpg
Cover of volume 1 of Moyasimon, published by Kodansha.
もやしもん
(Moyashimon)
Genre Comedy, Educational
Manga
Written by Masayuki Ishikawa
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Evening, Morning two
Original run August 2004January 2014
Volumes 13 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Yūichirō Yano
Written by Natsuko Takahashi
Studio Shirogumi
Telecom Animation Film
Network Fuji TV (noitamina)
Original run October 12, 2007December 21, 2007
Episodes 11 (List of episodes)
Television drama
Network Fuji TV (noitamina)
Original run July 8, 2010September 16, 2010
Episodes 11 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Moyasimon Returns
Studio Shirogumi
Telecom Animation Film
Network Fuji TV (noitamina)
Original run July 5, 2012September 13, 2012
Episodes 11 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, known in Japan as Moyashimon (もやしもん?), is a Japanese manga series by Masayuki Ishikawa. It was serialized in Kodansha's seinen magazine Evening from August 2004 to June 2013 and moved to the magazine Morning two, where it concluded in January 2014. The series follows Tadayasu Sawaki, a first-year college student at an agricultural university, who has a unique ability to see and communicate with bacteria and other micro-organisms. Del Rey Manga licensed the manga, but only released two volumes in English in North America. An 11-episode anime television series adaptation, animated by Shirogumi and Telecom Animation Film, aired between October and December 2007 on Fuji TV's noitamina programming block. An 11-episode live action adaptation was aired on the noitamina block between July and September 2010. An 11-episode animated second season titled Moyasimon Returns aired from July to September 2012.

The manga, anime and live action have all been generally well received by reviewers, with praise received for the artwork and sustaining the viewer's interest through clear presentation of a difficult topic. However, all three mediums have been criticized for slow-moving plot. It won the 2008 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Grand Prize and the 2008 Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.

Plot[edit]

Moyasimon follows the life of Tadayasu Sawaki, a first-year college student at an agricultural university, who has the unique ability to see and communicate with micro-organisms and bacteria. Additionally, these organisms look much different to him, and much larger, than what can be seen under a microscope by normal people. This ability has brought him a bit of fame as when he entered the university, Tadayasu discovered that one of the professors there, Keizō Itsuki, already knew about his gift via Tadayasu's grandfather. Professor Itsuki's coworker Haruka Hasegawa has trouble believing what Tadayasu claims at first, but later comes to accept it. Tadayasu enters the university with his good friend Kei Yūki whose family runs a sake brewery.

Characters[edit]

Tadayasu Souemon Sawaki (沢木 惣右衛門 直保 Sawaki Souemon Tadayasu?)
Tadayasu Souemon Sawaki is the main protagonist of Moyasimon and attends an agricultural university in Tokyo as a freshman. His middle name is the yagō of his family home; it is usually omitted, and he is called "Tadayasu Sawaki". He is a childhood friend of Kei Yūki and his parents run a mold-starter producer (種麹屋 tane-kōji-ya?). He is able to see and communicate with bacteria and other microorganisms. Sawaki is shown to have feelings for Haruka in the live action version. He is voiced by Daisuke Sakaguchi in the anime and played by Yuichi Nakamura in the live action drama.[1][2]
Kei Yūki (結城 蛍 Yūki Kei?)
Kei is a childhood friend of Sawaki and, like him, a freshman. His parents run a sake brewery (making them customers for the mold starter from Sawaki's parents). Kei disappears from the story soon after he and Sawaki enter college. He comes back cross-dressed in black Gothic Lolita clothing, and reveals he has stronger feelings for Sawaki than initially let on. He is voiced by Mitsuki Saiga in the anime and played by Azuka Okamoto in the live action drama.[1][2]
Keizō Itsuki (樹 慶蔵 Itsuki Keizō?)
Keizō Itsuki is a professor at the university and an acquaintance of Sawaki's family, who know of his ability. His age is a mystery, but there are reports of his works back to World War II. He is voiced by Tomomichi Nishimura in the anime and played by Kurosawa Toshio in the live action drama.[1][2]
Haruka Hasegawa (長谷川 遥 Hasegawa Haruka?)
Haruka Hasegawa is a postgraduate student. She wears a lab coat over revealing clothing. She is a violent, somewhat sadistic woman from a wealthy, over-protective family. Her family arranged a marriage for her, against her will. However, she does not have to marry him until she is finished with her studies at the university. This is the main reason why she decided to stay there until she receives her doctorate. Hasegawa is not very good at communicating with people, and her harsh personality is used to mask this handicap. She has known Itsuki since she was in middle school. Haruka is shown to have feelings for Misato in the manga. Haruka is shown to have feelings for Sawaki in the live action version. She is voiced by Sayaka Ohara in the anime and played by Natsuki Katō in the live action drama.[1][2]
Hazuki Oikawa (及川 葉月 Oikawa Hazuki?)
Hazuki Oikawa is a freshman at the same agricultural university. She is a compulsive neat freak and always carries disinfectant tissues and antibacterial spray with her. She is voiced by Akemi Kanda in the anime and played by Haneyuri in the live action drama.[1][2]
Kaoru Misato (美里 薫 Misato Kaoru?)
Kaoru Misato is a sophomore who tries to use his knowledge of bacteria to earn easy money, who becomes friends with Sawaki. He speaks in the Kansai dialect. He shares a run-down, dirty dorm room with his best friend, Kawahama. Misato is shown to have feelings for Haruka in the manga. He is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi in the anime and played by Nishida Koji in the live action drama.[1][2]
Takuma Kawahama (川浜 拓馬 Kawahama Takuma?)
Takuma Kawahama is a short, overweight sophomore and Misato's best friend. He is a returnee from Mexico, which amounts to his knowledge of insects and pulque. He is voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama in the anime and played by Kimura Akihiko in the live action drama.[1][2]
Aoi Mutō (武藤 葵 Mutō Aoi?)
Possessing the unofficial title of "Miss Agriculture" due to her beauty, Mutō is also an assistant to Itsuki and Hasegawa. She is also president of the UFO club, which she joined to escape reality. She is voiced by Mamiko Noto in the anime and played by Chisun in the live action drama.[2][3]
Aya Hirooka (宏岡 亜矢 Hirooka Aya?)
Aya is a third year economics student at the university. She also works as a bartender at a local pub.
Yū Kaneshiro (金城 優 Kaneshiro Yū?)
Yū is the keeper of Okinawa proving ground of the agricultural university. She is a look-alike to Kei, except she has dark skin.
Marie (マリー Marī?)
Marie is a french girl Sawaki meets in France. She is born in an old family Burgundy Domaine specializing in wine brewery and speaks fluent Japanese. She wears white Lolita clothing, and is the second look-alike to Kei. She is knowledgeable about wine brewery but has some disagreements with her father, who is in charge of the winery business. She is voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro in the anime.[3]
Hana Kanō (加納 はな Kanō Hana?)
Hana comes to meet Kei at the Hiyoshi Liquor Shop to sell beer she brews in her farm. She is short, wears glasses, and looks very young.

Micro-organisms[edit]

Micro-organisms as depicted in Moyasimon.
Acetobacter aceti (A.アセチ A. asechi?)
A variety of acetic acid bacteria.
Alternaria alternata (A.アルテルナータ A. aruterunāta?)
Also known as "soot fungus."
Aspergillus awamori (A.アワモリ A. awamori?)
Voiced by: Hisanori Yoshida
Used in the production of awamori.
Aspergillus oryzae (A.オリゼー A. orizē?)
Voiced by: Yumi Touma[3]
A. oryzae is the main character of the micro-organisms side. Traditionally known in Japan as kōji (?) and used to saccharify the starches in rice to make sake and shōchū.
Aspergillus sojae (A.ソーエ A. sōe?)
Used to make miso.
Aspergillus niger (A.ニガー A. nigā?)
Used in the production of shōchū.
Bacillus halodurans (B. ハロヂュランス B. harodyuransu?)
Seen on hongeohoe by Tadayasu.
Bacillus subtilis natto (B.ナットー B. nattō?)
Used to make natto.
Cladosporium trichoides (C.トリコイデス C. torikoidesu?)
Voiced by: Moody Katsuyama
Clostridium botulinum (C.ボツリナム C. botsurinamu?)
Cordyceps sinensis (C. シネンシス C. shinenshisu?)
A caterpillar fungus prized in Traditional Chinese medicine.
Hiochi Kin (火落菌?)
Lactobacillus homohiochi, the "bad guy" of the series. A fructivoran which makes sake go bad.
Lactobacillus bifidum (L. ビフィダム L. bifidamu?)
Used to make Western yogurt.
Lactobacillus brevis (L. ブレビス L. burebisu?)
Found in fermented vegetables like kimchi and Japanese pickles.
Streptococcus lactis (S.ラクチス S. rakuchisu?)
Lactobacillus plantarum (L. プランタルム L. purantarumu?)
Used to make sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.
Lactobacillus yogurti (L.ヨグルティ L. yoguruti?)
Used to make Japanese yogurt. Speaks in a very formal accent.
Penicillium chrysogenum (P.クリソゲヌム P. kurisogenumu?)
A common green mold used to produce antibiotics (most notably, penicillin)
Pediococcus pentosaceus (P. ペントサセウス P. pentosaseusu?)
Also seen on hongeohoe by Tadayasu.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S.セレビシエ S. serebishie?)
Creates alcohol out of sugars. Hangs around Kei in the anime.
Trichophyton rubrum (T.ルブラム T. ruburamu?)
The cause of Hasegawa's athlete's foot.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Moyasimon is written and illustrated by Masayuki Ishikawa. It started serialization in Kodansha's seinen magazine Evening in August 2004.[4] On June 22, 2013, it moved to the magazine Morning two, also published by Kodansha,[5] and ran in that magazine until January 2014. Originally titled Tales of an Agricultural University (農大物語 Nōdai Monogatari?), its title was changed in the second chapter to Moyasimon: Tales of an Agricultural University (農大物語もやしもん Nōdai Monogatari Moyashimon?), then simply Moyasimon, before gaining the English subtitle Tales of Agriculture. Kodansha published 13 tankōbon volumes between May 23, 2005 and March 20, 2014.[6][7] The manga was licensed in North America by Del Rey Manga,[4] which only released the first two volumes on November 24, 2009 and June 22, 2010.[8][9] Further English volumes were discontinued after Kodansha USA took over the manga published by Del Rey Manga, with Random House serving as the distributor.[10] The ninth volume of the manga was released with a CG anime DVD, which contained a six minute short film about the popular micro-organism characters in the manga.[11] It was written on the first volume's obi strip that the volume was printed on recycled paper, and the ink was derived from soybeans.[12]

Anime[edit]

An 11-episode anime adaptation aired on Fuji TV's noitamina block between October 11 and December 20, 2007.[1][13] The series was produced by Shirogumi and Telecom Animation Film with Yuichiro Yano as series director.[14] Natsuko Takahashi will serve as screenwriter with Junichi Takaoka as character designer and Naoki Satō as sound director.[14] The opening theme is "Curriculum" (カリキュラム Karikyuramu?) by Sarasa Ifu and the ending theme is "Rocket" by Polysics.[15] The opening theme video was directed by noted film director Takashi Yamazaki.[16] Crunchyroll streamed the first season of the anime.[17] At the Tokyo International Film Festival, it was explained that over 100 types of bacteria appear in the anime and that a combination of CG animation and live-action shots were used in the animation opening sequence.[16] The anime's original soundtrack was released on November 28, 2007.[18] ASMIK released the anime over 4 DVDs between December 21, 2007 and March 19, 2008.[19][20] ASMIK also released a DVD box on May 26, 2010 and a Blu-ray box on October 26, 2011.[21][22]

A second season titled Moyasimon Returns aired on noitamina for 11 episodes between July 5 and September 13, 2012.[3][23] Crunchyroll simulcasted the second season of the anime.[24] Yuichiro Yano and Natsuko Takahashi returned as series director and screenwriter.[25] Takefumi Haketa replaced Naoki Satō as sound director.[26] The opening theme is "Wake Up" by ClariS and the ending theme is "Saikin" (最近 Recently?) by Hiiragi.[27] ASMIK released the second season over 6 DVDs as well as 6 Blu-rays, with the corresponding volumes being released on the same date, between September 5, 2012 and February 6, 2013.[28][29][30][31]

Live action TV series[edit]

Moyasimon has been adapted into a live action television series.[32] It was also broadcast on the mainly anime-based programing block "noitamina" that the anime aired on.[33] The series aired on Fuji TV between July 8 and September 16, 2010.[2][34] Akira Iwamoto is series director, with Natsuko Takahashi as screenwriter.[35] Shirogumi handled production and visual effects, with a live demonstration of augmented reality technology used for Moyashimon '​s super deformed germs at the press conference.[35] Funimation announced a license to simulcast the series at their panel at Anime Expo 2010.[33] ASMIK released the live action series over 4 DVDs between December 23, 2010 and March 16, 2011.[36][37]

Reception[edit]

The Moyasimon manga was awarded the Grand Prize for the 12th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2008.[38] It was also awarded the 2008 Kodansha Manga Award for general manga.[39] It was selected as one of the best manga in Japan in 2008 by Tamaki Seto.[40] It was nominated for the first Manga Taishō awards in 2008.[41] In 2006, the manga and its animated adaptation were finalists in the 2007 Japan Media Arts Festival.[42] In 2006, the manga was a finalist in the 10th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize.[43]

Zoltan Fehervari writing for Cell commends the manga's art for being "generally excellent throughout, with crisp detail, expressive characters, and fluid action."[44] Brigid Alverson commends the manga with "while this series showcases the author's zany sense of humor, the series is so scientifically accurate it's legitimately educational, too!"[45] Ain't It Cool News' Scott Green comments on the presentation of the bacteria in the manga "basically shapes with faces", highlighting the differences between their "broad and cute" character design and Jessica Rabbit.[46] He also praises the art with "characters appear in thought out backgrounds with plenty of line work, an abundance of zip tones, margin illustrations and notes."[46] However the density of the information given leads to "a viscous manga that moves slowly. Even if there aren't dead stops, it doesn't flow easily."[46] Satsuki Murakami and Mio Bryce writing for the International Journal of the Humanities commend the manga by stating that "key concepts are repeatedly presented in the entertaining format, making Moyashimon representative of manga that successfully promotes readers' interest in, and effective understanding of, difficult subjects such as brewing technology."[47] Jason Thompson, in his online appendix to Manga: The Complete Guide, comments that "Ishikawa sometimes errs on the side of too much info, resulting in pages and pages filled with text, and not so much in the way of plot or character development in the macroscopic human world."[48] Carlo Santos from Anime News Network commended Ishikawa's art stating "lots of careful shading to bring out the depth and texture in each scene, as well as distinctive character designs for each of the newcomers."[49]

Ishikawa is an excellent artist. His backgrounds are beautifully detailed and make you feel like you're looking at a real college. For the most part, his characters are also drawn realistically, but he does like to throw in exaggeration for comedic and emotional effect. This realism helps in making the world come alive and drawing the reader into the surreal events. He gives each strain of microorganism its own character design. That's an impressive feat when you consider the sheer number of varieties of microbes that exist.

—Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading[50]

Jake Godek from THEM Anime commends the anime for its portrayal of the microorganism stating that they are "so adorable it's easy to see one in the show and want to hug it."[15] He also praises the "catchy beyond needed" music, however he criticizes the weak story stating "it feels like the story really is being decided on step-by-step during production rather than before it."[15] Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network commends the anime's setting for "capturing that collegiate feeling: the freedom, the newness, the adventure; the bad roommates, the bizarre school activities, the drunken sexual experimentation."[51] Kimlinger compared the two seasons of anime: "This season is the sharper looking of the two, with cleaner designs and more detailed settings; season two is the more vivid, with brighter colors and more expressive designs. This season's score is sometimes incongruously serious (which actually adds to the humor on occasion), and its fan service level is orders of magnitude higher. (Remember the drunken sexual experimentation? Let's just say no men were involved)."[51] Kimlinger, in his review of the second season, commends the "great ensemble cast" and "pleasing pace" but criticizes the first three episodes of "inconsequential filler and food-science lectures".[26]

Clarissa Graffeo from Anime World Order comments on "gross" practice of preparing kiviak in the live action and Itsuki consumes the fermented meal.[52] Erin Finnegan from Anime News Network comments on the denseness of the live action, comparing the live action to Nodame Cantabile '​s live action, "which seemed to cover one entire volume of manga per episode."[53] Mania.com's Chris Beveridge comments on the "mildly comical microbes that are reminiscent of the aliens from Toy Story except that they talk more."[54] In a review of the fifth episode, Beveridge criticizes the introduction of gothic lolita girl, saying "that while cute in manga and anime, looks ridiculous in person."[55] A review of the final episode has Beveridge commending the "CG work both for the bacteria and all the campus oddities". He further applauds the live action with "Moyashimon overacts everything in just the right way, rarely taking it too far and instead being just goofy and unrealistic enough to make you laugh while still going with the core concept."[56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h <ノイタミナ>もやしもん 2007年10月11日放送 農大菌物語 - フジテレビ [Noitamina Moyashimon October 11, 2007 Broadcast (Epic Agricultural Microbes Story) - Fuji TV] (in Japanese). Fuji TV. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "ドラマ「もやしもん」 2010年7月8日放送 入学 - フジテレビ" [Drama (Moyashimon) July 8, 2010 Broadcast - Fuji TV]. Fuji TV. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d もやしもんリターンズ 2012年7月5日放送 もやしども起つ - フジテレビ [Moyashimon Returns July 5, 2012 Broadcast (Stand, Moyashimon!) - Fuji TV] (in Japanese). Fuji TV. Retrieved 2013-12-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Del Rey Gets Moyashimon, Amefurashi, Maid War Chronicles". Anime News Network. 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  5. ^ モーツーかもすぞ!「もやしもん」が引っ越して連載開始 (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
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  19. ^ もやしもん VOL.1 通常版 (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  20. ^ もやしもん VOL.4 (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
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  30. ^ もやしもんリターンズ 第6巻 (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
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  33. ^ a b "Funi Adds Moyashimon, Shiki, Black Butler 2, Sekirei 2, More". Anime News Network. July 2, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
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  35. ^ a b "Gackt Stars in Shiki, Noitamina Anime Details Confirmed". Anime News Network. February 21, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
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  39. ^ "32nd Annual Kodansha Manga Awards Announced". Anime News Network. May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  40. ^ Seto, Tamaki (January 11, 2009). "PG Tips No. 24: The Best Of 2008 Part 3 - An International Perspective". Paul Gravett. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  41. ^ "12 Titles Nominated for 1st Ever Manga Taisho Awards (Updated)". Anime News Network. January 23, 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  42. ^ "2007 Japan Media Arts Festival Jury Recommends Works". Anime News Network. December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  43. ^ "10th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Award Finalists Announced". Anime News Network. April 8, 2006. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  44. ^ Fehervari, Z. (2009). "Microbes Go Manga". Cell 139 (7): 1219. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.12.005.  edit
  45. ^ Alverson, Brigid (September 28, 2008). "PR: Del Rey to publish Moyashimon and more". Manga Bookshelf. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  46. ^ a b c Green, Scott (September 7, 2010). "AICN Anime - Looking at Talking Bacteria, Lizard Headed Fugitives & Other Wildness via Biomega, Moyasimon and Dorohedoro". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  47. ^ Murakami, Satsuki; Byrce, Mio (2009). "Manga as an Educational Medium". The International Journal of the Humanities 7 (10): 47–55. ISSN 1447-9508. hdl:1959.14/87567. 
  48. ^ Thompson, Jason (September 13, 2010). "365 Days of Manga, Day 357: Moyasimon". Random House. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  49. ^ Santos, Carlo (July 20, 2010). "RIGHT TURN ONLY!! Ultimo's Sweet Home". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  50. ^ Sizemore, Ed (September 23, 2010). "Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture Book 2". Comics Worth Reading. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  51. ^ a b Kimlinger, Carl (October 26, 2012). "Moyashimon - Episodes 1-11 Streaming". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  52. ^ Graffeo, Clarissa (October 11, 2008). "Anime World Order Show # 73 – Never Suck a Dead Bird’s Bootyhole" (Podcast). Anime World Order. Event occurs at 2 hours, 4 minutes. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  53. ^ Finnegan, Erin (July 19, 2010). "Shelf Life - Germ Theory". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-11. 
  54. ^ Beveridge, Chris (July 8, 2010). "Moyashimon Episode #01". Mania.com. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  55. ^ Beveridge, Chris (August 5, 2010). "Moyashimon Episode #05". Mania.com. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  56. ^ Beveridge, Chris (September 16, 2010). "Moyashimon Episode #11". Mania.com. Retrieved 2013-12-12. 

External links[edit]