Near Death!! Ekoda-chan

Near Death!! Ekoda-chan

Near Death!! Ekoda-chan anime series cover art
Near Death!! Ekoda-chan Cover Art

Overview

While this review of Near Death!! Ekoda-chan (or Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan) may be a bit premature, I don’t think any possible 12th episode will be changing my opinion of the series. I say possible 12th episode because there seems to be some miscommunication regarding how many episodes this series is actually going to have.

Within the series itself we’re told there will be 10 episodes, however 12 episodes are listed in the series credits, and MAL has decided to say that there will be 11 episodes. So, while I’m fairly sure there is going to be another episode next week, let’s just bang out this review today.

Near Death!! Ekoda-chan is a strange series in that while all the episodes use the same 4-panel manga as source material, each one has a different director and cast. It’s kind of like if you took Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror to the extreme.

But, it’s also an anime short, meaning that each episode is only three minutes long, which is exactly why I decided to watch it this season. Anime shorts are good in that they aren’t much of a time commitment, but at the same time they tend not to be as good as full-length series.

Strangely enough, Near Death!! Ekoda-chan tries to remedy the issue of not being a full-length anime by adding a ~20 minute interview with the episode’s director and Ekoda voice actor after each three-minute section of anime. But, while these interviews are important to mention, they aren’t anime so I won’t be reviewing them.

Ekoda-chan

So, who is Ekoda-chan, and what does she do in this series? Ekoda-chan is the assumed author-insert protagonist. She’s a single woman who lives alone, though she seems to have male company overnight frequently.

She also works various jobs such as a hostess at a club and a support person at a call center. Through these jobs she meets all kinds of customers, and it’s implied that most of these interactions are either extremely mundane or negative.

But, that’s kind of the whole point of the series I guess, mundane life. After working, Ekoda-chan goes home and takes off her clothes because she can do less laundry that way. She also likes to stay inside because it’s less expensive and less effort than going out.

It’s at this point that you may be thinking, “well, then why do I care about Ekoda-chan or anything she does?” And the answer is simply that you don’t. Nothing Ekoda-chan does is interesting, but at only three minutes per episode it doesn’t really have to be.

Ekoda-chan as seen in episode 2 of the anime series Near Death!! Ekoda-chan
Ekoda-chan (episode 2)

I think Ekoda-chan is supposed to be some relatable character for single women in their 20s or 30s, but I almost feel that she’s too niche. She has her relatable moments, usually those when she’s interacting with strangers, but as a character overall I just don’t see it.

Issues

There are a number of flaws with the Near Death!! Ekoda-chan anime, but they all seem to stem from one fatal flaw, which is that every episode has a different director and cast. And, to illustrate why this is the biggest flaw of the series, allow me to direct you to this quote by the director of episode one:

I’ve done a few shows like this before. But, none of them did very well. – Daichi Akitaro

This is basically the first thing the director of episode one says in the interview after the episode, which isn’t a good look. If even your directors recognize that series with a new director for each episode aren’t good, then why would the viewers think any different?

But, exactly how does having a new director and cast for each episode make an anime worse? And, is there really a point to doing this?

Let me start off by answering the second question first. The main point to creating a series like this is to bring exposure to a variety of people in the industry while also making a series which is supposed to be avant-garde.

And, while different directors for each episode may build toward that goal, having different voice actors for every episode doesn’t. Each director in this series has a particular style, but unless I knew beforehand that each episode had a different voice actor for Ekoda-chan, I wouldn’t have noticed.

I’m not saying that all these voice actors are the same, but when they’re only a voice actor for a three-minute long piece of animation in which some of them only have a few lines, it’s hard to really get a feeling for their differences. I almost want to say this is a negative for the voice actors because it makes them seem like they’re all the same and interchangeable.

So, how does this new director for each episode actually make the series worse? They have:

  • Minimal investment in the series as a whole.
  • Three minutes to make their mark.
  • No cooperation with each other.

Again, the director of episode one drops some knowledge on us during his interview when he says that he doesn’t like doing series in which he doesn’t direct at least 6 episodes. Any less than that, and he doesn’t feel like he has control over the end product, which is to say he’s not all that invested in how well it performs.

But, aside from not having any control over the series as a whole, each director only has three minutes to leave their mark on it. This means that some of them are doing radical things in what I can only assume is an attempt to make their episode stand out the most.

And, this brings us to the last issue, which is that the directors don’t cooperate with each other on the series. I’m not saying that the directors wouldn’t cooperate with each other, but the whole point of a series like this is to have them each create their own episodes individually, not as a team.

The end result of these three issues put together is a series that feels like it’s falling apart at the seams. Some episodes look like the directors didn’t care, others are extremely flashy and stylized to the point of not resembling the same series, and one of them wasn’t even animated, it used puppets and actual faces.

It’s a train wreck of a series stylistically, and that’s before even getting into the content of each episode. There were actually two episodes which covered the same chapter of the manga, which was about a lizard that got loose in Ekoda-chan’s apartment.

Now, you might think that having the same chapter covered twice is no big deal, but you have to remember that each director only gets three minutes. So the fact that two of them chose the same chapter means that a large portion of their episodes were the same content.

Conclusion

But, what do I rate Near Death!! Ekoda-chan? Unfortunately, it’s a 1/10.

The best episodes were episodes 2, 9, and maybe 11, but even they weren’t all that great. Episode 2 was about Ekoda-chan coming to grips with her feelings about a guy, 9 was her dealing with annoying customers in a call center, and 11 was about pretending to care what condescending guys talk about in a bar.

Have you watched Near Death!! Ekoda-chan? If so, what did you think of the series? Is it really as bad as I claim it is? Let me know down in the comments. And, while you’re down there, click the like button ❤ just for the fun of it.

You should also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any of my future content. Starting today (or tomorrow) I’m also going to be writing for another anime-related site, and you’ll be able to find links to those posts on Twitter as well.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter and the benefits you get for doing so, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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