Anime Review: Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life

Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life
Directed by Sayo Yamamoto, Toyonori Yamada
Produced by Akira Sasaki, Takehiro Yoshida, Yoshiki Usa
Voice cast: Haruka Nagamune, Mamoru Miyano, Minori Ozawa, Tia, Yuri Sato
Air dates: Streaming Tuesdays at 1 PM CST on Crunchyroll

You have to have a love of the truly absurd to appreciate Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life. If you haven’t the stomach for non-sequitur humor, rapid-fire stream-of-consciousness storytelling, or tongue-in-cheek references to all sorts of anime and cultural memes, you’ll be lost in the first three-to-four-minute episode, and you won’t have enough breadcrumbs to get home. So you’ve been warned. Leave while you can.

Still there? Then read on. Wooser is a cute animal thing with button eyes, a button nose and big floppy ears who is known for such rhetorical gems as “There’s nothing as good as food someone else is paying for,” and “my favorite things are meat, money, and girls.” He’s stuck on the couch, is a lout, a pervert, a ne’er-do-well, and yet, he somehow enjoys the constant company of four cute girls along with a darker version of himself known as Darth Wooser, a raccoon, and some birdlike creature that has no name, but is often spotted in Wooser’s company. Weird enough for you, yet?

The series, created by Yoshiki Usa and broadcasting on Tokyo TV, takes an extremely non-sequitur approach to each episode, jumping from bands with nothing but bass players in them to references to anime such as Black Rock Shooter to poetic odes to Kobe beef, often in the course of a single episode. It’s rapid-fire Dadaism for the post-attention-span age. The only continuity between these short, random vignettes are equally short 8-bit animations showing Wooser and one or more of his co-stars with accompanying 8-bit music. It’s cute, it’s torrid, it absolutely does not make any sense at all, and given the mess that the world’s currently in, it is probably the best reflection of that world I’ve seen yet in the realm of Japanese anime. You can either cry at the injustices of this world, or laugh at its concurrent absurdities, and I prefer the latter.

Currently streaming its second season, or “Awakening Arc,” live on Crunchyroll every Tuesday, Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life is worth an afternoon of viewing. Before you check out the new season though, be sure to sample the first season, especially the second episode, where we learn what a band with four bass players would sound like, what happens when our hero dies from looking up girls’ skirts, and whether he qualifies as burnable trash or not. Enjoy.

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