1990s TV Anime – Mikan Enikki Episode 1 (1992)

A talking ginger tom causes trouble for his owner. No, not the fat lazy Monday hating one. Nor that delinquent one who likes to terrorize the neighbourhood. This one is called Mikan, likes getting liquoured up, playing the harmonica badly and keeping a crayon scrawled diary.

This show suffered in my eyes due to Chi’s Sweet Home, Poyopoyo and Kuruneko. Compared to those more recent shows it feels too long and too slow. There is funny material in there, both in terms of the situations and the drawings, but it moves at such a languid pace. This first episode is all set up, but there’s not all that much to set up. A ginger cat moves in with a family, and the son discovers it can talk (and likes a drink). That is all that happens in this half hour. Poyopoyo manages more than that in 3 minutes.

I also checked on a couple of later episodes and they had similar pacing concerns. Episode 20 had Mikan turning up to Tom’s school, and it captured the horror a child might have of a pet following you to primary school quite well, but could have lost about half the running time. Episode 21 was more a melodrama dwelling on Mikan’s past before he met Tom, a definite reminder that Miwa Abiko’s original story was a shoujo manga running in LaLa in the 80s rather than modern gag strip comics I mentioned earlier.

That being said, it’s still watchable, and a fine example of an early 90s show that never got any attention during the two anglophone anime booms of the nineties due to timing and format (it did get Spanish, Catalan & Polish dubs).

Notable names who worked on it include its director, the late Noburo Ishiguro (Legend of Galactic Heroes, Macross, Star Blazers) and character designer Noburo Sugimitsu, who’d work with Ishiguro in a similar capacity on Tytania.