Everyday is Sunday

Once upon a time, it was a pleasure to get to see a rare anime that few on this side of the Pacific had ever heard about. Most of the time, you'd get a chance to watch the opening episode of a series, and that might be about it. Hope of seeing more lay within the hands of friends passing around homemade subtitled VHS tapes made from those shiny wonders called laserdiscs. It was quaint in more ways than one.

What really made it difficult for review sites like mine is that a show might begin in one direction only to change course shortly thereafter. That's pretty much the case with me and Everyday Is Sunday. Until now -- March of 2010 -- I had only seen the first OVA, and I wrote a short review about it. (It was actually one of the first on the website, managing only three paragraphs...though you can still read it here in the archives, and you'll find some carryover between the two reviews.) Because of the wonders of the Internet, I have managed to see the whole thing, and so it's time for an update...especially since that first look was a bit off the mark for the whole. Everyday Is Sunday starts off looking like a romantic comedy, and that's not wholly inaccurate. There are whiffs of romance throughout the other five episodes. However, from the second OVA on, the show goes light on the lovey-dovey and heavy on the comedic aspects, lacing them with fan service. Fun? Yeah, sure, if you can appreciate the look and humor of anime from 1990 (which it turns out I still do). However, the rest of the show simply doesn't live up to the promise of its opener.

Everyday Is Sunday begins with a flashback to a young girl running from a man in a rain jacket right into the path of an oncoming truck. The man injures his hand when saving her, but the day is saved. Some time later, we meet Yumi, a brand-new police officer who is ready to bash some criminals. But in a case of mistaken identity, she arrests Toru, a young magician, who she thinks is a notorious pickpocket. Turns out that he's the man who saved her years ago from that truck. Flabbergasted, she nevertheless manages to find the real pickpocket and throttle him. But Yumi has always been haunted by that incident late one night and the sweet man she misjudged...and now that she's met him again, she's strangely attracted to him.

Through the next five episodes, while the relationship between Yumi and Toru alternately simmers and stagnates, she gets a hotheaded new partner who's also a bit of a dunce. If that's not enough, she winds up on guard duty for an old friend, an idol singer who kind of hates her guts a little bit. Between policing a local festival, meeting Toru's magic sensei from America, and getting tricked into participating in a sumo tournament, who has time for romance?

If you can't handle watching shows that remind you of the early canon of Rumiko Takahashi, you really don't need to read any further, as Everyday is Sunday is quite similar. The animation style is old and was on the way out when it was created, but I don't mind that. The artwork itself looks like an ordinary TV show from the era, which is surprising given that OVAs usually had higher budgets. Don't expect visual wonders.

I mentioned in my original review a certain similarity to Maison Ikkoku, and that felt (and looked) true from the first episode. But the way that the romance was sidelined from there on makes the rest of the show feel like a realistic and grounded version of Those Obnoxious Aliens...minus the aliens and adding stand-ins from You're Under Arrest and Patlabor. In fairness, though, the less plot-oriented the show becomes, the funnier it gets. In a surprising twist, the last episode (the one with the sumo wrestling) is by far the most amusing, primarily because the show isn't worried about introducing any more characters and just has fun. Had it continued in this vein, I'm sure it would have become far more well-known than it did. I have to admit that every episode had a couple of good laughs, and it's worth finding if you need a goofy old-school grin or two. (If you're in a hurry, just watch the first and last episodes, which are easily the best of the run.)

But problematically, when a show sets itself up as a romantic comedy, taking out the romance and adding in cheesecake fan service is a sure way to annoy some of your viewers. The show had to have been geared for middle schoolers -- the opening song has nothing to do with police business but with suffering through homework, for crying out loud -- and I'm sure that appealing to guys on the cusp of adolescence with flashes of animated female flesh was the point. But there were elements at the beginning that could have given the show crossover appeal. My main disappointment was not the added comedy, it was the loss of the romance replaced with peekabo nudity and a slightly coarser tone.

Did I like Everyday is Sunday? Yep, and my 16-year-old self back when this show came out in Japan would have liked it even more. Rather like Orange Road, which I thought was pretty great in the early '90s, it's a show that still holds charms, but it's best watched through the proverbial lens of nostalgia. There's still a sweet core that I found appealing many years ago that still rings through, even if it doesn't follow through in the way I would have hoped.

Everyday is Sunday -- mild violence, language, brief nudity and fan service -- B