Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The More, the Yummier - Maryoku Yummy

Today I am going to talk to you about Maryoku Yummy.  You may or may not recognize the name, but if you do, it's because you remember it from descriptions of American Greetings' licensed brands.  That's how I know of it, anyhow.
Now, for a good long while, next to nothing was known about this mysterious and strangely named property.  Only the very basics of the character were revealed: Maryoku looks after wishes that are made before they get granted.  Not exactly all the interesting, but good for birthday cards.  At least, that's what I thought until I discovered that, just like with the revamp of Strawberry Shortcake, AGPbrands.com put a handful of videos of the animated show based on this property, and while only three episodes are up, I think I love it already.

Maryoku Yummy takes place in Nozomu, and as you might have derived from that, the majority of the characters have psuedo-japanese names.  I say pseudo because while some of the names actually mean something relevant to the character (maryoku means magic power/charm), some of the names are unintentionally hilarious (one character's name, Hadagi, means lingerie), but most of them are either too broad (Shika can mean any number of things, including the price of paper or Japanese poetry) to have actual meaning, or just sound japanese-y without actually meaning anything coherent.  I should note here that nozomu means "to wish," but the characters all pronounce it no-ZA-mu instead of no-zo-mu.  Basically, nothing is pronounced the way it would actually be pronounced in Japanese, but is pronounced the way someone looking at Japanese would pronounce it (especially egregious in Maryoku, which is pronounced ma-ryoku, but all the characters call her mary-oku).

Bad pronunciations aside, the show is delightfully cute.  The characters (called Yummies as a group) all have a minimalistic design that was inspired by Japanese silkscreening.  The characters also tend to replace parts of words with 'yum' (as in 'yumderful,' 'yum's the word,' etc.), and they all have some sort of crazy design going for them.
While all kinds of Yummy live in Nozomu (doctors, bakers, handymen, police), the focus is on the wishsitters, groups of three Yummy that keep an eye on ungranted wishes and supposedly help them come true.  (I'm not entirely sure how this is done, even though one of the episodes details the process.  Apparently there are things a wish needs to know before it is granted, and hugs are part of it, too.)  The wishsitters live in a group of three and take care of up to eight wishes at a time.  When there's a deficit, it's usually filled pretty quickly by Bob, who brings the wishes in from somewhere else.  As the show description indicates, Maryoku is head of a wishsitting group, along with her timid friend Fij Fij and boisterous underling Ooka.  Maryoku is one of the those can-do-no-wrong main characters that tend to show up in these kind of shows and is generally the voice of reason in her little group, but she's also a terrible meddler (seriously, in the two episodes posted that focused on someone other than her wishsitting, she went out of her way to check in on the other wishsitter on multiple occasions).  Her touchy-feely approach to wishsitting tends to clash with the by-the-books police officer Shika, whose frequent flaunting of the rules inspires both fear and annoyance from the general population.  Still, he is the one they go to in a crisis.  There's also some kind of wiseman character named Tapu Tapu that the other characters go to for advice, but I'm not entirely sure of his complete role yet.

The wishes themselves are treated as a mix of pets and very young children.  As in, they're obviously sentient, but they don't really understand anything except having a good time, yet the Yummies talk to them as if they could understand, but probably don't.  I have to admit, I just don't get the whole wish concept here.  I mean, the conceit of the show is that when wishes are made by children, they become these candle-like entities and show up at some kind of HQ.  Wishsitters keep an eye on them and teach them what they need to know to be granted, but what about the wishes that can never be granted?  I mean, what if a kid wishes for an elephant for a pet?  Seriously, that kid is never going to get one, so that's a wish that will never get granted.  I guess I'm thinking too hard about it.  This is just a kid's show, after all.
The show is aimed at preschoolers, in fact, but the lessons are not hamhanded, and generally flow in a fun manner.  For instance, in one episode, Hadagi, a member of another wishsitting group, takes it on herself to try and get an enormous wish granted without any help (so she can claim all the credit), and the majority of the episode shows the messes she gets herself into as she tries to keep the wish out of trouble.  (Granted, I could be biased because this was the episode that made me love Hadagi, and not just because she's obviously voiced by Chiara Zanni, who also voices Kani on Sushi Pack.)

The series is slated to come out "sometime in the future" which has been officially stated as 2010, but since it was stated earlier to be 2008 and 2009, there's really no telling when this series will debut.  Which is too bad, because it looks like a fun little series, and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of it.


usagijen said...

For a moment there I thought I was seeing the microbes in Moyashimon XD Looks totally cute, and yummy (marshmallows! :P)

The Zany Bishojo Evalana said...

They do look similar. I was going to include that in my post, but I guess I forgot.