I don’t remember when exactly I first heard of Akikan!, or what exactly I thought about a show whose premise was the appearance of soda cans which become magical girls when they are drunk from/kissed, but, after actually watching the first episode, it became clear that I would have to slog through it, if only to satisfy my warped curiosity.
Let’s back up a moment: the show’s plot device is the presence of SODA CANS which turn into MAGICAL GIRLS when DRUNK FROM/KISSED – they have an earring which can be pulled to return them to their small, metallic state, where they retain the ability to communicate telepathically with their “owner”. Their magical stamina, and, indeed, their life force, is tied directly to the soda within them, and/or its CARBONATION LEVEL, which is (in theory) capable of being restored via breath pressure applied MOUTH-TO-MOUTH (but is in practice more usually replenished by the girl just drinking more soda). In addition, steel-can-girls and aluminum-can-girls share a deep, INNATE hatred of each other.
I’m gonna let all that sink in for a moment because it is so friggin’ whacked out ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the show swings wildly between deliciously stupid and insufferably irritating. While it’s somewhat refreshing to have a main protagonist who isn’t a goody-goody, our “hero” is most often a pervy jackass with almost no regard for the people around him. This does not take long to get old. Perhaps a better example of the mood swings is that when the main can-girl, Melon (so named for her type of soda, natch), uses any her of magical melon-shaped energy projectiles, she prefaces the attack with some variation of “Melo-Melo.. MELOOON!”, which almost invariably caused me to crack up – on the other hand, whenever the tertiary can-girl (who seemed to be set up as the “comic-relief”) says anything, her forced baby-ish voice almost invariably caused me to cringe in distaste. It didn’t help that she sang most of the ED tracks, which changed every episode and were all variations on a single song, which wasn’t very good. The OP track changed at the halfway point, too – but they kept the existing animation with some slight re-arrangement, which was somewhat disconcerting.
The animation in the first two episodes is laughably bad. Very laughably bad – but it was all bright colors and sharp lines and funny faces, and I ate it up. I made the comment more than once that it appeared to be a show which took itself as seriously as it seemed like it should, and that its aggregate quality could only be lessened upon the improvement of the animation. This does happen, sadly – eyes stopped being hilariously off-kilter and proceeded to simply be slightly off for pretty much the entire rest of the show, giving the audience less to laugh at.
The supporting cast has several memorable characters, including some you’ll wish you could forget (tertiary can-girl and government-official-who-we-cannot-believe-hasn’t-been-put-away-yet-for-sexual-harassment, we’re looking at you), and one who is memorable largely for being so unmemorable to the rest of the characters that the animators represent his invisibility by actually animating him in degrees of invisibility. Really, though, most of the characters are kinda jerks, and there’s something not to like about pretty much each one.
The bizarre non-plot about the government-instituted competition (which may or may not have been to the death) amongst can-girls, or “Akikans” (roughly “empty cans”, I think), was kind of a let down, considering that the two main Akikans tend to interact primarily through their owners, who are friends. Yes, that third one shows up a bunch (more than we’d like, really), but the degree to which she is herself a non-threat is difficult to overstate. The show instead focuses on the drama amid the small, warped social circle that it creates, which is fair, I guess… it just seems like there should have been more magic fighting, or at least less of the main character being a preposterous jackass.
In closing, if you’re someone who doesn’t find much to appreciate in the vein of what I would personally refer to as “Stupid-Funny”, avoid this show like the plague. It does have its moments, but they are few and painfully far between – even to fans of this idiotic genre I would offer the caution that low expectations are something of a prerequisite for watching Akikan!.