Moyashimon Live Action, episode 4: Real live researchers

I should stop comparing events from the anime to events from the live action show. There’s plenty of similarities, and the live action has done a good job of maintaining the spirit of the anime version. But all the little details are basically different.

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Case in point. In the anime, it’s Tadayasu and his longtime pal, Kei who get caught stealing vegetables out in the fields. But in the live action, it seems Tadayasu has been roped into it by Takuma and Kaoru – both of whom should’ve been aware that this is the field that has security alarms, motion detectors and whatever else anti-theft precautions. It’s not a bad change from the anime per se, but it just changes the tone of the following events. Whereas the purpose of the scene in the anime was for the school to promote anti-theft awareness, in this case, it’s more to underline Haruka’s concerns that Takuma and Kaoru are bad influences on Tadayasu.

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The episodes puts the spotlight on the poor, scheming whiles of Takuma and Kaoru, and introduce the sake subplot. While Haruka questions Itsuki about why he bothers to keep the two around (purely for manual labor at the fermentation lab, according to him), the two don’t seem to have any issues with playing researcher in the lab. And by "researchers" that means cooking up all sorts of foul food.

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As Itsuki walks into the lab with Mutou following him (looking mighty fine I might add). It occurred to me that this show is actually all about Itsuki’s quest to build the world’s first fermentation researching harem. This also explains why we see him make the call to a certain confused gothic lolita.

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The scenes in which the microbes are conversing and the people are just sitting in the background can be a little weird (for example, how long was Kaoru going to chew that rice for?). But I did find this short scene to be fantastic, partly for the amusing microbe conversations, mostly for the ample shots of legs, legs and legs. Who knew lab coats could be so sexy?

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One of the things this episode did well was tossing in quick scenes to give us a deeper glimpse into the characters. Whether it’s Tadayasu doing the hump dance with a super-sized gattai microbe, or Haruka lamenting her limited time researching, or the introduction of a little yuri moment between Hazuki and Mutou. Even if the actual events vary from what happened in the anime, the live action does a really nice job of rounding out the characters.

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The first vegetable thievery attempt by Kaoru and Takuma were attempts to keep them from dying of hunger. But now they’ve had a stroke of brilliance and ensnare Tadayasu into their next get rich scheme: to brew kuchikame no sake, or basically mouth-chewed sake, using the finest rice available: Professor Itsuki’s Yamada Nishiki.

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Remembering how Professor Itsuki went unabomber on the UFO Club last week, Tadayasu tries to convince the two about the stupidity of the idea to no avail. And as you can guess, this is not a crime they get away with. In fact, they don’t even come close, as Itsuki upgraded his security with some military grade spider tanks. Apparently the Japanese military must be big supporters of Itsuki’s fermentation work. Surstromming bombs perhaps? I could really do without this sort of science fiction in the show.

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Itsuki is (as expected) incensed at both Kaoru and Takuma for their rice crimes, but his opinion quickly changes when he learns of their plan to create Kuchikame sake. Complimenting their enterprising efforts to apply science, Itsuki calls the two of them true researchers and begs them to assist him in his research.

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With his team of researchers in place and the fermentation vault open for business, Itsuki places a call to our gothic lolita, sake-expert friend. It’ll be interesting to see how Kei’s storyline differs from how it played out in the anime. Just the fact that she probably won’t be a longtime friend of Tadayasu’s means we’re probably headed for a pretty different take.

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