Amidst a cornucopia of lukewarm Nintendo Switch game reviews, the corresponding SNACK WORLD animated TV series has flown under the radar. However, it has not flown the coop entirely. On February 14, Crunchyroll subtly unpacked 26 English language dubbed episodes of LEVEL-5’s CGI series; currently, the dub is available for streaming in North America, Central and South America, the UK and several European countries. In France, Gulli/Canal J is the show’s network partner. In Australia, New Zealand and South/Southeast Asia, Cartoon Network hosts SNACK WORLD animation.
Interestingly, the SNACK WORLD TV series has inspired few – if any – online critical analyses; even press announcements of the 26 x 22” CGI show are sparse. Perhaps the reason for same lies deep within the bellies of hardcore anime purists: While SNACK WORLD is authentically Japanese, it is not anime. Or is it?
Hollywood-based, entertainment industry insiders are not shy about voicing their opinions on whether SNACK WORLD is anime or just plain, generic CG animation, such as your garden variety SONIC BOOMs, BOSS BABY: BACK IN BUSINESSes; and/or LOVE, DEATH & ROBOTSes . On the other hand, due to realities of non-disclosure agreements – and industry-centric, whistleblower-style retaliation – the very same distribution, production, and acquisitions execs are loathed to regurgitate their views publicly. Their main argument against anime is as follows: It’s not hand-drawn; therefore, it is not anime.
SNACK WORLD does contain many anime tropes, and could be considered anime, if given the chance. First, it comes from the brain of (Akihiro) Hino-san, a creator so authentically Japanese, that he barely speaks or understands English, he writes/creates only in Japanese, and calls Fukuoka – as opposed to the more culturally diluted capital city of Tokyo – headquarters of his cross-media empire.
Second, CGI is the spawn of traditional 2D (hand-drawn) animation; in fact, much contemporary animation software allows artists to create 2D and 3D-style visuals within the same project and even in the same frame! Like CGI, 2D has the potential of being rendered on computers, which further blurs lines (pun intended) between the two styles. Consider VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER, for example.
Most important, SNACK WORLD is chock full of many, many, MANY anime tropes; at the very least, the series is an anime parody – a buffet! – and an artful, hilarious one at that. Here are three of the crowd-pleasing anime attributes baked into SNACK WORLD (warning: may contain spoilers!): a) Oppai – Although rotoscoped into submission for the English language dubbed version, big boobs abound. Keep eyes peeled for these well-endowed females: The Bandshees, Madusa, and Melonia. b) Tsundere – Leading lady Mayonna is a classic tsundere: She torments hero Chup to the point of distraction, but there is definitely some kind of underlying attraction. The attraction is twisted, toxic, and dysfunctional, but it is attraction nonetheless. c) Invisible parents – Hero Chup’s parents allegedly have been killed in a violent village takeover via villain Sultan Vinegar. As a result, they certainly are absent in episodes 1-26.
It is important to note that the entirety of SNACK WORLD – the director’s cut – animation consists of 50 x 22” Japanese language episodes with no bosom-censoring whatsoever. Crunchyroll offers only 26 English language dubbed installments at this time. If a fan is hungry for a second helping, then he/she/they should binge the first 26, then spread the word, nice and thick, like peanut butter, and tag LEVEL-5 heavily in the process. Perhaps said craving will be satisfied!