Aiura and Yuyushiki.
Instead of back-to-back essays, I’m going to combine these two because they’re so short.
The high concept for both is identical: Slow-paced Slice of Life about three girls who are just starting high school. The three are composed of the tall blond, who is the straight man, the reddish-haired jokester, and her dark-haired accomplice/observer. The big difference is length. After you subtract the OP and ED, Aiura is only 150 seconds of content in a 4min program. Yuyushiki is the standard ~24min format.
I liked them both. Aiura was not only short, but leisurely. It was only long enough for perhaps two jokes per episode, but the timing on them was well done. In the first episode, Kanaka bumps into Ayuko and knocks her ice cream to the ground. To make amends, Kanaka grabs Saki’s taiyaki, gives it to Ayuko, and runs off, pursued. Ayuko bites into it and finds that it’s ‘extra spicy’. End of ep. The OP is a sprightly tune, all about crabs and Steve Jobs, and has nothing to do with the content. The ED sounds like a school anthem. The exterior backgrounds looked like watercolor, and were nice enough that I saved a couple of screenshots for my screen saver.
Amazingly, for such a short program, much of it’s humor comes from the slow, Jack Benny style, response. In episode 10, Kanaka has been doing a hands-on-the-eyes “guess who?” with everyone. When she does it to Saki, she gets an elbow in the ribs:
S: Sorry, I didn’t know it was you
K: You shouldn’t go elbowing strangers
S: It’s OK. I really knew it was you
K: It doesn’t matter. High school girls don’t go around elbowing random people
S: Really? What do high school girls do?
… scene break…
Class Representative: They probably study or something
K:…7 sec pause… No … that’s not right.
Yuyushiki had a little more push to it. The girls are the only members of the “Data Processing Club”, and spend their club time researching random topics and writing their conclusions on the whiteboard for their advisor to see when she finally wanders in — in episode 2 they leave several names for ice cream (Mellorine?). When not at school they are often at tall, blond Yui’s house, irritating her. Now and then there’s something that looks like it might be a plot, but the program just pokes it a couple of times and wanders off.
Both these programs do their jobs very well, within their set limits. I’ve referred to them in some earlier posts, because some of this Summer’s offerings try to emulate them, unsuccessfully.