In a quiet, picturesque town nestled in a seemingly Alpine region is a quaint cafe. Its doors tingle to the customers seeking a warm beverage of the caffeinated kind. Through that door, a young girl seeks employment and effectively asks…Is the Order A Rabbit? From that moment on, the establishment’s dynamic is changed forever.
This TAIL is simple enough. It’s about a young girl named Cocoa who recently transferred to this town’s high school and is looking for somewhere to stay. She is attracted to the Rabbit House; the cafe run by Chino Kafuu and her father where she is seeking employment and lodging. She makes an ‘impression’ with her constant demands for rabbits it being a ‘rabbit house’. After RABBITING on [sorry!] for what seems like an eternity, Chino
relents hires Cocoa to help out. We then meet Rize Tezeda, the part-time waitress of the cafe…in her underwear hiding in a closet. Self-defense apparently? After a surprising shot of skin, the trio [including Tippy, the possessed bunny/fluff that Chino ‘wears’] slowly [it feels slow!] begin to work together and show Cocoa the ropes which she grasps fairly quickly which was unexpected. I had expected a long and painful slog but got a refreshingly swift learning curve; not bad! The rest of the early episodes are dedicated to the group running the cafe, going to school, meeting other cafe owners and basically going about daily life. That’s pretty much it, very insular. Quaint. Non-threatening. Saccharin.
Seriously, this show is incredibly sweet. Its mission is to take you by the hand and make you relax in its fluffy surroundings where the threat of aliens or warfare will not encroach this picturesque domain; apart from Rize’s latte art in the shape of a tank. It has no reason of being other than to be something to stare at and be inoffensive to all that choose to watch its short-form comedic style. Is The Order A Rabbit’s four panel style of storytelling is evident with Cocoa’s delving into latte art being the standout example in the early entries of this show. That’s about as perilous as proceedings get. It’s not going to hurl blood in your face; maybe some errant drops of coffee but that’s about it. This safe and delicate approach is all well and good for those looking for a show with charm, but put simply I was bored. Now some of you might respond to that statement with “Masako, you’re a guy. It’s not meant for you and your needs!” and I get that; this show is meant to be a fun romp for young girls to mutually squeal at due to its cuteness. Or is it? There are a few scenes scattered about which linger a little too long on the girls changing, in their PJs and generally giving off an innocent but sexy aura. The whole Rize in her lingerie may simply be that she was changing at the time of Cocoa coming into the room but surely Chino would know she was in there thus saving the awkward episode. But no, we got closeups of Rize’s…yeah. Those moments which punctuated an otherwise slow plot got me thinking of the sinister undertones present.
Yes, I may be thinking too hard about this but it’s something I wish to address. Is The Order A Rabbit? is moe. Moe, in this context, is the uniquely Japanese characteristic of making characters look younger than they are supposed to be in order to add more cuteness and seemingly pure innocence. Moe has broken out a lot in the last several years in anime with more anime resorting to the ‘moeification’ of some otherwise mature-looking series with A Certain Magical Index being the chief example. Granted, Is The Order A Rabbit’s manga was already quite moe but it’s a cheap ploy for viewership; as is the sexual suggestions which die down thankfully later on but still, in the first episode? Really? It’s like Magical Warfare again with the one-time breast growth ploy! This whole tangent is not a dealbreaker for the anime as a whole, it’s just something to take heed of. Otherwise, the show is safe enough.
Cocoa, as a main character, dips and dives in my estimation of her. At first, you think she’s going to be an annoying lead with a rabbit fixation, nay fetish. Then you get to know her and she is pretty smart. She’s able to do complex mental arithmetic and master latte art in a little over a weekend. She picks things up quickly despite being a little bit lacking when it comes to a sense of direction. One trait offsets another and all that jazz. Then there’s her sister complex towards Chino which Cocoa mistakes as being a term of endearment but instead it’s a bad thing and she runs around screaming ‘Sister complex!’ at full volume to the one customer that seems to be in the cafe at any one time [Seriously, there barely seems to be anyone actually there! What are they doing all day?]. Chino and Rize, the other workers, are cookie cutter character models with the former being the stoic lolita figure with a kind heart and the latter being the tsundere [aggressive externally] military enthusiast. We then meet Chino’s father [albeit briefly] who actually owns the cafe and runs it as a bar at night; this plot point filled me with relief because it meant that the girls don’t own the cafe but instead just work there; more plausible premise. Phew!
Is The Order A Rabbit? is a calming, mellow production which looks competent enough but it doesn’t really push the envelope in terms of narrative. It’s all rather pedestrian. I found myself checking how far into the episode I was, wanting to make progress which is never a good sign. The characters are rather predictable save for Cocoa with her above average intelligence. Each episode I watched followed the same pattern of short skits and self-congratulatory moments with the girls being proud of themselves or growing a little inside. It’s by no means a bad show; it’s just not all that exciting really. It’s better than I expected in that the story is more grounded than I first thought [Save for the talking rabbit with the soul of Chino’s grandpa inside] but it doesn’t capture my interest enough to warrant repeated viewing. Perhaps it might for you, it’s all down to personal taste with this one.
Is The Order A Rabbit? is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
RATING: CAUTION [It might be for you if your bag is quaint, sweet series full of cute characters, otherwise it’s a pass.]
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