HomeAnimeANIME REVIEW | Life in Gifu Through the Eyes of "Eccentrics"

ANIME REVIEW | Life in Gifu Through the Eyes of "Eccentrics"

ANIME REVIEW | Life in Gifu Through the Eyes of "Eccentrics"

I’m no stranger to the Gifu Prefecture. In fact, as of this writing, I am preparing my annual summer trip to the area, as part of the nonprofit I often lend a hand to. The fact that A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics takes place in the Gifu area was the sole reason why I started tuning in. Thankfully, it has plenty of reasons outside of a familiar area that has had me sticking around.

Based on the light novel series by Yomi Hirasaka, A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics begins in the world of the Ofim Empire. Princess Sara Da Odin (Hinaki Yano) and her knight Livia Do Udis (M.A.O) are being chased by enemy forces. The only way out is through a portal to another world. That world — as you can imagine — is Earth, with the princess and knight finding themselves in the Gifu Prefecture in Tokyo. Separated from one another, both Sara and Livia set off to find a way to survive in their new surroundings.

Enter Sosuke Kaburaya (Makoto Furukawa), a detective who operates his own agency. When Sara arrives, she literally lands on top of the detective during a job. At first, Sosuke doesn’t want to act as a babysitter for this strange girl, until she shows off her magic powers. Knowing that she’d be in danger if placed in the wrong hands, Sosuke takes in Sara, who finds the detective world enticing after reading a bunch of Detective Conan. However, she quickly finds out that one truth doesn’t always prevail.

Meanwhile, Livia finds herself homeless, taking on odds jobs and even tricked into joining a cult. But when her powers are shown, the cult leader Noa Minakami (Akane Fujita) believes Livia to be a new god. Alongside a struggling musician named Puriketsu (Yo Taichi), Noa sets out to spread the word of Livia, something that the knight wants very little to be a part of. Only if it’s something for her princess will Livia commit to Noa’s ideas, something the cultist finds humorous ways to take advantage of.

There’s a lot that goes on in A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics. While the story started its focus on Sara, it came as a surprise that more time was spent on Livia. Maybe it’s because she had the hardest time picking herself back up, but it’s interesting that the show’s dynamics switched so quickly. It would be something of a turnoff, if it weren’t for the show’s style of humor.

Much of this anime’s comedy plays on both Sara and Livia’s innocence. For Sara, it’s witnessing the sorts of criminal debauchery that Sosuke is set off to investigate. To be blunt, they’re not the crimes that Conan Edogawa would be out investigating; they’re a lot more sleazy! It does lead to an eyeful of a certain act that leaves Sara hilariously scarred. (Thankfully, Sosuke treats the young princess to her new favorite meal for dealing with such a sight.)

As for Livia, she is certainly the most gullible of the two. From taking on odd jobs to unknowingly becoming a cult’s deity, the woman gets constantly tricked into doing things that anyone with common sense would pick up on. Thankfully, having someone like Puriketsu there gives her a much-needed smack of reality whenever Noa is about to talk her into something crazy. Of course, it’s not as crazy as Livia’s taste for fried grasshoppers, something that even Noa has a hard time swallowing.

The storyline of A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics is all over the place. There are bits of character growth and evolution, but it doesn’t have a focused goal for what the narrative wants to accomplish. Even the idea of Sara and Livia trying to get back to the Ofim Empire is not even discussed, as the otherworldly character instead find comfort in their new surroundings. It would be a jarring situation, if it weren’t for how entertaining these characters and their shenanigans often are.

When Sara is onscreen, it’s hard to not be charmed by her sweetness and can-do attitude. Whether it’s her aiding as a detective, finding a good friend in the formerly-bullied Yuna (Yuki Takada), or taking on school life, the princess brims with positivity that very infectious. These moments are what make this anime a joy to watch, even if the storyline can feel a little uneven. It brings to mind a more lighter version of 2018’s Hinamatsuri, although that show definitely went harder with both gut punches and comedic timing.

Perhaps the one big downside to A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics is how it treats its setting. I was hoping it would take a similar route to last season’s Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable, where the story also acts as a promotional guide to their surroundings. Alas, I don’t feel like I’m learning much about Gifu that I haven’t known from my own personal experiences, a fact that leaves me disappointed. Fortunately, even if I don’t feel like I’m learning much here, the story and the characters are enjoyable enough to make this a fun watch.

Even with its wonky narrative, the cast sounds like they’re having a blast playing their roles. Yano brings plenty of spunk and can-do attitude as Sara, delivering lines with both sweetness and silliness. M.A.O does the same with Livia, only with a sprinkling of stupidity for good measure. Meanwhile, Furukawa takes on the tole of Sosuke with a mixture of urgency, fun, and caution, giving way to a performance as a strong guardian for a lost princess.

The team-up of SynergySP (Hayate the Combat Butler) and Studio Comet (School Rumble) is one that leans on their strengths of comedic timing and cute characters. A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics is often bright and colorful, giving way to silly reactions from all of the characters. However, from a movement perspective, the animation seems to cut corners here and there, be it when Sara’s learning to ride a skateboard or when Sosuke is behind the wheel. But when it comes time for Sara to use her magic (which, sadly, isn’t often), the show explodes with great visuals.

As for the soundtrack, it’s simply good. Even with three composers working on it (Misaki Umase, Tsugumi Tanaka, and Hanae Nakamura), the score is roughly as average as one can get with a comedy. The same can’t be said for the theme songs, with opener “Gifu-ni-ted” by Wanuka being delightfully lively and sweet. Closer “Konban no Kenka” by Meiyo Densetsu is more subdued, but is cheerful and catchy enough to have it be stuck in your head for a while.

Even though it’s not as focused on Gifu as I hoped, A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics is still a fun watch. The situations that Sara and Livia are put in are funny, sweet, and endearing. It’s enough to root for these otherworldly characters to find their happiness, something that is easily achieved thanks to the good-natured (and sometimes sneaky) people that have entered their lives. With all the interesting blokes and hijinks that ensue, this anime certainly delivers with quite A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics.

Now pass me the grasshopper tempura, because I’m famished!

Voice Acting:
Final Grade (not an average):

A Salad Bowl of Eccentrics can be viewed on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Crunchyroll. Episodes 1-11 were observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Crunchyroll.

Share your 2 cents

Share With:
Rate This Article

The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)