Center:Binchou-tan. L-to-R: Kunugi-tan, Saji, Chiku-rin, Chiku-tan, Ren-tan. Not shown: Aroe/Aloe.
Binchou-tan is a little girl who lives on her own in a hut in the middle of the forest. She survives due to her big connection with the surrounding nature and often gets help from animals by giving them food in return. Somehow she also seems to be able to change her size, since she can be picked up by little birds for transportation.
She regularly performs jobs in the idyllic town at the foot of the hill, where she meets all kinds of people. Although lonely at first, she gradually becomes friends with other girls her age—and who, just like herself, tend to be named after various kinds of charcoal, which they also use as hair-ornaments
The main character started as a mascot for Japanese gaming company Alchemist. In 2006 a manga about the character was created and in the same year Studio Deen produced an animated series around her. The show immediately became (in)famous for the saccharine tone
and almost ridiculously-cute
designs for the main cast. Despite its obvious ultra-moe
appeal, the series still manages to tell a heartwarming story of a little girl finding her way in life
, immensely helped by the excellent music and lovely backgrounds
This series provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Cars from the 1930s, television sets from the 1960s, patterned panties from the 70s or later, modern plastic bottles, and townspeople in contemporary clothing styles — while most of the girls wear traditional clothing (Chiku-tan's outfit in particular, which went out with the Meiji Era).
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Most of the girls are named after various kinds of charcoal, except for Aloe (aka Aroe) who's named after Aloe.
- Butt Monkey: Aloe.
- Conspicuous CG
- Dojikko: Aloe.
- Dream Sequence: Both Binchou-tan and Kunugi-tan have quite a few.
- Earworm: The opening and ending.
- Emotionless Girl: Ren-tan.
- Expressive Hair: Chiku-tan.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Binchou-tan wears one ankle bracelet.
- Festival Episode
- Friend to All Living Things: Binchou-tan.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Chiku-tan.
- Genki Girl: Chiku-tan.
- Ghibli Hills
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title ends with "-bin".
- It's Been Done: Chiku-tan "invented" stilts.
- Loners Are Freaks: Averted; Binchou-tan lives alone, but is still quite sociable. Kunugi-tan is something like this too.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Kunugi-tan. She gets better.
- Luminescent Blush: Sported by most of the main cast, most of the time. Did we mention the Moe?
- Meaningful Name
- Meido: Kunugi-tan's home has quite a few.
- Memento MacGuffin: Binchou-tan's nice clothes, given to her by her grandmother.
- Miko: Ren-tan.
- Mundane Utility: Ren-tan uses her powers to win raffles.
- Narrator: A female voice (Kikuko Inoue) sometimes tells what is going on, much in the style of a children's series.
- Noisy Nature: The infamous cry of the Red-Tailed Hawk is used for a duck. Multiple times.
- The Ojou: Kunugi-tan.
- Parental Abandonment: Most of the girls. Binchou-tan used to be looked after by her granny, but she passed away. Chiku-tan and Ren-tan live with their respective grandparents.
- Perpetual Poverty: Binchou-tan often has a lot of trouble just making ends meet.
- Psychic Powers: Ren-tan seems to possess them.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Chishanoki-sensei, despite being very nice.
- Scenery Porn
- Shrines and Temples
- Social Services Does Not Exist: Partly averted; orphaned Binchou-tan lives by herself after her grandmother's death, but there is a Children's Employment Office in the town hall, where she and Chiku-tan check in for day-work.
- Stock Footage: Mostly of Binchou-tan working.
- Twelve Episode Anime: All episodes are about half the commonly-used length.
- Two-Teacher School: Kunnugi's school is more of the one-teacher variety.
- Wingding Eyes: Aloe.