Animal Yokocho ('Ani-Yoko for short lit. "Animal Alley") is a Japanese Gag Series manga, written by Ryō Maekawa. Publishing started in February 2000. It is about a little girl named Ami Matsuzaki who has a secret doorway on the floor of her bedroom that leads to another world that is called "Animal-Yokocho/Ani-Yoko". It is inhabited by stuffed-animal like creatures (the main trio, Kenta; a bear, Iyo; a rabbit, and Issa; a panda) and who knows what. We are lead to believe so since the world of Ani-Yoko is never seen, save for a few shots shown in the anime when one of the characters have their flashback moments.
Speaking of anime, its animated adaptation made in 2005 has 51 episodes (most of which are in the Two Shorts formula. Hence, it has 102 segments).
The series' notable humor often ranges up to Breaking the Fourth Wall and/or leaning on it sometimes. Much of the comedy also involved the Trio using and sometimes misinterpreting elements of popular Japanese culture, such as television quiz shows.
If you must stereotype Japanese animation as having some dark elements in them, that even their children shows would make you ask, "What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?", this is not one of those. It's quite lighthearted and kid-friendly but could be enjoyable to other audiences because of Parental Bonuses.
The series provides examples of:
- Another Dimension: Ani-Yoko, as mentioned lots of times.
- Batman in My Basement: Or Magical Basement Door Thingy In My Bedroom. With live talking animals!
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: Popular for this kind of comedy.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Iyo to, well, everyone else...
- Ami too, if you get on her bad side.
- Dub Name Change: Ami, in the English dub has her name pronounced the same way as "Amy".
- Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Non-game example: Mr. Yamanami fixes up Ami's room to be a jungle with a hot spring-sauna deep within. After Ami realizes that they've been walking an illogically long distance within her room, the camera zooms out to show that they'd been walking on a treadmill the whole time.
- Interspecies Romance: There's two cases. Issa the panda sometimes wants to be the main character Ami's boyfriend, and Kenta the bear and Ami's friend Kuu are openly in a relationship. Sure, Issa and Kenta are technically stuffed, but they're obviously sentient...
- Iron Butt-Monkey: Kenta is often zapped by Iyo's Iyo beam. It's only fair since he hits her with a mallet.
- Kodomomuke: The series has all the qualities of one.
- Limited Wardrobe: Ami's outfit. Lampshaded when in one episode, the Trio toured around the house and find a washing machine filled with the same type of clothing she wears every episode.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: A lampshaded version when Ami has a birthday turning five years old. She's five from the start...
- Really Dead Montage: Parodied. After Iyo accidentally bisects Kenta while attempting the old sawing-a-protesting-friend-in-half magic trick, she sits reflectively looking out the window and watches an entire Really Dead Montage go by before Kenta has a chance to protest and demand to be put back together.
- Secret-Keeper: Ami is not explicitly told to never tell anyone about Ani-Yoko but she keeps it a secret anyway (especially from her parents). She manages to tell one friend, anyway.
- She's a Man in Japan: Match/Macchi is mistakenly referred to as a "he" in the English dubs.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Iyo is a frequent victim but not limited to, being hit with a plastic mallet by Kenta.
- The Unseen: Ami's parents. Oddly enough, they're not the Unnamed Parents.
- Catherine Maekawa is Ami's favorite manga artist. We also don't hear her.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ami's friend, Kumiko (nicknamed Kuu/Kuu-chan), is afraid of horses thanks to a certain incident in a stable (a horse bit her head when she was a baby...it's not as bad as you think). Her first reaction to Mr. Yamanami was less than surprising therefore. It's toned down after a few appearances and between them, was an episode about her overcoming that fear.