Animal Yokocho (Ani-Yoko for short lit. "Animal Alley") is a Japanese Gag Series shoujo manga, written and illustrated by Ryō Maekawa. The manga began serialization in the shoujo magazine Ribon in February 2000, and is still ongoing.
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.
An anime adaptation first aired from 2005 to 2006 for 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.
The series provides examples of:
- Amusing Injuries: Everyone is prone to this, but especially Kenta who gains a Cranial Eruption every time Iyo unleashes her fury at him.
- Another Dimension: Ani-Yoko, as mentioned lots of times.
- Animated Adaptation: Of the original manga.
- Batman in My Basement: Ami has to constantly hide Iyo, Kenta, and Issa from her parents. This also applies to the world of Ani-Yoko as a whole.
- Dub Name Change: Ami, in the English dub has her name pronounced the same way as "Amy".
- Gag Series: A rather comedic animated series.
- The Ghost: Catherine Maekawa is Ami's favorite manga artist, whose voice we never hear nor do we see what she looks like.
- 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.
- Inexplicably Tailless: Mr. Yamanami is a horse, but has no tail.
- 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 Philippines English dub.
- Slapstick Knows no Gender: Iyo is a frequent victim but not limited to, being hit with a plastic mallet by Kenta.
- The Voice: Ami's parents. We hear them speak to Ami several times, but when they do "appear", only a quarter half of their bodies are visible in the edge of the screen.
- 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). This is why she Faints in Shock upon first seeing Mr. Yamanami. It's toned down after a few appearances and between them was an episode about her overcoming that fear.