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 2003 a manga about the character was created and in 2006 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).
- Curtains Match the Window: Binchou-tan, with her blue eyes and hair.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title ends with "-bin".
- Memento MacGuffin: Binchou-tan's nice clothes, given to her by her grandmother.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 12-Episode Anime: All episodes are about half the commonly-used length.
- Two-Teacher School: Kunnugi's school is more of the one-teacher variety.