HoiHoi-san: The Joy of Merchandise

HoiHoi-san is a domestic goddess, but only on the scale of the Romans’ minor household gods. HoiHoi-san has light hair and wears squeaky booties. HoiHoi-san is a small, moe, robot. HoiHoi-san stalks the night, exterminating pesticide-resistant insects in a hail of bullets.

Combat-san is HoiHoi’s rival, another bug-exterminatrix. Combat-san seems to have a more powerful arsenal of upgrades. Combat-san is prone to overheating if she’s not given exactly compatible parts. Combat-san has dark hair, so she and HoiHoi coincidentally follow the ‘good women are light-haired and bad women are dark-haired’ rule of Victorian fiction.

This OVA provides a small, enjoyable dose of small, cute robots shooting cockroaches – and each other – up. It was bundled with a volume of the HoiHoi manga, and there was also a videogame: the whole shebang is a good example of the fluidity between media that dKiWi trumpets (I think this fluidity isn’t better, just different, but what do I know?).

We see that people buy Hoi Hoi and Combat more as dolls than as domestic utilities. This premise is an extrapolation of Japan’s predilection for cuteness, technology and cute technology. A certain amount of fun is also, I suspect, being gently poked at doll-collectors, at obsessive hobbyists in general, at the ‘girls with guns’ genre and also at the habit corporations have of making their technology incompatible with that of other companies. (Can you build your own moe exterminatrix? Are there kitbashes?) Ichigeki Sacchu!! HoiHoi-san is both something of a light satire on the selling of merchandise, and a good opportunity to sell merchandise. (Cake is being consumed yet still possessed.)

I happen to think merchandising can be a good thing, at least from the point of view of the hedonist. If you want to shift figures of cute girls, it’s best to animate lots of scenes of cute girls being cute – ideal for lovers of cuteness. Furthermore, I’ve been told that the prospect of merchandise to sell can boost an original story’s chance of getting animated. I don’t have any firm views on the superiority or otherwise of original anime (a topic for another day, perhaps), but I hope we can agree that anime would be a duller place if it was composed entirely of adapted stories. After all, they said that the conversations which led to Gurren Lagann were about how to best sell toys.

(Though the HoiHoi OVA is definitely an adaption. Or perhaps an something like an adjunct, in the way that the latest School Rumble OVA is bundled with its parent manga, and is apparently more closely tied to that parent than the television series were. Fluidity’s confusing, isn’t it?)

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19 responses to “HoiHoi-san: The Joy of Merchandise

  1. This post killed me. It really did.

  2. WAHHH, no way. I didn’t know this had an OVA. I only just stumbled upon the manga a few days ago and thought it was pretty entertaining. Thanks for the heads up.

    I would totally give for a hoihoi-san. I HATE BUGS SO MUCH

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  4. I need me one of those…any one know where I can get one?

  5. I’d watch the shit out of this if there weren’t bugs in it. Alas, it does, and I won’t.

  6. I stumbled upon this quite a while ago and kinda liked it. =)

  7. Can you actually buy one of these robots to get rid of bugs?
    That’s insane..

  8. @ Baka-Raptor: . . .

    @ Os: I hate bugs too, but I’m not sure I’d be happy being kept up late at night by the sound of gunfire.

    @ Crusader: Not sure. I’d have thought you, of all people, wouldn’t need an armed doll.

    @ 21stcenturydigitalboy: You . . . don’t like insects?

    @ rroknedaj: That’s more or less my feelings: it’s not going to win awards, but I rather liked it.

    @ Jemma: Not quite – according to Wikipedia they did sell dolls, but they didn’t have live weaponry. Mind you, the fact that this is so plausible probably adds quite a lot to the humour.

  9. I remember watching this when it came out a couple of years ago. It was a fun watch, and I believe there were rumors that there would have been a TV show as well, but that fell apart. A shame, since I enjoyed the randomness as well as the potentially biting social commentary. :P

  10. I didn’t care much for the robots, but that shop owner needs a spinoff of her own. Might simply be on account of her osaka-ben.

    I also never got why they found it a good idea to make HoiHoi-sans boots so damn squeaky and her guns so damn loud – even in the future companies do weird shiz.

  11. This sounds like a lot of fun, going to have to check it out.

    I’ve been told that the prospect of merchandise to sell can boost an original story’s chance of getting animated

    You can thank those Gundams you love so much for that ;)

  12. I need robots to annihilate the insect vermin that inhabit my room, yes I do.

    Also, this looks hilarious.

  13. @ TheBigN: Yeah, there could have been a good slice-of-pest-extermination comedy here. I read that a full television anime adaption was briefly announced, and then withdrawn, or something.

    @ Kaiserpingvin: I had to look ‘osaka-ben’ up, but now you mention it her voice was rather nice, yes. As for squeaky booties, well: ‘Cute Is Justice’!

    @ otou-san: True, Gundam is the franchise that benefits most from the ‘merchandise boosts originality’ argument . . . but I didn’t really want to let on my intentions. Besides, I imagine some readers tune out when I say ‘Gundam’, and I think TTGL currently has more widespread appeal.

    @ xephfyre: I could do with an AA HoiHoi to keep the mozzies down myself.

  14. My room needs a HoiHoi-san stat. Or maybe I should just buy that Gokiburi HoiHoi thingie that traps cockroaches which was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post.

  15. Actually, when it comes to cockroaches I favour an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy: provided I don’t see them, I don’t really mind. If I do see them, however, I’m rather disgusted, so anything like a trap which brought their dead bodies to my attention wouldn’t be welcome.

  16. see, take what you just said and replace everything after ‘however’ with ‘I will refuse to use the room in which I saw it until said room is thoroughly sterilized and I will be extremely paranoid for about 2 days’ and you have me.

  17. @ 21stcenturydigitalboy: Ouch. In that case, I suppose it’s best to avoid looking closely at all.

    @ Teeif: You’ve played the original game? From the screenshot on Wikipedia I thought the graphics looked fairly unexciting, but I’m glad to hear the gameplay was better than a train simulator and a visual novel. It’s a start.

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