is a Japanese manga and anime series aimed at a juvenile audience about a little girl who has a doorway to another world in her room, from which three bizarre and frequently-annoying stuffed animal-like creatures emerge to make her life "interesting". The manga was created by Ryo Maekawa and is serialized in Ribon Magazine, Ribon Original and Ribon Bikkuri. This manga's characters originally appeared in Ribon Original as quiz column's characters. The manga won the award for children's manga at the 51st Shogakukan Manga Awards.
- Ami Matsuzaki (松崎 亜美), the protagonist of the anime, is a five-year-old preschool student who is quite mature for her age and has just moved into a new home and neighborhood with her family. She is intelligent and imaginative, but grounded and a bit easily flustered. The revelation that a gate to AniYoko is in her room, and the increasingly bizarre actions of her three visitors, frequently drive her to the brink of total distraction, yet she seems to have gotten used to their presence, with Ami sharing some of her regular life with them. Her date of birth is 15th December. Iyo
- Iyo (イヨ) is one of the three creatures from AniYoko, known as "the Happy AniYoko Trio", who frequently visit Ami through the door in her floor. She looks like a stuffed rabbit, and can use a sort of energy discharged through the space between her ears for all kinds of effects. She can also store objects and liquids in her ears, to be dispensed as needed. Although she always tries to act cheerful and cute, she is frequently selfish and vain. She also has the habit of dying when abused or neglected, only to return to life when a suitable apology is made. Her date of birth is the 18th of June. Kenta
- Kenta (ケンタ) has the appearance of a stuffed bear. He is brusque, frequently rude, and sometimes picks up odd obsessions. He has a love-hate dynamic with Iyo, with whom he is always arguing or fighting but he still appears to be close to her. His attempts to assert his species identity frequently end in disaster. He is always seen wearing a red muffler, and it is usually a sign that something is very wrong if he is without it. He also often gives the punchline in jokes where all three of the trio are involved. His date of birth is the 6th of May. Issa
- Issa (イッサ) is a creature that looks like a stuffed panda. He refers to himself as "the empathic one" of the trio, puts the most effort into trying to be nice to Ami, and makes many unsuccessful efforts to make peace between Iyo and Kenta. His date of birth is the 23rd of November. Yamanami-san
- Yamanami-san (ヤマナミさん) is a horse-like creature, apparently the leader of AniYoko. He frequently appears to make a small contribution to the scene or some demand on the cast, and then departs. Issa has said that all the creatures of AniYoko must obey "Commander Yamanami" or face an unspecified but terrible punishment. Yamanami also operates a "black-market mail-order" service, which occasionally delivers goods to Ami's room. It is implied that there are numerous Yamanamis, occupying different roles in AniYoko society. Ami's parents
- Ami's parents [Ami's mother's name is Ayako Matsuzaki (松崎あやこ)] are occasionally heard but never seen throughout the anime. There is no indication that they are aware of the existence of AniYoko or any of the strange events surrounding Ami's life, although they do sometimes notice the effects when something Ami or the three creatures do affects their real-world activities. Ku-chan
- Kumiko Takeda (竹田 久美子), also known as Ku-chan, is Ami's close friend. She is one of the few people who can see the AniYoko Trio and others as they really are (although she annoyingly looks for their batteries), and shares in some of the adventures that Ami has. She seems to be very open to what happens. Her date of birth is the 21st of May. Kenta appears to have a crush on her, much to Iyo's annoyance. Ku-chan suffers from a paralyzing fear of horses due to an unfortunate incident in a stable, so any interaction she has with Yananami-san is extremely traumatic. Catherine Maekawa
- Catherine Maekawa (カトリーヌ前川) is Ami's favorite manga artist. It is revealed in the anime that she is currently engaged in a shōjo manga series about sumo wrestling. Iyo has been to her house, after stowing away in a fan letter written by Ami, but she did not appear to notice.Others:
- Mr. Nonko-Chan (Mr. のんこちゃん). .
- Match & Pitch (まっち&ピッチ). and .
- Kotaro Matsuzaki (松崎 光太郎), Takeru. .
- Matsumoto (マツモトさん), Sayuki (サユキ), Magurono (まぐろの抱き枕), Shachihoko (しゃちほこ). .
- Shima Shimako (しま シマ子). .
- Ako Aomori (青森 あこ), Botetechuto (ポテテチュート). .
The gate to AniYoko
It is explained in the anime that AniYoko itself is an alternative world inhabited by stuffed-animal-like creatures. The only method of travel between AniYoko and the human world is through a door mounted in the floor of Ami's bedroom. The Trio has given many conflicting and spurious explanations for how the door got there, but the real answer may never be revealed to Ami nor the viewer. Still, nothing overly sinister appears to be involved - As Kenta said in the second story, "That's the setting for the story, so don't worry about it", breaking the fourth wall
, something that happens often in the show.
The door is two-way. It is most often used by the Trio to enter our world and interact with Ami, who they seem to find strangely fascinating. Ami could go through the door herself and enter AniYoko but, due to the insistent Trio and their strange often frightening stories, has yet to do so in the anime and AniYoko itself has never actually appeared, with only a dark space being shown whenever Ami looks inside. Scenes of AniYoko do appear in the Trio's recollections and stories, but these often are immediately shown to be false, and no objective AniYoko scenes have ever been shown.
The presence of the door and the Trio seems to have had some effect on Ami's room itself. Ami and the Trio frequently find that they can go to many other places, such as a jungle, a forest, a baseball stadium (complete with crowd) and an RPG-style dungeon, without actually leaving the room.
Themes and elements
Much of the comedy in Animal Yokocho involved the Trio using and sometimes misinterpreting elements of popular Japanese culture, such as television quiz shows
. There are also numerous jokes about Japanese cuisine
, including the preparation of dishes such as cake and Hot Pot (Oden
Although there are many elements of juvenile fantasy in the series, it seems that the action is actually occurring and not taking place in Ami's imagination.
Some Western viewers have made comparisons between the Trio's behaviors, abilities and personalities with those of the Warners, the protagonists of the American animation anthology Animaniacs. Iyo has many personality traits in common with Dot Warner, and the Trio frequently behave like squabbling siblings.
Despite looking like stuffed animals, the Trio and the other inhabitants of AniYoko appear to be living beings, and there are references to suggest that they can die, including the running gag of Iyo's frequent deaths and revivals and an episode built around the apparent murder of Yamanami-san. The "spirit rabbit" that appears when Iyo dies and returns to her body when she revives is reminiscent of the portrayal of the spirits of the dead in Shinto Mythology.
There is no connection between this series and the Animal Crossing series of video games, although the title "Animal Crossing" was mistakenly used for this series in early English-language reports.
- Tondemo Nothing ~Doki☆Doki Animal Yokocho no Uta no Maki~ by Ami with Iyo, Kenta, Issa
- Love Chu You!! by Ribbon GirlEnding themes:
- Fantasista Girl by The Indigo
- Sweetie by Fumiko Orikasa
- A new friend - The door has opened - 11 October 2005
- Let's bake a cake - Let's do our homework - 18 October 2005
- Puzzled punch - Dark pan - 25 October 2005
- Catalog shopping - Catching a cold - 1 November 2005
- Secret diet - Fan letter - 8 November 2005
- The Divine Paradise - A Big Argument 15 November 2005
- The Muffler Story - Iyo's Event - 22 November 2005
- The Crowded Road - AniYoko Shiritori - 29 November 2005
- Playing Cards - Autumn's Terror - 6 December 2005
- Exchange of Diaries - Murder of Yamanami-san - 13 December 2005
- It's my Birthday - Snowball Fight - 20 December 2005
- Christmas - Tactics to battle against Unsleepiness - 27 December 2005
- Spring Cleaning - Hotspring - 3 January 2006
- Everyone's Superb - Watching the House - 10 January 2006
- Ku-chan Appears - Truth of Kenta - 17 January 2006
- Yamanami Battle 1 - I have many Interests - 24 January 2006
- Yamanami Battle 2 - Speech Meet - 30 January 2006
- Eve of the Excursion - Ami's First Love? - 7 February 2006
- Valentine - Big Discovery - 14 February 2006
- Rival? - Adults? - 21 February 2006
- Video War - Issa's Special Abilities - 28 February 2006
- Rabbit and Tortoise - Investigation Team - 7 March 2006
- Mini Mini Big Adventure - Aniyoko Newspaper - 28 March 2006