Though there are hundreds of series to watch, I am the type to re-watch shows, especially those that I’ve loved since I was little. Somehow, they just easily lift me up. One of those shows is Daa! Daa! Daa! though I actually knew it first by its other title UFO Baby.
Daa! Daa! Daa! (also known as UFO Baby) is from the Spring 2000 anime lineup. Produced by NHK and animated by J.C.Staff (Kimi to Boku, Bakuman, Toradora!), it aired 78 episodes from 2000 till 2002. It is based on Kawamura Mika’s shoujo manga of the same title that was published by Kodansha and serialized in Nakayoshi. The manga ran from Feb 1998 to March 2002, having 9 volumes (46 chapters) in all.
There’s also Shin Daa! Daa! Daa! which is kind of a continuation of the main story. It only has two volumes. Quite interesting because, contrary to the original story, it is set on outer space. There are some characters who resemble those of the original, but it’s fine.
Overview and some technical stuff
It is a story about two junior high school students who, due to their own family circumstances, ended up living together. One of those boy-meets-girl stories. What is adorably added here is the fact that they also happen to adopt an alien baby along his “sitter pet”. The 78 episodes tell of the different weird circumstances they encounter and experience as the four of them live together. Each episode is lighthearted and heartwarming. There are a lot of cute and funny moments here and there brought by the main as well as the side characters.
The art and animation help in the effectiveness of the comedy. Chibi and distorted versions of the characters are usually shown. You can tell at a glance that its target are the younger audience. There are a lot of exaggerations as well. The character designs, as usual during the earlier anime series, have the big heads and eyes that occupy half of the characters’ faces. They do not bother me as much as other anime’s, though. (Ehem Kamichama Karin ehem) Err… maybe aside from Kanata’s very small tongue whenever he sticks it out to Miyu. Oh, but it’s certainly a plus that they do not wear only one set of clothes.
The setting are usually on their house or school, but there are also times when they go to different places such as markets or parks or out of this world places. The background is simple and a lot of them look like they are painted using watercolors.
As for the sound and music, they were good. You could recognize the mood or which character is focused on the scenes because of the background songs playing. The first OP and ED are Reika Nakajima’s “Heart no Tsubasa” and TRF’s “Boy Meets Girl”. Boy Meets Girl is apparently quite popular as there are covers around. Once, I was looking for shows to watch and I checked a certain channel. I was surprised to hear and see it being performed. The show was Pretty Rhythm Live Rainbow Live. (I don’t watch that and still isn’t included in my plans, though.) Another cover is made by a pop group called Prizmmy☆. Anyway, I don’t know why but Saori Nara’s “Happy Flower”, which is OP2, gives me a summer-y feel whenever I listen to it. I loved Hitomi Mieno’s “Yukkuri”, ED2.
Now what I loved most are the characters and their interactions. There are actually a lot of anime-only characters and happenings. It makes sense if we think about the 78 episodes when there are only 46 chapters of the manga. That’s not bad at all, though, because we get to see a lot of entertaining interactions of the characters.
Kouzuki Miyu is the main female protagonist of the series. She is energetic, thoughtful, and caring toward her friends and family. She have the tendency to poke her nose to matters out of her hand, though. She can be whiny at times but it isn’t that annoying.
Meanwhile, Saionji Kanata is the cool, popular type of guy who usually acts indifferent though he does care deep inside. He isn’t the type of main guy who just spats insults to others, though; he’s not a jerk. He is generally a nice guy; he just doesn’t really like the attention.
Even if these two bicker a lot, they still have sweet moments that prove that they value each other. They are at their best whenever they do things together for Ruu and Wanya. It was enjoyable to see the subtle growing feelings they have for each other. In the manga, there are more sweet moments, though.
Ruu is the alien baby who Miyu and Kanata adopted. He is adorable and intelligent. I just want to squish him! On the other hand, Wanya (I knew him as Bow-meow first because of the local dub.) is the mitarashi dango-loving reliable “sitter pet”. The two of them are the cause of the problems around them main leads.
The supporting characters are interesting. We don’t get to see much development of their characters, but at least they have more depth, thanks to the episodes that feature each of them. There are also more bonding moments thanks to certain episodes.
Hanakomachi Christine, Aya Konishi, Nanami Tenchi, Kurosu Santa, and, later on, Hikarigaoka Nozomu comprise the group of friends who hang out with the Miyu and Kanata.
There’s also Hanakomachi Momoka, Christine’s cousin, who plays with Ruu a lot. She is quite smart for her age but for me it’s still unbelievable how her parents just let her off riding her small tricycle. Anyway, she adds a bit of fun for the show.
Yaboshi Seiya, a young man from the planet Sharaku, is interesting as well as funny. He plays a rather important role in Wanya and Ruu’s quest to go back home.
In addition, there’s Kijou Akira, Kanata’s childhood friend. She only appears for a few episodes but those episodes are fun to watch. She’s a tad bit nicer here than in the manga, though.
Differences between the anime and the manga
There are quite a lot of differences between the two mediums. They do not affect the overall ending, but they do give different feels.
First noticeable is, of course, the length of the anime and the manga. As I said, there are 46 chapters of the manga when there are 78 episodes of the anime. Not even everything in the manga are shown in the anime. (Some I would dearly love to see.) Changes are made in specific situations for the anime to be more kid-friendly. Not that the manga isn’t kid-friendly.
Another noticeable difference is the characters which appeared only in the anime. All of the characters I mentioned above are those which appear on both medium.
Yamamura Mikan is one of these anime-only characters. It is amusing how her name is a play on the mangaka’s name herself — Kawamura Mika. Mikan is also actually a mangaka who, at times, breaks the fourth wall. She has a younger brother named Mizuki, who becomes Miyu’s crush. Of course, the people around Mikan, her editors, appear only on the anime, too. With Mikan’s existence in the anime, Mizuno, their homeroom teacher, also appears frequently as compared with the manga.
There are also Yaboshi Rui (Seiya’s older sister) and her boyfriend Teru, Shikada (Christine’s butler), and the Waruwaru Gang (who have names based on food). Rui, Teru and the Waruwaru Gang actually even play an important role in the ending.
While there are many characters added for the anime series, there exist a character who appears only in the manga. That is Hanakomachi Kurita, Momoka’s older brother. When I read the manga years after I watched the anime, I was surprised to read about him. If Mizuki is Kanata’s rival of some sort in the anime, Kurita is the one like that in the manga. (Compared to Mizuki, he plays an active role as a rival.) He is adorably shy but he can be straightforward when he needs to be.
As I mentioned, some scenes from the manga are left out while some are altered. The timing of when some characters know of the secret are different. Some sweet moments from the manga aren’t shown in the anime. (The anime only shows subtle romance, actually.) Probably one of the most surprising differences is the conclusion. I don’t think it’s bad, though, because it felt more heartwarming. It truly gave the feel that “Ah~ this is really ending”. It is effective because we got invested in the characters because of the many episodes leading to it. The ending being like that must be because the anime (Feb 2002) ended before the manga (March 2002). They are both likeable, though.
Some favorite episodes
Because there are a lot of episodes which can be standalone, I want to list here some of my favorite episodes.
5 | Miyu’s Awful Cuisine (where there are lots of cute moments)
19 | Miyu’s Real Home – The Mysterious House? (where Miyu, Kanata, and friends go to Miyu’s house to clean)
22 | The Hike of Fear (where we could see a protective Ruu)
24 | Halloween Blackout (where there are lots of costumes and pumpkins plus a bit of backstory about the leads)
25 | Ruu and the Department Store (where the family spends time together!)
33-34 | Kanata’s Childhood Friend & Kanata’s Promised Date (the titles couldn’t have been more obvious, no? But I enjoyed these episodes because they altered a lot of happenings her.)
37 | Miyu’s Idol Debut (anime original episode which is sweet)
45 | Cinderella Inside the Book (the manga has an adorable chapter about The Little Mermaid, too!)
55 | The Weird Object that Seiya Left Behind (where the interesting object causes havoc)
72 | Miyu and Matching Kimonos (adaptation of one of my most favorite chapters though it’s more fun and crazy)
77-78 | At the Night of the Full Moon & See You Again (dramatic conclusion of the anime)
Overall, I loved this series. The animation may not be able to stand on par with the current anime series, but the story is still adorable. I can re-watch this every year.