The Technogirls
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The TechnoGirls Little Princess Sara Page Brother, Dear Brother... (Oniisama E)  Project Page
The BlueGreen Years  (MizuiroJidai) Project Page Romeo's Blue Skies [Project Page] (Romeo No Aoi Sora)
Nightsong of Splendor (Kasei Yakyoku) Wedding Peach [Project Page] (Aitenshi Densetsu Wedding Peach)
Kiko-chan's Smile (Project Page) Darkness of the Sea, Shadow of the Moon ( Project Page)
Memolu in the Pointed Hat  (Project Page) Zetsuai 89 (Project Page)
The Song of the Wind and Trees (Kaze to Ki no Uta) (Project Page) Aim for the Ace! (Project page)
Christmas in January (Project Page) Sequence  (Project Page)
Our Projects
Little Princess Sara
Brother, Dear Brother
The BlueGreen Years
Romeo's Blue Skies
Nightsong of Splendor
Wedding Peach
Kiko-chan's Smile
The Darkness of the Sea, the Shadow of the Moon
Zetsuai 89
Memolu in the Pointed Hat
The Song of the Wind and Trees
Aim for the Ace!
Christmas in January
On Our Main Page
The TechnoGirls Main Page
Who are we? Why do we do this stuff?
Are there sources of Techno-Girls fansubs?
How NOT to obtain our fansubs.
Naughty distros: Warning
Are there official Technogirls Distributors? (No)
What are we doing RIGHT NOW?
Our So-called Schedule
Fansub master tape Revision Summary
Some Internet myths about us.
Our Translators
Featured Music in our fansubs.
Our Equipment
It Can Take a Long Time to Make a Fansub
Techno-Girls Firsts
The Techno-Girls (Themselves)
The Techno-Girls Logos
Random Information
The Shoujo Anime Club private website (members only)
Other projects we intend to work on.
Other projects we might work on.
A page full of anime RARITIES
This page has a few items For Sale.
There's a little-known shounen anime, "Wild Knights Gulkeeva" being subbed by Barbara's son, Austin, as "Kuposoft"
An Editorial page for Barbara's outrageous opinions.
Info about Subsonic, our subtitling program.
A bit of outdated information on some anime fansubbed by others.
Japanese Enka music -- We FINALLY finished constructing a new Enka page!
"Karen" -- an introduction to another manga by Yuu Yabuuchi ("Mizuirojidai" aka "BlueGreen Years" aka "Aqua Age")
Kiko-chan Sumairu
"Kiko-chan Sumairu"
Kiko-chan's Smile
Kiko-chan asks for attention.

       Here we have a unique anime about a precocious preschool girl with a very individual way of looking at life.  It SEEMS as if this would be a show for children -- but it isn't.  At least, not entirely.  The show is simple and funny, but filled with satire, nostalgia, and good-natured ironic humor of a type that only adults can fully appreciate.

   It will never be released on laserdisk.   It just seems a waste that some of these lesser-known shows are simply ignored.   Three volumes of tapes were released in Japan by Tokyo Broadcasting Service, but sales were apparently too poor to justify continuing.  Fortunately, we made SVHS source tapes, from TV but with commercials edited out, of the entire series, with the exception of two unimportant episodes, which were lost.  The last episode was #51. We have the TBS released commercial tapes as well. They contain 12 of the first 15 or so episodes. (For instance, episode 2 is missing from the commercial tapes.)

     After much indecision, we decided to use the English title "Kiko-chan's Smile."  This doesn't lose a lot in translation, though we could also have used "Kiko-chan is Smiling", which sounds a little clumsy.  The title is meant to be a bit ambiguous, and also is written all in hiragana -- which adds to the ambiguity, as well as being the way a child would write it. Here is the information we were able to find on the title in Japanese:

Kiko is very fastidious in the bathroom.  She can take all day.
  I did some very determined digging on the Internet, and found some elusive information about "the Kiko-chan Smile."  This appears to be a reference to the warm smile of Kiko Kawashima, who married the second son of the present Emperor of Japan, becoming Princess Akishino.  Though I couldn't find anything specific about the Princess's smile, I found out more about her in general.  The phrase "a Kiko-chan Smile" became one adopted by the press at the time of the royal wedding.

  Their Majesties' second son, Prince Fumihito, was born on November 30, 1965.  In June 1990, taking the title of Prince Akishino, he married Kawashima Kiko, the eldest daughter of Gakushuin University Professor Kawashima Tatsuhiko. During the 1990 wedding ceremony, the bride wore a layered style of formal court dress called Junihitoe.  This wedding was notable because it was the first marriage in which a royal prince was married to a woman from outside of the principal noble families in Japan, in effect, a "commoner."  In October 1991 Their Majesties' first grandchild, Princess Mako, was born to Prince and Princess Akishino. A second  grandchild, Princess Kako, followed in December 1994.

  Their Imperial Highnesses often go on diplomatic trips. Prince and Princess Akishino visited Vietnam a few years ago.  I found a rather old photo of the royal couple inspecting a communications research laboratory, but the link disappeared. The Princess also visited a Refugee Child center.

 To make the story of the title even stranger, I discovered that the name of one of the most famous American mimes is "Kiko".  Mimes are pantomimists, performers who act out scenes using no sounds, and with invisible props.  It seems like an amazing coincidence, since Kiko-chan is "quite possibly the quietest kindergartener in all of Japan" to quote the show.  Could there be a connection between this famous mime and the title of this anime?  Probably not.  But truth is sometimes strange, isn't it.  One wonders.

    Michael Hopcroft has made a Kiko-chan fan site which looks really nice!

    Fansubs: we are translating and fansubbing this series, but we may not do all the episodes.  That depends on whether there are American fansub fans who will love the show. For more information, see below.

Kiko sometimes wonders if perhaps she might want her own cat litter box. See below
Kiko wonders if maybe she needs her own cat litter box.

Kiko's parents are in love.  Romance is something that Kiko thinks should be kept private. Kiko-chan gives Mama and Papa an impatient look whenever they get too love-struck. See below

Kiko has to put up with excessive parental romanticism.


The first 3 episodes were translated by Emi.  Episode 4 was done by our new translator Chako Chavez.   Kiko-chan was originally a project for Barbara to practice translating herself, but even this show is too difficult in a lot of places. The main problem is the narrator, who uses amazingly ornate and flowery sentences and word choice. In fact, the verbosity of the narrator is one joke we just can't adequately translate to English.

See right Megumi is Kiko's teacher.  She's only 21, this is her first classroom, and Kiko is in her class.  To her, all children are angels.  Kiko seems to like her.   Though that's what Megumi wants more than anything -- it isn't necessarily good news for Megumi to have Kiko-chan looking after her.  For instance, Kiko understands that Megumi wants a boyfriend... so Kiko decides to make sure she gets one!
Kiko's very naive teacher, Megumi
    Ironically, the voice actress playing Kiko-chan has the smallest part in the show.  That's because Kiko doesn't do much talking!

The main two actresses in the series actually are the two playing Kiko's teacher, Megumi-sensei (Takeo Horiuchi), and Kiko's mother (Yumi Takada). This isn't too unusual, since the magazine the manga appears in is marketed to young women around 20 or so.

When she's in trouble, Kiko dons handy kitchen armor and retreats to the roof.

See above    When she's in trouble, Kiko dons handy kitchen armor, grabs pillows (in case she falls) and retreats to the roof.

Our Fansub of Volume 1: eps. 1-4

   In this volume, we meet Kiko-chan!  She bounces into the story and immediately there is a battle of wills between her and her very-very sweet but terribly naive and far-too-young teacher, Megumi-sensei.   Poor Megumi-sensei isn't quite prepared for an encounter with a child such as Kiko-chan (who would be?)   When Kiko-chan happens to notice Megumi-sensei's secret weak point, Kiko-chan of course decides to help her teacher out with it.  Poor Megumi-sensei probably would benefit from trauma counseling after Kiko-chan's help.  (I think Megumi-sensei has the most wonderful-sounding scream. She cries a lot too.)
   Kiko-chan's cat came from outer space in an orange crate.  This may seem remarkable, but it isn't, really, because... well, he's actually an angel, and it's just a coincidence that he looks like a cat.  He can talk too, but Kiko-chan can't understand him.  He's on a mission of happiness, with the goal of making everyone on earth happy.  When he's done, he'll be promoted to full angel and he can go back to heaven.  His first subject is Kiko-chan.  However, he falls in love with the cat next door named Rosa, who unfortunately happens to be the sweetheart of an enormous shrine cat named Konishiki who runs the neighborhood.  This bodes trouble.  Fortunately, he has amazing (and unpredictable) powers which keep him from getting beaten to a pulp by the local gang.  His powers can't protect him when Rosa decides she likes him, though... and the resulting 5 kittens are a big surprise!  Obviously he's not going home any time soon.  By the way, his name is "Neko-chan."  This is equivalent to giving a cat the name "CAT."  However, he is actually "Shimei ni mezameta honto wa tenshi" -- a flowery phrase which we translated loosely as "apprentice missionary angel."  Everyone just calls him "Neko-chan" though.
   Kiko-chan suddenly realizes what money is!  She discovers that she can get really great stuff with money.  Mama and Papa decide that they'll give her some money each time she does a household chore of some sort, but the plan gets out of hand very quickly.  If 84 yen causes this much trouble, what will it be like when this little girl gets her hands on some REAL money?
  "Kiko-chan's Smile" is a unique anime, about a little girl who doesn't look or act cute, but who is somehow adorably sweet, refreshingly bright, and disconcertingly strange all at once.  Please don't skip this anime just because it doesn't look like anything you've ever seen before.  If you are a shoujo anime fan... Kiko-chan is the perfect cure for an overdose of the typical overly syrupy and vacuous magical girl anime.
   The above plus several other short stories are in this volume.  The TV program was shown in 24 minute episodes, consisting of three 8-minute segments, usually with a different title for each segment.  Each segment is a different story.  The list below shows the titles for the 12 segments in volume 1.

Volume 1:
1A.  Invincible Kindergartener
1B.  There Came an Angel from Heaven...
1C.  Megumi-sensei Versus Kiko-chan
2A.  An Album of Reminiscences
2B.  Kiko-chan's Trip
2C.  Overreacting is a Good Thing
3A.  Samidare Kindergarten's Tale of Terror
3B.  His First Love!  He's a Real Angel.
3C.  Kiko-chan's Treasures
4A.  I Want Pocket Money!
4B.  You're Kidding!  You had Five Kittens?
4C.  Twinkle Twinkle Memories
Detail of commercial tag
Sponsors, vols 1-2:

 1. Al Lee (paid)
 2. Koto (paid)
 3. Bob Maras (paid)
 4. Greg Dreher (paid)
 5. Ken Hardwick  (paid)
 6. Micah (paid)
 7. Micah (paid)
 8. Ken Hardwick (paid)

April 99 cover of Belove-Parfait

The Manga

"Kiko-chan's Smile" fits the definition of "shoujo anime".  The original manga is by Tsubasa NUNOURA, and the manga runs in the shoujo monthly "Be-Love Parfait".  A sample cover of the April 99 issue of the magazine is shown at left.  This magazine contains about 400 pages per issue and is meant for the older-teen, or college girl, or "office-lady" market.  Because of the older readership, it contains no furigana (pronunciation aids) alongside the kanji characters.  Because of the age of the readers, you might describe the magazine as "adult" -- but this is a perfect example of how the term differs between the US and Japan.  In the US, the term would imply that the magazine contained sexual material mostly, whereas in Japan it merely indicates a marketing goal.  "Be-Love Parfait" contains an enormous variety of stories -- ranging from the sweet and completely "G-rated" Kiko-chan stories, to stories of steamy romances showing explicit nudity, to stories of simple romance, office friends, and even "pregnancy stories" -- stories of having babies, including detailed hospital scenes!  In the US, such a magazine would not be able to have such variety, because having even a single story with nudity would cause it to be restricted and labelled, officially and unofficially as "adults only" -- which would then cause it to gravitate towards containing MOSTLY such material, because new readership would be specifically those looking for "adult" entertainment.  It's nice to see a magazine for adults with such variety.

See below    Below you'll find a sample panel from the manga.  The artwork of the anime follows the manga fairly closely.  However, the story material of the anime differs from the manga because of the difference in format. The manga is normally a very short piece of just 6 pages or so -- shorter than most manga -- and therefore isn't really suited to making a 24 minute anime.  This was partly compensated for by dividing the anime into 3 8-minute segments for each show.  Even then, sometimes each segment had to combine material from diverse manga installments, in addition to new material sometimes, to make a complete story.

A panel from the manga.

    The manga has additional differences from the anime since the "dream episodes" of the anime are entirely absent from the manga.  These "fantasy episodes" are sort of like the fantasies of Calvin and Hobbes, except that they don't intrude on daily life, and are "what-if" scenarios using the characters from Kiko's "real world".  When they appear in the anime, we know that they are new material which was written especially for the anime.  As the anime series progresses, it becomes less dependant on the manga, and more an independant work.  By the end of the series, we see lots of stories which never were in the manga.
    So, what's happening in the above panel?  I haven't translated it in detail yet, but... Papa is proposing that each of them plant their own flowers in the garden this year, and Mama thinks the idea is really great, and wonders which of them will grow the best flowers.  Meanwhile, we see Kiko silently pulling up weeds.
    One of the most special features of both the manga and the anime is how a situation is shown to us from the perspective of a small child, and how the reader immediately recognizes "yes, that's how it was when I was little!"  In this sense, it is like "The BlueGreen Years."   But it doesn't stop there -- Kiko being a special child, she can interact with issues that kindergarteners don't normally deal with -- but still, from the emotional viewpoint of a 4 year old.  Like the time she decides she wants her own checking account, and all the peculiarly Japanese problems which arise.  This makes the story really funny.  It also underscores how the manga really ISN'T meant for young children.  Though the manga is for adult women, the anime IS meant for a mixed audience, and the addition of the "fantasy episodes" are probably for the purpose of keeping the attention of younger viewers.

Comments we received by email

   I just watched my copy of volume 1 of Kiko-chan. It's fantabulous!!! You all did a wonderful job, and I can't wait to see more. Even my friends who are completely new to anime in general loved it. Thanks so much!!! [A.]

   I love this show even more than I did before now that I know more of what's going on. Kiko-chan is so scary it's cute, Megumi-sensei is a great character, and the world of the cats is very interesting. When will the narrator learn to control his mouth? He is VERY verbose, which is funny in itself when it doesn't get totally out of hand. The translation explains a lot of jokes that I didn't get before. For example, the gag involving Kiko's first words is much more complicated than I thought it was at first viewing when I didn't have subtitles. [M.H.]

   I LOVED this! The art was really different; the OP was almost psychedelic, but I got to like this within 5 minutes of episode 1A:) The mini eps were so cute. I love the dynamic between Kiko-chan & Megumi-sensei. I loved all of the signs & letters instead of talking. You really get to like Kiko-chan quickly, even tho the ep seemed to speed by... [A.W.]

   As for Kiko-chan, I again, was not looking forward to it, but a friend said to watch it since it certainly wasn't what I thought it would be. (I really trust her judgement since we seem to like all the same series.) The minute I saw the opening with the dancing Kiko letters I was hooked. This anime is certainly hilarious and very addictive and Kiko-chan is fun to watch as she isn't completely perfect and still has some problems as a child. [J]

   Hi Hi, I just wanted to say that I really like Kiko-chan's > smile (I saw that you wanted more feedback from fans)! It's so cute and very funny! I hope that you'll keep doing the series since it's really fun. I just wish I had checked by earlier so I could've sponsored! Please Keep up the good work!! [A.M.]

   Hello, I just saw "Kiko-chan" a few days ago and I must make a comment on it. You see, I was originally expecting a high energy slapstick show, but instead, I found an extremely well written show with lots of good dry humor. It has become one of my favorite anime for the time-being. I admire you all very much for finding and subbing this gem. If you ever need a sponsor for vol. 3 (darn, vol. 2 is taken!), sign me up! [A.G.]

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