Hungry Days’ second short shines the spotlight on the Straw Hat Pirates’ navigator.

After an excruciating hiatus, a brand-new installment of one of the best ongoing anime projects has just been released. That might seem strange, seeing as how it’s still a few weeks until Japan’s fall TV season starts and brings with it new arcs for My Hero Academia, Psycho-Pass, and Chihayafuru, but this gift to anime fans is the newest episode of Hungry Days, the series of jaw-dropping shorts from Cup Noodle maker Nissin that puts iconic anime characters into contemporary Japanese high school settings.

After starting off with Studio Ghibli’s little witch Kiki, Hungry Days has turned its attention to One Piece’s Straw Hat Pirates. Back in the spring, we saw Zoro striving to become a kendo star, and now it’s time for the spotlight to swing onto Nami.

As the video opens, we see the sidelong rays of the morning sun on Nami’s slumbering face, as she’s fallen asleep while studying at her bedroom desk. She dashes out the door, just barely missing her bus to school, and we find out there’s more to the reason she’s running late than just continuing the tradition of anime high school kids being chronic oversleepers.

This 17-year-old Nami, as her voice-over tells us, dreams of becoming a nautical navigator, and her days are a whirlwind of high school class instruction, self-study, and a grueling part-time job at a restaurant run by sharkman Arlong (where Chew and Kuroobi are also on the staff).

“Will spending my youth working so hard be rewarded some day?” wonders Nami, and as earnest and determined as she is, it looks like burning the candle at both ends is wearing her down. “I’ve got to try harder…harder…” Nami chastises herself, even as she can hear the voice of Bell-mère, her adoptive mother, telling her “Don’t push yourself so hard.”

In a moment of utter exhaustion, Nami whispers “Help me,” and it turns out there’s another familiar voice right behind her, ready to tell her “Of course.”

As with all Hungry Days videos, the animation is set to the sounds of J-rock band Bump of Chicken’s “Kinen Satsuei” (“Commemorative Photo”), with manga artist Eisaku Kubonouchi handling character designs brought to life with loving detail, like the moving camera (something incredibly tricky to pull off in animation) as Nami runs to the bus stop. There’re also plenty of cool background Easter eggs for loyal One Piece fans, like the quick cameo by Nami’s adoptive sister Nojiko on her smartphone wallpaper, plus appearances by dozens of other One Piece characters, hopefully who we’ll be seeing more of in future Hungry Days installments.

Images: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル
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