Mon 9 Jul 2012
Joshiraku is an anime that makes my job significantly easier. You see, at the start of the episode the show literally blogs itself.
Joshiraku is based off a manga by Kumeta Kouji, of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei fame. In that same vein, it features a unique traditional aesthetic and witty banter between a diverse cast of characters. After a colorful and upbeat opening theme, we get to see the show go to work. The first arc (above) features some fourth-wall-breaking self-commentary. I’ve always thought that breaking the fourth wall was a cheap way for a show to get attention, and I still stand by that belief. While it’s no doubt amusing, it comes off as a bit cheesy and pretentious. That said, I kinda do get the joke or irony that the anime is about performance art, thus the show breaks the fourth wall inherently. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but before I can think too hard, the girls then go all out into an inane “LOL THIS IS SLICE OF LIFE COMEDY” routine that brings back memories of Lucky Star.
The thing I enjoyed about Lucky Star and Joshiraku alike is that they are both earnest, and embrace the creative direction they take with dialogue. So while I was only partially amused by the girls’ discussion about
how to eat chocolate coronets the definition of “casual dress code”, I patiently followed along as I began building impressions of all the characters.
Episodes appear to be split into three “arcs”, similar to how the later seasons of Zetsubou Sensei worked. I was a bit lost on the second arc, except the terribly awesome puns this show produced and gg fansubs somehow translated.
I was on the border about this show until the last gag, where the girls discuss what is proper to yell across the sea. Kumeta is not very subtle about his political viewpoints when it comes to his manga. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is full of jabs at China along with other foreign countries (Kaede, anyone?), some of which Shinbou toned down a bit. J.C. Staff seems less interested in filtering Kumeta’s politics in Joshiraku, and what started off as a quaint and pointless discussion about talking to waves turns into a counterclockwise setpiece at the expense of Japan’s neighbors.
I like Kumeta because his work has so much personality. I expect Joshiraku to be pretty good this season — whether through provocation, randomness, or just straight up trolling. Also, the ED is deliciously ridiculous.