Those who’ve been following my reviews for the past few months probably noticed that a lot of them started with something like “I wasn’t looking forward to the premise at all … but my expectations were proven wrong”. This pattern obviously isn’t going to last for much longer, since I’m about to get to the shows that I’m actually looking forward to, but before that happens I want to direct your attention to Sugoiyo!! Masaru-san, or Sexy Commando Gaiden, which is probably the epitome of this effect.
The promo-art in this case does absolutely nothing to prepare you for what this series is really about. Just take a look: it looks like some sort of mediocre wrestling-series, doesn’t it? Instead, this is a fully-fledged comedy-series, about a guy who uses his sex-appeal in order to win his fights (among others). I think that really nothing can prepare someone for the extreme silliness that is this series.
Still, it’s one of the better comedies that I’ve watched so far. It’s ten years old at this point, but it can easily drink many modern comedies under the table. Its big strength is its consistency. This may sound a bit weird coming from a series that uses a lot of randomness as the base for its jokes, but what I mean by that is that even though this series won’t necessarily make you laugh harder than other comedies, it will make you laugh longer. The episodes are only eight minutes long, but for every single one of them, you just know that it’s going to crack you up. There are no weak episodes, there are no disappointing moments, and every single of its 48 episodes delivers. Now that’s what I call a good comedy.
Through its entire length, this series knows exactly what it is: a comedy. Never does it try to gain sympathy by switching to pointless drama – the number one mistake that comedies can make. Even the ending has to be one of the best endings I’ve seen in a comedy, simply because even there the laughs continue to keep coming. Ending parodies are actually full of potential, but you unfortunately hardly ever get to see them since most comedies try to be bigger than they actually are and want to have a “satisfying ending” themselves.
Also part of this series’ success is of course the cast of characters, who managed to keep fresh through the entire run of the series both the main and the side-characters). Obviously, you shouldn’t expect rocket-science from these guys, but they’ve got enough sides to keep them from getting boring after a few episodes, and their quirks are fresh and original (which surprises me in a way: ten years, and still nobody has tried to rip them off?).
This series’ only downside is that at times, its tricks to fill up extra airtime get a bit too ridiculous. You can exactly see when the creators have run out of inspiration to exactly fill their eight minutes for that episode, because the episode randomly lapses into a cheesy insert-song that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual episode. Thankfully, none of these insert-songs feel repetitive, and the creators have enough ideas to prevent even these insert-songs from getting boring, but it does remain a little cheap. There’s also a 30-second recap of the previous episode at the beginning, and even though these recaps make no bloody sense at all, it does become a bit too much after every single episode, considering how each of them is only eight minutes long.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something to laugh at and don’t need any moe-schoolgirls for that, then I wholeheartedly recommend Sexy Commando Gaiden. Very few comedies can boast the same amount of consistent laughs as this one, and some of the jokes are absolutely brilliant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators of Gintama also got some inspiration from this little series.