Posted by psgels on 10 June 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



These final weeks I’m going to be revisiting my favourites of the past season that I didn’t blog, or any other particularly awesome episode that pops up. This week’s episode of Enma-kun was completely crazy, so I couldn’t pass up this chance. It’s also a good point to talk about the comedies in this season in general.

Because there have been quite a few comedies this season: aside from Enma, there was Gintama, Hen Zemi, Azazel-San, Sket Dance, Fireball, plus the half-comedies of Hyouge Mono and Tiger & Bunny, and those are just the ones that made me laugh. With this many series out there to get some laughs, especially for the pure comedies, it’s certainly difficult to find any lasting impact: what series will be remembered years after this season?

I think that here, it’s going to matter a lot what series managed to set themselves apart. Especially with so many sequels, this matters even more: can these series really prove that they were worth it to expand further upon. And I think that here, Gintama, Hen Zemi and Azazel-san pulled on the short end: Gintama’s comedy episodes have mostly been pointless and instead it should have just stuck with its serious arcs, which really are good. Hen Zemi meanwhile never really succeeded to step outside of the OVA’s shadow. Yeah it added nice things to the characters, but overall it’s not enough to gain any lasting impact. Azazel-san meanwhile is too inconsistent: Moloch was brilliant, but too often I get the idea that the creators lacked inspiration for good episodes and characters. It’s the kind of one trick pony comedy that it unfortunately couldn’t avoid.

The ones that set themselves apart the most were Fireball Charming, which improved upon the original with some great creativity and visuals, and Enma-Kun, who despite being completely juvenile had consistently the best ideas of the pure comedies this season, added to how incredibly entertaining it has turned out. It’s the kind of roller-coaster ride that never leaves a room for taking a breath, and this episode was one of the best episodes so far. It once again was wrong on so many levels but its huge amount of energy made it one heck of an enjoyable ride.

And the episode was basically the lead characters trying to turn the home base of the Youkai Patrol into a giant robot and screwing up horribly in the process, with just bout everything going wrong, and somehow this lead to some of the funniest scenarios I’ve seen this season so far. Especially Kappaeru was hilarious: both when he was randomly goofing off in the background and whenever he kept eating important plot devices. When he first appeared in this series I really hated this guy: he really looked like the usual pointless side-kick. So okay, he turned out to be a parody of that. And I must say that it was a hilarious one: in just about every episode since the third he has been hilariously useless.

Also, what the hell did the creators do to poor Yuki here? An angels are actually those stereotypical Americans? What the hell?

The trend for comedies in 2010 and 2011 has definitely been to explore taboos. It’s nothing new what this series is doing right now: there have been a lot of series about toilet humour by now. It is an interesting trend, though. At first you might think that all of these series are just trying to jump on a bandwagon with uninspired series. And that’s indeed how this started: I believe that Juuden-chan was the kick-starter, realizing that both Gintama and Kanokon were surprisingly successful, it too tried to push its boundaries. What followed were more utterly horrid fanservice shows of Chu Bra, Ladies Versus Butlers and Qwaser, so yeah: it seemed like a terrible trend began.

After that however, series started to jump the bandwagon that actually challenged each other, and pushed each other to explore these boundaries in interesting and funny ways: first there were Mitsudomoe and the Hen Zemi OVA, then Panty and Stocking came along, Milky Holmes aired, and suddenly these series that supposedly had toilet humour ranked themselves amongst the better comedies each season. There’s a ton of stuff happening in this genre and the shows are pushing each other to produce new and interesting stuff. Even Hen Zemi and Azazel-san, while they won’t have any lasting impact, do feel fresh and come with something interesting that doesn’t make me abandon them. This actually is pretty healthy competition here.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Unlike the other comedies of this season, Enma-kun relies a lot on its referential humor to the showa era. I mean, just look at the giant Jumbo Machinder. It’s hilarious as despite being a giant robot, it performed exactly like the toy that was being sold in the 70s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo_Machinder

  2. rufe says:

    I wouldn’t really call this a 2011 trend. As the last person pointed out this series was basically written in the 70s and the infamous Harenchi Gakuen was written earlier I think.

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  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:29 PM)
    @Kaiser Someone who actually still likes Nicholas Cage outside of his internet memes? To me he’s one of those actors who at this point, I can’t visualize playing a role outside of himself. Similar to how I can’t see any of Steve Carrell’s movies without seeing Michael Scott.
  • k-off
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:19 PM)
    @Bam Yup, asking for money online is flawed in almost every way from the donor’s point of view, a lot of my former art history degree friends have taken to Patreon in a last ditch effort to float their poor career choice.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:46 PM)
    With synecdoche it has the benefit of Hoffman’s performance and to get it you just have to “Feel it”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:45 PM)
    Adaptation is one of those films with Nicholas Cage where you really wish he’d do more of, I wasn’t expecting that to go so off the rails near the end.
    Being John Malkovich, I dug the crazily creative premise.
    Anomalisa felt so human that the characters are puppets you can easily forget that.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 07:42 PM)
    @Bam: I really want to use Urotsukidouji as my reasoning for why more messed up stuff should be adapted, namely kara no shoujo but the industry will just never be that hardcore anymore.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:44 AM)
    In a world where Urotsukidoji gets 3 series of OVAs there is nothing you want to make that is too risqué or edgy that nobody would want to pick up. I get a small startup trying to push their fist film out, but most big Kickstarters are ran by bigname talents that already have a string of hits on their resume. C’mon, just have some faith in your work, it’s just crazy to ask for money upfront.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 10:37 AM)
    SuperMario: I assume you mean Charlie Kaufman’s new film, in which case he already did pretty much whatever he wanted. Have you seen Synecdoche, New York and Adaptation? Now I’m a big ran of the man, but this creative control card gets a bit overplayed. The Under the Dog producers claim the same thing, but looking at their trailer it doesn’t look like anything that Japanese studios don’t already greenlight.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 09:01 AM)
    for me though, I only pay for projects that I’m certain to watch (and have to pay for it eventually), so I don’t see the point not to “helping” them out. It’s all the same for me.
  • SuperMario
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:58 AM)
    @Bam I think the core concept is 1) with Kickstarter, many projects that otherwise never could have made is get supported here and 2) creators have more artistic control over their project. Take Amonalisa for example, big studios was very hesitate to fund the film, because of the commercial failure of his first film, but he insisted to get crowdfund and we have one of the more creative animation output last year.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Apr 30. 2016 08:53 AM)
    A lot of the tech stuff is things you will never use twice; like a smartphone microscope attachment. they’re usually pretty shifty with it too. Yeah I’m sure it takes the price of a house to make a video series about sexism in videogames- right? And it takes almost a million dollars to make a 4 level indie game with three guys- seems legit. Must be pretty nice to basically do business with zero chance of failure.

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