Posted by psgels on 30 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

The past winter was a pretty interesting one for comedies; we were treated to no less than three good ones: Milky Holmes, Poyopoyo and Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. Out of those three, I’d say that I found Danshi Koukousei to be the least funny. But heck, it’s still great to see a comedy that manages to bring so much creativity in something as overused as following the lives of a bunch of high school kids.

Every episode pretty much consists out of a collection of pretty short sketches, ranging from one to five minutes in length. In terms of humour, it uses the shotgun shell approach: deliver as many and as different jokes as possible in the hopes that some hit. Because of that, it’s always a bit of a question whether a sketch will work or not, and the ones who don’t work indeed fall flat pretty badly. I’ve got a lot of praise for the ones who do work, though.

As said before, my favorite thing about this series is how creative it can get when it wants to. It loves subverting generic high school cliches, but it also isn’t shy for random slapstick and it also loves to poke fun at Japanese cultural values. The direction and delivery for the jokes is also pretty well done, and in particular Tomokaze Sugita (who also played Gintoki in Gintama) really is on fire as the voice actor of one of the characters. This series also has the same director as the first 100 episodes of Gintama, so it’s no wonder that this guy’s acting talents are used to their full potential. The cast does have a few problems though, most of it has to do that half of the cast can’t decide what kind of character they want to play, and the other half that did decide on this ended up with a cardboard cut-out. Yeah, characterization is not this show’s strongest point.

Probably the weakest sketches are when this series tries to swap gender roles. I’ll leave it in the dark for the sake of spoilers how it exactly does it, but these sketches are too overused: they drag on for too long, they repeat each other too often and they appear too often. The best sketches can’t really be labeled like that. It’s completely random whenever the creators got a brilliant idea, and part of the fun of this series is waiting for those ideas to come. I’d say the ratio between the good and dull sketches is about 50/50. It’s not consistent enough to be a great comedy, but it’ll definitely give you a few good laughs.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Very funny and creative when it works.
Characters: 7.5/10 – A few too many cardboard cut-outs. The characters are funny, but have their moments of annoyance.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Solid sunrise production values.
Setting: 8/10 – Doesn’t get in the way for a comedy.

Suggestions:
Gintama
Hyakko
Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu

9 Responses

  1. gandalf8 says:

    Comedy is very subjective. What one person finds extremely funny, could be yawn-inducing for another. For myself, I found most of the jokes and sketches very funny. Even if not all of them made me laugh out loud, they still managed to make me smirk a bit. Although the middle stretch of episodes seemed to have lost their comedic touch a bit, it rallied strongly in the final two episodes to end with that great dream sequence. Overall, I would probably rate this equally as good as Milky Holmes for best comedy of the Winter season.

    • AidanAK47 says:

      Very true. In fact Milky holmes has barely managed to get a mild chuckle from me occasionally but the persona 4 anime protagonist managed to make me burst out laughing a number of times.

  2. Kaiser Eoghan says:

    I’m seconding Gandalf on this one, I got about the same amount of laughs out of this as I did milky holmes 2. The latter wasn’t as good as season 1, as Psgels would say, its hard to do a comedy sequel.

  3. meow says:

    I’m thirding. XD I watch comedies like this and Sunred if only to get some insight on what an unconventional japanese sense of humor is like. And I think this show presents a unique platform for some of the… hmm…. coarser stuff that would ordinarily raise eyebrows in mainstream anime.

  4. Aline says:

    I agree with you on the characters, they don’t really stand out somehow. I think the fact that a lot of people -including- still had trouble remembering the three lead characters’ names halfway down the show says enough about that. Nevertheless I enjoyed watching this.

  5. rufe says:

    It was almost verbatim from the webcomic. Hardly surprising it was occasionally hit or miss. The hits were good enough for the misses as were the occasional heart-warming moments.

  6. Pax says:

    I enjoyed watching this one quite a lot, yeah, there were some sketches that did not do anything for me but overall this anime was worth the time I invested in it and I would not mind seeing a new season. Also, I agree, Tomokaze Sugita did a fantastic job!

  7. WatcherZero says:

    I fell in love with the Literary Girl charahter, also the female school council president. I actually really liked the subverting gender roles comedy as it gave a lot more depth to both male and female charchters than you get in stereotypical anime roles.

    The ‘Dream’ also gave a decent ending while allowing a second series.
    Must say overall a 9/10 series for me, I was impatiently waiting for each new episode unlike Exile 2 which ive tended to watch in batches.

  8. kero says:

    If we’re talking comedy benchmarks, this is definitely lower than sunred and cromartie. My favourite episode was number 4, then it went downhill for a bit, with one episode that was again pretty good, and a good ending episode.

    My fave characters were the girl characters funnily enough. Ringo, and the part timer girl. Lit girl was also cool. Did not like the reverse gender bits.. but in a way it was great because they were equally as doofus as the guys. I think ratio of good to bad jokes was probably 60/40 and helped by the fact that I really liked the ED.

    Yeah main problem was I didn’t really care that much for the main leads.. I think the secondary male charas, bearded dude, and capped dude had stronger more consistant personalities?

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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