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)