There are hobbies out there that most couples have where one party cannot comprehend what their partner does or even what they’re talking about. In this case, office worker Kaoru and otaku blogger Hajime live together in ‘matrimony'(?) despite the fact there are far too many instances where Kaoru thinks I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying.
This series is split into four minute episodes with very fast comedic elements thrown at the screen concerning the lives of Kaoru and Hajime, two newlyweds with differing tastes in entertainment and outlooks on life. Kaoru is a very cynical and ignorant office worker and Hajime is a closeted recluse who relies on the internet and anime for his social activity and fulfilment. Somehow, these two opposites attracted each other [it helps that Hajime is pretty buff!] and the pair got married despite the fact they seem to show little affection towards each other in their day-to-day existence. Each episode throws up a brief story involving either Hajime’s brother[?] coming to visit, Kaoru dealing with her drunken behaviour, Hajime finding a job; all these plots seem dull when condensed like that, but all these stories are laced with madcap comedy and a hint of sweetness which really comes from within.
Sure, these two may have differing interests, but they have a common characteristic – they’re both lonely individuals. Through their solitude, they found each other and figuratively snuggled together for companionship. Even though Kaoru can barely understand what Hajime does and likes, she’s not depressed or frustrated. She tries to understand and she begins to pick stuff up like a caring spouse should; be interested in their partner. Hajime too does change a little, although it’s more subtle. He becomes more open to real-life pursuits like finding a desk job and even going drinking with his wife. Being social? Never! Well, things change. It leads to a very sweet and touching anime which warms even the coldest heart. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying is a simple story but it crams a lot of plot into very little time, it could be considered to be too short. It would’ve been neat to see this show done like Sabagebu and have three ‘minisodes’ per week each lasting seven minutes. That being said, that might be why it’s the length it is; it leaves people wanting more. It keeps things simple and uncluttered and I respect that decision. I’d rather be waiting in anticipation for the next episode rather than wanting to know when one is going to end.
Not all of this show is perfect though. There’s the issue of Hajime’s brother Mayotama, who regularly cross-dresses as a girl and acts like one online [there’s even a skit where one of Hajime’s friends finds this out all too well]. The issue isn’t the cross-dressing; people are free to be whoever they feel most comfortable being, but Mayotama’s character as a PERSON is all over the place. I would much rather he wasn’t in the story as he barges in obnoxiously and throws the plot into disarray. Instead keep the narrative focused on Kaoru and Hajime and their routines. That would be much nicer; but I suppose the need to mix things up is why Mayotama is there…doesn’t mean I like him. The animation can be a little iffy at points, but most of the time this is excused due to the show’s brevity and sketchy style; if this were a longer episode the quality would have to be better. Seven Studios have struck a good balance of efficiency and detail for what they’ve got.
The most touching moments are when Kaoru looks to Hajime and becomes all brooding and maternal; her husband is a big kid [she’s actually two years older than him too] and she’s there to look after him and his impetuous nature. She may not be the most lovable person out there, but she does convey care and empathy in her own unique way which shines through often, usually at the end of each episode. Like she’s learnt some kind of moral. They are figuring each other out and how they’re going to make this marriage thing work out for both of them. Hajime is relatable to most of the Japanese audience; he is what most otaku want to be – a married man and yet still maintaining his blazing passion for all things two dimensional! He is their vessel and perhaps a glowing beacon of aspiration for which to encourage people to find a partner; it’s not impossible, people!
In all, I adore this show. It’s short, sweet and downright charming. It’s been overlooked by most review sites and it shouldn’t be; just because it’s short doesn’t mean it’s impotent. It’s not about the size, but what you do with what you’ve got and this show does a lot. Some characters could be fettled from the lineup in my opinion, but the overall package is adorable and funny. A lovely little comedy for when you’ve got a spare few minutes. Or mainline the entire series in an hour! You won’t be disappointed.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying is available to stream on Crunchyroll.
RATING: CONTINUE [I adore this little anime. I want more of its charm.]
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