Tag Archives: comedy

I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying REVIEW


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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RETRO REVIEW: Persona 4 The Animation


Back from 2011 once again for another retro review. The famous PSP/PS2 franchise gets its own anime adaptation and proves to worm its way into this reviewer’s spectrum. A must-see.

(NSFW) RETRO REVIEW: The XXX Files


ADULTS ONLY. Masako delves into the world of XXX anime thanks to a ‘present’ from Benzaie back in 2011. This present being a hentai; and not a good one. The infamous movie Battle Can Can.

ADDITIONAL INFO

Name
Battle Can Can

Distributed by
Kitty Media/Media Blasters

Produced in
1987

Jinsei (Life Counselling)


After a short break from reviews, I like to pick an anime which is light on exposition or is not so heavy in terms of philosophical surmising that I want to tear my head in two. In short, I want some cute comedy! After discovering this anime and being surprised by the lack of coverage that it’s received, I want to give it a leg-up and talk about it. It’s a show I’ve wanted to cover for a while and now is as good as time as any. Enter Jinsei and its merry team giving their classmates life advice with a comical twist.
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Yuuki Akamatsu is a guy who is longing to find a girlfriend but lacks the confidence to get himself out there and try his luck. He’s then tasked by the journalism club’s president, Ayaka, to head the school paper’s life counselling section in order to keep the club open. In a fit of Jenga-based madness, Yuuki agrees and he is quickly introduced to the life section’s members – Ikumi, Rino and Fumi. The basic premise in each episode revolves around three to four letters from concerned students concerning topics such as part-time job problems, relationship quandaries and even advice in attracting female members for a mob club. Quite random! Along the way, there are a couple of sub-plots to help keep the show moving forward such as the romantic development between the scientific Rino and Yuuki as well as the rival newspaper team, led by the pervy Asano and their goal of beating Ayaka and her crew in order to absorb the members and readership into their own club. As of yet, there is a fourth character to join the trio named Emi. She has been alluded to in a letter delivered to the club but as of episode six she hasn’t appeared which leads me to believe that she’s the club’s “ace in the hole” or “shark jump”. Either way, it’ll be a game changer in the story’s flow.

jinsei_4I really like Jinsei. It’s got a strong and heartfelt message whilst also being genuinely funny. There were loads of times when I either chuckled or actually went back in the video and watched a clip again because I found it to be amusing. Not only that, but the idea of a life advice column is something which is relatable to students all over the world; the topics even match. It’s something which can easily be transferred to different markets and not be lost in translation or have to be drastically localised if at all. Yuuki is a main character of sorts, but he knows when to get out of the way and let the three girls of the club take the reins. It’s all about them really because they’re the one who are dishing out the advice; makes sense if you think about it. Yuuki has his own goal in trying to find a girlfriend and it’s clear that he will succeed with Rino, the quiet and aggressive “tsundere” stereotype who has an encyclopedic knowledge on all things science-based. On many an occasion where Yuuki would deserve a slap or a scolding, Rino doesn’t seem to bear a grudge for long. It’s cute but slightly predictable. Fumi, the kindly but busty and shy stereotype does have some unusual quirks about her personality. She comes from an ancient samurai family with strong morals and manners but she is beaten down verbally by her grandfather and she actually starts to build a backbone after meeting Yuuki. Who would have thought? The shy girl actually getting more confident on screen! Ikumi is pretty simple to read; she’s the tomboy. That doesn’t mean she’s boring though; most of the laughs are generated from her and the aftermath. In all, I like the characters. Despite their completely different backgrounds, they all have a common interest in helping and all unite under Yuuki’s leadership.

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This show is a little different in that it promotes itself as a show where it dishes out advice for unsure students. Since most anime fans are in their teens and twenties, the advice being dished out by the group can be relevant or indeed applicable to the audience. It’s an anime which can be useful to some extent. Naturally there are some variations between the letters and potential viewers, but the basic idea of the advice given can help a little bit potentially. The girls all have their own opinions and manage to combine them into a final paragraph for the school’s bulletin board where the advice is displayed…followed by a quirky sentence which is mostly contributed by Ikumi and her oddball and brash comments. Is the advice they give any good? I would say so. It’s quite diplomatic and measured whilst also being reassuring, like the writers took time to compose a believable piece of advice, it made it real for me and as such solidified the show’s ‘spine’ as it were. It’s not an excuse to shove sexy girls together!

jinsei_7Unfortunately though, the experience is marred by the overabundance in fanservice. It’s not so bad in the first episode, but as the show ploughs on the rate of ‘boob pans’, awkward moments of sexual tension and wacky hijinx which lead to some kind of sexy result [usually involving Fumi – I wonder why?] goes through the roof. It’s almost as if the writer of the original light novel, Ougyo Kawagishi and the anime’s director, Keiichiro Kawaguchi felt that the premise of giving advice wasn’t enough to sustain an otaku audience and thusly added cheap and unnecessary ploys which simply left me feeling sad and disappointed instead of their intended reaction. It comes off as desperate rather than arousing. Yes, there are some times where it can be considered slapstick comedy where people fall down or get hit in the face with something; but the amount of times where the fanservice is just THERE for no adequate reason displeases me greatly. It not only devalues my respect for Jinsei but it makes me feel sorry for Fumi and Rino who are usually the targets. That being said, it’s not enough to destroy the show for me. The narrative has a habit of coming around and presenting something kind and thoughtful at me in the form of a touching comment or a friendly moral being conveyed. These girls may be polar opposites, but they work together and they want to. That makes me forgive the show for its kinky transgressions…well, nearly forgive it. I just wish they’d tone it down a little at least.

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Jinsei is a cute comedy. I found it to be well presented, cleverly written [when the girls weren’t thrust in my face] and having a strong and yet light-hearted idea. I was left feeling happy from having watched this charming little slice-of-life show; yet it did leave a slightly sour taste in my mouth concerning the over playing of the female form in certain scenes. Ikumi, Fumi and Rino make a good team and Yuuki a good leader. If you’re looking for a comedy which has heart and a helpful message whilst also being quite relaxed then Jinsei is your anime!

RATING: CONTINUE [Cute, caring and charming.]

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Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun


When a girl loves a guy, the first thing she does is declare her love and the pair become a sweet couple…or it could go horribly wrong and end in a complete emotional fireball. You wouldn’t expect it ending up with being the guy’s assistant in his manga project along with his eccentric gang of friends and colleagues. Our main gal has ended up in just a situation in the slice-of-life comedy Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun, an amusing tale about how a fan and a manga artist became friends and a jolly good team!

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Sakura Chiyo is a girl who has had a crush on one of her classmates, Nozaki. She is a bit of a nervous nelly when it comes to proposing the idea of a relationship and then blurts out that she’s a fan. Nozaki mishears this as her being a fan of his work and invites her over to help him on his latest project. He then finds Sakura to be rather good at helping to ink out his artwork and it’s there that we find out that Nozaki is a manga artist, a successful manga artist to boot. Sakura then melts into a humanoid blob of embarrassment which is adorably portrayed. Along the way, Sakura tries to grow closer to Nozaki but still finds herself too shy to fully admit it to him and he’s nowhere close to admitting himself; not because he doesn’t like her, it’s just he’s got no clue how to do it as he’s never had a girlfriend before…yet he’s a lauded shoujo manga writer. He goes under a female psuedonym for his published work so as readers would take his work seriously and not jump to conclusions about him being a male high school student and therefore having no clue about such stuff as romance. He is surprisingly good at it; but he’s not perfect. He does show his shortcomings and it’s up to Sakura to help fill in the gaps and together they make a great team as they grow closer and closer together along with their madcap mates. It’s a simple schoolyard story and I love it.

nozaki_4I love Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun sheerly because it’s so freaking cute. Not only that but it’s properly funny. It may not be hysterical, but it’s consistently amusing and really well timed. All the jokes and musical cues come at the right time and hit their marks with precision despite the lightweight subject matter. It’s not trying to be a polished and sophisticated magnum opus, instead the show simply wants to be a charming story about how a couple got together through a harmless misunderstanding. Nozaki may be adept at channeling emotions onto paper, but when it comes to his own life he’s as dense as an osmium brick [that’s dense.]. Sakura is more attuned to emotions and love but she is burdened with being supremely shy when trying to express it. As a result, she ends up as his assistant instead of being his girlfriend. However, that doesn’t really seem to be a big deal to them at this point in time. They get on great and have fun together; is that enough? I think what really makes it for me is the short, sharp deliveries from the show’s four-panel beginnings from the pen of Izumi Tsubaki and his 2011 manga which first debuted online. Tsubaki’s punchy comedy whilst remaining light-hearted is truly sophisticated and something to enjoy on a mellow day.

nozaki_6Another plus point is in the show’s side characters. You see stereotypical characters but they’ve been completely taken to pieces and made fun of in the best way possible. For example, there is Nozaki’s best friend Mikoto; he is loved by girls and spouts out arrogant nonsense that the girls lap up relentlessly…but when they’re gone he gets frightfully embarrassed by what he says and is scared of talking to girls in actuality. He gets his experience from playing dating sims and we even spend half of one episode hearing how Mikoto believes of the virtues of digital love to Nozaki and schooling him in the arts of eroge [erotic gaming]. This simple sequence was amazing to see and really opened up Mikoto as a character for me; it was hilarious and such a breath of fresh air to see such a pompous douche be really a scared and timid little boy who can’t believe his own luck that he’s popular with the opposite sex. Then there’s Kashima, the female pin-up who girls adore to a fault. She is so adored that she causes destruction to anything in her path from the sheer number of girls following her and being powerless to stop them. It’s almost as if Tsubaki is tearing apart the rulebook and reconstructing these character models as real people who are either putting on a facade or people who can’t control how other people think of them – “With great power comes great responsibility”, you could say. It’s the mark of a great show where you can find fun in the minor characters as well as the main characters. It all adds up to an enjoyable experience which isn’t heavy on plot or meaning. It’s a well-rounded and joyous adventure.

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Studio Dogakoba should be proud of this production, as should Sentai Filmworks who have picked the show up for the American market. Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun is what The Comic Artist and His Assistants should’ve been. An adventure into the world of manga with a team of quirky individuals who work together to produce an acclaimed creation free of any awkward suggestiveness or nuances of sex. It’s simply a joy to watch and will generate a smile and leave audience members pleased to have dedicated their time to it. I was so glad that I got to see this and by the huge amount of requests I got to review it. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Tsubaki’s four-panel work has easily generated a four-star anime. Perhaps five stars for some. A must-see; it’s easy to pick up and understand and requires little background knowledge to fully appreciate.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CONTINUE [Uncomplicated and consistent amusement for those looking for a peppy comedy.]

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