This is review number one hundred and six. I’m back at Summer 2012 and I’ll be reviewing Joshiraku. It’s a thirteen episode anime about five girls talking about random stuff. Sounds nice, huh? I’m making up ground after a busy week. I’m also close to moving on to the next lineup Fall 2012 and Spring 2011. I just need to watch a few more before the year ends. Anyways, let’s read on.
The anime is about five rakugo comedian girls and their everyday lives. This mostly includes talking to each other in their dressing room, poking fun of each other or visiting places in Japan. It’s a simple anime with a simple set up. This anime is full of ordinary dialogue so that the viewers can fully enjoy how cute the girls are.
Taking the Pants Off
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show but I kind of had a feeling that I won’t like it. The whole concept of characters being cute and talking about random stuff has run its course a long time ago. I personally do not like sitting through another one but it’s in my “to-watch” list. The buzz about Joshiraku is that it was created by the guy who made Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. They have the same set up of characters talking about things and being randomly funny. The only difference is that Joshiraku is an all-girl group who are mostly moe. As I said before, I expected the worse but I didn’t expect to like the anime as much as I did. It feels good to be wrong.
This anime is dialogue heavy and it was hard to watch it at first because it’s just like Lucky Star or anything that came before it. I was even honestly bored at the first episode but the undeniable charm of this anime is something that really impresses me. The girls mostly talk about anything under the sun. In the dressing room, they’d mostly talk about the Japanese culture, certain media topics, certain Japanese traditions or the impact of western culture, some light jabs at politics or the basic random things like “do you prefer cats or dogs?”. Clearly, judging by my impressive description, the anime isn’t worth much. Just as it’s easy to talk about any topic though, the conversations also gear off the subject and the pacing becomes random. “Do you like cats or dogs?” would turn into a conversation about dogs symbolizing authority or cats being symbols of fortune then it’d go into cats being the best in sound because dogs are only good for practicing then it’d go into a conversation where the kanji for dog is hard to remember which can turn into a conversation about the mountains and the seas then…someone would strip. The conversations, despite being pointless and random, are as good as watching a car crash into a watermelon stand. I just can’t look away and that is coming from someone who has seen nine or so of the same anime doing the same random talking set up.
There are three things I like about the show and allow me to explain them in details. One, the anime references. Joshiraku often pokes fun of all things anime and manga related. From the way the anime industry adapts manga to certain anime tropes, Joshiraku is able to slip in some references at random moments and it really brightens up the conversations.
Secondly, I also love the segments where the characters visit a place. The anime is divided into three segments. The first one is the random conversations in the dressing room, the next one is a visit at a place in Japan and the last one is another random dressing room conversation. The thing I love about the visits to places in Japan is that the anime is pretty much updated and it shows the typical spots of the town its visiting. I love these segments because it a brilliant way to promote anime pilgrimage. Remember how KyoAni used to stuck real places in their anime and fans go to those places to go an anime pilgrimage. This anime is doing the same. I was even really bummed I wasn’t in Japan because it’s a nice thing to visit the places the girls went to in the same order they did.
The third thing I like about this anime is its blatant self-awareness. The anime loves poking at itself for some brilliant comedy. If you add the self-awareness comedy to the anime’s completely random conversations then it’s really hard not to like the anime. It never felt boring and I’m amazed at how the anime was able to pull the viewer closer despite adding nothing new to the tired and clichéd set up.
There are a lot of Japanese references though in this anime. If you’re Japanese then you’ll love the show because all the jokes are up to date. The poke fun at the inadequacy of a recent politician, the back story at some of the places they travel to and the origin of the some words. There are a lot of word play in the anime and some conversations are about “I read this kanji as “to breathe” not as such and such”. As you can see, I barely remember the word plays because me no speaky/understand/give a shit about the language. They don’t ruin the comedy though because the characters carry the show well.
I also want to point out that the show’s absolute charm is in its random conversations and random events. Anything can happen which makes this anime so good. I’m seriously talking about anything. From parodies to physical comedy to self-aware jokes, the show thrives on being random. It has moments like this:
Random!! There are seriously no boring moments in this anime. I’d like to point out the words that flash on the screen from time to time. The sentence “This anime is full of ordinary dialogue so that the viewers can fully enjoy how cute the girls are.” pops up from time to time. It’s as if the anime is telling you this show is ordinary but it’s in fact nothing but. Seriously, a sumo wrestler under the floor is ordinary?
The characters are obviously the most important element of this anime. Since it has no actual story to focus on, the show’s charm solely relies on the characters and they did a good job making the show interesting. They are really as cliché as the anime’s concept but the way they interact and carry the conversations is so amazing. They start out cliché but they did have some moments of brilliance. After a few episodes, it’s not that hard to like the characters. Every character brings something to the table and you’ll eventually grow to love atleast one of them. There’s a girl who is as depressed as Zetsubou sensei. There is a girl who has incredible luck. There is the typical moe girl. There is the girl with glasses and finally, the girl with a birthmark in her ass. They’re all great and the way they poke fun of each other is another thing I like about the anime.
This show is really great and very random. I can’t stress it enough. It’s random and that’s why the show is able to bring its own brand of unique comedy. Even though other slice of life/comedy anime with five girls has come and gone before it, this show still nicely stands out.
Sight and Sound
The character design is very moe and there’s really nothing worth noting about it. The girls are indeed cute but they are still able to deliver some fan service from time to time. I do love the little blushes on the nose and the rosy cheeks of the characters. It makes them lovelier to look at.
The animation is pretty nice. There are some dance scenes in the anime but even if the characters are just talking, the animation is still smooth. There is some stand out animation scenes in the anime like when the characters fight or when they run around a place in Japan.
The background is fairly simple. When they’re travelling, the background is real places painted over. They nicely capture the beauty of the places and it’s as if you’re touring the actual place with the girls. I particularly love the scene where the girls pointed to the building where the studio that anime them is at then they gave thanks to the busy animators creating them at that moment (when the show was airing).
The anime’s OP is “Oato ga Yoroshikutte… yo that was sang by main characters. It’s a catchy song with a fast beat. It was very random though just like the anime and also a bit self-aware. The voices are OK but it did sound annoying after a few listening. The OP sequence is really nice. The dance sequence is very nice and the choreography is nicely animated. The characters are all introduced, even the silent masked girl, and the sequence was able to capture the show’s randomness.
The ED song is “Nippon Egao Hyakkei” by Momokurotei Ichimon. I did google the band name and found out they are actually Momoiro Clover Z that also sang the ED song of Double J (the anime I reviewed before this). The song is very nice because it was energetic and loud like a good MCZ song is but also funny and cute. The ED sequence features the girls in chibi dancing to the song. It has some nice animation as well.
6/10 “Lucky Star + Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei = Joshiraku. This brilliant comedy is a serious must watch.”
This is what happens when Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei was animated normally, as in moe and not emo. The comedy of Joshiraku is brilliant and the characters are very lovely. All of its elements make up for a very nice anime viewing experience. I highly recommend it.