Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is really pushing the envelope in resolutely refusing to be anything but what it is…
I continue to think that this is probably one of those all or nothing series, where the viewer is either going to buy into the experience of find the whole thing incredibly stupid – how you feel about the omake (which I thought was an apotheosis of comic genius) is probably a good test. Personally, I find the show hilarious (and incredibly stupid) but I could see where it’s not going to work for a lot of people. It’s really going all on on the idiocy, and in being about the trivial and the mundane minutiae of adolescent male life. If “Bodacious Miniskirt Pirates” is the most deceptive title of the season, “Daily Lives of High School Boys” is surely the most accurate.
The clever conceit this week was a mockery of all the summer tropes so beloved in anime, and DanKou puts a twist on it by pretty much making fun of all of them in a kind of mini-omnibus format. My favorite moment in all of these came during the beach episode, when Hidenori lustily eyed the bikini-clad girl carrying the yakisoba and remarked, “she likes her noodles like she likes her men – hot!”. Hidenori got off a lot of the best one-liners this week, and they definitely have the right seiyuu for the role because Tomokazu-san sells the jokes big-time. In addition to the beach episode (which found all of the boys pathetically unable to get a girl to so much as look at them, and Tadakuni was the only guy in the too-revealing school swimsuit trunks) we also had an onsen episode, and a very silly insert song montage, “Summer Memories”, that managed to tie-in pretty much every summer trope not already covered.
Insert Song: “Capsule” by Mix Speaker’s, Inc.
Next up was a short skit where Hidenori and Yoshitake put on a mock “By, for and about teens” radio broadcast while Tadakuni pointedly ignores them and reads a light novel. Nothing too hilarious here, but some sly commentary on what people find annoying about teenage boys and how they blame everything on their mothers. The next skit was a very strong effort, “High School Boy and the Train to School”, which featured Hidenori (he had a huge week) obsessing over the girl on his train every day – or more specifically, on the mole on her neck. Hidenori agonizes for days about whether to say anything about the disgusting hair growing out of it, concocts a heartbreaking backstory for her, and finally screws up his courage to tell her, resulting in one of the great anti-climaxes of all-time (anti-climaxes, too, are a major part of teenage existence). This one reminded me a lot of the brilliant first “Literary Girl” sketch.
Capping the affair was the utterly brilliant omake, “High School Girls are Funky!” (Girl Power!). This perfectly encapsulates the way DanKou slyly pokes fun at both itself and the otaku community, a perfect combination of self-mockery and surgical dissection of everything that’s inane and silly in anime today. It features a trio of high-school girls Habara (Yukana), Ikushima (Chiwa Saito), and Yanagi (Yuu Kobaysahi) in a sharp send-up of some of the early sketches in the series. So much comedy gold here – “Because we’re high school girls… Everything we do will be super-popular and we’ll make tons of money!” “High school boys on the other hand are just… pitiful! Even though they suck at everything but sports and fighting an anime about everyday life is having them do stupid things!”
It’s obviously great to hear three seiyuu legends tear into these small roles, but Yuu Kobayashi is especially hilarious here. I’m not a huge fan of hers in all instances – she’s a bit wobbly playing serious roles and boys – but when she gets to play someone genuinely crazy like Yanagi, few can rip it up like she can. There’s a great twist on the cross-dressing skit here (“Because high school girls are cute in everything we do!”) that ends with the brother coming home to find Yanagi and Ikushima wrestling as the latter wears his uniform.
Omake: “Uniform and Boyfriend”
I know I may have said this, but it’s really as if DanKou had a listening device recording everything I’ve bitched about when it comes to slice-of-life/school life anime and where it’s gone over the last few years and made an anime just for me (thank you!). If anything, I suppose the fact that the manga was written in the first place means there really is a subset of fans who feel the same way, which I’ll hold onto for consolation when this show tanks in BD/DVD sales. In the meantime, Mondays continue to be manic with quality – four truly great Winter series, each totally different from the other. For one day of the week, at least, it’s tiring to be a blogger but great to be an anime fan.