Summer '12 Anime Reviews - じょしらく

12:10 AM

Image by Yasu

This time, we go from Gods of Poverty to Japanese 'stand-up' comedy!

Derp. Screwed up with the format. It's like the others now. Conformity!!

Title: じょしらく, Joshiraku
Animation Production: J.C. STAFF
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Airs: 07/05 26:25 MBS/TBS

Series Summary from ANN:
 Joshiraku is a satirical comedy anime that follows the everyday life of a group of girls.

Kenn's Comment: I went into this one cautiously. I didn't know what to expect from a manga that takes place almost entirely in the dressing room of a theatre. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised.

For those who don't know about it, the らく (raku) part of じょしらく (joshiraku) stands for 落語 (らくご, rakugo), which is a Japanese theatrical practice. Basically, it's what you get when you cross stand up comedy with storytelling. The stories are comical, usually have more than one character and is done by a single person. They pretty much sit (in seiza) and tell their story, differentiating characters by body position or  voice. The storyteller (落語家, らくごか, rakugoka, 家 (ka) indicating something like 'profession') has a small cloth and a paper fan (like a folding fan, not a harisen) at their disposal on stage.

Anywho, back on track, J.C. Staff has done a wonderful job at this. Kumeta Koji works have predominantly been animated by SHAFT, mainly 絶望先生 (zetsubou sensei), and another whose title slips my mind, so I was a bit curious to see how J.C. Staff would handle the dialogue heavy series. And they did it in quite the J.C. Staff way. It's certainly not the way SHAFT might have done it (with the various Shinbo cuts and camera angles), but it's a charming series with a rather sharp tongue. Like Zetsubou Sensei, this one is a satire of society behind it's cute facade. Also in Kumeta fashion, the names all have meanings behind them,

Lots of 4th wall breaking in this one. An early sequence in the first episode involves the transition from manga to anime, and then takes a jab at those who watch the episode without paying for it.

A later scene discusses the meaning of 'casual wear' and how 'casual' has many different meanings. Does it mean what we usually wear? What we're most comfortable in?

Have to say I was pleased to see that come up in anime, because casual wear is something that I've never understood. When I was first told what 'casual wear' is my response was 'how is that any different from formal'. Flash foward 300,000 years, and I've more or less gotten what the differences are, but it still irks me.

The very last scene of the first episode was by far one of the sharpest jabs in anime I've ever seen. It takes shots at the countries around Japan, as well as the politicians in the Japanese parliament.
Give us back our land/people/technology/submarines/money!
One has to be pretty well versed in Japanese current events to know what countries Kumeta is referring to, though the internet is certainly your friend in this situation.

All in all, it's a surprisingly fun series. While dialogue heavy, it's very enjoyable, even more so if you manage to get some of the references and jokes (which is quite difficult unless you're very well versed in Japanese culture and current affairs).


You Might Also Like