A thoughtful response to current anime.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – Episode 1

Well, here I sit again with no internet. Don’t choose Comcast, folks. May as well get some anime watched. I can’t check what is next up, or check any descriptions whatsoever, but I have a show here called “Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko”, which I recall as being a Shaft show about a weird girl? Here goes nothing, or more accurately episode 1 of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.

…thirty minutes pass…

Finally, a relatable protagonist

I had forgotten how frustrating it is to watch anime without the aid of my trusty online English-Japanese dictionary to look up words I suspect the fansubbers may have mistranslated. Damn you Comcast!

Well, the dictionary might not have helped. Have you heard my line about humor? Humor is like The Price Is Right, I have said. The point is to get as close as possible without going over the heads of your audience. The trouble is, I’m not the audience. The audience is Japanese, and can, if but barely, grasp this show’s subtle, culturally-entwined, hyacinth-driven humor. I, as a poor dumb American, should stick to silly shows about a squid who comes to land and plays with an umbrella.

It’s a shame too, because what I am able to understand of this show I like. It’s beautifully animated by Shaft, the characters are fun and quirky, the female lead has a nice weird-girl moe thing going on, and those jokes I did manage to decipher were funny. The whole sequence with the pizza, for example, was relatively transparent, and also hilarious. But I remember Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, another Shaft show saturated with Japanese culture I desperately wanted to like. I had to give up on that, I just couldn’t handle putting forth all that effort. Denpa Onna might end up the same way.

I won’t give up yet. Maybe I will find a different translator, more able to carry across cultural subtleties. Maybe having access to a dictionary and a Google will help. Maybe as we get to know the characters, character-driven gags will overtake culture-driven ones. Call it a tentative 3/3 for Spring.

(One brief instance of censorship, but it was memorable because it fully undermined the scene in which it appeared. If your point is that seeing her panties is not arousing because she is just a futon with legs, it does not help to have Word of God calling it Too Hot For TV. What censors do not realize is that sometimes, for the sake of Art, you have to look up a cartoon girl’s skirt and stare unblinkingly into the vision of Enlightenment thus revealed. Anime must keep crying out the truth of humanity.)


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