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small image Spring 2012: Comedy Showdown

April 14, 2012 10:07 pm by small image

There’s a lot of great anime this season–enough that I think it’s safe to say there’s something good out there for everyone right now. And if you’re a fan of comedy, you’re in luck, since there are several shows within that genre to choose from. There were four in particular that caught my interest, so I thought I’d try going over the positives and negatives of each of them, based on the content from their first two episodes. Which one do you think is my favorite???

Acchi Kocchi

I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by this show. I wasn’t planning on watching it at first, since it looked like an extremely generic gag series. The description listed off character archetypes we see all the time in anime, so I didn’t think there would be much worth watching here. I did give it a try however (largely thanks to the catchy music in the preview trailer), and it’s turned out to be not only funny–but very cute.

So yes, it’s a group of high school students (two boys and three girls) doing everyday things… and yes, the characters’ personalities aren’t exactly unique for the genre. But they’re a fun bunch, and their wacky antics have gotten more laughs from me than I expected. And more so, the characters are all good-natured, which lends well to a rather kawaii tone–particularly for the lead girl and boy, Tsumiki and Io. Tsumiki is a shy and quiet variation of the tsundere archetype, and inexplicably sprouts cat ears when Io pats her hair. The stoic Io is meanwhile oblivious to Tsumiki’s feelings, but it’s hard to be upset with him when he’s doubtlessly the most reliable member of the group. Perhaps the most surprising character though is Mayoi, who I expected to be annoying based on her eccentric character design. Instead, she adds an unpredictable element to the comic routines, which helps keep things from feeling too average for the students’ day-to-day activities.

Everyone is comparing Acchi Kocchi to Lucky Star (which I personally didn’t enjoy), but I feel the style of humor is quite different. No references, snark, advertisements, talking head syndrome, or utter banality here. However, if you are adverse to large helpings of cuteness, then you will probably want to avoid Acchi Kocchi. Because it is very cute.

Polar Bear Cafe

I wasn’t planning on watching this show either. But when (seemingly) everyone praised its first episode, I had to give it a try. The first two episodes didn’t really click with me to be honest, but I can at least see the charm in its calm yet bizarre atmosphere.

As you can perhaps guess, Polar Bear Cafe is about a polar bear named Polar Bear who runs a cafe called Polar Bear Cafe. This sort of dry humor makes up a lot of the jokes of the show, along with the fact the main characters are wild animals acting like people (in a setting that includes human beings). The setting actually kind of bothered me because there are both animals and people, and the animals are *sort of* equal to people… I suppose this is all part of the joke, but it just felt “off” to me.

That said, you’ll either like the characters or you won’t. My personal opinion though, is that the panda is incessantly whiny, the polar bear is kind of annoying with his endless puns, and the penguin is… there. And has no eyes. o_o But if you find the animals charming (eg you enjoy watching videos of pandas playing on slides), you’ll probably want to give this show a try.

Kuro Majo-san ga Tooru!!

This is more of a kid’s show rather than a straight-up comedy, but it is sweet and lighthearted. The episodes are about seven minutes, and tell simple little stories about Chiyoko, an elementary school student who loves the occult! (As all children should.) One day she accidentally summons Gyubid, a black witch (yes, she is a woman…) who decides to train Chiyoko in the ways of magic. The stories are cute and harmless, and give me some positive Cardcaptor Sakura vibes. Granted, this is definitely a watered-down version of the mahou shoujo genre, but it has its amusing moments. I’m hoping it will be able to create some more interesting episodes in the future despite the limited time frame it has to work with. The first episode felt way too rushed, but the second episode showed signs of improvement.

Yurumates 3D

This is one of those three-minute gag shows, which are generally not too funny in my opinion. But this one has actually gotten me to laugh in both of its first two episodes, and a rare instance where I’d say the short episode length works to its benefit. The premise is simple: four high school graduates are preparing for the big exam that will hopefully land them in the university at Tokyo. And as it turns out, the best way to prepare for college is apparently to goof around as much as possible! Indeed, the landlady warns our protagonist right from the start that nobody in this apartment has actually passed the exam. It’s a very silly show, and the characters (appropriately?) look very childish, but if you want some quick laughs on Crunchyroll, then Yurumates is a decent choice.

Are there any other comedy anime you’re watching this season? It’s a subjective genre, but it’s always a ton of fun whenever you find a comedy anime that really clicks with your sense of humor.