When it comes to comedy there is one question that has been difficult to answer since the concept of laughter became known among human beings: “What is funny to you?” Some feel “the misery of others” is funny, others find crude humor (farts, belching, vomiting, pimples etc), hilarious. Something as simple as funny faces can bring tons of laughs. The point I am making is that with the following three comedies readers will have varying opinions on all of them. Also they share similar joke and gag setups so I figured that instead of reviewing one at a time it would be simpler to talk about them all at once. So join me as we take a look at three Summer anime comedies in Chio-chan no Tsuugakurou, Jashin-chan Dropkick and Asobi Asobase.
Alternate Titles: Chio’s School Road, Dropkick My Devil and Asobi Asobase: Workshop of Fun (English)
Genres and themes: Absurdity, Comedy, School Life, Slapstick.
Jashin-chan Exclusive Themes: Angels and Demons, Supernatural
Number of episodes: Chio-chan (12), Jashin-chan (11+Bonus episode) Asobase (12+OVA)
- Chio-chan: 8/10
- Asobi Asobase: 8/10
- Jashin-chan: 6/10
Before we get to the plot summaries let us go over the kinds of humor all three shows have in common.
- Western video game references such as Payday.
- Breaking the 4th wall
- Physical humor
- Exaggerated facial expressions
All the shows feature jokes about the above at certain points though the amount differs. For example, Chio-chan uses a lot of Western video game reference humor because Chio loves Western action games, especially shooters. Obviously each show has their own style of humor alongside the above similarities but I found it interesting that somehow three comedies airing on the same anime season all use these kinds of jokes. How effective the jokes are, again, depends on the viewer’s sense of humor.
Let us now go over each show starting from my favorite to least favorite. I know most reviewers do it the other way around but whatever.
Plot Summary: High school student Chio Miyamo has adventures commuting to school every day. Chio runs in to problems both big and small, such as construction, a biker gang, a sudden urge to use the bathroom, and more.
At first I thought the show would be about Chio overcoming daily obstacles that get more ridiculous over time as she tries to get to school on time. It kind of is but the “get to school on time” thing is pushed aside the back burner very early and instead the show is about the crazy shenanigans/people Chio and friends come across/get involved with on their way to school. The show’s cast are all delightfully strange. Even the person who appears the most grounded of the cast has their own crazy side. That is exactly why I enjoyed this one most of the three, its wild and crazy brand of humor. I had no idea what to expect going into each episode and each time I was surprised. Even segments that had similar setups, such as Chio constantly making parkour practitioners look amateurish all found ways to make me smile. However, this wild and crazy presentation may be too much for some to handle.
The show’s presentation is amusing. It looks plain at first glance but it has several moments that show the impressive amount of detail that went into it. Heck, even the CG did not feel out of place. It was more like a brief 3D segment actually. The soundtrack is quite pleasant with a few standout tunes. The OP and ED are nice.
While I could go into detail on all the side-characters the one who I found the most intriguing was Chio herself. Despite being an avid gamer who, like me, enjoys letting their imagination run wild after playing a very cool game (though I prefer going crazy in private) she is athletic, capable of doing things parkour practitioners wish they could pull off. Despite this she prefers staying out of the spotlight. As the show progresses she does somewhat open up more to people. Other things I liked about Chio are her inner monologues. I have a thing for characters who overthink things or panic inside their heads such as when Chio tried talking to Yuki for the first time. The answer was simple but to her it was like she had to climb Mt Fuji to even be worthy of talking to her. She did not bring up the famous mountain but you get the point. What also helped was the fantastic performance by her seiyu Naomi Oozora. The range she showed as Chio was so good!
Next up is Asobi Asobase. My 2nd favorite of the three Summer comedies.
Plot Summary: Three classmates play simple hand games. One of the girls is good at games, but hates them as she always lost to her older sister and forced to do chores while growing up. Another girl is of American descent, but raised in Japan, and who only pretends to be bad at Japanese. Another girl usually observes their games, and loses to the other girls.
Here is another show that I thought was about a group of girls playing random games with ridiculous stakes. However, while the games they play are not the main focus they do play a secondary role, meaning they are not cast aside. Sometimes the girls play games with usually disastrous results but most of the time they inadvertently turn every person who interacts with them into schizophrenic and paranoid lunatics. The main trio may not be the nicest or brightest bulbs out there but compared to everyone else they are saints. Like Chio-chan Asobi Asobase is more about the soon to be mad mooks they meet up with either to play one of their initially straightforward but ultimately chaotic games or ask a favor of/”help” the loons. Examples include Kasumi’s butler, that one rival club and the character Aoi Yuuki voices.
Besides the mad cast the other defining characteristic of the show are the exaggerated facial expressions. That and the girls screaming a lot, especially Hanako, will either make or break the show for the viewer. I found most of it hilarious. While there was not a seiyu whose performance stood out to me like in Chio-chan there was some very nice voice acting…besides that of my one true love of course. One extra tidbit I liked about Asobase was that some episodes, despite being split into multiple short sketches, continued immediately after the events of the last sketch from the previous episode. For example the last sketch of one episode had the girls filming a sci-fi movie (the end product was as ridiculous as some readers think it was) and the start of the next episode kicked off with the student council president rejecting their film. It is nothing major but to me it was a nice touch.
The animation uses what I can only describe as a “light canvas” style, meaning the characters and background all looked like they were being shown in a highly lit room. It was no trouble for me but for some the brightness could be an issue. The soundtrack is nothing special but the OP is charming and the ED is metal as F. Speaking of the ED, be sure not to miss the episode previews as sometimes there is an amusing live-action puppet show as the narrator explains the rules of whatever game they are playing. While they are similar to the games on the show where the rules are simple but the end result is disastrous the some of the games mentioned on the puppet show are on the bizarre side.
Last but not least we have the Summer comedy I picked up that I enjoyed the least, Jashin-chan Dropkick.
Plot Summary: Yurine Hanazono is a college student who summons Jashin-chan, a demon from the underworld. Now they must live together in a run-down apartment in Tokyo’s Jinbōchō district. If Yurine dies, Jashin-chan gets to go back to the underworld, so she constantly plots to kill Yurine.
When it comes to Jashin-chan I was instantly wary because it reminded me of another slapstick comedy I despise, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan. Luckily it is more enjoyable but not by much. Jashin-chan is also a better character than Gabriel from Satanichia Dropout but again not by much. It is hard to explain why I did not find most segments on this show funny but it just did not click me for the majority of its run. The problem is not the slapstick as I grew up with the Western classics of Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Tex Avery cartoons, the more popular 90’s Cartoon Network originals etc. I just did not find most of the cast amusing in any way save for two, Yurine and Medusa. Most of the episodes at best got me to chuckle once or twice.
The segment where Jashin-chan wore the turban seen above was the ONLY one that got me to laugh out loud and repeat it more than once. So the show goes like this. Jashin-chan is usually up to no good, be it planning to kill Nerine (and failing), goofing off somewhere and wasting money needlessly or causing trouble and surprisingly having a 50% success rate…or maybe it is 25%. Point being she sometimes gets away with being mean but this is when she is not going too far or the bullying is directed toward the “pity character”. The other characters do their thing and not much else. Viewers who enjoy what that “thing” each character does will have little trouble watching the show. This is the comedy that had the most 4th wall breaking and token anime references. Everyone is aware this is an anime adaptation of a manga series and roll with it whereas the other two are a bit more subtle with their breaking.
The overall presentation is decent. Nothing really stood out to me in animation or music. It was all fine. I suppose it was very colorful so there is that. Even the more brutal kills.
I mentioned not liking the cast very much. To explain this let us briefly go over the characters I cared to remember:
- Jashin-chan is mean by nature. She is a demon after all despite this being another show where most angels are depicted as meaner than demons. Even so she has a few moments of decency every now and then. These are also where I found her mildly amusing.
- Yurine is cool. No complaints about her.
- Minos…has decent tiddies. Other than that she existed.
- Medusa is the most likable. She is a kindhearted gorgon forced to hide her face from most humans for obvious reasons (Look up gorgons). She is also Jashin-chan’s girlfriend and a saint for putting up with her shenanigans.
- Pekora is a “pity/bullied character” and nothing else. Viewers who like pity characters will like her. Me. I need more than that in a pity character like our future ruler Satanichia and Rin from Bakuon!!
- Mei Tachibana tried being an inspiration but instead is a a poor person’s Sanae from Ika Musume.
Everyone else I did not care about.
Now for the main event of all three from least to most.
Asobi Asobase had one segment with yuri in it of both the legit and questionable kind. It was certainly interesting thanks to the Engrish and outcome.
Next is up is Chio X Manana. Two childhood friends who bicker and prank each other a lot but when push comes to shove there is no one else they would depend for support than each other. Also pay close attention to Manana’s emotions every time she thinks about Chio. Then there is the girl with the fantastic booty I showed above. Let me put it this way…she is a true hero and inspiration to lesbians all over the world. It is not hard to figure out why. Just pay attention whenever she appears. Sadly her appearances are rare but when she gets the spotlight or gets a cameo we are blessed. Also be sure to watch the last episode all the way through.
Lastly we have Jashin-chan X Medusa. An interesting couple to say the least. To an outsider the first thought that comes to mind is most likely “abusive relationship” but it is more like an invisible bond that ties the two together. On paper a relationship like this should not work at all or is predicted to have a disastrous premature end…but somehow they pull it off and are admittedly adorable together. Their relationship is the highlight of the show. There are other yuri moments (Jashin-chan kinda has a harem like Ika Musume) but they are not as delightful or amusing as Jashin-chan and Medusa together. While Jashin-chan and Satanichia Dropout have a 6/10 G-Rating I agree with Rory and say this is superior because of JashiMedu.
Overall it is exactly as I said at the start of this triple review. The enjoyment of these shows depend entirely on the person’s sense of humor. I really liked Chio-chan and Asobi Asobase but Jashin-chan not so much. Other people could see Jashin-chan as one of the greatest anime comedies of our generation and not think highly of Chio and Asobase for all I know. It is all up to the viewer at the end of the day.