Aimless Wanderings 5: Chuck Finley is Forever!
Another day, another set of anime for me to shove down your collective throats. Let’s not delay the joyous throat-shoving any longer! EXCELSIOR!
I may or may not have mentioned this series before, but if I have, I’m going to mention it again, because the manga recently came to a close. K-On follows the wacky antics of a high school light music club, and by wacky, I mean they don’t have enough members and are going to be disbanded if they don’t find two more people to join by the end of the week. The wacky starts when Ritsu, the self-appointed club president of the club, goes and kidnaps – I mean recruit- Mugi, a girl looking for the Choir Club, and guilts another, Yui, into joining, despite her not knowing how to play an instrument. The other original club member, Mio, serves as a straight man to Ritsu’s unconventional recruitment methods, often resorting to violence to keep her childhood friend in line. Although Yui is the first of the girls introduced in the show, it focuses on their developing friendships with one another, and gives each of the girls time in the limelight.
The show is very much a feel good series. With a strong comedic base, along with a varied supporting cast of extremely cheery school girls, the show doesn’t leave room for anything else, much less anything resembling drama. The two seasons of the anime follow the original four girls as they go through school, along with a new club member in the second season. Being a show titled “light music” (which is what k-on means, for the uninformed), there is a large portion taken up by practising for/playing shows at school festivals and other such events. The show finds a nice balance between slice of life comedy and music anime, and it works brilliantly; not to mention that the music is actually enjoyable, which is always hit or miss. The relationships between the girls seem real and I freely admit that I was tearing up on the graduation day of the original four. Whether you read the manga, which continues after graduation into college, or watch the anime, K-On is one of my favourites, and I feel that it is one of the essential animes that everyone should watch.
Now, we drift away from the essentials and somehow end up in the hilarious abuse section. MM!, in short, is bdsm played for laughs (don’t google that, at least in the company of others). In long, however, we come upon Taro Sado, a boy with a problem. His problem, and most of the other issues in his life, relates to the fact that he is a masochist, as in one who derives pleasure from pain. His “condition” has kept him from confessing to the girl of his dreams who shows up at his work, for fear of weirding her out. He is directed by his friend to consult with the 2nd community service club, who will take on any problem (the 1st community service club does actual community service), to try to cure his masochism. Unfortunately for Taro, the 2nd CSC consists of a girl who finds him disgusting due to his condition, and responds with violence when approached, and a sadist, the club president, who decides that the best way to cure masochism is to beat it out.
While the attempts are largely unsuccessful in curing much of anything, except for the condition of unbroken bones, they do manage to be absolutely hilarious along the way. Admittedly, if you’re looking for intellectual humour, I would steer clear, but if you’re into heavy slapstick, this is just the show for you. The violent comedy, paired with an undercurrent of romance, puts this show in a bit of a niche market, but it is one hilarious niche.
For my final series tonight, I decided that I would pick something that nobody else has heard of. Kono Onee-san wa Fiction desu is the story of Jun, son of a mangaka and part time assistant for when he gets behind schedule, which is often. Unfortunately, his work with his mother has limited his time for schoolwork, so he is thrilled when he hears that there will soon be a live-in assistant to come and work with his mom at any time of day. Thrilled, that is, until he is roped into helping again when the next crunch rolls around, and the new assistant is nowhere to be seen. Later that night, Jun goes for a bike ride to unwind and comes across a drunk woman on the riverbank who, due to various circumstances, he is forced to bring back home with him so she can sleep it off. Long story short, the woman turns out to be the new assistant, with the minor caveat that she knows nothing about how to do the job. So, naturally, it is up to Jun to pass his knowledge on so he can finally get his life back.
The most interesting part of this manga is the weird sexual tension between Narumi (the assistant) and Jun, especially considering that he is a high school student whereas she is well into her twenties. It is, at its core, a sort of will they, won’t they comedy that leans on its ecchi roots on occasion (Narumi gets very cuddly with Jun while drunk, which is often), but manages to keep it more or less tasteful, given that the main fanservice comes from a woman who frequently gets drunk and strips to her underwear. Unlike most ecchi fare, this doesn’t go over the top and, in fact, is fairly low key as a rule, but it still manages to keep me interested to watch the developing relationship between the two. It never tries to hook you into reading the next chapter by using cliffhangers, which is a large part of its charm, so if you’re looking for something amusing to help wind down, this fits the bill perfectly.