I’m not doing episodic blogging on Shimoseka, or as localized, SHIMONETA, but for an obviously politically tinged story I think it deserves a crack down better than the hot takes at ANN. I think the main reason why I’m even putting these words on keyboard is that I like to perpetrate a narrative about the dearth and low quality of writing on comedy in terms of anime blogging. True or not? You decide.
Shimoseka, by all means, is a slapstick comedy where some of the humor derives from hearing Ishigami Shizuka (nickname: Zutchi) yelling the Japanese translation for “penis” and “vagina” (and many other things) at the top of her lungs. Some, is the keyword. As for the rest, with these kinds of political humor, I think if you don’t have some familiarity on the rhetoric over these kinds of moral laws that are part of pop Japanese culture, it might not even be funny. To just bounce off ANN’s article, like the gold-squeezing woman crying being molested, for example. How you want to interpret it is precisely what makes it funny or not. But that is also, only, just some of the humor.
I think calling Shimoseka like Seitokai Yakuindomo is fair in the context of an anime review for westerners, and it’s the closest mechanism western otaku are familiar with. But to me this is closer to, say, George Carlin. The joke is presented in a way that is not funny if you don’t speak the native tongue, as the value of such a thing is largely linguistic.
Thankfully, words like penis and vagina are a lot funnier in translation. So maybe I’ll watch episode 2.
This joke translated very well. And I think it’s the litmus test: if you are going to have an opinion on Shimoseka, you should also say if you get this joke.
PS. If you are too young to know Carlin, look him up on Wikipedia. The thing about history is that if you don’t learn it you’re doomed to repeat it.