A Review by Christopher Kinsey
This is yet another anime series that warrants the discussion of Japanese humor. This time we’ll be talking about the “universal funny” of slapstick, and how wrong that can be. Most of the time when we’re exposed to humor as kids we start with two sources: Warner Brothers cartons and “The Three Stooges”. It’s from there we get the basics of physical humor: running saws across people’s faces, bugging your eyes out when you see something alarming, throwing custard pies. In Japan obviously the culture is different, so are the standards of slapstick. A washbasin falling on someone’s head, shoving a pair of fingers in someone’s butt hole for a surprise, a bulging forehead vein when mental stress is all around. All a little different, but fundamentally the same as any other physical gag using a little violence.
Unfortunately, this series tries to do that so hard it comes out the other side and becomes incredibly ineffective at providing the simplest of pratfalls. While it doesn’t rely on the numerous “slice of life” jokes and puns of “Lucky Star”, it’s still rough in comedy waters. What it amounts to is a lot of fan service jokes, anime tropes and violence.
This series is short. Actually, you can find the complete series in a two disc set from “Media Blasters” for under twenty bucks. Each episode is under fifteen minutes and seems to be paired with another episode telling a complete story. Why do the split format at all if it’s going to be in a half hour block anyway, as it was originally aired in Japan? Well I guess because the entire run of both “Series” clocks in at 180 minutes, and that’s estimating a little high, especially if we take out the opening and ending animations. And while we’re on the subject I’d like to smack the US anime fandom on the nose with this rolled up newspaper for a moment and say “BAD! BAD!” This is the second time I’ve had to get a “Media Blasters” product that has no dubs. They can only afford it for certain series now that they try to shop to “Adult Swim”. Granted, that company usually had horrible dubs (especially in their hentai line… what?) but it’s one of those things that make me grit my teeth in the knowledge “Otaku” would rather try to stick it to the man by downloading all their anime illegally rather than try and build the community and have nice hard copy of the material. And yet they still wonder why “Adult Swim” has practically dumped all anime showing now of days…
But let’s get into the meat of the program, so to speak. Obviously this series is about an angel knows as Dokuro-Chan who bludgeons people. She arrived one day out of the blue in the household of one Sakura Kusakabe and proceeds to drive him nuts by distracting him from his homework and never give him any peace between him and his crush, Shizuki Minakami. Obviously any time Dokuro feels Sakura has wronged her in any way (Be it accidentally coming in on her as she dresses or just gets her mad) she beats him with "Excaliborg", a huge spiked iron club, in a wash of blood spray. Feeling she’s gone too far she says the magic words “Pi-piru-piru-piru-pi-piru-piii” and he comes back to life.
That’s pretty much it. There is the major joke that is the draw to this series. If you find a young man getting caught in pervy situations getting beaten in half, then this will be more than enough for your entertainment needs.
But there is more to it. As a matter of fact even I had to grin every once in a while as the series progressed. Sure, they were usually one shot jokes and gags but the self-awareness of the series itself tends to lead to some pretty good moments, like Sakura demanding more of a reaction from his classmates when Dokuro shows up as an angel. And I liked how the ending animation for the second series is a traditional festival dance involving every character you ever see in the show, including the girl Dokuro erases from existence just so she can sit next to Sakura in class. Her ghostly visage definitely got a chuckle out of me.
But that couldn’t save the series in my eyes. Even Sakura’s self-awareness is shoved aside when Dokuro is actually taken from him and he finally gets what he always dreamed of, time alone with Shizuki. He finally has what he wants, but he still ponders an empty life without Dokuro-chan constantly killing him, bringing him back to life, and her other shenanigans. While I love it when a character isn’t willing to go along with anime convention because, let’s face it, it doesn’t make sense, I don’t love it when a character willfully decides they should try to get back to the “normality” of the world with the wackiness when they’ve found something even better.
The story itself is rather odd. The reason Dokuro is even sent to Sakura is because in the year 2025 he will perfect the secret to immortality. As a side effect to the process, every woman will stop physically aging at the age of twelve crating a “Lolita-Paradise” that God himself decides is far too much and must be stopped… in the past. But instead of killing Sakura as commanded, Dokuro tries another way to keep the technology from being made, keeping Sakura distracted with wacky hijinks. Well, being that Dokuro has failed in her mission, a ram horned angel named Sabato is also dispatched with a killer stun baton. Hijinks, of course, continue to ensue thanks to this.
Here are a few more “Jokes” to entice you to watch.
- If you take a halo off an angel’s head, they make contorted ugly faces and suffer through the worst case of “Montezuma’s Revenge” ever. You, on the other hand, have a bloody hand because the edge of an angel’s halo is razor sharp.
- There is a show called “Sensitive Salaryman” on TV and in movies that is about a salaryman who ejaculates in any situation of sensation (Stress, stiff breeze, jostling on the train). Dokuro always attempts to feed Sakura a product from this show, “Sensitive Salaryman’s Summer Sausage”, which gives Sakura the same sensitivity.
- Sabato, the second killer angel, never set up shop with anyone and lives down by the river in a cardboard box hovel. Every once in a while we cut back to her impoverished conditions to the point she’s chased off by the police for loitering.
- Dokuro’s younger sister is a tall one eyed woman in some sort of commander’s outfit. And by younger, she is apparently nine years old. She also has as her angelic weapon a towel.
- Dokuro and her sister are scared of a ghost that lives in cracks, so they all don swimsuits and bathe together with Sakura. Wha? Wait, she may be very mature, but Sakura’s sister is still nine… OK and an angel so I don’t know what all that means… Ah screw it. Service, service.
- In order to get her way, Dokuro routinely changes Sakura’s classmates into different beasts, represented by animal heads cut out from photo realistic sources. This was funny once, but they did it at least three times.
- There is another angel, Zansu, who always ends every sentence saying “Zansu”, dresses like some sort of punk out of a futuristic 90s anime, and is frequently nude for no good reason.
- After a trip to the mountains, both Dokuro and Sabato both throw up in Sakura’s shirt. Not on. In. It bulges… Ick.
I can’t say it’s all bad. Since it’s so short it doesn’t wear on the soul like a full series of beating Sakura to death would have. For what it is, a stupid little series mocking the whole of cutesy romance and “My Magical Girlfriend” anime, you could do a lot worse. If you like things over the top when it comes to humor, then this might just be right for you. But when I want wacky I’ll just pick back up “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, thanks.