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Boku no Imouto wa “Osaka Okan”, or, My Little Sister is an “Osaka Mama” is an odd anime. Ostensibly about a younger sister who grew up in Osaka having to move back to Tokyo, this (sparsely animated) show is actually a way of showing various cultural differences between the two cities. It’s a funny little series, with the ever-changing ending theme based on the events of each episode being a highlight, but what I find especially funny about this anime is its origins.
Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan actually comes from a series of books designed to educate people about Osaka customs. The first book, Osaka Rules (as in “to live by,” not as in “Hulkamania”), is itself part of the Rules series for various parts of Japan. It was followed by Osaka Okan, which was designed to help people marrying into Osakan families to understand and deal with their in-laws better. What this means, then, is that the “little sister” component was added specifically for the anime, as if to try and capitalize on current otaku trends. I certainly can’t think of any other reason.
There’s something unbelievably shameless and perhaps even tongue-in-cheek about this that I can’t help but clap in admiration rather than hang my head in shame. Sure, little sister-focused stories are a dime a dozen in light novels, but what if the scope was widened in the way that Boku no Imouto wa “Osaka Okan” has shown us?
My Little Sister is a Forbes 100 CEO
My Little Sister is Doing a PhD on Molecular Biology
I Discovered My Little Sister is an Excellent Game Show Host
I Can’t Believe My Little Sister is the Catalyst for a Proletariat Uprising
The possibilities, as they say, are endless. I’m also aware that this sort of parody joke exists already, but I think the key difference is that the little sister component should appear deliberately grafted on, rather than being the axis upon which an anime revolves.
By the way, this show is from the gdgd Fairies people so you know it’s good.
In a previous post, I had likened the bizarre 3dcg anime gdgd Fairies to an Adult Swim cartoon. I still think it’s an apt comparison, and with the new season currently running this only renews my confidence in that description, but what I hadn’t expected was for there to be another anime like gdgd Fairies, especially not one that’s themed around a giant robot future. This isn’t so surprising once you learn that it’s from the same creator as gdgd Fairies, but what’s impressive is that in some ways this new show’s humor is even more absurd.
Straight Title Robot Anime (yes, that’s the title) takes place in a time when humanity has gone extinct and only giant robots are left to fight an eternal war. Living on this Earth are three human-sized female robots who are trying to stop the war by re-discovering mankind’s great invention: humor. In order to accomplish this, they try to figure out what it means to tell a joke and induce laughter, but the concept is so foreign to them that they’re unable to make any headway.
In other words, this anime is actually all about trying to explain jokes, which is classically regarded as humor’s own kryptonite, but amazingly this just makes the whole premise funnier. It’s also animated entirely in the free program Miku Miku Dance, which was created for just the purpose its name implies (animating Hatsune Miku).
If it wasn’t obvious that this show is from the same mind as gdgd Fairies from, the fact that there’s an “improv” section similar to the fairies’ own “Magical Spring Dubbing Lake” should be more than sufficient evidence. In it, the three robots visit simulations of “ancient human locations,” such as a hardware store, and try to figure out uses for the objects found. I’m not sure how they accomplish these scenes, but I imagine it actually involves them gathering materials from those real-world places and then having the voice actors engage in prop comedy. Here, not only are the voice actors unable to keep up their acted roles and break down into their normal voices, but one character goes from having a very artificial BEEP BOOP I AM A ROBOT voice to having a natural cadence which not even an electronic voice distortion can fully hide.
Most telling of all is the fact that, despite the show being premised around the idea that the robots do not understand what it means to laugh, the robots in this sequence are giggling constantly. The narrator nonchalantly explains this as “interference,” invoking that old Mystery Science Theater 3000 mantra, “It’s just a show; I should really just relax.”
So that’s Straight Title Robot Anime. In my opinion, the humor isn’t quite to the level of gdgd Fairies yet, but its appeal is such that if you liked gdgd Fairies you’ll probably enjoy this too. However, if your only response to the fairies was revulsion then this show won’t help either. These really are both love it or hate it shows, as is evident from the comments both anime received. You can experience Straight Title Robot Anime, gdgd Fairies 2, and the angry comments these shows tend to get, on Crunchyroll.
A couple of years ago when Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt was airing, the show would often be compared to American cartoons on account of its clearly influenced style. People even speculated as to whether or not Panty & Stocking would fit on Adult Swim. Since then, a show has emerged which I think is truly worthy of the moniker of “Adult Swim-esque anime.” That anime is gdgd Fairies.
gdgd (gudaguda) Fairies is ostensibly about three fairies living and playing in the Fairy Forest, but like Aqua Teen Hunger Force (which originally had Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad fighting crime), the premise is just an excuse for bizarre conversations and even more absurd misadventures. If the unusual nature of the production wasn’t clear enough by the end of an episode, each episode is initially titled “Title Pending.”
The main (read: only) characters are the naive pkpk (pikupiku, center), airheaded shrshr (shirushiru, right), and darkly humored krkr (korokoro, left). An episode is typical divided into three parts, where part 1 involves a conversation between the fairies that usually spirals out of control, Part 2 has them practicing magic in the “Room of Spirit and Time,” and Part 3 has the three fairies peering into a magical spring to see people in other worlds and then ad-libbing their dialogue. During these sequences, a discussion about being late turns into one about the tragedy of time slips, the girls challenge each other to see “who can fly over the most old men,” and they even get to see this:
Part 3 (the “Magical Spring Dubbing Lake”) is where the show gets serious and pulls out the big guns. And if a bald man in his underwear farting through the sky or a fat woman in lingerie dancing as the city around her crumbles weren’t enough, after a couple of episodes it becomes very clear that, while the other parts of gdgd Fairies may play fast and loose with the show’s contents, in part 3 the actors themselves are entirely without scripts or preparation. Here, the show takes on a Space Ghost: Coast to Coast or Home Movies vibe, where the actors have to improv their lines on the spot. The actors will fall out of their voices without realizing it, unable to hold in their chuckles long enough to maintain character and will mention other anime roles they’ve done without even considering the 4th wall. These aren’t clever nudges and winks for the audience, but evidence that just as you’re seeing that farting man for the first time, so were they. You are literally hearing them joke around with only the thinnest of pretext, and it makes you laugh whether or not what they said was actually funny or a spectacular failure.
I had a conversation with Dave (of Astro Toy and Subatomic Brainfreeze) and we agreed that gdgd Fairies would actually work on Adult Swim. There’s no need to do anything to it, just put it on the air with subtitles at 2am and let the post-Family Guy and Squidbillies audience enjoy. If you don’t want to wait that long for it, you can actually catch all of the episodes on Crunchyroll.
Carl x Fusako 4ever.