First Reactions: Muromi-san Episode 6

I got an email the other day (my first one, so thanks, anonymous reader Y!) asking why I’m blogging this show over Attack on Titan, which also airs on Saturday. There are two main reasons, which I want to briefly address that before moving into the meat of the episode.

First, good comedies are no less difficult to produce than good dramas. If you handed Astro Fighter Sunred, Panty and Stocking, or another comedy that relies on its particular sense of style (workplace-themed deadpan and rampant excess, respectively) to a replacement-level handler like Chiaki Kon or Yuu Kou, you’d almost certainly get something darn near forgettable. A comedy has to have real personality to work, which is something that’s not at all easy to do; just because they seem* to come along more often than dramas doesn’t mean a good laugh is worth any less than a good teardrop. Muromi-san specifically happens to be a *very* well-executed comedy, as it’s effectively mixing the high-energy of Angel Beats with the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and subtly clever camera play of Joshiraku, and has a ceiling as a low-tier 10/10 on my ranking scale.

Second, while I like Titan quite a bit, it has a plot I’m very familiar with as a reader of the manga. It means that a) there’s less I can legitimately speculate on, b) I don’t want to spoil anything by accident, and c) I’d only be able to comment on the execution, which I find slow and less interesting than the wham-bam lightning rod pacing of the manga. It’s distinctly my third-favorite Saturday show at this point. Which is, if anything, a mark of how fun Saturdays this spring have been.

This episode was probably the one with the most screentime for Takuro thus far, and he made good use of it. His casually putting pressure on Otohime was fun to watch as much for his methodical tightening of the verbal noose as it was for her terrible poker face. That was a shining example of exactly how a low-energy character in a high-energy setting should be done. It also helps that he’s getting into the slapstick game with some mean moves of his own.

MUR-6-1

Kinnikuman would be proud 

I’ve noticed before that this series likes to roll with the rule of three for a lot of its visual gags (i.e. last week’s slap simulations), but it was more obvious than usual this week. It was distinctly visible at least three times: with the pans during fish suplex, with Takuro putting the screws to Otohime, and with the reaction faces of Otohime and Muromi when they encountered each other. On one hand, it’s straightforward and effective, a reasonable method of playing up the sense of overzealous dramatization that powers the show. On the other hand, it’s something to watch out for, because when I see comedy series lose their originality, that loss tends to start from the technical side. Still, I’m really just picking nits on scenes I enjoyed immensely.

MUR-6-2

Must… resist… Ah, heck 

I do believe the series will eventually finish introducing cast members and start freestyling, but it doesn’t exactly have to (Sunred never did, and look how that turned out). For now, there’s a Kappa episode waiting in the wings, which reminds me that I still need to finish the Demon Prince Enma OVA; I picked up the second of two DVDs of this awesome Brains Base series a month ago, and it’s been tempting me ever since.

*It may feel like there are more comedies than dramas that come out every year, but a quick runthrough of the seasonal anime database I compiled weeks ago puts the ratio at about a 50/50 for the 83 works that I counted as solidly one or the other in 2012. The ratios were 10:5, 8:12, 8:8, and 16:16 for winter, spring, summer, and fall, respectively.

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