Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Dangan Ronpa, Go-Home Club, and Servant x Service

After sampling a bunch of try-hard comedies, it’s time to get to the real meat of Thursday’s crop. Or at least the stuff that was top-3 on himawari douga when I kicked up the streams.

Dangan Ronpa had a hell of a first minute, starring a teddy bear strapping a dude into a rocket iron maiden with his face on it. At the least, it was attention grabbing. After that, the episode was a lot more traditional, though it was good to see it blazing its way through character introductions rather than waste the whole episode on intro monologues. In the minutes before Monobear showed up, the camera pans of characters chatting in the background were a clever ploy to start dropping hints about the relationships between the main cast. Once he did, his voice* and mannerisms were a study in stellar contrast, the former showing innocence while the latter screamed “punkass”. Between that and the zany sound effects accompanying his multiple appearances, his character was really well handled. I’m totally 100% behind this show, and that means 3 more episodes of leeway for the Lerche power trio** to work their typical magic.

DanganRonpa-1-3

And people thought Kishi Seiji couldn’t direct

Dangan Ronpa was not alone in using its opening minute effectively. In a nice bit of flavoring, Go-Home Club opened with a random corner about lactating seals and a few seconds of live-action plant footage before getting into the actual episode. I was immediately psyched up for something clever. And I kept expecting something, but at no point in the episode was there a joke I laughed or even smiled at. It was all full of the conventional characters, token weirdness, and overused loud-reaction straight-man moments that characterize subpar comedy. This one needed both a better writer and a less formulaic setup, and is dropped because I just don’t see it being funny in the future.***

GoHomeClub-1-1

Nice trees, though

Servant x Service was a bit more traditional in its presentation, and because of that took a while getting going. Once it got to jokes about the dull, monotonous complaints the characters deal with at work and how different people deal with it, it became something watchable. Some of the other jokes (particularly the Jugem reference with Yamagami’s name and Hasebe blocking the last thrown binder) also worked out well. I also liked seeing a cast that is at least somewhat competent at their jobs, if hilariously deficient in some areas. This one’s worth 2 more episodes at this point, if only because I’m always a sucker for solid workplace-based shows with characters out of school.

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Hasebe’s words often put him in a bind, but not this time

*I’m aware it’s Doraemon’s VA. Just for the record.

**Director Kishi Seiji, Screen Composer Makoto Uezu, and Sound Director Satoki Iida have worked together on no less than 5 episodic anime in the past 5 years; Dangan Ronpa is being produced at Studio Lerche. Full disclosure: I’m a fan of all 3 of them individually, and a superfan of them as a group. Related note: I’m really glad Devil Survivor 2 is over and people can stop ignoring their awesome catalogs and ragging on them for having made one bad show.

***It’s not Teekyu, which can make a bad joke because three more get made in the time it takes the audience to realize the first one sucked.

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