Active Engagement Through Timed Comments: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? is a consistently funny and incredibly charming show about five girls who work at a total of three coffee shops between them. Tapping a solid cast, the show was able to ride a bunch of group-driven cute humor to a considerable degree of commercial success, averaging roughly 10,000 disks sold over 6 total volumes. The combination of individual flavor and audience satisfaction makes it another interesting candidate for the following question; which moments in the show went over best with the audience? I’m going to attempt to prod at the answer to that question by making use of the series’ himado timed comment data.

For more information on this analysis method, see this similar post on Ping Pong The Animation, or this introductory post covering particular episodes of Shingeki no Bahamut and Carnival Phantasm.

Comment data for each 10-second interval of show tape is assigned a z-score based on how it performed relative to the baseline of its episode. Data can be found on this doc and is plotted below:

(Note that the videos from which the comment data was taken include the post-credits sponsor-cards, so the official streams that exclude them are 20 seconds shorter, losing 10 after the OP and 10 after the ED sequence, respectively. Count the seconds accordingly if trying to find a particular clip.)

gu1 gu2 gu3 gu4 gu5 gu6 gu7 gu8 gu9 gu10 gu11 gu12

Let’s take a deeper look at what these graphs are actually saying – what were the most engaging moments of the series? There are at least two ways to attack this question. One, which individual 10-second intervals had the highest scores? Two, over what periods did the show keep a positive score the longest?

Largest Z-scores:

Over the 1800 10-second intervals measured, there were a total of 17 intervals with a z-score in excess of 3. Excluding the one (Episode 11, 240-250 seconds) that was OP-credits comments, that leaves 16 total intervals which produced exceptional amounts of commentary. That’s 16/12 episodes; compare with Ping Pong’s 14/11 episodes. These moments, ordered from lowest to highest score, are:

16. Episode 2, 930-940 seconds (3.41)

-Cocoa’s cat-themed strawberry jam bun post-bite is shown (looking like a murder victim).

15. Episode 12, 1280-1290 seconds (3.43)

-In the middle of the ending credits montage, Cocoa is shown looking at some snow-bunnies, including a tank-mounted one Rize made.

14. Episode 5, 420-430 seconds (3.44)

-Cocoa gets hit by a volleyball while practicing badminton. This is a continuation of an earlier gag about Chiya’s fearsome ability to spike the ball.

13. Episode 5, 950-960 seconds (3.47)

-Rize is shown wearing the uniform for Fleur de Lapin.

12. Episode 11, 950-960 seconds (3.49)

-A piece of Rize’s latte art (featuring a fighter jet) is shown.

11. Episode 1, 340-350 seconds (3.51)

-Cocoa cuddles Tippy, who screams in agony as Chino tries to pass it off as Cocoa’s imagination.

10. Episode 6, 340-350 seconds (3.60)

-Chiya is shown wearing a new outfit.

9. Episode 2, 470-480 seconds (3.63)

-Chiya, having led Cocoa to school, remembers that it’s actually her middle school, rather than the high school they both were looking for.

8. Episode 9, 80-90 seconds (3.64)

-Young Cocoa drops the title of the show and cuddles a rabbit.

7. Episode 8, 260-270 seconds (3.69)

-At the pool changing room, Chiya makes an old-woman comment and Rize’s swimsuit is shown.

6. Episode 4, 1320-1330 seconds (3.81)

-After a sweet-ish scene where Cocoa finds a book Chino is looking for, Chino reveals it’s the wrong book. (Cocoa heard it was about “Justice” and “Evil”, forgot that it was about rabbits, and thought it was Crime and Punishment.)

5. Episode 4, 1030-1040 seconds (3.86)

-Chiya (who knows that Sharo isn’t rich), sarcastically praises Sharo for being rich in a flat monotone.

4. Episode 8, 80-90 seconds (3.92)

-Rize fantasizes about what she would be like if she were more like Sharo, a montage that ends with her shooting skeet with a high-powered rifle while laughing semi-maniacally.

3. Episode 3, 1110-1120 seconds (4.01)

-Cocoa gives Rize some cocoa-scented bath powder. The show then cuts to her taking a bath.

2. Episode 12, 1430-1440 seconds (4.05)

-In the show’s final scene, Chino calls Cocoa “Onee-chan” in an attempt to wake her up, and the two end up accidentally butting heads as a result.

1. Episode 7, 490-500 seconds (4.30)

-Cocoa accidentally pancakes Chino in the face, a moment accentuated by a smash cut.

By my count, that’s 11 comedy scenes, 4 fanservice scenes (2 bath related and 2 cool-outfit related), and one other (#8, the young Cocoa one). The high-comment moments here slant a bit more heavily toward comedy than Ping Pong, and include very little drama (of which the series does at least have a token amount).

Longest Periods of Positive Z-score:

There are technically 4 intervals greater than 90 seconds where the z-score remained positive (as compared to 10 for Ping Pong). Two I’m not counting because of heavy overlap with the OP (i.e. it makes up 50% percent of each interval). The other two, both 100 seconds in length, are edited slightly for coherence and shown in clips below. Clips are low-quality, no-subs ones that I cut mainly for informational purposes; you can find better versions on the official crunchyroll page.

1a. Episode 1, 1110-1210 seconds

Chino calls Cocoa “onee-chan” for the first time, and gets hounded to say it again. The two later enter a bath (possibly NSFW), after which the show cuts to Rize talking to a stuffed animal and denying she’s lonely.

1b. Episode 9, 20-120 seconds

A flashback scene featuring Chino’s grandpa, who ends up as Tippy, meeting young Cocoa, who a) is super cute and b) “grants” his wish to become a rabbit. The clip also very briefly shows Cocoa’s sister.

It’s hard to say what these numbers mean, aside from the obvious fact that it’s a much less “streaky” show than the sometimes-adrenaline-heavy and effectively dramatic Ping Pong, while mostly matching the “blippy” nature of the latter. I’d like to compare it to some other comedies before drawing a conclusion – streakiness may be less a feature of comedies and more a feature unto itself. Or nothing (again, we’re very into this analysis, and I haven’t even looked at test cases for all the major genres yet).*

*For what it’s worth, I’ve done the easy (read: numerical) parts of analyses of Arpeggio of Blue Steel and GJ-bu, and both look a bit different from the two I’ve already done.

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