Welp, I just finished eight straight episodes of Shinsekai Yori, so it’s time to take a break from my self-serious thinking cap mode and watch Tomoko make a goddamn idiot of herself. Let’s do this.
0:26 – “Wow, it’s late. I’ll just read one more post.” I feel like there’s a specific ratio here between standard introverted teenager moments and “jesus christ Tomoko you are one crazy fuck” moments
1:56 – That kanji garden – another pretty striking visual gag. It’s a tribute to the director that I can’t imagine how half these jokes would work in 4koma – many of them use elaborate visuals to great effect
5:24 – I like the visual gag of having her eating the sandwich with that blank stare while her mental self ponders from the window . Again, nice visual flourishes all over the place in this show
5:43 – And another great visual gag. Fuck anime characters, I want anime characters
6:01 – Dear god Tomoko. Welp, clearly they’re setting her up for a fall
6:22 – Aaand there it is
7:01 – Cheer up Tomoko, one day you’ll be cute enough to… get molested
8:23 – I mentioned a couple episodes ago that I preferred it when Tomoko had a straight man to knock her down, but I think this might actually be funnier. Having no-one there to derail her insane line of thought just drags it out to the weirdest places. This is some self-consciousness performance art shit
8:47 – “Maybe there’s nothing good about being liked by perverts.” Yes, Tomoko! Are you actually learning some… “Maybe I’m just more woman than they can handle.” Nope, not learning a thing
10:42 – Well I guess we’re going to some particularly weird places today. Molestation humor! For the kids!
11:25 – Rape jokes. For the kids!
This show’s a dumb gag comedy, so it seems kinda misguided to give any element of it a second thought, but it’s playing in a very weird space here. The show’s normal modus operandi is to have Tomoko express some horrible, psychopathic thought, and then be “punished” for it with an ironic put-down from reality. So now she expresses envy and hatred towards the other girls for being attractive enough to be sexually assaulted, and is being… punished with simulated rape.
…hm. Well, she is admitting this situation is horrifying, and obviously the show isn’t actually pro-rape or anything (I will never stop using that gif jesus christ I can’t believe that exists whyyy). But still. It’s quite the situation to play as comedy.
14:08 – Tomoko you have lost your goddamn mind
16:16 – Oh god, panty shopping with Tomoko. What is the worst possible way they could end this…
18:17 – Ladies and gentlemen: What Kirino actually looks like
18:36 – No Tomoko you put them in your pocket oh god
19:03 – So perfect . I actually don’t get any of the cringe instinct I was expected from this show – Tomoko’s too ridiculous and the whole thing is too farcical. It’s only funny to me
19:25 – My little sister can’t be this indicative of the otaku deep end
20:30 – That is a beautiful image
That ending was perfect. Her dad is a champion.
Welp, weirdly rapey joke aside (and as I said, that didn’t actually come across as mean-spirited or anything, I’m just not a rape-joke fan), that was actually a great episode. It made me realize the show actually kinda shines in Tomoko’s headspace – when her fantasies aren’t immediately shot down, they have time to build on themselves in completely insane directions, and the occasional jabs of reality complement them really well. This only works because the direction makes her fantasies so entertaining. It’s tricky making such a pure, plot- and character-bereft comedy not get stale, but I think Watamote’s doing a solid job