Sekai Seifuku – Episode 3

I’m actually kind of surprised at how much I’ve been looking forward to this episode. This show is just a lot of fun – it’s witty, colorful, and endearing, and has a great sense of humor that isn’t tied to any single gag. Basically, the world itself is funny – a world where the Great Ruler Kate actually makes sense, a world where those meddling do-gooders can be fooled by flipping the sign on your secret base, a world where you decide to conquer the world just because you want a bigger family. When your world is inherently funny, you don’t have to stretch too far for jokes, which is good – trying too hard is the easiest way to kill almost any joke.

Not that making jokes look natural and effortless is easy, either. They have to emerge naturally while still being witty – the fact that the base world plays with your viewer’s expectations in a way conducive to humor doesn’t mean you get to slack off.

And trying too little is also death – even when you’re going for simple jokes, that just puts that much more weight on every tool you do use. You can’t just have a character make a funny face – first the audience has to buy into that character, then the audience has to buy why that face would be funny relative to that character, then you have to perfect your pacing and direction, and even then the face better friggin’ convey what you’re trying to convey, since so much of the humor in funny faces is based in “wow, that expression makes complete yet ridiculous sense,” not just the face being silly.

Basically, humor sucks. I don’t know why anyone would try to be funny, it’s too much work and no-one appreciates it. As far as art forms go, it may be the one that gets the least credit relative to the work involved.

But this show gets it! This show gets it, and that’s very refreshing to see – unlike most anime comedy, it doesn’t rely on stale gags, manic ridiculousness, or “I understood that reference!” And it combines that with something that western comedies often seem to disregard – how much nicer it is to watch shows about people you like, who aren’t all horrible. For me personally, that mean-spirited style of comedy is mainly just tiring – even if the jokes are clever, if they’re just ways for awful people to be terrible to each other, they’re not going to endear me to the show. Beyond this style of comedy just being more pleasant, comedies that are based in negativity can so rarely be morethan comedies – when every one of your characters is a selfish stooge, you can’t pivot into drama, slice of life, or romance, because your audience is there to see the characters punished, not humanized or redeemed. They’re like horror movies in that way (and other ways too, actually, since both horror and comedy are based in the tension-release of suspense and surprise). I much prefer laughter among friends, and it’s already obvious that Sekai Seifuku definitely cares about its characters.

Alright, enough rambling about comedy. Let’s conquer the world.

Episode 3

0:09 – See? Base concept. Normally, it’s considered bad writing to have villains that fight just because they love evil – no one is actually like that, everyone thinks what they’re doing is just. But hey, what if you really did just friggin’ love evil? What would a person like that do on their days off? How would they feel about their goals? You don’t have to make gags here – the situation is already great

Sekai Seifuku

0:21 – This guy doesn’t care about evil at all! He’s just in it for the glory! DESPICABLE

0:58 – I love these signs. They’re just great little indicators of domesticity, for one thing – like this isn’t an evil hideout, it’s a tenant house (or a “home,” as the show is always quick to indicate). And then there’s also the fact that you can easily hear Kate announcing these as Great Decrees of the Dictator. And then there’s the idea that the villains are so obsessed with cleanliness and courtesy in the first place


2:45 – Actually laughed out loud at this. “Oh, a parachute, that’s ni-… right.”

Sekai Seifuku


3:48 – Again, not actually spelling out its own joke – “then why the fuck would you attach it to a giant chimney-cannon?”

4:00 – And now flipping to one again based on the premise – the Sekai Seifuku version of the classic “you’ve failed me for the last time” villain speech

4:28 – Never show your subordinates weakness, Kate!

4:33 – I am fine with this being a running gag

Sekai Seifuku

4:58 – Like last episode, this one pretty much immediately set to work building its own ‘scaffolding of humor’ – natural jokes created through a tiny universe of references the show itself gives purpose. You can set up one nonsense rule or expectation and twist it into a dozen jokes if you space them well and vary them intelligently. Arrested Development was a show that thrived on this brand of humor – by its third season, it had basically created an entire in-show mythology of humor touchstones, making it hilarious to fans and completely impenetrable to new viewers

5:03 – Kate yes

5:18 – Speaking of well-chosen silly faces. Remarkable how well they can convey “turning up her nose” on a character who doesn’t actually have one



Sekai Seifuku

6:20 – Finally, a transformation sequence that makes sense

6:32 – Sekai Seifuku: not afraid of tackling the big issues

Kinda speaks to the power of villainy though, huh? No need for moderation here – smoking is evil, all smokers will be destroyed, problem = solved!


7:00 – I bet this asshole’s Conquer level is like negative three

7:20 – Conquered that cigarette so hard it fuckin’ exploded

Sekai Seifuku



8:20 – Kind of cute. A deep hatred of smokers is a silly enough issue that it can illustrate how pretty much any extremism tends to look from the outside – like an eight year old girl screaming about truth and justice

8:32 – Oh my god this show’s faces I can’t take it

Sekai Seifuku

8:37 – Professor, quickly! I have need of Science!

8:48 – I like how her look of excitement over the thought of murdering all smokers is pretty much the same as her look of excitement over having takeout for dinner

9:06 – Obviously. Who’d argue against that?!

Also a pretty great line re: the absurdity of in-house extremism squabbling


Sekai Seifuku

9:32 – Oh my god no stop don’t encourage her. Okay, now we’re definitely talking about how hardliners of any ideology turn their opponents into evil aliens from outer space. Smokers aren’t human beings with personal stories, they just HATE FREEDOM

9:40 – The moral of the story is NEVER COMPROMISE EVER. This show is so good

9:44 – Because Kate is obviously the expert on both of these things

9:47 – This is so great. “Opening a dialogue is hard – try attacking people instead!” Kate you are the best villain

And that’s actually awesome – she’s not just representing a generic evil, she’s actually campaigning on behalf of the sort of stuff that leads to injustice and human suffering worldwide. She is literally pro-evil

9:49 – This show has the best dialogue

Sekai Seifuku

10:04 – Nooo, no stooop… No wonder Kate’s such a natural leader – hatred and extremism are an extremely easy sell

10:58 – Feel free to pick your own stand-in for “smokers”

11:02 – Oh jeez, are you implying dehumanizing people who disagree with you and inciting us-versus-them mentalities can maybe result in a violent snowball effect or something? Why didn’t you tell us that before we started throwing rocks at smokers?

11:15 – Oh my god this show is so fucked up I love it

Sekai Seifuku

11:37 – Brilliant callback. It doesn’t even play as comedy now – the show has drawn a clear line from “haha, fuck smokers” to friggin’ smoker-cleansing, making me feel kinda guilty for laughing at this guy in the first place. Which is the point, of course – a small dehumanization can always lead to a greater one. The instinct is the same, it’s just amplified and given no push-back

12:03 – I like that they’ve chosen to have the General in his battle attire here. At this moment, he is not the member of Yasu’s family who shares dinner with him back at the hideout – right now he is a representative of Zvezda generally and Kate’s anti-smoking decree specifically, and so acts as the executor of that humanity-denying perspective

I also like how his argument isn’t Kate’s original one, about smoking being bad for you and others – it’s just “the world no longer accepts your old kind, so change or leave”

12:12 – Working as a joke and also aping “this is who I am”

12:18 – The best dialogue

Sekai Seifuku

13:06 – So the implication here is that Evil is just a standard industry like any other, and so any crook might eventually work their way up to joining an evil world-conquering organization? Great

13:26 – More of this world’s strange, vague background. More importantly, they’re using the cigarettes as a bonding moment – an indicator of the personal connection between these two, the acknowledgment of common humanity that villainizing your opponent stamps out

14:21 – Smoking speakeasies. You’re pretty clever, show

14:51 – But that’s… I thought it was only a myth!

15:39 – How did it come to this? Oh right, it came to this because Kate’s a crazy dictator who polarizes both sides and destroys anyone she disagrees with

Sekai Seifuku

15:41 – How generous of her

16:00 – They even give them these monster eyes now. See!? Aliens all along!

16:20 – Right. Peace, of course

16:54 – What a great title. Destroying the people you disagree with with a giant fist is certainly a “variation” in persuasion

17:33 – Come back home, your room’s just the way you left it!

Sekai Seifuku

18:17 – Kind of a direct response to Yasu’s later “cigarettes are part of my bad boy image” comment

19:16 – Well that’s interesting. Does she actually possess a power of propaganda, or something – the Voice of Leadership? Or is the show just being silly

19:29 – And instead of the Chief actually remembering his human bond with Yasu, Yasu is dragged back to Zvezda by the power of Kate’s charisma. Evil wins again

19:44 – Oh man, so convenient! And again playing with how silly the idea of “evil” really is – “don’t worry, our bombs only kill evil people! That’ll resolve this war of ideals!”

19:55 – What are you worried about? The bomb will only kill evil civilians!

Sekai Seifuku

21:01 – Moral of the story: smokers have no souls


And Done

That was great! The funniest episode yet, and also incredibly pointed. The moral of the story was terrible – evil actually won, and not just “haha supervillains are funny” evil, but real world holy shit demonizing your enemies gets people killed evil. They set up a whole “ideology versus humanity” conflict with Yasu only to have him completely cave to ideology, and at the end of the day, smokers really were just portrayed as wretched souls beyond saving. That’s terrible! This show is great!

I was really only idly hoping this would turn out to be the season’s smart show up ‘til now, but, well, here it is. Here’s the season’s smart show. It’s witty and endearing and literally brimming with evil. Very excited for the next one.

10 thoughts on “Sekai Seifuku – Episode 3

  1. I wonder if this is going to go a bit South Park on us, each episode taking a stance from the extreme middle ground and blowing it out of proportion in a crazy way? I’m pretty sure it’ll be mostly episodic, at any rate.

    • I feel this episode was more about the generally doomed nature of our species than the South Park-style headline-ripping, which made it feel even more pointed to me. And it didn’t tie things in a bow with a happy ending, either – the episode had the Catch 22/Vonnegut-esque darkly comic ending, where our nature is never really “fixed” by the narrative. Kinda brutal stuff.

      I believe the creators mentioned that the show would be largely episodic, which I’m fine with. This episode proved this show has no problems telling a very satisfying vignette.

  2. At first I had a theory that this anime wouldn’t be about conquering the world literally, but symbolism where they conquer the world “in her mind, as she sees it.” I thought that from the main character’s point of view, he would notice that they aren’t conquering anything substantial, but then slowly learn that in Kate’s mind, she is slowly being saved from some internal mental conflict.
    Welp, time to work on a new theory!

    • Yeah, this episode was pretty seriously dedicated to talking about conquering the world! I’m not sure where they’re going myself, but the writing here is smart enough that I’m excited to see what their master plan is.

  3. 6:20: The really funny thing for me about Kate’s transformation sequence is that everyone else has transformed somehow too; in fact, possibly before Kate. The mental images of this happening given 6:20 are all sorts of amusing.

    9:32: And just in case we thought that this might be literally true for all smokers (because maybe it’s that sort of show), we know one (Yasu) and his humanism is only reinforced in the rest of the episode.

    9:47: At the same time Kate’s right; it’s much harder and scarier to talk to people than to hit them. And at 9:49 by ‘refuse to listen’ Kate actually means ‘if they refuse to obey’.

    • 9:32

      Yep. That’s really the cornerstone of this episode – it could be construed as funny absurdism about the dangers of smoking, but the show uses Yasu to hammer in how incredibly inhuman this actually is. And it even ties smoking to his core identity, so it’s not just them forcing him to kick a habit, it’s them forcing him to become a version of himself they find acceptable.


      I love how this works on the show’s both absurd surface level and dark satire level. On the surface, yeah, she’s a little girl, and throwing tantrums is a lot easier than being mature. But of course that all works as a great metaphor for how actual negotiations can break done, and how much easier it is to think of the Other as “evil” than to actually confront your own biases, and possibly compromise on them.

  4. I can’t shake the feeling that this whole show is not even real and is actually a Chuunibyou-esque delusion in Kate’s mind that everyone else is indulging.

    Firstly because of the time freeze when the man in the restaurant turned at the last moment to ask “Is it ok if I have a smoke?”. No smoker would actually ask this question openly to the room in real life. But I could see this as a mental fantasy in Kate’s head where he said something smug just so Kate would have provocation to explode on him. I, and I hope other people unless I am crazy, often have these kind of all-too-convenient rant fantasies all the time and this really felt like one too me.

    Secondly because of the transformation sequence where Itsuka helped Kate get dressed. This was obviously done for humor, but it could be really what is going on. Itsuka (and by extension the others) are going along with Kate’s delusions of power kicks, entertainment, familial love, ect.

    Thirdly, what really got me thinking about this was the exchange between Kate and Natasha about the Anti-Smoker device. Since they went though all the dramatic fanciful exposition to describe the overly specific device that was miraculously developed earlier that week. And then after all of that, they don’t even use it and it never shows up again!

    I could totally see Rika and Dekomori doing something like this, and then forgetting about it once the narrative delusion moves on.

    Based on this, an interpretation of this episode could be as follows: Gorou and Itsuka (the parents) catch Yasu (the older son) smoking in the house when he tripped the fire alarm, thus destroying the kitchen. After a fight, Yasu decides to run away instead of giving up smoking. Kate (the youngest child of the family) sees this fight, but does not understand everything that is going on. She decides since her parents hated smoking, it must be evil and vilifies it to the extreme in her own brand of chuuni-delusion. The family decides to go out for dinner, and she sees the man smoking in the resturant and goes off on the ranting delusion I described above.

    I don’t think this theory is completely embraced by the whole work, like it is in Chuunibyou. There are plenty of times when these fantastical things happen, even when Kate is not around to be interpreting it for the viewer. Still and interesting idea, and I personally find it a bit easier to enjoy the show if I imagine something like this is going on.

    • I’m preeetty sure this show just exists in a pretty farcical version of reality, but I will be extremely impressed if this ends up entirely true.

      I do think this episode intentionally plays off how simple all moral issues are to a child – smoking is bad and there’s nothing else to it, etc.

  5. I’m just afraid that the message of “it’s justified to dehumanize and purge anyone that does things you may not like” is bad might get lost some is where in there because of the nature of the show. This is really the first time we see them being horribly evil and the way it’s justified near the end (they’re actually not humans!) is scary.

    Also could you explain a little more about what you said about comedies based in negativity can rarely be more than comedies? I find that even with characters that are horrible (Sienfield, Its Always Sunny) you can endear the audience to them enough that its very much possible to explore more then the comedic aspects.

    • the way it’s justified is scary

      Agreed, and that’s actually part of what makes it work for me. I like that the show never, ever overtly moralized here – it let the absurdity of the situation speak for itself. In that particular case, the punchline is “both Kate and the ‘heroes’ actions were justified given the premise that their opponents have no souls.” Which of course means their actions were completely unjustified.

      negative comedies

      I think we just disagree personally there. I always feel somewhat removed from that kind of comedy – even in the ones I do enjoy (Arrested Development is pretty much that kind of comedy, for example), I’d never say “I love this show” – I’m impressed by it, and I’d recommend it, but I feel it’s hard to get at empathetic human truths in that kind of frame. Plus there’s generally an element of “comfort” involved in my enjoyment of comedies – of spending time with characters both I and the show itself care about.

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