Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
As new seasons surface, more and more anime titles try and strive for originality. Apart from the cliched harem series, random slice of life titles or continuations of old series, sometimes we get a chance to see something special. That is the case with Shimoneta. Shortly after its success as a manga, it debuted on TV screens not too long ago. What is so special about this title? Well... the action is set in Japan, but not the one we know. It's the Japan, where all sorts of perverse acts have been prohibited. Which doesn't seem a lot like Japan, does it? How did it happen... nobody really knows. Long story short, Japan is counter-perversy. As with any rule, there are bound be people disagreeing with the law, so something of a similar caliber goes on in this anime. By watching it, you're pretty much tuning into a story about people fighting for underwear's freedom. Literally.
I don't really need to tell you what exactly happened so that Japan is in the state it is - the narration before each episode will do it for me. So much that those exact words will be engraved in your head for a long time. Like a week or so. So, skipping the backstories - in this Japan, that George Orwell could gladly call his home, lives Tanukichi Okuma, a student aspiring to become as strict about the law as can be, just so he can get closer to Nishikinomiya Anna, the girl he adores. On the way to the goal, however, he got mixed up in public terrorism - involving not explosions, but throwing pants around - and by a series of unfortunate events (really good book series, by the by) he ends up helping the terrorist, known as Blue Snow, establish and put in action an organisation called SOX. Yes, SOX, because Ayame Kajou (Blue Snow's real identity, not really a spoiler) thought it would be fun to censor 'SEX' with an O.
To be honest, I'm not even sure what to write anymore. This series is tricky, and I can't really say one thing without revealing half the plot to people who might want to watch it. I'll just safely state that if you want to watch it, give four first episodes a go, since the start is really slow and offputting. From that point onward, you're pretty much on your own - you will either like it or hate it, and treat it accordingly. You see, the very idea for this anime wasn't half bad. In a ton of unoriginal, cliche titles, having something that calls for your attention and makes you stay for the ideas introduced is a godsend - a seemingly priceless gem to find, however, is often full of scratches, specks and flaws... and sometimes turns out not to be what it initially looks like.
You see, about three years ago I was first introduced to the anime so weird, I thought it can't really work out. A series so twisted it made me wonder why it wasn't banned for the very idea of it. And as I watched it, I grown more and more skeptical about it, yet it never failed to deliver, until the very end. Seitokai Yakuindomo, because that's its name, was an anime that didn't really beg for attention. It simply existed on the sidelines, buried within all the junk around, waiting to be unearthed. The premise wasn't so grand, either - it simply wanted to use as many contextual jokes, sexual references and other kinky stuff as it could... without actually stepping into neither ecchi or hentai genre. For me, it was a true masterpiece - it provided me with the ease of watching, the relief I deserved and the true tears of laughter. Seeing Shimoneta, I instinctively hoped it would achieve at least a part of what I experienced back then, and to my surprise, it did. Too bad, however, that this part was rather miniscule.
From the first episode until the very end, the sexual jokes are the main topic of the series - having a greater, 'noble' goal in mind, it was unavoidable to sneak a few pervy lines here and there, but the amount the creators went with was clearly uncalled for. After a while, this type of humor got really old and if anything, irritated me instead of making me laugh as intended. I admit, some of the scenes were pretty fresh, funny and overall indulging (like, for instance, the early encounters with Anna and her whole metamorphosis), and it just kept adding up for a positive mood each episode, but the flaws were undeniably there - just not enough to call them a killjoy. And I'd be damned if using a penis head hairstyle didn't make me giggle. In short - the jokes get old quickly, but don't really mean that the show is going down the shitter instantly.
In the end, I find it really hard to judge this title. It doesn't compare quite well to anything else I've watched, since it introduces a brand new area of expertise and an old arsenal of jokes made fresh. Despite having a few setbacks and adding up problems, I enjoyed the show, even if the ending left me numb for a couple of hours. It's still a title that wanted to be original and succeeded, never really aspiring to reach for higher trophies. It's still an achievement, but is it really that great? I will let you decide for yourself.
Judgement: ALICE IN THE PENISLAND