「丸井さんの家庭の日常」 (Marui-san no Katei no Nichijou)
“Everyday Life at the Marui House”
There’s a second season coming in the near future, but Mitsudomoe concludes its first run with an incredibly strong showing that had me laughing helplessly on one particular skit. It was possibly one of the best comedic pauses I’ve ever seen in anime, which had me laughing more the longer I watched at it. Oh how I love Hitoha. She takes profound shock and disappointment to new levels with the way she kept filling the cat’s food tray over and over again. I just loved how Mitsuba and Futaba were looking on and at a complete loss on how to help her, before coming up with the idea to make Futaba a replacement cat. I had to actually watch the scene where she inadvertently took out Mitsuba’s knee a couple of times too, just because it happened so quickly and I didn’t get a chance to laugh to my heart’s content in one go. Seriously, there’s comedic gold, and then there’s Mitsudomoe comedic gold. This show just rains it down like there’s no tomorrow.
Leading up to the kitten adoption skit, it wouldn’t feel right without another Chikubi one for the road. To that end, we had a sickly Futaba who looked like Hitoha and gave off a similar aura — the sight of whom makes me laugh even now. Chiba’s confusion over it being Hitoha and only being able to detect the real one from her evil aura was too damn funny, as was Chikubi’s similar confusion over whom he believed was Hitoha. It was hilarious when they were imagining an all new type of evil when Hitoha caught Futaba’s cold, only to find out that she turns a sexy babe because of it. I was hoping she’d say a few words and have a sultry voice to go with it, but Chiba’s reaction made that entire first skit pretty priceless nonetheless. Incidentally, it appear that Futaba has a newly acquired aura ability because of the ordeal.
In terms of sheer slapstick laughs, Yabecchi’s visit to the Marui household for a routine parent/teacher meeting took the cake. On top of featuring a quirky insert song by him and Futaba, “Sensei wa Kodomo? Kodomo wa Sensei?”, the misunderstanding over the Marui’s new pet cat was so well scripted that the predictability of the outcome didn’t take away from the enjoyment the least bit. Seeing Soujirou opening an absolute can of whoop ass on Satoshi under the assumption that he’s some pedophile was too funny, as was his terminator-like search for him. As for the final skit with Mitsuba being the better person and giving up the amusement park tickets that she won in the shopping district lottery, it helped showcase the nicer side to some of these girls that’s often lost amidst all the gags. Of course, in only led to more gags in the process when she found out that each ticket is valid for two people, but did allow the series to close off on a very sweet note when her father bought one more.
For a new studio, Bridge sure delivered one heck of a first production. While the production team behind Mitsudomoe was comprised of all the key members from Daume‘s Minami-ke team, there was still a need to establish themselves as a capable studio. In terms of material, the promising impression I got from the manga while writing the Summer 2010 Preview showed no signs of letting up over the course of the anime adaptation. Over a mere thirteen episodes, I’ve grown so accustomed to all of the characters’ antics and various nuances, which extended well beyond the Marui triplets and their teacher like I originally thought. Back then, I compared this series to Kodomo no Jikan due to the slapstick comedy where they drive their teacher up the wall, and while I still feel that comparison is valid, it only ended up being the tip of the iceberg.
The classmates in this series took the comedy to hilarious levels beyond the confines of what they could pull from Yabecchi alone, and made for some of the best moments when the guys — Shinya and Yuudai — got pulled into the mix. Let’s not forget the helplessly in love trio — Airi, Shiori, and Mayumi — who started breathing new life on the series when they were brought into the picture. Then there’s Mitsuba’s rival Miku and her crew of Yuki and Miyashita, who quickly became some of the core characters right alongside the triplets themselves. When they all get together, stuff starts gets pretty idiotic and there never seems to be a dull moment. From everything to Gachi Ranger misunderstandings to just pure slapstick humor with urine samples, the remarkable amount of sensibility depicted in these sixth graders makes elementary school look like fun again. Unlike Seitokai Yakuindomo, the material in Mitsudomoe wasn’t simply strung together in the order they appear in the manga (for the most part), so some decisions were made by the screenplay writers to make it work as an anime. On top of making the previous skits have some bearing on future ones, the screenplay itself was one aspect that I found particularly well done.
Also noteworthy are the portrayal of the characters by the cast, with Takagaki Ayahi, Akesaka Satomi, and Tomatsu Haruka all showing me a side of their voice acting that I’ve never heard before. I originally thought that Ayahi and Haruka should have swapped roles considering they both had experience playing the other type of character, but they went on to completely surprise me with their performances. It’s so ingrained into my mind now that this is how Mitsuba and Hitoha should sound that I can’t even recall what I had in mind before. Shimono Hiro on the other hand is a complete shoo-in for hysterical roles, and one to watch for in this upcoming season’s Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai and Yosuga no Sora, because he can change personalities in a flip of a switch if needed. You don’t often see him in more serious roles, but he’s more than capable to play any type of role, much like all professionally trained seiyuu. Of course, rounding out the cast are a bunch of big names such as Saitou Chiwa, Toyosaki Aki, Sanpei Yuuko, Chihara Minori, and Iguchi Yuka, who take an already good cast and makes it even better.
Quite frankly, with a hilarious gag manga as the source material, writers capable of transferring that well on screen, and a cast that is beaming with talent, the only thing that could have possibly gone wrong is poor animation to bring it all to life. Well Bridge made no mistake on adding a quality comedy to their resume with Mitsudomoe, because not once did I ever find any scene poorly animated or noticeably skimped on. I praised their work in the early episodes and started feeling like a broken record repeating myself every week, so at some point I figured it was time to stop stating the obvious. I stressed in the season preview that one shouldn’t be turned off by the quirky character designs if they’re looking for potentially the funniest show of the season, and I can now safely say the same as a wholehearted recommendation. The announcement of a second season coming winter 2011 is a statement to that fact, so if you’re into comedies and have been doing yourself a huge disservice by ignoring Mitsudomoe, be sure to check it out before you’re left wondering what everyone is looking forward to in three months. You’ll laugh until it hurts at least once, if not several times over. 🙂