OP: 「全力☆Summer!」 Zenryoku☆Summer! by Angela
「来たぞ！アホガール」 (Kitazo! Aho gāru)
“Aho Girl Coming!”
Our newest summer comedy turns out to be a 12 minute 4-koma adaptation, and Aho Girl is all the better for it. A show like this thrives best in a shorter format, because anything else would make many of its jokes overstay their welcome. The title of the series already spells out where the humor will stem from, so if you came into Aho Girl looking to see one of the densest high school girls around, you came to the right place. The jokes splinter off into two categories: The classic boke/tsukkomi routine where Hanabatake Yoshiko (Yuuki Aoi) goes above and beyond to agitate Akutsu Akuru (Sugita Tomokazu) with her idiotic charm, and jokes where they get more creative by making Akuru’s lack of social prowess or self-awareness get the best of him. Also, bananas. Mmmmmm, bananas! Bananas are so great! Bananas are the best! Back to the topic at hand, these jokes are understandably hit-or-miss, but when they land, they’re a riot!
Yoshiko is one of the show’s best and worst aspects. She is incredibly stupid by educational standards and her inability to read social cues around her. Much of the show’s jokes center around how she gets on Akuru’s nerves through her helplessness in class and her insistence on inserting herself in his life on a regular basis. If you’ve had that friend in the high school anime club that screamed in your ear about everything and tried to apply anime knowledge to real life scenarios, then you have a general idea of what Yoshiko is like. It helps that Yuuki Aoi plays her so well that her performance of Yoshiko’s impulsive state of mind gives the jokes she’s the focus some umph to it.
While too many of her jokes stem around her obsession with bananas, I appreciate how crafty the show gets with her, especially in the second half. It was priceless when she tries to allure Akuru by pasting her face over a dirty magazine, and then tells the Moral Standards Officer on him. Or during the first instance of a double entendre with bananas, she reveals that she wants to use a rare banana as a form of currency in exchange for grabbing boobs. The jokes are as dumb as Yoshiko, but the gravitational pull she has can create some funny results. There’s also potential to have her stand out with her only positive trait in being able to empathize with Sumino Sayaka (Harada Sayaka). It makes me hopeful that they can work with jokes where Yoshiko comes up with smarter solutions to her problems, but in a clever, dumb manner.
I mention this because while Yoshiko can be overbearingly silly when the focus is on her, Akuru is a black hole where a scene’s comedic value is sucked away into the void. Much of his screentime is dominated by his joylessness. If he isn’t outwardly spiteful of Yoshiko, he’s punching her in the face for the crime of making a silly remark. I like how it becomes part of how his classmates react around him or why Sayaka is startled by his gut reaction to be angry at everything, but it doesn’t make him funny. The only time his punching shtick is really warranted is when Yoshiko is groping the Moral Standards Officer, but even then it’s undercut by my fear that if he were to charm any of the girls as well as he did with the Officer, he’d also Hadouken them into the Stone Age for small mistakes. The one redeeming factor is how well his dryness works with some of the joke’s outcomes. His quick reaction to Yoshiko’s dirty magazine trick or the entire scene where Sayaka immediately gives him sympathy after she finds out he’s friendless were funny moments of his.
On the whole, Aho Girl has a lot of potential to be one of the funniest anime this season. It’s help back by the repetitiveness of the boke/tsukkomi jokes that are jammed in throughout the first episode, but there are way too many funny moments to write off right away. If the writing can tweak up the show’s humor to keep things fresh by honing in on what made Episode 1 so funny, then I can definitely see Aho Girl being a pleasant surprise this season. For the time being though, it’s just a nice series if you want a short burst of funny in between the action-packed anime that make up a bulk of the Summer’s must-see programming. I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here, and I’m rooting for it to become even funnier as time moves forward.