OP: 「少女はあの空を渡る」 (Shoujo wa Ano Sora wo Wataru) by 福本莉子 (Fukumoto Riko)
「ドラゴンの名前はまそたんにします」 (Doragon no Namae wa Masotan ni Shimasu)
“I’ll Name the Dragon Masotan”
One should never judge a book by its cover, but if we were to judge Hisone to Masotan only on appearances it’d be easy to conclude that it was a children’s show. The simple character designs, the pastel colours and the slow yet uplifting OP song definitely gives the impression of one, at any rate. Can you imagine Miyazaki making something like this? My Neighbour Masotan? Stranger things have happened. But upon actually watching the show, it appears that HisoMaso is insistent on being as inappropriate for children as possible without actually crossing the unseen line. I’m not just talking about the workplace full of creeps, or the weird fetish-fuel costumes, or a preview laced with innuendo. There is a certain irreverence towards children’s cartoons underlying HisoMaso, which seems to come out stronger as we go.
Take this episode that’s mainly about befriending Kaizaki Nao (Kurosawa Tomoyo). Normally we may guess her to be the jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold, who is outwardly unapproachable but actually wants wants to help the protagonist but has trouble expressing herself. That’s such a common archetype these days that Hisone simply assumes the best of her Nao-san without question. But Nao actually parodies the archetype by being a jerk through and through, the Asuka to Hisone’s Shinji, a thoroughly terrible person redeemed somewhat only by her inner maiden and her love for Mama. The parodies go on from there. The usually sweet relationship between the girl and the overgrown animal is instead perhaps nightmarish and definitely gross (unless that’s your thing. I won’t judge). Hisone herself demonstrates some of the dense positivity required of protagonists in her position, but it contrasts squarely with her bitterly cynical monologues. She has the advantage of being selective genre savvy, though; she recognises that the mysterious old women are usually sources of wisdom, and indeed last episode the yoghurt lady did provide advice and comfort. But in what must be a deliberate sendup of the whole trope, this week the yoghurt meant absolutely nothing.
Unless it did. Now I’ve gotten paranoid.
I am reminded somewhat of Sora no Woto, which was a military-themed anime that looked cute but was actually underscored by a rather dark premise. Maybe HasoMiso will be like that too; the cast is quirky, the base has an ‘anything goes’ attitude, but maybe sometime down the line it will be revealed that dragon-jets are actually very serious business. I mean, it even makes use of a French song, so if it wasn’t trying remind me of Sora no Woto it’s doing a poor job of it. It’s not a poor association to have, at any rate. I can’t bring myself to care for the whole ‘the next miko’ thing at the moment, but I do welcome the possibility of more depth in the future. Once the entire cast is assembled I’m sure HisoMaso will show us where it wants to go. I just hope it doesn’t do a full 180 turn. The quirk can be good, the satire can be good, and even serious business can be good. The trick is to find the right balance so the show keeps its charm.
Full-length images: 35.
ED: 「Le temps de la rentrée〜恋の家路（新学期)～」 (Le temps de la rentrée ~Koi no Shingakki~) by 久野美咲, 黒沢ともよ (Kuno Misaki, Kurosawa Tomoyo)