「下半身からビーム / 目クソ鼻クソ / 不法占拠 / 尻遊び」 (Kahanshin kara Beam / Mekuso Hanakuso / Fuhou Senkyo / Shiri Asobi)
“Lower Body Lasers / Pots and Kettles / Illegal Occupation / Butt Play”
So Hanako understanding shogi as a game where people fire lasers out of their butt wasn’t something she made up. Instead, Episode 04 gives us the entire origin story to the idea that, yes, there are people who can fire lasers out of their butts in this universe. Not only this, but there are also aliens that give unsuspecting victims the anal probes necessary to fire said lasers from their butts. Subject A is Hanako’s long-time family servant, Maeda, who once used his butt cannon to avoid having to tell a young Hanako that he had no idea what shogi was, opting to reveal his laser-firing butt trick to save face and give her the false idea of what shogi was. Maeda was a funny addition to the show in this episode as he went lengths to get on Hanako’s good side even if it meant also revealing that her grandfather took him in to train him to control his lasers even though he still destroys toilets at her house with his butt laser diarrhea.
Kasumi was also a ton of fun in this episode as we learn more about what makes her tick with regards to her fear of men. Although Maeda continues to trigger her immense fear of men to the point of uncontrollable rage, she finds a way to cope by shipping fictional men together in the yaoi fan fiction she writes. When Hanako discovers her Harry Potter yaoi, however, she’s forced to both justify her tendency of writing yaoi stories and hear the constructive input of Maeda, whose experience with yaoi begins with a friend’s niece that loves goblin / dwarf doujinshi. None of his input helped at all, but at the very least, she was able to find a mutual teammate in Chisato-sensei, who shares her interest in yaoi to the point of admonishing Hanako for her assumed insult on her one true pairing.
Chisato herself has a lot to do as well with her role as the supervisor of the Pastimer’s Club becoming further solidified by her interactions with the girls and her acquaintances. As the girls try their hand at teoshi sumo, she places herself in the position of looking supportive by shouting encouraging messages to whoever finds her words to be useful, emphasizing that she is on the middle ground on whether she wanted Kasumi’s Chinese contortionist moves to outflank Hanako or for Hanako to pull a victory from nowhere. Sadly, she’s constantly beaten down by the success of others around her much like the other girls as her old friends rub in how successful they’ve been at marriage and life in comparison to her, and offer to introduce her to one of the four Lords of Pastimers to show them what it really means to hold mastery in all pastimes.
The Lord of Pastimers that the club became acquainted with was a fun character in her own as she comes from a prestigious school where she excels in academics and pastimes, yet has full ganguro make-up and claims to have gotten her title from sleeping with almost everyone at a nearby boy’s academy. Even in spite of Hanako trying to outdo her by dressing up in her own make-up reminiscent of The Joker, she gives her a bottle of cleanser as an offering before she leaves.
Much of the fun in Asobi Asobase goes into the level of absurdity and the element of surprise the series loves to dabble into for its jokes and punchlines, preferring to take a given scenario to its most logical extreme. This episode puts this into perspective with the imagination that went into the cast’s personalities, the identities of characters like Maeda and the Lord of Pastimers, and the liberties they take in stretching the limitations of the anime’s world and letting segments go completely off-the-rails. I miss having the puppet show at the end, but it was still a highly hilarious episode nonetheless.