「ダニエル / ブラ会議 / メルヘン・バトルロワイヤル / 紙のみぞ戦争」 (Daniel / Bra Kaigi / Marchen Battle Royal / Kami no Mizo Sensou)
“Daniel / Bra Meeting / Fairy Tale Battle Royale / Paper Wars”
The last episode ends Asobi Asobase the breast way by focusing on the uphill battle Hanako has against the Boob Gods in both her confrontation with a baby and her pursuit of a stylish new bra. The baby segment was amusing in how creepy the baby that Higuchi-sensei’s wrestler friend left with them had increasingly became throughout the section. The deep voice that the girls heard went from commenting on Hanako’s flat chest and Olivia’s spicy armpit to miming an ominous message about finding a new toy with the Pastimers Club. Pretending to smoke the pacifier like a cigar is one thing, but then he gleefully grabs Kasumi’s chest and feeds Hanako’s hair through a mini-fan, lending itself to the idea that the baby they are watching over must have been a menacing and unsettling person in their past life. Hanako’s optimism in finding cuter bras with an AA cup starts out promising, but as soon as they tell her that it’s way smaller than the standard sizing, she quickly loses her cool. It didn’t help that her frame of reference is Maeda and her grandpa’s experience with breasts and a Jackie Chan film in determining bust sizes.
Although the first two sections were alright, it’s funniest moments were the two that would follow. Olivia’s addiction to a battle royale game called Fairy Tale Hell from the Pineapple Store offered a comical observation of how the Pastimers would react to being stuck in a game where you’re dropped in a deathmatch with little to nothing to go off of. The gratuitous gore of the game was hilarious, but nothing prepared viewers to seeing that the leader of Team HISHA that actively trolls and kills off the Pastimers is the president of the Shogi Club who might not be able to play shogi again, but will achieve her revenge by happily slaughtering them in an online video game.
The final Paper Wars segment was also amusing in how many characters Hanako and Maeda had to make up in order to try to win the game. Kasumi and Olivia had standard tools to help protect the princess that only slowly got silly with dragons and motivational speakers on their side. However, Hanako had doted on a creepy guy named Mister Man with a stone gaze to do her bidding while Maeda’s automatic decision every time was to draw a parasitic monster that he considered to be the strongest creature in the world. This would prove to be even funnier with how common the parasite would be and how often it’d show up in the game all because Maeda loves it.
It’s no secret that I absolutely loved Asobi Asobase, and will stick to these convictions by saying it’s one of the best comedies around. What initially came off like a fluffier slice-of-life turned out to be a wickedly eccentric comedy anime that pushed the limits of how far it’s three leads would go to come out ahead.
Kasumi was an amusing character as she took on challenges from a logistical perspective that relished in taking full advantage of those around her and getting opportunities to take out her aggression on them. Her vulnerability is also interesting as she’s easily embarrassed she gets opens up her flustered site, especially when it comes to things she likes such as yaoi and fantasy stories. Olivia was also very funny as an American girl raised in Japan who has to face the trials and tribulations of having students assume she’s good at English, let alone studying. Because of her outright refusal to study or apply herself, she’s quick to dig for ways to avoid any scenario that puts her on the spot, often to the tune of a recorder cover of the Star Spangled Banner. Among her interests in staying covert and being quickly fascinated by anything that doesn’t involve schoolwork is the running joke of her armpits smelling spicy, something that ends up creating many complications for her friends, who want to navigate around this fact so that doesn’t have to be that out in the open for her to feel bad about. Hanako is one of the show’s stand-out characters of the main three as the average girl who is irrational and spiteful about not being considered popular. She’s the most audacious of the three as she despises anyone that doesn’t fit her worldview, and has an inquisition she would regularly stir up to shun and punish those she has it out for. Despite this, she is quick to become cheerier the moment she’s presented with the possibility of being popular herself. Kino Hina is a shining star as she can both present her more jovial voice in a bubbly tone and, on the same coin, utterly destroy her voice with Hanako’s screams and battle cries.
The side characters are also lovably crazy with each one bringing the laughs in their own way. The most reoccurring ones were fleshed out well with Maeda having a whole backstory about his laser ability and his penchant for being an oddball, Higuchi-sensei trying to deal with the rowdy kids she has to supervise while sorting things out with her personal regrets, Okaa-san having a cute bond with her fellow Occult Club member Agrippa, Aozora working to extort those around her while keeping her true sex a secret, the male teacher whose curiosity and willingness to go along with everyone’s story ends up getting him repeatedly sick and/or injured, and the Student Council President taking grief with the amount of trouble she finds herself in and happily trying to keep the Pastimers Club away from her. As the episodes passed by, many new characters were introduced that were as funny as the rest with Fujiwara admiring English to the point of incorporating it into her speech pattern, the Shogi Club President ready to get in a life-threatening bike wreck to win a game against the Pastimers, and the weird circle of legendary Pastimers who win the Pastimers Club’s respect despite being predominantly gyaru.
The jokes in Asobi Asobase were rapid fire and had an ideal pattern to them. While some focused on how hellbent the girls are to come out at top of casual pastime games or efforts to move up in social cliques, others were from the perspective of characters who attempt to solve their problems by digging themselves in a hole further and further. With the lengths the characters go to come up with worse solutions to issues, it amplifies so many of the jokes to heights that make the show’s sense of humor as irreverent as it is irresistible. It also helps that conventions that would otherwise feel like they’d be overdone like yelling, reaction faces, and running gags manage to stay fresh with the variety that appears in the octave of Hanako screeching, the artistic flair of each face, and the relevance that the reoccurring jokes have to a situation. Instead of feeling like it’s beating a dead horse, it ends up using a reoccurring reference as the payoff to the original moment such as the teacher getting poisoned by the pool water he tasted or the Shogi Club President reappearing as their battle royale opponent. Even the most prevalent joke of Olivia’s spicy armpits always comes up to make a joke even more powerful like with the bacteria phone game or the factoid showing up in a archival book of everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets.
Asobi Asobase stands out easily this season with the comedy goldmine that the series stumbled across in each of its jokes. Many comedy anime have hit-or-miss segments that decline in comedic factor as they get further into the later chapters, but every episode of Asobi Asobase has been just as funny, if not funnier, than the last. It’s facial reactions are a riot as is the extreme edge of their heavy metal ending and the puppet show that occasionally appears, but it’s never a crutch for the show to fall on as the humor complements these additions. Rather than being defined by its shouts and faces, it’s melded into the level of depravity the characters have to encounter as the show goes on. I wasn’t prepared for it to end so quickly, but I’ll keep holding out for another season, and support any future developments that come along for the series.