「ロッカくん／クマタンダー2号」 (Rocker-Kun / Kumatander No. 2)
“Rocker-Kun / Kumatander No. 2”
When I sat down to Ueno-san wa Bukiyou, I was expecting something like a lewd coyote and roadrunner. What I found was more like Tonari no Seki-kun—only the girl is the inventor—with a dash of Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! It’s a gag comedy with a premise as old as time. Take a boy and a girl, add a one-way crush, and mix in a giant helping of ineptitude. Hilarity ensues.
The main character is Ueno (Serizawa Yuu), she of the exclamatory pigtails. Imagine Inspector Gadget and Carrie Bradshaw had a baby who grew up to be president of the science club and voilà! She’s trying to snag Tanaka (Tanaka Aimi), the solitary boy in the three member science club. Unstoppable force meet immovable object.
Too embarrassed to confess, Ueno leans hard on what she knows: Science. It’s a rookie mistake, but not unheard of. I recall a certain someone—who shall remain nameless—giving a couple girls poems in his youth. What a buffoon. If only someone had told him that the last time poetry impressed a girl was back when exposed ankles were considered racy, then middle school could’ve been a lot better for me. I mean him. For him… The point is: there’s a reason this type of humor is timeless. Men and women will forever miscommunicate, and watching that is like watching a kid botch a rail slide and come down crotch first: it’s funny because no one wants it to happen to them.
The episode plays out in two parts. The first has Ueno trying to initiate Tanaka into the strangest Passover meal I have ever seen, but the little Judas is having none of it. I should be clearer. She invented a portable filter and wants him to drink her (purified) urine. So… I guess they’re not easing us into this. To be fair, it is purified. Astronauts and hippies have been all over this for years, though as far as I know without the kink factor. Enter Yamashita (Kageyama Akari) , wingwoman extraordinaire, who glugs down half a beaker of a la Ueno. Not all heroes wear capes folks. Unfortunately Tanaka takes that as an experiment completed. Ueno tried to give him a piece of herself and got rejected. That stings.
The second gag revolves around the Kumatander No. 2, which utilizes dark matter to render a localized space invisible, in this case the area under her skirt. She’s hoping for a shuttle launch to infinity and beyond, but it’s a no go. Look, there’s no Goldilocks in young love. Unskilled, you usually either come in too hot or too cold, and based on her cheeks, Ueno is coming in hot, despite whatever cool breeze there might be down below. All this is obviously absurd, but does Tanaka seriously not know that women have something different under their skirts? I’ve got an idea for Ueno. The science club should have a sex ed day. Then again, if he’s playing dumb, then that’s pretty funny. Right now it’s hard to say.
The highs of the episode owe a serious debt to Serizawa Yuu, who is firing on all cylinders. She lectures, simpers, wails, and occasionally deepens into the Japanese equivalent of an angry Long Island landlord. It’s pretty spectacular. The sound effects weren’t bad either. The vaguely Star Wars like music that accompanied Ueno’s evil plan of once-removed seduction and the thundering bass that inaugurated her climbing onto the desk for the skirt raising ceremony were fun embellishments. I hope we get more of that in future episodes. This is a zany show, so why not go all in?
So there you have it. We’ve got a quick, little gag anime. Ueno will likely pursue Tanaka in new and outrageous ways each week, and Tanaka will baka full throttle. Look, no one ever said you needed a complex plot have a good story. The Odyssey is about getting home and Moby Dick is about hunting a fish. Meanwhile, I’ve done both and still no biography.
Novelty is the key going forward. With the right gadgets and gags, this can be a nice little dose of laughter. Of course, that means poor little Ueno is headed for an increasing tally of failure. If it’s any consolation, Thomas Edison developed 10,000 failed prototypes before he invented the lightbulb. Yeah… This might be a runoff folks.
OP: 「閃きハートビート」 (Hirameki Heartbeat) by Itou Miku