「ビーサンとB4 / (お)かない (か)かない (し)あげない」 (Biisan to B4 / (O)kanai (Ka)kanai (Shi)agenai)
“Beach Sandals and B4 /Don’t Place, Don’t Draw, Don’t Finish Up”
From the three anime seasons I’ve watched and the numerous volumes of manga I’ve read of Zetsubou-sensei, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two prominent forms of comedy that Kumeta excels at: Situational Comedy and Pun-based Humor. While the first episode of Kakushigoto had the latter as its foundational material, the former shows up in all of its glory this time around as Kakushi finds himself trying to escape otherwise hopeless situations through extraordinarily desperate means.
Last season’s Eizouken had a scene where the characters discussed the practice of purchasing swords as a prop to help get in the headspace of a swordsman and how their movements would come across in animation. When you draw absurdist ecchi manga, however, you might find yourself in a situation where you’ve accrued enough weapons, lingerie, and questionable search history results to garner unwanted attention. It made up one of the funnier scenarios in the episode that was unrelated to hiding secrets from Hime as Kakushi and his staff have the difficult mission of trying to tell someone about the work you do to avoid legal repercussions.
Similarly, the episode goes into the several outlets of off-time that mangaka has to take in order to refresh without getting too lost in unproductive hobbies. The episode begins with a healthier example as the team makes gyoza dumplings to get their mind off of manga without getting too inactive. But when they are stranded in a cabin during Hime’s field trip due to a typhoon, they are forced to take drastic measures to spend time and start deliriously drawing an experimental (and oddly usable) manga chapter in an effort to keep their minds off of the electricity going out.
This episode also had some nice small moments that fleshed out the supporting cast. Ichiko is featured prominently in the first quarter of the episode as she’s the chaperone for Hime’s camping trip. When Kakushi discusses Hime fondly without mentioning her by name, Ichiko immediately misconstrues this twice as Kakushi showing interest in going out with her. This was also a special episode for Kakei as she was the first one to resort to drawing manga in the cabin and gets the idea to put on a Hime mask to pretend to be his daughter to help him out. There’s also an amusing appearance from Kakushi’s Editor Tomaruin, who initially gives up on helping Kakushi get rid of the unlicensed “Tights in the Wind” merch from a festival Hime is at because it’s unpopular and no one would buy it anyways.
Although this was the first episode where the comedic timing felt right at home with Zetsubou-sensei in my eyes, there is a deeper exploration of the future as well. The episode ends on another complicated flashforward to when Hime discovers his secret. She realizes that she never tried to find out and was too scared to find out. With all of the boxes that have emerged over the years, she’s worried that because of all of the secrets he’s cultivated, that if she were to find out who he was and what he did, she would lose the image she had of the caring father who took care of her as he hid his private life.
His staffers might’ve been able to keep the secret and respect his wishes, but they were also privy to the fact that she would likely take it a certain way that his life with her was, for the most part, fabricated. He might have loved his daughter immensely, but there would be no way of gauging on Hime’s end if what he was hiding was worse than the truth.
One thing that Ichiko says hones in on Kakushi’s fatal flaw of overthinking what Hime might think of him. Where he becomes so concerned with hiding his secret that he doesn’t think that maybe Hime wouldn’t bother to pry or show concern for her father’s manga. Much of this starts show when he starts to get curious about what Hime thought of him only to bring up his curry.
She doesn’t need to concern herself with her father’s secrets because she’s just enjoying the best of her youth, and it’s only after he wanted to give her access to his old files that she started to think the worst of his efforts to salvage his daughter’s image of what he does for a living. It was still a hilarious episode and got more laughs out of me this time around, but it can be difficult to keep the tone set when you’re not sure whether to laugh at Kakushi’s efforts to keep his life a secret or be disappointed that he was never able to open up to Hime.