OP: 「 Give It Up?」 by Kuroneko
「案件1」 (Anken 1)
The first episode Tenchi Souzou Design-bu plays out as a tongue-in-cheek comedy that boils the creation of animals down to a series of decisions made by the boardroom of an OEM assembled by God to whip up the world’s creatures. But in the process of making a cute, fun anime that aims to make sense of how animals were created, it also presents it in such a mundane manner that it ends up getting watered down as your standard workplace comedy with animal facts.
If you work a corporate job on a creative and/or development team, it feels far more triggering to have to see the characters squabble about what can be feasibly done with the requests of both their key supervisor and their overzealous co-workers that want it their way and their way alone. It’s cathartic to see Higuchi come in and logically shut down some of the more outlandish ideas like creating a Pegasus or a Deer with a long neck because why even come up with unrealistic ideas that would look terrible on paper and in action. But it doesn’t make for good comedy when much of their job is presented so seriously that it has the entertainment factor of a boardroom meeting to discuss a new item to roll-out before Q4 when the investors grow noticeably impatient.
That isn’t to say that the show doesn’t try to be funny since there is some quirky fun to be had with the different animal ideas or characters. Kanamori might still embody the common anime stereotype of a trans-woman who has overt masculine features and an unpleasant diva attitude about what is and isn’t pretty, but it was amusing to see the lengths she went to create the Secretary Bird specifically to screw over the Snake that Mizushima invented. I got the most laughs out of Kimura, the team’s taste expert who has to come up with all of the flavors that different animals have, and is quick to get out-of-hand when he wants to create animals for the express purpose of eating them such as a wiggling spicy sausage.
But if there are two things the first episode prided itself on, it’s the collaborative efforts of the design team and doling out some basic animal facts. The latter of which really did make it feel like your supervisor wanted to pepper in clips from Animal Planet during their Powerpoint presentation. They are nice and give the show a sense of identity as a comedy that wants to make jokes about how odd and unusual animals can be. But you can see how those kinds of jokes can be hit-or-miss unless you are a lot younger and are just learning about how funny it is that a giraffe’s neck is so long. It’s a creative series concept and I was looking forward to this one as a newer 2021 comedy anime, but I’ll have to sit out on this one considering how it only drudges up the trials and tribulations of contending with the bureaucracy that comes with the corporate work culture of having to collaborate with divisions of a business that are as different in ideology as night and day.
ED: 「Designed by Heaven!」by Paraiso Shain Stars