Mitsudomoe is creative, inventive, and original. But, like all great comedies, it relies on the tried and true archetypes of humor. It seems to me that the Mitsuba-Futaba dynamic comes down to a classic relationship that anyone who’s watched Laverne and Shirley would know about. The classic description of those marvelous Yiddish words is as follows – “The Schlemiel is the one that spills the soup. The Schlemazel is the one she spills it on”. Futaba is the classic Schlemiel, and Mitsuba the perfect Schlemazel.
Really, poor Mitsuba. Shin-chan gets a break this week as it’s her turn in the pervert seat. She brings some of it on herself with her overbearing demeanor, but Mitsuba is basically a nice girl – she just tries too hard to prove she’s not. But as often as not it’s Futaba who unwittingly heaps the physical and emotional trauma on her. This time the medium is Miku’s bratty otouto Ryuuta. In turn, she flashes him her panties (mistakenly thinking Hitoha had just done worse and unable to accept Youngest as the better perv),indoctrinates he and his female 1st-grade classmnates into wholly inappropriate language (nympho!) and attempts to undress him (with Futaba’s help) in a department store. In the process, she’s officially branded as “Super-nympho” by Chiba. In a semi-serious moment, she again shows her essential good nature by scaring off her new-found fan club so that they won’t unwittingly announce their nympho status to adult perverts.
The source of all this misunderstanding – and no one does misunderstanding like Mitsudomoe – is of course, Gachi Rangers. First, the tank top and belt Hitoha is actually showing off to Ryuuta, and later are accidentally ripped/broken by Mitsu and Futaba-chan. Futaba, innocent soul she, finally apologizes to Hitoha and offers her a truly brilliant homemade Gachi shirt, but Mitsuba decides to blame the broken belt on Dad. He, of course, proves what a good Daddy he is by not only owning that he knows all about Hitoha’s otaku bent, but also that Mitsuba wanted the same belt for herself. As reward for all her troubles, Mitsuba ends up locked in the shed again during dinner and getting a hemorrhoidal suppository shoved up her… Well – you know where.
The director of this series is Masahito Ohta, who worked on the first Mianmi-ke series (the great one) and he’s proved the perfect choice. This series walks the fine line being outrageously filthy and innocent, and between nasty and heartfelt, and there’s no other director who could have done it better. As we’ve seen all the faults of the characters, we’ve also been slowly made to realize that they’re all basically decent – just socially inept in their own ways. Rarely have we seen a comedy so agile and skilled at finding the sweet spot of every comic situation, only rarely taking things too far or stopping short of the big payoff. Only three eps to go, alas, though there is a DVD-special ep upcoming too. I pray the DVD and OST sales are good enough to allow a second season, as there’s enough manga out there to make that happen and the show is more than brilliant enough to deserve it.