Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu! – 4

Ika-chan!  Noooooooooo!

There’s been no pure comedy in the last few years as fearless, hilarious at the top end and most strikingly, creative as Mitsudomoe. The level of sophistication in the humor is deceptive and at times absolutely stunning, as was the case with the final sketch and ED this week. This is as good as anime comedy has been since the first season of Minami-ke – the tragedy is, since this is only an 8-episode run the season is already half over.

There were no losers this week, though the finale was the clear class of the field. If there was a theme this week it was the pool, beginning with Futaba’s dunderheaded – now there’s a surprise – scheme to make a water slide out of floorboards for the school pool. Most of the girls, including Futaba and Sugisaki, end up tearing a big hole in the butt of their school swimsuits on a nail and spend the rest of the skit trying to figure out how to cover it up. This is a rare sketch in that Futaba has an almost happy ending.

We also get a good dose of Chiba in pervert mode, this time working on another secret move – the upside-down shirt flip. As Shin-chan points out Chiba’s moves are getting increasingly more specialized and useless, but just when Chiba figures he’s got a winner and can pull the rare double-bill of panties and chest by flipping Hitoha’s one-piece, she foils him by having bloomers and a Gachi belt underneath. Sugisaki has her turn in the spotlight, trying to freak Mitsuba out by photoshopping Hitoha’s face as a “ghost” in a series of photos of her older sister, but it ends up blowing up in her face when Matsuoka and Hitoha – who’s very unhappy when she recognizes her own face as the ghost – get involved. And Shin-chan gets humiliated yet again, but not before a pretty heartwarming number where Futaba shows beyond a doubt how much she cares for him when he falls ill at the summer festival. Alas, as he ends up on his mother’s doorstep with sexy panties on his head his reputation is tarnished even with his mother.

All that is a prelude, though, to the final sketch. That’s where we get genius approaching the barrel sketch from episode 10 of the first season. It’s back to the pool, this time the water park. Hitoha can’t swim and rejects all advances to teach her from Soujirou and Futaba. She finally ends up relaxing in the “lazy river” pool on an inner tube and starting to enjoy herself, but her peace is short-lived. We’re now treated to a string of fabulously staged camera shots and visual and musical humor, starting with Futaba’s quite literally falling from the sky as seen from Hitoha’s POV. I can only speak for myself, but when the strains of “Nearer My God to Thee” started and Hitoha looked up to see first, a string quartet on the pool deck and second, her inner tube leaking I absolutely lost it. It’s one gem after another from this point – Hitoha’s “death scene”, Futaba’s rescue, and the special ED which ends with Hitoha – again quite literally – breaking the fourth wall. Fantastic.

Don’t make endings where I die!

I’m noticing that the writing staff have done a great job involving all the characters in the comedy this season – even more important given how short it is. Though we’ve only had three non-Gachi episodes everyone has featured in at least one sketch. It’s clear to see the influence of director Masahiko Ohta here – he’s really proving himself as good with comedy as anyone in the business today. The voice cast is truly stellar too, with Haruka Tomatsu (Hitoha) especially superb this week.  Even the PV got in on the greatness – with Futaba’s line about Shin-chan sounding just like his mother. Makes perfect sense given that they have the same seiyuu…

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