Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu! – 8

I admit there have been a lot of times, especially this week, when I’ve been angry or wanted to feel sorry for myself that Mitsudomoe only got an eight-episode second season. But I try to remind myself how many great shows never got a second season at all, and that does soften the blow a bit. As does the fact the this abbreviated run was every inch the equal of the first, something not even the great Minami-ke could claim. Perhaps if that show had kept Omori-san at the helm, it could have.

It wouldn’t be Mitsudomoe without crude humor, nastiness, and dancing right on the edge of acceptability – and the finale definitely does that. But this is a show that can be sneakily sentimental at times, and this episode certainly had the feel of a wrap-up – there was a warmth to the material that you don’t see too often. For starters, we had one of the great misunderstandings of the series actually cleared up – Hitoha finally “confessed” to Yabechi that she was a Gachi otaku, at a meet ‘n greet event for Gachi Pink. it wasn’t spectacularly funny, but it felt like a hard-earned reward to see those two finally on the same page. I still think Hitoha is a little hot for teacher myself.

In fact, it was great to see things not breaking badly for Yabechi in general this week – it’s not as if the poor, Job-like guy hasn’t earned it. The next scene was a brilliant one, the all-school relay race at the sports festival. Like the parent-teacher day, this one was hilarious in the way it played up the weird idiosyncrasies of all the characters – in this case the kids in Class 6-3. It was full of great dialogue and perfect timing, and hilarious moments – the misadventures with the baton, watching (and listening to) Mitusba run, Yuuki’s face… And it also had the class banding together with a real sense of team, and – through Chiba’s mad genius and Yabechi’s winning burst – a happy ending when Class 6-3 won the relay. Of course there was that little moment at the end was Yabechi was mistaken for a pervert…

The sweet potato vendor sketch is one I think will be impossible to explain to a non-viewer of this series – there’s just no way that’s understand why it was so riotously funny. But it was – for it’s absurdity, unapologetic crudeness and the battle-of-wits between Hitoha and the vendor. And as for the final sketch, well – as the first season did, this one ended in a burst of unabashed warmth. The flashbacks to the adorable Marui triplets and the hunky Sourjiou were sad and funny at the same time – much as Soujirou himself is. The truth is, the guy might just be the best parent in anime – he’s literally worked himself from being a healthy hunk to being a physical wreck for his kids, and the only one of them who ever shows him any love is Futaba. Until this week, that is – it was fitting to see things come to an end with Hitoha and Mitsuba holding his hands as they walk off into the distance, he on Futaba’s shoulders (and what a freaky little girl she is). Like everyone else was, I think, I was half-expecting the cops to come in and break up that lovely scene – but I’m glad they didn’t. Like Yabe-chi earlier, Soujirou earned it.

It’s such a shame that this series isn’t hugely popular, and I really can’t figure out why. I suppose the lack of romance or teenaged females has something to do with it, and there was always talk that the unconventional art style turned people off. It may sound snobbish, but I really think one problem is that the show is just too smart for it’s own good. Most viewers don’t stick around long enough or think about the material enough to appreciate just how brilliant it is, and on how many levels the humor works. They never get past the crude jokes and the physical gags and they dismiss the series out of hand as a trifle. But it’s not – it’s the best pure comedy of the last two years (at least) as far as I’m concerned.

But then, I’ll wax poetical on that a lot more next week – since we’re getting a previously unaired “bonus” episode and not a recap next week, I’ll save my series review for then.

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