The mix of comedy and drama in Binbougami has been just right lately. That is to say, mostly comedy – but comedy where the characters actually matter and behave in a way that makes sense.
Here’s a little snippet of my “First Impressions” post:
But the breakout performance is by Uchiyama Yumi as Momiji, the one they send to Earth to rectify the situation. HanaKana is fine in delivering one of her classic yandere/deredere hybrid performances, but Uchiyama-san is really, really funny here as the bitter, snarky and morose Momiji.
There have been times over the course of this series that I was disappointed that Momiji wasn’t a bigger part of the equation, because I find her to be consistently the funniest character in the show and I’ve loved Uchiyama-san’s performance from day one. We got a real chance to hear her shine this week, though, as she convincingly turned the character on its ear – taking the over-the-top, twisted and bellicose Poverty God and giving us a hilarious send-up of every good girl trope in anime. Uchiyama is not a huge name in the industry – certainly nowhere close to HanaKana’s level – but she’s giving what I consider to be a genius comedy performance in Binbougami Ga!.
Speaking of comedic genius, I have to single out the Death Note parody from the first half of the episode today as one of the funniest scenes in anime comedy this year. Binbougami is no stranger to genre parody of course, and Death Note is no stranger to being parodied, but this was brilliantly done (especially Ichiko as L, with a dash of N). Binbougami has a terrific eye for parody, and I think a lot of it comes from the wit and detail in the art – if the story of an anime or manga can be seen in the faces, then a parody can’t really work unless it gets the expressions just right. The fourth wall was obliterated long ago with this series, but they keep going back to the well and it just never seems to run dry.
I don’t know about you, but I found myself sort of disappointed when it seemed as if Moumou and Bobby were going to turn Momiji back into a dirty girl. She’s definitely good fun that way, but I didn’t find her “Boo-boo go away!” persona boring or tiresome at all – in fact, she was both funny and adorable and since Ichiko is something of a hellion herself it makes a nice contrast. It’s also sort of funny that good girl Momiji (so pure Bobby couldn’t even grope her) was probably catching more fortune with honey than her dirty persona (they seem to be equivalent to separate and distinct self-aware personalities) was with vinegar. How fitting that it was Keita’s otouto Ryuuta who was responsible for filthifying Teddy (who was almost as cute as Momiji in good mode), as everything comes full circle in time for next week’s finale. It doesn’t look too good for a second season based on sales, which I find a bit puzzling – but I’ll talk more about that in the series review next week.