Osomatsu-san – 05

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“Slack-jawed” is not a self-description I use too often when watching anime.  But this show…

Did that episode really just happen?  I mean – damn.  Osomatsu-san had already stamped itself as a dark comedy, but holy crap, that ep just grabbed the audience by the back of the head and shoved our faces into the maw of the great yawning darkness of existential despair.  It almost felt like a violation of the characters’ privacy at times – and it almost felt wrong to laugh even more times.  But that didn’t stop me from doing so.

I thought the bar was set pretty high for with the first part, a sketch featuring the thus-far rarely used Chibita.  After the boys skip out on yet another huge beer and oden tab, he decides to kidnap Karamatsu and ransom him to the others for the amount of the tab (a million Yen, about $8,500).  But this sets into motion a darkly comic chain of events where the remaining sextuplets systematically show no concern for their brother, culminating in throwing him over for a plate of sliced pears.  Chibita feels so bad for Karamatsu that he takes him to an izakaya for sashimi, but eventually decides to burn him at the stake to force the remaining brothers’ hands.  And the ending of the piece…  Oy.

And that was the cheerful half of the episode.

The B-part starts off looking like a fairly typical Osomatsu-san farce – outrageous and in bad taste, but not nearly as grim as it ended up.  Dekapan as a mad scientist and Dayon as his beautiful assistant is pretty random stuff, but it turns out the point here is a ruthless and savage character deconstruction of the fourth brother, Ichimatsu.  This comes in the form of an injection that allows the recipient to discern the full truth of whatever is said to him – originally it was Ichimatsu who was supposed to get the injection so he could talk to the cat (Juushimatsu’s brilliant idea to help his antisocial brother) but the cat ends up getting the shot, and hilarity follows.  Except it doesn’t.

There’s some history here – apparently the original Ichimatsu-kun was also the loner of the group, but got along well with cats.  And there’s some quite moving stuff here, actually – the simpleton Jushimatsu’s sincere desire to help his brother for starters, and then the fact that the cat lets slip Ichimatsu’s secret that one of the reasons he felt OK about not having friends is because he has his brothers.  And the cat (why is he wearing glasses, exactly?) is really funny.  But this is bleak stuff, boy.  All of Ichimatsu’s insecurities – and they’re truly staggering – are laid bare like a gaping wound.  And he eventually chases the cat off for its trouble.

This all works way better than one might think it would.  For one thing Fukuyama Jun does a really nice job bringing Ichimatsu’s inner darkness to life – he can be quite good at this sort of role and rarely gets to play it.  And the discovery one makes is that there’s a layer of sincerely to Osomatsu-san san underneath the snark and the gross-out comedy, and it’s strong enough to make the show believable in moments like the one that ends this chapter.  And it must also be pointed out, the episode closes with a very funny bit of black comedy when we see Karamatsu – who’s been conspicuously absent for the entire B-part.

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8 comments

  1. D

    My heart felt pretty heavy when I was watching the cat reveal ichimatsu's true thoughts, and his reaction too…
    Poor karamatsu….

  2. S

    I don't think I've cringe-laughed more than this since Watamote. The second half was what really shone for me, including the feel-good ending… completely subverted by how Karamatsu showed up to remember us how awful these brothers can be to each other.

    Now, considering how Iyami seems to be the most awful character around (this episode alone he was unmasked as trying to cheat his way into office, business, and a lady's pants…), I am pretty eager to see what they do with him in next episode, that apparently will be centred on him…

  3. e

    Sibling's love is dark and full of terrors. And let's not forget their mother not even realizing one of her NEETo-tachi is missing around the pears :°P
    That said, the second half had me borderline in tears for opposite reasons at the end with the restitution of the kitty and one once-again-overlooked brother.
    Random bits:
    MaiDayon looked pretty good in that outfit actually
    – I think the glasses on the kitty are a ref to (one the many, many gadgets of) Doraemon – Beyond sharing a certain zeitgeist style template similarity ofc -. Talking of Osomatsu and their series pals there's a most recent and timely artcile on ANN. It made me realize why I thought Totoko looked so familiar to me among other things: she's basically the same as Akko-chan whose episodes I managed to sporadically watch as a child on some local and now-forgotten Italian cable station.
    TL;DR: this show hurts so good.

  4. C

    That was incredibly heartwarming… I love it when comedies give me the feels.

  5. A

    When "The End" popped up at the end of the first half, I was like, "No, you're not going to end it here. . . . ARE YOU?!"

    I feel sooo sorry for Karamatsu.

  6. E

    Great episode

  7. O

    1st Half: I was so close to raging over how they gave no shits about Karamatsu’s life. Yes, I get it’s a dark comedy show and all, but it still peeved me off. And this was before Karamatsu became one of my favorites.

    2nd Half: It was scary how much I related to Ichimatsu. Like, that cat may as well have been talking about me, although more on a romantic level rather than a platonic level.

    All in all, it was a great emotional episode.

  8. B

    Whoa, I just watched this episode and someone just commented on it. Go figure. Love the dark corners this series is probing.

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