And just like that, we’re squarely back in the realm of discomfort comedy that Osomatsu-san seems most comfortable inhabiting. The thing about this series is that it isn’t just a bunch of dick jokes and sight gags – though it does have plenty of those. The comedy is genuinely dark, and I mean some of the darkest I’ve seen in an anime, like, ever. Psychologically speaking this is some seriously grim and desolate ground we’re plowing here.
After a brief intro which packs a lot of meanness into three minutes (at Karamatsu’s expense) we get what I believe is our first episode-length chapter, a “rental girlfriends” plotline that’s more shocking than hilarious most of the time (though it is both). Yes, these do exist in Japan – in addition to the more mundane “escort” services that exist almost everywhere the country does have Rental Kanojo catering to various fetishes, though it’s a relatively new phenomenon in this form.
It’s hard to know where to start with something this preposterous and this disquieting. First of all the notion that Iyami should come up with the idea to be “hybrid” rental girlfriends in the first place (it strikes him while he’s bathing in a public fountain) and that Chibita should agree to it. Then the fact that it takes Iyami as long as it does to figure out why no one is buying… The training montage. And just the sight of Iyami, Chibita and Dayon in their increasingly desperate attire – good gosh, this is really out there where the buses don’t run.
Naturally it’s Dekapan (back in mad scientist mode) who comes to the rescue, with a drug to turn anyone into a pretty girl for an hour (at first, anyway). Iyami’s plan is to exact revenge against the sextuplets for calling the trio ugly (the truth hurts) and he and Chibita (and Dayon, for a while) proceed to fleece and gouge out of every Yen they have and a whole lot they don’t. In the process, of course, they remind us of just how pathetic the sextuplets are – even Choromatsu, who in his heart knows better than to take the ¥500 “Sextuplet Special” at face value is swept away once the girls turn on the charm.
This scene goes on for a long time – maybe too long, given how relentlessly degrading it s for all concerned – though it is peppered with some very funny bits, ending with the perpetrators getting their just desserts and more. My favorite part of the episode, though, is the omake – because I spent the entire B-Part thinking “Where the hell did Dayon go, anyway?” And when he showed up in the beauty pageant and transformed in the middle of his tearful acceptance speech, I did almost as big a spit-take as Matsuzou-san did. The balance of this episode may have been a little off, but that soaring moment of comic inspiration made up for it.