Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou – 02

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If there were ever a series that was destined to be either ignored or abjectly derided by Western anime fans, it’s surely Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou.  It’s a funny-looking series about stuff that anime are never about, and it’s a short to boot.  There was never a chance this show was going to receive much acclaim or attention, but that doesn’t make it any less of a standout.

I have certain natural biases in favor of this show – I love Akitarou Daichi as a director, and I went to school every weekday in Shibuya for two years and know it about as well as any foreigner can know any Byzantine Tokyo neighborhood.  But I’d love Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou anyway, because it’s really smart in the way it goes about telling its charming little story.  Even the little stuff like Saddam-san telling his son to stir the tsukemono “33 times the first time around, 45 times the second” shows that humor is being mined even in the little details here.  I love the visual style and the cast, too – especially Daiki Yamashita, who’s slowly branching out and proving he can be excellent at roles quite different than Onoda Sakamichi.

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There were a ton of funny moments here, like the talking dog at the record shop where Agetarou learned about digging the crates (he likes big butts and he cannot lie) and pretty much everything about the DJ party at the end of the episode.  But my favorite moment was when Agetarou popped Grandmaster Fry’s (I’m pretty sure now that’s the right Romanization) LP on the turntable and couldn’t figure out why there was no sound.  I went into a Starbucks in LA a few years ago and ended up in conversation with a young lady of about 20 (working on her screenplay, natch), and eventually started talking about records.  *What’s that?” she asked, and I sighed at the fact that she didn’t know that’s what wax was called.  But it turned out she didn’t even know what records were – she’d never seen or heard of an LP, a 45 or a turntable.  Young people really are that clueless, bless their hearts…

I may not have known all that much about rare grooves or mixers going in, but I know good anime when I see it and this is good anime.  And if only a few of us are open-minded enough to figure it out, so be it.  My only complaint with Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou, in fact, is that it’s too damn short – I’d love to have 22 minutes of this series every week.




  1. P

    All the reasons you listed, why this anime will be ignored is spot on but boy do I LOVE it! AOTS for me, hands down LOL. But I always loved when anime does stuff that is different (I mean isn’t that why many of us came to into the fandom?). Also, how they are handling the music to the comedic timing of it all, it’s really good stuff. Nice shout out to the main seiyuu really showing some range this season.

    Also, if they ever I mean if they ever play something that remotely sounds like dancehall music (music from my country,, Jamaica and spiritual relative to hip hop) I’m gonna go crazy. But it might be asking too much though there is a healthy dancehall subculture in Shibuya.

  2. e

    This is so educational :,D. For the record (ehe) I know what records were myself – and that little 33 vs 45 line had me chuckling – but as for wax being called ‘records’ in AE? That’s news to me. So thank you Enzo – even if you are a cradlerobber. – . I feel enlightened!
    My little not-so-trivia contribution as it was not made explicit in your post and hey not everybody may know about it: this and the screenshot before that are most likely a nod to King Crimson’s album cover for their 21st Century Schizoid Man single and related In The Court Of The Crimson King :DD. Definitely recommended listening btw.

    Now… this anime is not turning me into a clubbing fan but on the other hand it’s really making me crave pork and pickles. My kingdom for tonkatsu! Funnily enough I am not crazy about its thin-slice-y beefy Italian cousin, the Milanese cotoletta [impanata]’ . The gut wants what it wants.
    Club culture notwisthstanding is definitely a captivating watch and rather funny. Plus I really dig the chara design. It’s like a mix between those Mameshiba commercials – youtube them! they’ll make you adorably uncomfortable with a side dish of earworm jingle – and a bunch of Spanish vintage educational /children books illustrations I spent some summers leafing through in my teenage years. They belonged to a now departed dear acquaintance from Barcelona and were printed circa late Sixties/mid-Seventies. Rare groove retro vibe, yo!

  3. Hey – I wasn’t trying to pick her up. in LA coffeehouse conversations like that start all the time – it’s a very casual city.

    I adore Tonkatsu, I have to say – I did even before I lived in Japan. It’s an especially great low-medium priced dinner option when you live in Tokyo, though.

  4. e

    @Enzo: I was just teasing you a bit you dear piece of Methuselah. Ah, these youth born late into last century and afterwards might not even know about music tapes and their unraveling woes… *flow oh my mammoth tears*
    Your LA reminds me a bit of how South and NW Italy used to be until the late Eighties. May it keep being so, that train is mostly gone for us here.

    I can’t recall you writing about your tonkatsu experiences in the culture posts – pity! – but if you ever feel like expanding on the subject for future blog posts 😀 …

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