I feel like every time I see Binan Koukou after a week apart, it’s become that much more ludicrous – and it’s the better for it, too. It’s not the case with every comedy, even an absurdist one like this series, but I don’t think it’s possible for Binan Koukou to crank up the silliness factor too much. It’s clear that this is a show whose creators have a lot of fun making it, and that really shines through when the limiters come off.
During my first two years in Japan I spent the better part of every weekday taking Japanese classes in Shibuya, and I had among my classmates many folks from Italy. Those of us who were from places like the States or Australia were pretty much in a constant state of envy because speakers of Mediterranean languages like Italian (or Spanish) were at such an advantage over us, because the vowel sounds in Italian and Japanese are basically identical. While we struggled with hatsuon (pronunciation) they waltzed through with infuriating breeziness.
That segues into tonight’s episode, which featured a pair of twins even more absurd than VEPPer, Bernardo and Alan (Alan?) Salvatore. What was remarkable here, I think, is how effectively these two were portrayed as speaking Japanese with an Italian accent – and I don’t think the same kind of thing would be possible for, say, an American or a German. The funny thing is these two were speaking grammatically correct Japanese (albeit with a few unnaturally stiff turns of phrase) yet I think it would have been possible to tell just by listening to them that they were supposed to be Italians. And that’s you know, kind of a cool thing.
As for what the Salvatore kyoudai were doing here, well – obviously they’re going to be fodder for the Beppu twins and their megalomaniac squirrel. The issue is chest hair (it was kind of obvious from the beginning that hair was what had come between the brothers – as soon as Bernardo lamented that Alan wouldn’t bathe with him anymore). And the monster VEPPer turned him into seemed to be an answer to every anime fan who ever complained about missing nipples (though I’m not sure this was quite what they had in mind). I hope our Italian friends – especially the guys – aren’t too offended by the notion that “chest hair is what makes an Italian boy!”
The issue of brotherhood seems very much a recurring theme of this season on Binan Koukou, which happily means a more crucial role for Goura-san (who’s apparently well-endowed in the follicular arena himself). I mean, if you’re willing to rip out your own chest hair for someone – that’s love, man. And I think what’s ultimately driving the Beppu twins isn’t so much a desire to rule the world (that’s more Dadacha’s department) but envy that Yumoto and Goura seem to have the ultimate in a caring fraternal relationship. I think that means sooner or later they’re going to leapfrog over these sidebar monster plots and jump directly into trying to drive a wedge between the Hakone boys. And while I don’t think there’s much of a chance of success there, it would make for an interesting turn of events to see them try.