I’m not going to talk about Osomatsu-san for too long, because I don’t want to use up all I have to say about it this week (cough). But I did want to comment on this TV special, which was part of a collaboration with the Japanese Racing Association. Partly because it was very funny (which Osomatsu-san generally is), but also because it’s a fascinatingly bizarre case of anime as a promotional tool.
Here’s the thing – this show is enormously successful by any standard. Obviously being associated with it is excellent publicity. But as a business (and make no mistake, the JRA is big business) do you really want to have your brand associated with horse cock jokes (including a character getting deflowered on one) and mocking the idiotic behavior of racing fans? I guess if the answer wasn’t yes, “Ouma de Kobanashi” wouldn’t exist – and I’m certainly glad it does. I guess the sheer popularity of Osomatsu-san outweighs any concerns about its content. But boy, whoever made the decision to sign the deal has cojones till next Tuesday.
As the title implies, this is a loosely-connected string of vignettes around a horse racing theme. As usual when Osomatsu-san goes this route they vary in quality, but it’s generally a good batch. Highlights for me were Totoko trying to land a rich horse owner and drooling over well-endowed stallions, the rules of racetrack etiquette (dodgy stuff for the patron, I would have thought) and the various non-horses the brothers tried to sneak past Choromatsu (including a cheetah and Jyuushimatsu). As is often the case, though, it was the utterly stupid antics of the supporting players that made me laugh the hardest – the final sketch was gold. Dayon has no right to be as hilarious as he is, as he’s the very definition of a one-joke character. But it works so damn well…
There’s one other interesting note about this special, which was the “See you again sometime!” End Card. Make of it what you will – it sounds pretty non-specific when taken at face value. But shows that land in the top 10 all-time in disc sales don’t come around too often (obviously) and it hardly seems likely that all the Osomatsu-san we’re going to see is the occasional horse cock sketch sponsored by the JRA. I suspect the matter of a second season (and more) is a question of when, not if, and I’ll certainly be looking forward to that “when”.