Hello and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! We have reached the end of April which means it’s time for me to serve you up our last Fufufu’s Day post! Now, hang onto me as we dive right into some of that classic comedy content and talk about the kind of humor that I see in a lot of anime: the element of the unexpected, absurd, and just downright ridiculous.
Now, there are a lot of kinds of humor in the world–in storytelling–and even in anime. But I often find that the one kind of humor I see time and time again in comedy anime, is the element of surprise OR the gap. Now, what do I meant by these two terms? Well, let’s start with the element of surprise. In this form of comedy anime, things take a turn for the absurd in a way that surprises you with just how ridiculous it is. Take, for example, a scene in Sarazanmai (an already ridiculous show), in which the main characters are having a conversation and in the background–out of nowhere–Keppi materializes a stripper pole just to do a “pole dance~”. Completely unnecessary, out of nowhere, and something you would NOT expect. Another example we can look to? My favorite thing to mention when talking about comedy anime: Grand Blue. Now, this show, while not outwardly right ridiculous, has it’s moments. And they sometimes come out of nowhere. My favorite scene that I enjoy mentioning? I’m pretty sure you already know it. The vodka incident. Why? Because with the fact that we were shown clearly what “oolong tea” and “water” were made of, and the main character saw what it was made of — he still fell right into the trap. And had an over the top reaction that nobody was thinking of. I will never forget that moment.
Another element of this random/unexpected humor, or really any humor–is repetition. Part of the “vodka”/”oolong tea” incident was that it KEPT. HAPPENING. Like, again and again. Even though the characters should have been smart enough to have seen it coming in the future. It was instead that recurring gag that both never caught you by surprise, but also always did. Another anime where randomness + repetition proved to be super humorous was in Ore wo Suki Nano wa Omae Dake ka yo and was none other, than Bench-san. Now, The Bench (capital T, capital B) was essentially an ill omen, and while it actually tended to signify some kind of confession, the fact that it’d appear OUT OF NOWHERE. Brought that really random element, and the fact this scene repeated brought on that repetition that just made it so funny every time.
So, repetition and the element of surprise are clearly tropes in humor that are used widely for anime. So what about the last thing I mentioned? The gap. I can say two things about this: Asobi Asobase and Sakamoto Desu. Both of these examples we have main characters who don’t look and act anything like we’d expect–in fact, it’s quite the opposite so its funnier. Asobi Asobase features cute anime girls, so you’d expect cute anime girl humor right? Wrong. Instead this show is legit chaos theory. Then we have Sakamoto Desu. He’s advertised as the coolest guy in the world, but he looks so average–like every class president in every anime and while everything he does is unexpected, he makes it look SO normal for how absurd it is. It’s like his energy and the energy of the show is completely different. Just like with Asobi Asobase. I like to think gap humor is also an element in Horimiya–mainly because the characters tend to have such extreme personalities and sometimes act in ways we wouldn’t necessarily expect. Like when Hori decides she likes Miyamura being violent towards her, or when Tooru does a shoujo run away from Hori once she’s rejected him. Really, some of the best moments are actually just over the top reactions.
Which actually, over-the-top reactions is what we tend to see in all animations. And one of those things that makes anything funny. When a character reacts so drastically, we can’t help but laugh at the absurdity–the surprise, sometimes the change in art style. This is the kind of humor you see in not just anime but cartoon and other animations as well. Because no matter what, it will always get the audience laughing.
Well, that’s all for today’s Otaku Thursday and a wrap on April Fufufu’s! Hope you all enjoyed some of our comedy content this month, and look forward to more anime reviews, weeby whims, and otaku-related content coming to you in May!