Spring 2015 Spotlight: Disappointment of the Season

I’m still watching 17 of this season’s shows. That’s quite a few if I may say so myself. And they’re not all perfect. Punchline is confusing and lacks direction. Kekkai Sensen has wonderful direction but so far lacks any meaningful substance. Re-Kan flip flops between loud comedy(including a perverted cat) and more serious drama, which feels a bit jarring at times. Yuki-chan is cute and all, but Haruhi is actually making it more boring somehow. And, finally, Arslan just kind of feels underwhelming. The visuals simply can’t keep up with the action that is going on. It’s almost painful to watch.

But none of these shows are disappointing, because I had many expectations or hopes regarding them. There is one show, however, that I did have high hopes for.

 

Disappointment of the Season: Ore Monogatari!!

Without trying to sound like an apologist, I’d like to preface this by saying that I do still like and enjoy the show. It just differs from my expectations so much that it feels disappointing. I expected an average shoujo romcom with a kind of comedy that I, as a big guy, could relate to and find really funny. And unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The silver lining is that the romance is actually pretty good and very adorable. It’s moving at a reasonable pace as well. But the comedy is depressingly different from what I wanted it to be. My problem stems from that scene in episode 1 where Takeo punches the groper into a wall. I know that’s not supposed to be funny, but it does set the tone for most of the jokes that follow. That scene is a power fantasy, and I don’t want to relate to a guy who loses his cool and engages in physical assault for any reason. Luckily there haven’t been any similar serious scenes since, but the jokes are just as unfunny. Why does the show keep portraying Takeo as a brutish gorilla? Why does he sound like a shouting dying chain smoker? Why must his, and all other big guy characters’, lips be drawn in that stupid way? Why are all jokes related to him being freakishly strong? Why is he portrayed as dumb and clueless when it comes to activities beside sports and heavy lifting? Why does he constantly keep losing his cool?

Ore Monogatari 02

I despise this character design

I’m not trying to make it sound like the things I’m complaining about are the results of inherently bad writing, but they do share a common element. All of the comedy in this show stems from the most generic “big guy” stereotype: Frightening, strong, dumb, indelicate, crude. And I find that stereotype tired and unfunny. I do like that Yamato refuses to play into the stereotype, but she still acknowledges it(“I’m actually pretty strong too”). And no, the show is not internally criticising or making fun of the stereotype, it’s being used sincerely. And the most frustrating thing about this is that there are many possible great jokes that relate purely to physical size rather than a stereotype, but the show isn’t using any of them. Jokes like hitting your head on the door frame(or any other low object), getting stuck in the door frame(or any other narrow opening), getting angry at the door frame(or any other low or narrow object), or being afraid of the ground(because falling hurts more the taller you are).

These are the kind of jokes that I actually find funny, and they also don’t make sweeping assumptions about big guys. These are kind of jokes I expected from the show, but the show didn’t deliver. That’s why I’m disappointed.

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