Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Joshiraku - Episode 13 (Completed)

It's certainly a case of better late than never, as we finally reach the grand (and, needless to say, hugely self-referential) finale of Joshiraku.

Any sanguine thoughts about the end of the series are soon interrupted however by the random introduction of a new and original character - the aptly named Iritatei Anoingu, who wastes no time in getting under everybody's skin by being enthusiastically irritating while succeeding in destroying the character balance of the show entirely, even going to the extent of recreating the show's opening in perhaps the single funniest thing this series has delivered to date.

Once Iritatei is got rid of (or at least flooded with sufficient random characters to be unnoticeable), we head off to Akihabara for our final field trip with the rakugo girls - a world that is not just an otaku's paradise, but also the home of a nightmarish maze of a train station, frequent police spot checks, over-priced rice cookers and frustratingly catch theme tunes for big-name shops in the district.  Of course, Joshiraku being what it is we finish the series by questioning whether the series should have been made into an anime at all (yes it should, after watching this), and lamenting the disaster that is adding a little extra to... well, anything really, whether it's a movie adaptation or Gan's nudity.

So ends a series that hasn't always hit the mark (hey, it's a comedy anime, since when has such a series done so without fail?) but has nonetheless been hugely entertaining more often than not - in fact, I can't think of another comedy this year that has made me laugh quite as long or hard as Joshiraku when its hit the mark.  Although still dense with cultural references and the like, the series still feels broadly more accessible than Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which perhaps made it less delightful when you knew what it was talking about but left us with a few less "huh?" moments overall.  Everything has to come to an end, as the series makes pains to point out in its closing scene, but whether its main cast think it should have been made into an anime or not I'll miss seeing Joshiraku on my TV screen now it's gone - a rare comedy success in a year that hasn't been the most memorable for getting belly laughs from me.

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