Daiki YamashitaSatomi AraiKengo KawanishiTaku Yashiro
Jingai-san no Yome
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Hisayoshi Hirasawa, Takumi Shibata
Writer: WORDS in STEREO
Original creator: Akiwo Yasaka, Yu Aikawa
Actor: Daiki Yamashita, Kengo Kawanishi, Satomi Arai, Taku Yashiro, Yusuke Shirai
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 three-minute episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=21130
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 13 March 2019
Jingai san no Yome
Schoolboy marries blob. The twist is that the schoolboy's the bride, with the blob being a big, mute, not entirely sentient husband. Is it an alien? A yokai? An eight foot tall guinea pig that can stretch its neck to see in third-floor windows? This is surprisingly interesting and funny.
What's cool about this is that it's playing with gender roles in a way that completely sidesteps sexuality. Tomari Hinowa turns into a housewife and blushing maidenly bride, but this can't be read as a joke at the expense of effeminate or gay characters. He's neither gay nor straight. There's no sex involved and it would be bestiality if there were. Tomari's husband, Kanenogi, reminds me a bit of the monsters of Edward Gorey, down to the spindly arms and the appetite for inedible objects. (The key difference is that this show is lovely and charming, whereas Gorey's work is full of horror and violent death, presented for deadpan, unsettling laughs.)
Kanenogi looks a bit like a huge, colourless sweet potato. He has twig-like limbs, a concrete-based diet and a good-natured face like an axolotl's. When feeling particularly loving, he'll either drool or chew on Tomari's head. I think he probably understands human speech, but that's not entirely clear and in practice living with him is like keeping a huge, affectionate dog.
Kanenogi is a laugh, but Tomari is the one the show's really about. He's completely embracing his new identity. He's feminine without being effeminate, which is unusual and at times almost thought-provoking to watch. He's a woman in how he expresses romance, affection and jealousy. Not a teenage girl, but a woman. More specifically, a wife. What's more, this is both normal and accepted in the world of this anime, so he finds himself making new friends at school. They're all schoolboys and they're all wives. They talk about their husbands. They lose all sexual desire for their fellow humans, either boys or girls. They're funny and pretty cool. For what it's worth, the other couples are:
1. SORA AND FUWAI. Fuwai's also shaped a bit like a guinea pig, but he's also cat-sized and a bit touchy. Sora carries him about, compares himself to Tomari-Kanenogi and worries about whether he and Fuwai are lovey-dovey enough. (It's true that Tomari-Kanenogi are the closest and cuddliest of the couples.)
2. MOKUSAIBASHI AND TSUKITSUKA. Mokusaibashi is a scary thug, but hopelessly in love with his husband, a bandage creature. (Tsukitsuka looks like an Egyptian mummy and there's nothing inside. Unwrap him and you'll be left with nothing but intelligent bandages.)
3. TETSUKASA, ROKU AND NANA. Tetsukasa is the student council president and a lucky bastard. Roku and Nana are female cyclops angels. (They can also talk, which makes them unique among husbands.) I'm not sure whether that's a threesome or whether Roku and Nana are a gestalt entity in two bodies, but no one's complaining.
I'd love to see more of this show, but then again three minutes might be the right length. I don't know how far you could carry this joke, after all. Would it fail if you stretched it to 23 minutes? In this short form, though, it's lovely.