Kenta MiyakeSho HayamiMiyu MatsukiShinji Kawada
Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn't Exist
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2015: S
Also known as: Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Director: Youhei Suzuki
Original creator: Hirotaka Akagi
Actor: Shizuka Ishigami, Yusuke Kobayashi, Ken Narita, Kenta Miyake, Miyu Matsuki, Saori Goto, Satomi Arai, Sayaka Ohara, Sumire Uesaka, Yui Horie, Yui Ogura, Atsushi Ono, Hajime Iijima, Haruka Yamazaki, Motomu Kiyokawa, Shinji Kawada, Sho Hayami
Keywords: anime, comedy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 18 October 2015
Shimo neta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Imagine an Orwellian world that's outlawed indecency. This is enforced by collars that monitor your speech and by wristbands that know what you're writing or drawing. Anti-terrorist squads with machine guns will be deployed even against schoolboys who've found a dirty magazine.
Now imagine that this is an anime. Obviously there are taste issues. How would you tackle them?
No, that's wrong. I said "anime". This show's idea of a taste problem is how to abandon good taste as offensively as possible. Reconsider from that point of view.
No, you're still nowhere near. These people are pros. Whatever you've just thought up, they've trumped it. Well, unless you'd considered the government going taking all this to its logical conclusion and outlawing women. I'd been half-expecting that, but it doesn't happen. I suppose it would have been more like fundamentalist Islam regimes than the puritan PTA organisations that are the target of this parody. (Someone, please, broadcast this show in Saudi Arabia. You'll probably be executed, but it'll be worth it.)
The Japanese media watchdog group Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization (BPO) received complaints about this show. I imagine the showrunners would have been upset if it hadn't.
This show is brilliant, but also unwatchable for normal people. It adores being offensive. It turns tastelessness into an artform. The results are very, very funny, but they're crossing the line so often that it's in a quantum state. Its heroes are the ero-terrorists of SOX, whose goals involve dirty pictures, home-made sex toys, etc. They don't need or want guns, since a girl threatening to disrobe throws the police into far more panic. (This is also funny.) Our heroes include:
TANUKICHI OKUMA - who admires the pure, virginal Anna and wants nothing to do with perversion. He's the show's only normal character, capable of reacting like a sane person to the deranged filth that spurts from everyone else. He's a member of SOX, but also of his school's decency-promoting Student Council.
AYAME KAJOU (BLUE SNOW) - founder of SOX and depraved filth-monger. Everything she says is full of childish obscenity. She's a pure idealist in her way, except that her ideals involve distributing porn. She believes that Japan is messed up and that SOX are an educational organisation, so she refuses to use guns or get involved with perverts (e.g. panty thieves). She's also obsessed with all things sexual and thinks what she does is funny.
OTOME SAOTOME - a schoolgirl genius artist who talks like a 100-year-old grandmother, or possibly a frog. She's fixated on what she can't draw, i.e. that.
KOSURI ONIGASHIRA - an underage girl who's a bit too enthusiastic about the "terrorist" bit. Her hair looks like a penis.
HYOUKA FUWA - a schoolgirl scientist who's trying to investigate reproduction. The government's indecency ban includes school biology lessons, so no one knows basic biology and Fuwa's trying to put it together from insect observation. She will also gas and tie up Tanukichi as part of her quest for answers.
Those are the bad guys, i.e. the heroes. Ayame is going to be the biggest problem for viewers, being the source of a non-stop torrent of childish filth. Her double-act with Tanukichi is funny, but offensive. That's the point. She's fighting censorship by being as censor-worthy as possible. However it's the champions of decency who really embody what the show's saying with its themes.
ANNA NISHIKINOMIYA - wow. You could write a dissertation. Anna is pure and noble in every way. She knows nothing about sexuality and is bad at her job of stamping out indecency, because she doesn't know what it looks like. She's so sheltered, in fact, that she doesn't know that there's a difference between sex and love or that it's wrong to become a psychotic sexual predator. This is played for comedy, but it wouldn't have been funny had she been male. (This show would feel different in many ways if gender-flipped.) She turns into a concrete-shattering monster who scares the living daylights out of the man she loves, even though he'd worshipped her until she went batshit crazy.
Anna is hilarious. Anna doesn't understand the concept of "too much information". Anna's love rainbow is every kind of wrong. My only problem with Anna is that after creating this perfect symbol of everything wrong with this society, they don't then take her story anywhere. She becomes a comedy character. She just softens a bit, then the show ends. I presume that's because the anime's an adaptation of a light novel series that's still ongoing.
RAIKI GOURIKI - looks like a gorilla and is as innocent as Anna. He'll be the show's only stereotypical blushing schoolgirl.
OBORO TSUKIMIGUSA - just when you thought the parody couldn't go any further, Tsukimigusa shows up to ban anything she thinks is lewd. Gym equipment, toilet rolls...
Incidentally, this is one of those rare shows where there's a point in watching the censored TV version. It's thematically relevant that it's been Censored for Comedy. Decency symbols pop up on screen. I actually prefer listening to the TV version, because censored obscenities are funnier than the real thing, but that's less true of having stuff covered up on-screen. Also, the Blu-ray contains at least one joke that had been unbroadcastable even in censored form. That sweat in ep.7 isn't sweat.
This show is ridiculous, vulgar and over-the-top, but it's serious about its satire and intelligently extrapolated. It's echoing 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. It's raising issues of censorship and what should be taught in schools. It's reacting to the recent revision of the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths, but also more generally Japan's strict censorship laws. The country might have a massive and often extreme porn industry, but you probably couldn't, say, broadcast 1990s Sailor Moon on Japanese children's TV today. Plus, of course, there isn't a country in the world without its own variant of this debate. PTA associations are everywhere. This show doesn't go here, but there's often also a religious angle (America, or Islamic countries).
Note that the PTA associations even in this fictional dystopian Japan aren't satisfied. They're still trying to clamp down further, despite having created a society where people can't express or understand sexual desire. What's the situation there with teenage pregnancy, STDs and sex crimes? You'd never know, because the news can't mention it.
However you'll need to be broad-minded to see the serious content underneath the dirty jokes. It's intelligent, but also riotously immature. Ep.6 not only taught me things I didn't know about sex toys, but had a live-action video in the closing credits to demonstrate how to make one. Ep.12 briefly plays yakyuuken, although that's niche enough that they don't use the word "yakyuuken". Ayame is hilarious, but often hard to take. Anna will make you want brain bleach. Every episode is appalling, but it's so quotable that I could have filled this review with nothing but its dialogue.
"This vehicle contained co-ed passengers. I fear it might have been intended for indecent co-ed use. It is lewd. I will destroy it."