After finishing Asobi Asobase this week, it is safe to say that it is definitely one of the better comedy anime to come out in the last few years, even beating out this year’s Kaguya-sama: Love is War. Comedy is a genre that has a lot of moving parts, and often times it can seem futile to talk about it because it is seen as fairly subjective. While to a large extent this is true, as someone who admires good writing, it always worth giving good comedy anime a deeper look, and talking about what works to make a series either great or not so great.
First, the subject matter. Asobi Asobase is about three middle school girls: Hanako, Kasumi and Olivia. Being that the medium of anime generally focuses on cute teenage girls, this probably would not come as a surprise to the average viewer. However, the comedy comes from the deception of the setup, as the show reveals almost immediately that these are not the same cute, innocent girls that most of the viewers are probably familiar with. They are dirty, raunchy, and a bit creepy. However, if that were the only thing the show did right, it would not get far.
Asobi Asobase also knows how to execute on the humor it constructs. It is one thing to write a joke and it be funny in theory, but unless the writers, animators, and voice actors are all working together to realize that joke, it is not going to work well. Luckily, Asobi Asobase rarely has this problem. Its execution makes what would oftentimes be a lot of stale, unfunny jokes into something comedically brilliant. One example of this comes from an episode near the end of the series, where the girls are sitting around in their clubroom when Hanako decides she wants to get the other girls to say “Poo.” However, the intensity of her facial expressions combined with her known vindictive personality makes it feel a lot funnier.
Going along with Execution, timing is also an important part of what makes good comedy. A joke can be both good in theory and potentially good in practice, but if the timing is even slightly off, then a joke can fall flat. Asobi Asobase also does this well too, as demonstrated in the first episode of the series. When Hanako and Olivia are first shown on screen, the two are playing a game where if a player looks in the same direction as another that player gets slapped. Olivia, not skipping a beat, defies the rules of the game almost immediately and slaps Hanako despite her not losing. The suddenness of the event makes it even funnier.
Now, the show is not completely devoid of faults. While it is true that a lot in the execution, timing, and subject matter make up for it, the jokes themselves are not usually super complex. About 90 percent of the jokes, in fact, can be boiled down to something about sex or cursing repeatedly. This is not to say these jokes cannot be funny, but rather that because of the volume of these jokes, there lacks a bit of variety. One repeated joke that does get stale is the joke about Maeda’s butt laser, although admittedly it is not used often.
Asobi Asobase is an incredibly funny series. It delivers on almost everyone front, and despite there being not as much variety in the jokes as one might hope, there is still likely something in the show for everyone. If there is one thing to take away from Asobi Asobase it is this: even if the writing in a show is lacking, good execution and funny subject matter can still make up for it to a large degree.
Bye for now,