Episode 2: Falling In Love With The Enemy

There’s been something of a sea change in anime the last couple years, at least as far as comedy is concerned, and you could even source it at the director of this show, Akitaroh Daichi. You see, his Kodomo No Omocha (not available in the U.S.) was one of the first super-hyper-whacky, off the wall anime comedies. Mixing Tex Avery’s mile-a-minute humor with typical Japanese-girl hyperness, he created an awful speed-freak humor hybrid that’s like a solution of pixie sticks and everclear.

Well, it got weirder. Excel Saga dispensed with plot (for the most part) and serious character development (again, for the most part), and replaced it with an even more perverse machine-gun style of senselessness, or irreverence, or pointlessness, depending on one’s point of view. The offspring of Excel Saga now creep the lands like spiny echidna. Which do not creep at all.

After rewatching this show for the purpose of review, the pace seems positively languid compared to the more recent fare, even though the main draw of Jubei-chan is its whackiness. So, pleasure seekers will need other veins to mine. Luckily, Daichi is a clever fella, and he’s got them thar…whaddya call ’em…themes keeping his work afloat.

The most persistent theme here is the disconnect between male and female perceptions in relationships. And, on the whole, men in this world seem to be obsessive, strange, vain, and irresponsible. In short, impediments to a serious young girl just trying to live her life.

The most persistent conflict in the episode isn’t the obvious one – Jubei wanting to reject her lineage as the new greatest swordsman on earth. No, the most persistent conflict is the one in men’s heads, creating scenarios around Jubei that haven’t the slightest connection to the real world. Her new teacher (there’s a new one every week) goes into crisis when he realizes the young girl with the great chest will end up being his enemy. When he tries to fight Jubei (who doesn’t want to have a thing to do with this nonsense, since above all she is a sensible young lady) he says, “I’ve given up love to be a great swordsman.” Now, this is patently ridiculous. What love has he given up? His suddenly born and suddenly squelched lust for Jubei.
Rating :B+

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com