The Winter 2014 Anime Preview Guide Strange+
Review: A group of four idiots—actually three idiots and one androgynous sadist—run a detective agency in this purest of pure gag comedies. This episode the agency tries to prevent the theft of a disgusting golden statue, and naturally end up blowing away their client's mansion with an explosive rubber butt. The show deals in straight physical humor—think Three Stooges with an even more cartoony defiance of reality—much of which is dumber than hell and some of which is dang funny. That can safely be blamed on the cast, which is stacked with voice-acting royalty and can sell a joke like a team of comedy con men. The self-referential bits are annoyingly coy, but not enough to spoil the show's lowbrow riches.
Strange+ is available streaming at Crunchyroll.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
Review: While there is apparently an actual premise to this 3.5 minute short – something about the young-looking one coming to look for his missing brother, only to find him working for a detective agency – that is totally irrelevant. All that matters is that this is a short bit about a diverse detective team taking on an assignment to protect a golden statue from a thief that turns out to be a maid. All sorts of stupid chaos and fourth wall-breaking discussions of jokes that viewers might not get ensues; the included screenshot is just a typical example. All of it comes at the viewer so fast that one will be laughing too hard to have time to considered how utterly stupid some if it is. But that is what makes this such a fun little diversion.
Strange+ is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
There's something kind of delightful about self-referential humor, and Strange+'s three and a half minutes take full advantage of that. The first image shows us a nubile young thing in a sailor uniform with toast hanging out of her mouth, only to reveal in the next scene that she's a guy and the head of a detective agency. We quickly move on to a slew of jokes from references to classic mysterious thief stories (“Will the audience even get this reference?” the protagonist wonders) and good ol' lowbrow humor, like doors with spring-loaded butts behind them. Strange+ plays with all the old toys and has a good time doing it, making it a pretty great diversion. That the characters (except the man with the amazing dreads) all seem totally aware of the references being made contributes to the humor.
If you're looking for erudite humor delivered with subtlety and style...you are in no way going to find it here. But if you remember Cat's Eye, Scooby Doo, or just think exploding butts are funny, step right up! Strange+ is here for you. It isn't quite Senyu with mysteries instead of fantasy, but it's still pretty damn funny.
Strange+ is available streaming on Crunchyroll.
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