by Lauren Orsini,
Being a Denki-gai no Honya-san fan is exhausting. As much as I eventually enjoyed the majority of this season's twelve episode run, I never quite stopped being nervous about how far it would go. No matter how spot-on this show about erotic manga and fanservice could often be, it never stopped teetering on the tip of something darker. The final episode of the season was no different. An emphasis on excessive alcohol consumption kept me on edge, wondering if I'd be laughing at the jokes or cringing.
Both of episode twelve's sketches involved one or more characters getting extremely drunk. First, Umio-kun had to take care of a nauseous, stumbling Sensei. It was one of those too convenient romantic comedy situations: “There are no more trains and you're drunk! Guess you better sleep it off in my bedroom.” This was probably titillating at some point in history, but now it's just creepy. Fortunately, Sensei sobers up quickly and Umio-kun is too much of a gentleman to do anything untoward. Yes, this is kind of a spoiler but I sure wish somebody had told me this before I watched it. There are some hilarious gags about Umio's smelly bachelor pad and Sensei's girlish wiles, and absolutely no non-consensual implications to be seen.
The second sketch is a little sketchier. Tsumorin continues to prove herself as Denki-gai's uncomfortable older sister, ready to fling insults, grab boobs, or beer-bully the other characters into black-out submission. Still, somehow even Tsumorin wasn't the worst thing about Denki-gai's final fling. You see, this final episode was great at providing closure in all but one way. I'm going to come out and say it—we never get any finality to the relationships that have been teased since episode one and I'm pretty irritated about it. In fact, instead of providing any follow-up to previous confessions, touches, or kisses, this episode seemed to start from scratch. Heck, it even teased a possible relationship between Umio and Kameko, which was completely out of left field. If you're not going to make up your mind, Denki-gai, you could at least be consistent in what you're insinuating.
One cute touch to this final episode: we saw a lot of the show's mascot, Umanami-chan, and her tiny adventures as a backdrop to the characters' antics. Previously, she only appeared in the ending theme. Another character who finally got his chance to shine is the Manager, who finally got a speaking role in the form of an unlikely rap solo.
Denki-gai as a show on the whole was better than my weekly experience watching it. I spent a lot of time not focused on what was happening, but worrying about whether an off-color joke would lead to an uncomfortable situation. So much of Denki-gai's humor revolves around embarrassing the characters and making them blush, but in my opinion the best gags were when the characters fell into their own traps, not when somebody intentionally attempted to humiliate them. Denki-gai no Honya-san was OK the first time around, but now that I know there's nothing to worry about, I think it'll be better the second time.
Denkigai no Honya-san is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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