Mr. Osomatsu Season 2 Episode 19
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 19 of
Mr. Osomatsu (TV 2) ?
I guess running in an election on a whim is worth trying now and then, says newly elected President Dekapan. The fact that he's riding in a convertible tells us we're watching fiction, as any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely deliberate. In his very oval office, we watch his fun at being president destroyed by adviser Totty. Many other Matsus would have probably pushed the Big Red Button alongside Dekapan, but of course this week's cold open inevitably ends with retaliation following on the button's heels.
Back in our usual Matsu reality, Iyami's trying his hand at ventriloquism, impressing his juvenile audience with the complete lack of mouth movement that comes with using actual people instead of puppets. It's greed that lets him, Chibita, and Hatabou fleece a bunch of gullible kids, and it's greed that prompts them to ruin it for themselves when the prospect of real money comes around. I'm disappointed in you, Chibita. You used to be better than this.
And then the most dreaded day of the year arrives. The foreboding silence during the sextuplets' breakfast is only interrupted by knocking over glasses or dropping food out of nervousness. It's Valentine's Day, that time of the year when being a girlfriend-less NEET is more painful than on all the other lonely days. The usual distractions – from cat cuddling to pachinko – don't help no matter how hard they try telling themselves that chocolate's overrated. And so our boys go through the eight stages of grief according to Matsu: dread, desire, denial, determination, depression, dickering, degradation, and destruction.
From pretending not to care to begging Totoko for some consolation chocolate, it's a dreadful display of self-inflicted misery, but when the Matsus resort to giving handmade chocolates to each other and appear to be comforted by their mutual verbal abuse, things turn outright tragic. When even the exchange of insults leaves Totty out of the group to give chocolates to himself, the previously instrumental music ramps up the sadness by adding vocals. (Not that Totty would have wanted to share his love with anyone other than the cutest brother, of course.) Still, I found my emotions to be closer to those of Mama Matsu as she watches over what should be her pride and joy, somewhere between pitiful and stunned. This pseudo-happy insanity is over as soon as the song ends. As the Matsus finally snap in the face of their reality's cruelty, the root of all sadness (cocoa beans) must be ripped out and stomped on.
I wonder if knowing that the whole custom of only women giving chocolates on Valentine's Day supposedly results from a translation error would comfort the boys or bring them closer to insanity.
It's hard to follow last week's excellent storytelling, but not all of Mr. Osomatsu's episodes want to achieve what Iyami, Alone in the Wild accomplished. Still, for an episode on the funnier side, I found myself chuckling not quite enough – though it's fantastic that there isn't just a Boys Cherry Magazine trying to help readers "graduate" some day, but enough of an audience to warrant a collector's issue.
So which Matsu would you have given your obligation/pity/heartfelt chocolate to?
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