Mr. Osomatsu Season 2 Episode 23
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 23 of
Mr. Osomatsu (TV 2) ?
After last week stranded us on a deserted island for the entire runtime, episode 23 brings back the classic two-parter, framed by a cold open and post-credits night out at Cafeteria Himatsuya. Last time the Matsus were here, blood alcohol levels aligned perfectly with their number of alert brain cells, and no one's ready to give up on recapturing the magic of that evening just yet – not even jaded Totty, afraid to miss a potential moment of awesome bonding, no matter how unlikely. The post-credits visit is just depressing, seeing a bunch of emotional kindergartners become disillusioned upon realizing that wanting to be a gold medalist or prime minister when they grow up doesn't make it so.
Our first long segment this week stars Dayon times two. Considering he's probably my most despised character in the Osomatsu universe, this story of him meeting himself was surprisingly bearable. Even if we have to wait for the show to bring out the big meta guns for Iyami's troubles, Dayon being aware of his uniquely grotesque character design is worth a chuckle. After a shared love for candy thwarts Dayon no. 2's intention to turn their conversation into pseudo-deep gibberish, Dayon bonds with his other self over the problems only a fellow Dayon could understand. The punch line – university professor Dayon being the creepy one instead of "our" Dayon – automatically puts us in alternate reality territory. There's no way regular Dayon would be shocked at himself taking upskirt pictures.
The second half delivers this week's highlight in the form of a white space with no backgrounds and the characters inside it moving very economically. Thanks to the show's dynamic editing and interesting camera angles, things stay visually engaging. It doesn't feel so much like the show is running out of money when it locks these characters in a room to deconstruct themselves, but more like a triumphant smirk over how entertaining the team can make such budget-friendly meta-commentary. I'm still hoping that we're saving the money for an equally triumphant yet slightly grander finale, but watching Iyami struggle with his transition from Showa protagonist to Heisei pariah was still a blast.
Where the sextuplets have graduated smoothly from brats to manchildren who still annoy everyone around them, Iyami's shtick (his love for France, buck teeth, verbal tic and classic one-liner) has grown old. The producer is quick to assure him of his popularity, but then again, popularity is based on sheer luck anyway. Who could have foreseen the overwhelming number of chords this reboot would strike, and when the show mocks and celebrates itself in this way, it's at the top of its game.
I've actually come to appreciate Iyami, even when he's not busy sacrificing his freedom for blind war orphans, just being his regular selfish self instead. Even if an elite shithead might be less likable than the more down-to-earth characters around him, he's a fittingly over-the-top tsukkomi for Mr. Osomatsu's heights of craziness, so he makes for a good point of reference. The dissonance between his appalling appearance and Kenichi Suzumura's normal voice is shocking, and Osomatsu and Chibita are right to beg him (and Suzu-san) to return-zansu to normal Iyami.
There are now officially two episodes left. Let's hope Osomatsu and Chibita take the task of coming up with better jokes instead of new one-liners seriously.
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