Mr. Osomatsu Season 2
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Mr. Osomatsu (TV 2) ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Mr. Osomatsu (TV 2) ?
How would you rate episode 3 of
Mr. Osomatsu (TV 2) ?
All things considered, I shouldn't enjoy this show nearly as much as I do. When I recently wrote about favorite and least favorite anime comedies, I emphasized how truly mean and off-putting jokes at other people's expense were one reason for my wariness of comedy. And yet here I am, watching, loving, and reviewing an anime about mischievous, petty, selfish sextuplet manchildren NEETs being lazy, gross, and mean to each other. What's the appeal? Why has this crude sequel to a much tamer '60s comedy manga been so successful that it earned a second season? Isn't Chibita right in telling the world to get a grip, because honestly, why would anyone like these losers enough to turn them into even moderate celebrities?
The all-star voice cast was admittedly my initial reason for checking out Mr. Osomatsu back in 2015. Familiarity with the actors helped tremendously in telling the sextuplets apart whenever they weren't wearing color-coded outfits, and before the subtler differences became clear – if subtle was ever a word that could be used to describe this show. Still, the lack of sexy character designs should at least keep the fujoshi appeal under control, right? Two years later, that doesn't seem to be the case, and the show's unexpected success hasn't made the team around Yoichi Fujita and Shū Matsubara lose their edge.
In season one's premiere, they went so overboard with parodies that the episode can no longer be watched legally. While the second season doesn't take things so far that episodes had to be pulled from the air just yet, it still kicks off with a bang on both the meta and grossness scales. How does Mr. Osomatsu celebrate (and of course simultaneously mock) its own strange success story? By having its main characters piss on theirs in the grossest way possible, of course. When awful people make it big, they simply become big and awful, so awful that their innocent younger selves in the 1960s vow not to go down this road of ultimate hideousness just to get clubbed to death by an angry fan mob. Instead, they will pursue respectable anime careers, which of course is just an excuse for the creators to go even wilder before returning to the good old gross and awful NEET Matsus we've apparently come to love enough to warrant this second season.
When each brother takes their own interpretation of being proper one step further up the evolutionary ladder of absurdity and madness, it's a joy to watch Fujita rampage his way through classic genres and recent hits. What feels like a feverish dream of madness is a tightly controlled, impressively executed feast of creativity and talent – the main reason why this show became a weird phenomenon. No matter your personal preferences, you can't help but respect the talent assembled here. It's gross, but gloriously so, completely aware of how far to go in good taste, only to take things 10 steps further anyway, proving that Osomatsu fans simply don't want "proper".
We don't want proper salaryman Osomatsu living in a faceless suburb with his faceless family waking up properly to green smoothies and soft piano & violin soundtracks. We don't want cool cyborg Karamatsu or Ichimatsu's properly popular fantasy adventures. Who'd ever want to see a proper '90s version of a modern body-switching flick starring Choromatsu? And when, after congratulating themselves on their respective properness, the enemy appears in their proper airship, do we really want to see our "heroes" properly assemble into a ridiculously proper mecha accompanied by a song that could only be more proper if it was performed by JAM PROJECT? (Dreams! Love! Desires! Justice!) I'm sure most of us are already fed up with all this nonsense and long for the simpler NEET days in Mama Matsuno's living room, but at the same time, we do want this and so much more. Unfortunately, the episode's second angry fan mob doesn't appreciate this proper madness. And so we return to the status quo with our bunch of manchildren, which brings us to episode two.
It's astonishing how many jokes can be milked from a group of identical sextuplets who each possess one distinctive feature within their unifying awfulness—except for Osomatsu himself, of course, whose unique trait is that he is only generically awful. He usually serves to introduce new routines, paving the way for his siblings to take things one step further, one brother at a time. When he's finally set up to be the last at something, it's obvious what the joke is going to be, but thanks to immaculate timing, it's still hilarious when it hits.
In episode two's second segment, we follow Iyami to an All Japan Overbite General Meeting where the Matsus mistake Dekapan's super detergent for booze and turn themselves grotesquely almost-invisible, with only their organs and blood vessels remaining. It's all the hassle and none of the perks attached to fictional invisibility, but it enables us to learn more about the sextuplets' insides, which are not quite as identical as their outsides, ranging from disco balls for hearts to no heart as all. They resolve their predicament by painting each other's distinguishing features on, with not even their parents noticing any difference and Iyami actually having less issue telling them apart. Realizing that no one recognizes them as people is a crushing meta experience, but maybe the episode's first segment has something better to offer?
In this equally well executed segment, our NEETs have to go find a job if they want to avoid losing some useful body parts to their mother's too-sadistic method. Poor Karamatsu is hit the hardest, as he even gets his theme song cut off along with his nipples, but we will soon come to appreciate what he makes out of this mutilation. According to Osomatsu's motto that "anyone can become a failure but it takes hard work to become a piece of shit", the Matsus' natural instinct is to try job hunting with the least effort possible, and what better choice is there than live streaming? And so they stream such prime content as torturing each other with mustard, shooting nipple beams, and of course, showing off their jewels. But after they wake up naked in the street, they discover that their video has been removed for what we can only assume was indecent content, making for another meta joke. In the end, they will still become the internet celebrities they wanted to be, just without making any money off of it.
After we leave episode two in a big puddle of crying Matsus that slowly melting into one grotesque blob of paint and tears, what could episode three possibly do to top this? Nothing, really. The cold open takes us back to the prehistoric age, where the sight of copulating mammoths inspires the Cavematsus to an array of inventions that combine genitals and baseball, as they discover the use of tools without ever ending up in space.
The first segment then goes on to show how the Matsuno brothers really are group animals by pairing up Ichimatsu and Choromatsu, who are equally uncomfortable around each other as they talk about how weatherly the weather is and explore the distance at which they can still safely insult each other. In a show where much of the humor is derived from the exponential grossness of multiplied Matsus on screen, it's refreshing to focus on only two brothers. Thanks to the always impeccable timing (and Ichimatsu acting like a scared cat), the segment is successful at delivering some slightly quieter chuckles.
Things get louder and wilder when the Matsus sabotage Totoko's big breakthrough at a competitive eating contest by distracting the celebrity MC (and Super Sentai actor?) through self-pity bromance. While Yukari Hashimoto's wonderfully self-aware soundtrack is at the top of its game here, the segment doesn't quite reach the heights of the first two episodes.
Between the OP's poppy, color-coded explosion of cosmic rainbows by Osomatsu veterans AŌP and ROOTS66's catchy ED, Studio Pierrot seems determined to repeat the success of the first season, and I can't wait for what they have in store for us after this terrific return.
Mr. Osomatsu season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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