Reviewby Carl Kimlinger,
Oroshitate Musical Nerima Daikon Brothers
DVD 2 - Show Me Your Daikon
Another volume, another set of vict- er, villains for Nerima's money-grubbing defenders of justice to take down. Woman-rolling hosts. Fake fortune tellers. Lyin' lawyers. Evil Wal-Mart wannabies. No one (or their money) is immune to the Nerima Daikon Brothers' brand of (hopefully profitable) justice. But all is not well on the home front. A little S&M (but mostly M) and Mako suddenly finds herself in love. And Hideki's Mako-lust sends him hell-bent on a crusade to change the (nonexistent) law against marrying one's cousins.
Three tips for maximizing your Nerima Daikon Brothers viewing experience.
1. Stretch well beforehand. Don't underestimate the physical strain of laughing. 2. Pace yourself. Two episodes at a time is about optimal. 3. Be sure the room is clear of grumpy, sarcastic, or overly critical people before breaking into song. For their sake as well as your own.
Everything that made the first volume of NDB an all-singing, all-dancing blink-and-you'll-miss-it gagfest is running on all cylinders in this sophomore outing. The puns flow like beer at a frat-party, lines are delivered at machine-gun speed, the silliness of expressing oneself with song is exploited to its fullest extent, and the chemistry that made Hideki and company such amusing leads continues unabated. The show even finds time to mess with the central relationships, adding depth to their dynamic (although, being Nerima Daikon Brothers, it immediately parlays any seriousness into laughs). Director Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe's eye for the placement and timing of visual gags is still flawless (such as Yukika's persistent use of a disguise that would make George Lucas blush, and the treadmill-running lawyer). The music still sticks in the brain like peanut butter to the roof of the mouth, and, while (thankfully) toned down, there're still enough "touch my Nerima Daikon" jokes and mild Mako fan-service to keep fans of racier humor satisfied.
But consistency breeds repetition. As the show wears on, the repetition that infects it at every level becomes ever more obvious. Each episode is plotted in exactly the same manner, large tracts of animation are reused, the limited number of musical compositions (and the sheer number of musical numbers) means incessant musical repetition, and the way that nearly every villain sings their villain song twice per episode can wear thin quite quickly. Musical repetition only reinforces its foot-tapping catchiness however, and Nabeshin is a savvy director who is a past master of turning budgetary limitations (the repeated animation being their most obvious manifestation) into comedic advantages. Just as simplistic animation is used to emphasize the bizarre way that Yukika mounts her bicycle, repeated animation is used to comic effect, often by cutting a repeated sequence short with a sharp comment or sarcastic remark. In fact Nabeshin capitalizes on (or covers up?) the overall repetitiveness by mixing things up a little all across the board. He messes around a bit with Ichiro, Mako, and Hideki's relations to each other, Pops starts having a little fun at their expense, characters step in and interrupt others' musical numbers, and Yukika runs amok, interfering with the plot formula whenever she can. Nevertheless, the show's repetitive nature requires that one break the show into bite-sized chunks (see NDB-Watching Tip #2) lest it fossilize one's brain.
Those budgetary limitations that aren't transformed into advantages (i.e. oodles of panned stills and mysteriously disappearing backgrounds) are crammed into the show's hyperactive parade of unrelenting humor such that one really hasn't the time (nor inclination) to be bothered by them. The simple yet very distinctive character designs are still a treat—Hideki and Mako more so than Ichiro or Yukika—especially their black-polygons-on-prime-colors outfits and their realistic yet hilariously cheap-looking dance moves.
The English versions of the NDB songs are really quite good, and naturally take some—often clever—liberties (transforming the ending theme into a tribute to the money fans spend on the show is a nice touch). Special props this time to episode 7's slimy lawyer and his superb banjo singin' skills, and to the Nerima Daikon Brothers themselves for keeping up with the insane energy of the ever-changing Pops Song. The non-singing parts of the dub are up to ADV's usual standards, though Ichiro is cruder and less sympathetic than his original Japanese version, a script change that my Puritan soul just can't quite bring itself to forgive. Maybe you're a dub fan. Or perhaps the Japanese just didn't have enough profanity for you. Or maybe it rankles that you can't sing along in Japanese. Whatever the case, this dub should serve you well.
As with the last, this disc is an exercise in information overload. Aside from the insert booklet, there's a promotional video that runs like a mini-lesson on the workings of NDB, commentaries by Nabeshin in conjunction with Shigeru Matsuzaki (eps. 5-6) and Shoutaro Morikubo (eps. 7-8), sing-along subtitles, and AD Vid-notes. After a somewhat disappointing showing last volume, the Notes are in fine form this time around, doing what they do best: explaining wordplay and obscure (and not-so-obscure) cultural references; providing random info on directorial intentions, turtle statues, ramen, seaweed, weird voices and actors' careers; and spicing it up with a little humorous commentary. There's also less crossover with the commentaries and a greater overall density of information. Keep your finger on the pause button.
It's very repetitive, somewhat potty-minded, and having the director hand each episode's deus ex machina to the leads personally is a little distastefully self-referential, but the genuine enthusiasm with which Nerima Daikon Brothers is made is as infectious as ever. It's one disease you'll be glad you caught.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B-
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : A-
+ Messes with its own formula just enough to spice things up.
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