SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn't Exist
Episodes 1-7

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 1 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 2 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 3 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 4 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 5 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 6 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

How would you rate episode 7 of
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist ?

Although it is not a large subset of fan service shows, series which emphasize explicit language more so than visual ecchi content have been popping up occasionally for a few years now; see 2010's Seitokai Yakuindomo or 2010/11's Hen Zemi, amongst possibly others. SHIMONETA takes this farther than any previous series of its type has, as its female protagonist is so fond of dirty jokes that just about everything she says when not in an official capacity is either outright obscene or at the very least laced with sexually-charged innuendo, to the point that it is almost certainly the most heavily language-censored anime series ever aired on Japanese TV. In fact, it has recently been reported to a Japanese media watchdog group for its use of gestures and statements that, even though censored, are still apparently too obvious for comfort. Given the basic premise present here, the irony of that is overpowering. It also means that that those who lack a high tolerance for lewd language and humor should avoid this series, as that aspect of it is so pervasive that it cannot be ignored.

In the series so far, a not-so-distant future Japan has taken promotion of public morality to absolutely draconian levels under the Law for Public Order and Morals in Healthy Child-Raising. Erotic content and vulgar humor is expressly forbidden and all citizens wear collars or wristbands which can detect when sexually explicit language is spoken or sexually explicit pictures are drawn, which gets the wearer in harsh trouble with the Decency Squad. Sex education is also apparently severely limited as a result, which means that youths even up through their high school years are kept ignorant of even basic things like how pregnancy happens. In this “healthy” but also incredibly repressive society, Tanukichi seeks to attend the high school with the best public morals because he idolizes the purity of its Student Council President, one Anna Nishikinomiya, who is especially driven to the cause of morality.

What Tanukichi soon discovers, though, is that one of the other Student Council members, the seemingly-straight-laced Ayame Kajo, is actually Blue Snow, a terrorist who covers her face with a pair of panties and rebels against the system by disseminating erotic material. Over the course of several episodes Tanukichi gets unwillingly but inexorably drawn into Ayame's schemes as she establishes the terrorist organization SOX (so named because it looks like the censored version of “sex”) and battles against both existing laws and an even harsher one that Anna's mother is pushing for. That includes eventually winning over a diminutive, award-winning artist to draw erotic pictures for them and befriending a perpetually bag-eyed science nut. While their efforts do bear fruit, they also spin off some unintended consequences, such as inspiring a potentially troublesome girl to join them and getting associated with another terrorist organization with less pure motives. Even more immediately problematic to Tanukichi's well-being (and chastity!) is what happens to Anna when Tanukichi flips her switch with an accidental kiss while trying to protect her from a stalker.

In base form SHIMONETA is a sex comedy, and it can be quite a funny one. The disarming glee with which Ayame tries to fit in sexual references for everything is a joke unto itself, and even after being inured to the humor for several episodes it still generates the occasional sputter-worthy moment. Not all of the humor lands well; the terrorist leader introduced in episode 7 whose costume is composed entirely of white panties is just dumb, for instance. The series also occasionally goes monumentally beyond any standards for taste; while Anna in Yandere Mode can be quite entertaining (and in some scenes an excellent source for fan service), some of her ideas in episode 5 for expressing what she thinks is love go in directions that would make Mysterious Girlfriend X and its spit-swapping seem tame by comparison. Balancing that out, though, are some truly inspired jokes, such as the names of some of the other terrorist organizations revealed in episode 7.

The series is also, in a very real sense, a satire. Its premise is undoubtedly meant as a stab at the 2010 revision of the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths, which is much reviled in the Japanese publishing industry; in fact, the defining law of this series is merely an extreme extrapolation of that law's intent. Imagery and concepts used here sometimes evoke defining cautionary tales like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and the notion of everyone being fitted with collars and/or wristbands (and later chastity belts) to inhibit and control them is, frankly, scary. The writing also savagely chastises such intense focus on morality for its potential negative consequences, such as leaving even sexually mature teenagers ignorant of basic biology or unable to comprehend or cope with urges that they may have. Exhibit A for this is Anna, who has been so brainwashed for promoting purity that she is unable to understand that there is nothing pure about her lusting for Tanukichi and that continuing to harshly enforce morality while being immoral herself makes her a hypocrite. However, this could also apply just as well to a male character who seems to not understand that his newfound appreciation for Tanukichi is crossing the line into either homosexuality or bisexuality. (Curiously, whether or not alternate sexual preferences are expressly forbidden under the morality law has not yet been brought up.)

Whether or not the promotion of erotic content is a worthy approach for rebellion against overly-aggressive morality is another story. Clearly it is being used in this case as an excuse to infuse some visual fan service into the series, as a handful of scenes (especially near the end of episode 4) beyond just obscene gestures require visual censoring, too. But does that interfere with the message that the series is trying to push, about the dangers of getting too enthusiastic about enforcing morality? So far I have found the series to be straddling the line on that. It promotes the position that interest in sexuality is natural and healthy, that denying it is unnatural and unhealthy, and that the boundaries on what is acceptable should be liberal. None of this strikes me as inherently problematic, and when a group does show up in episode 7 that's more about promoting perversity than just resisting excessive morality, Ayame takes that as offensive. (Interestingly, this parallels the conflict sometimes seen between real-world terrorist groups who purport to be fighting a common enemy but clash on dogma and approach.) However, at times the series itself seems to be promoting perversity rather than just a pushback against the morality police - it does feature Tanukichi being victimized in a couple of attempted rape scenes.

The technical merits of the series, while not outstanding, are at least solid and reliable, and the voice acting has been pretty good. On the downside, though, the story has been sagging a bit since the first story arc (novel adaptation?) concluded with episode 5; the last two episodes, one of which focused on manufacturing sex toys, have not seemed quite as fresh or sharp as earlier ones. Overall, though, I am giving this one mildly positive marks because nothing in it so far has bothered me enough to detract from its humor and I respect that there is a purpose to it beyond just being crude. Mileage will definitely vary a lot on this one, though.

Rating: B-

SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist is currently streaming on Funimation.com.


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