じょしらく (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: GOTO Saori
NANJO Yoshino
Joshiraku is a satirical comedy that follows the everyday lives of five girls who make a living in traditional Japanese ↗Rakugo theater.

13 episodes & 1 OVA

0:30min Series commercial - YouTube Video
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Rent Stretch [series:2598#628]
(All episodes watched):

Rakugo seems to be an ancient predecessor to modern stand-up comedy, where women kneel before an audience and tell funny stories. This is a strange show; it is more sophisticated than most anime comedy, with references to Japanese history and current events. The downside is that a number of the jokes won't make sense to westerners, like references (I think) to islands seized by the Soviet Union in 1945, and persons believed to have been kidnapped by North Korea. It also has the fairly common problem that since it is dialogue-heavy, it would be much easier to enjoy if the viewer did not have to read subtitles. The 'comedian girls' break down the fourth wall as they worry about how well their story will convert from manga to anime ("Deal with it! We're definitely not doing it to boost our ratings!"). This is a show which I wish was easier to enjoy, since it's definitely unusual and is making a serious effort to be good. But as it is, it seems like a lot of work for a modest number of laughs.

Still, episode two was fun and I think I'll be watching this. A question about what each of them would do if they won a lottery spins out of control, and while I wasn't laugh-out-louding I was smirking and smiling more than I do during most anime comedies. This show really is a comedy and doesn't rely on fanservice, which is nice. This show seems to move at a fast clip which is kind of hard to keep up with. Since watching this show takes a lot of mental effort, I sometimes watch one chunk of an episode then take a break before watching the next. Fortunately each episode consists of two or three unrelated subplots, which makes this easy. The paradox is that it's funny, but funny in an exhausting way, which cancels out some of the enjoyment. It would probably be much easier to enjoy if you spoke Japanese and didn't have to read subtitles. Or if an excellent dub were created, but chances are that if that were done the dubbers wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to 'Americanize' the story. Still, I got to like the five girls and the mysterious masked sixth one. One girl is carefree, another morbid, another uptight, and so on. There are virtually no characters beyond these. They just talk among themselves, and drift from everyday topics into absurdity. This show won't be for everyone, but I liked it.

I have since rewatched Joshiraku a second time, plus an OVA that i was previously unaware of. This is definitely about as sophisticated and clever as anime comedy is likely to ever get.

My favorite line: "If you screw up, you'll be labeled an ass flasher for decades!"

Last updated Saturday, February 13 2016. Created Friday, July 13 2012.

Other Sites
Official Website (japanese) at Starchild

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