Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa

Title:Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
Mr. Tonegawa: Middle Management Blues
中間管理録 トネガワ
Keywords: , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
MORIKAWA Toshiyuki
Yukio Tonegawa is the highly capable second-in-command of Teiai Group, which is basically a high class loansharking outfit. He keeps the day-to-day operations humming while the unstable Chairman Kazutaka Hyodo is thoroughly bored with his job. One day, Tonegawa gets an unusual order from the Chairman: use the hopelessly indebted to organize a 'death game' for his amusement.

24 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 7 7 7 5 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:3549#1552]
Mr. Tonegawa is a comedic spinoff of Kaiji that depicts the everyday activity of its titular character, the second-in-command of the corrupt Teiai Corporation from Kaiji, as he leads the other agents of the organization and deals with the whims of his boss and Teiai's leader, Kazutaka Hyodo. The comedy of the series comes from Tonegawa, the agents, and others involved with Teiai set up in situations as such where it would be like a mundane office comedy, in spite of the organization's shady and ruthless dealings depicted in Kaiji. I'll admit I've yet to actually see Kaiji, but I am somewhat familiar with the premise of the series and see what Mr. Tonegawa was going for with relishing in humor despite the darker elements of the storytelling within its main series. The humor was hit-or-miss with me throughout the show's 24-episode run as some elements of its aesthetics irked me such as the narrator and the use of onomatopoeia milked fairly heavily throughout its run, but a fair number of the situations did amuse me such as some of Tonegawa's interactions to the antics of his agents and later episode segments featuring underground mine foreman Otsuki relishing in his free days out eating out at various restaurants. I'll have to get around to sampling Kaiji at some point, given my recent completion of this series. But if you enjoyed Kaiji, I suppose you may get a kick out of this more comical depiction of Tonegawa and other major characters involved with Teiai.

Last updated Saturday, October 02 2021. Created Saturday, October 02 2021.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3549#628]
(Two episodes watched):

This is a sort of dark comedy in which a salaryman must manage a thoroughly illegal activity. The fact that he tries to use tried and tested management techniques--like maintaining the trust and loyalty of your subordinates--while doing so is a joke in itself; the big joke upon which the premise is based, one might say. Although I wasn't laugh-out-louding, I was thoroughly enjoying this amusing disconnect--like in the scene where Tonegawa realizes that he's going to have a hard time keeping track of the men working for him, because their names are confusing and they are so regimented that they have essentially nothing to distinguish them from each other. Perhaps I was satisfied to be getting a continual dribble of restrained humor rather than one big joke every now and then but little inbetween. I definitely wasn't getting bored, which happens more often than not during anime comedies. I hope the effect doesn't wear off; it may need to be continually replenished via clever writing. I'm a little uncomfortable with this show lasting 24 episodes; it's not often that a comedy remains fresh that long. The bit at the beginning--a sort of flash-forward--suggested that Tonegawa would be completely humiliated later on; I wonder why that tip was included early on, and whether it was a good idea. We get an introduction to what these suit and sunglasses wearing guys normally do, namely collecting on overdue loans. There was no violence, just veiled threats and intimidation. Most debtors seem to be sleazy people who are largely getting what they deserve when Teiai comes looking for them; otherwise, it would be hard to laugh at this show. Tonegawa is the one guy who never gets intimidated himself and is brought in when the debtors refuse to cooperate. So far, so good; I enjoyed this and am looking forward to more of the same.

After watching episode two I noticed that at no point had I laughed out loud, yet I had enjoyed a constant, low key amusement instead. Rather than jokes coming along here and there, you might say that this show is one big, continual joke. The premise of trying to use traditional management techniques to manage your way through the commission of a blatant crime is a joke in itself. A constant smile rather than an occasional laugh. On the other hand, I wonder why it was revealed in episode one (and repeated in episode two) that things will go very badly for Mr. Tonegawa at some point in the future. It seems like a sort of minor spoiler with no apparent purpose to me.

As I watched numerous additional episodes my impression of this show coalesced: it has a unique premise, for which it deserves some credit, but once you get used to that it is only modestly funny. Maybe you have to be Japanese to completely 'get' the jokes. It became my least-favorite of the five shows (fewer than average) that I considered worth watching during the 2018 Summer season. I wish it had wrapped up after one season, because it is basically not quite good enough to justify staying with it for two, but there is indeed a second one on the way.

Last updated Saturday, September 22 2018. Created Friday, July 20 2018.

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