What do I think of Shimoneta? I think it’s perhaps one of the stupidest, most shameless, mind-numbingly insane, funniest shows ever made! This show fires off one hilarious bit of dialogue one after the other. And each one is the extreme of suggestive! 

This character-driven show falls in a gray area between ecchi, mainstream anime, and the thing that shall not be named. It definitely isn’t like any other anime I’ve ever seen. Plenty of shows will use “dirty jokes” as an easy way to utilize humor, but this one takes it to a new level. Where usually I will decry the use of such crass humor, the hyper focus on it in this show actually is really funny. I enjoy this show every time I see it. My mouth will drop open at the crazy things Kajou says, the idiotic situations Anna places herself into with Tanukichi, and the odd places where the sleep-deprived Fuwa suddenly appears.

I completely understand why someone would dislike this show, and I would agree with all the sentiments and reasons behind that dislike. Yet somehow I can’t seem to find the same objections in my thoughts that I might have for a truly ecchi show, and certainly I don’t associate this show at all with the thing that shall not be named. So for my part, I love this show, and I never want there to be another like it!

The content below is unavoidably R-rated in places, so don’t proceed if you’re underage.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 8

I like Hyouka Fuwa so much I’m going to start with her! She is the first face I see in my head when I think of Shimoneta, despite Kajou and Anna and all the rest. Probably because that face regularly appears protruding from beneath a school desk chair or a park bench, staring up at Tanukichi with dead, sleepy eyes complete with dark circles underneath, her long green hair going everywhere totally unnaturally. Then the voice speaks. The voice belongs to Saori Gotou, who you will all recognize as Moeka Kiryuu from Steins;Gate. The voice is droll and monotone. The voice creeps over your senses like a sticky liquid. The voice says the craziest things, as Fuwa pursues her sex research without any solid initial hypotheses. The voice is hilarious. I love Fuwa.

Kajou is everything to this show however. “Ao Yuki”, Blue Snow (still working on understanding the full significance of this name), the “terrorist” leader of SOX and public enemy number one of this bizarre dystopian society in this show, leaves a trail of havoc in her wake, a wake often littered with gravure or outright pornographic images, as she flashes away into the distance spewing indecent jokes amidst a whirl of a single white sheet and screeching laughter! Shizuka Ishigami, Kajou’s VA, doesn’t do a lot of mainstream anime voice acting, but if it even hints at ecchi, you can expect her to show up! As in: Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Stella Vermillion), That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (Ryouta), and Redo of Healer (Setsuna). She has done other minor roles in mainstream anime, but usually she plays in ecchi series. I don’t exactly know why. She has a good voice and does a decent job with the acting. Can one be typecast as a seiyuu simply by the kinds of characters one voices even if that voice isn’t the ecchi part of the character? Apparently so. Either way, she does a great job with Kajou.

What kind of a name is Tanukichi? My guess is that it refers to the tanuki itself, the famous “racoon dog” of Japan. When I researched a little about tanuki folklore, I halfway expected to find some lore relating them to something sexual. But other than a certain physiological feature of that nature (as depicted in folklore), there isn’t anything overtly sexual connected with tanuki myths. Apparently someone who feigns ignorance can be said to be making a “tanuki face;” since Tanukichi often has to do such feigning, it’s possible that’s why the author humorously chose this name. Poor Tanukichi just wants to extricate himself from his poor reputation, a reputation acquired simply by him being the son of another infamous “terrorist.” Yet he finds himself not only in the well-meaning clutches of the wild Kajou, but subsequently finds himself the target of an unrestrained effusion of sexual desire from Anna Nishikinomiya. He’s totally just a foil for everyone else in this series, but his character does well at that. His comebacks and constant frustrations are great.

First, of all, I know you’ve seen it. Second–what the hellz?

Speaking of Anna-san: what the fudgzilla flavored ice cream hell? This is the character that makes this show what it is. Sure there’s Kajou and her antics, and Tanukichi and his hapless placement between the two warring sides, but then there’s Anna. Anna is uneducated in all matters erotic. As such, she can’t tell the decent from the indecent. And once set on the path, she chooses the extremely indecent without ever realizing it! I don’t even remember why she first begins to lust for Tanukichi, but she goes from prim and proper student council president to a sex-crazed yandere monster that takes over her life! Her displays will make you just stare in amazed bewilderment. 

It is with great sadness that I note that Miyu Matsuki, Anna’s VA, passed away in 2015, very shortly after this show aired, at the age of 38. She did not do a ton of roles during her career, and did not appear in any major anime, but is forever memorable as Anna in Shimoneta. She will be fondly remembered for this show always.

Sophia Nishikinomiya, Anna’s totalitarian mother, is voiced by Sayaka Ohara. Ohara-san voices the great Erza Scarlet, one of my favorite characters in all of anime, so I always love when she makes an appearance in any show. She doesn’t get a lot of lines here, but it’s always fun to hear that strong voice.

And Ohara-san represents part of a small handful of mainstream VAs to appear in this slightly-less-than-mainstream anime. Yui Horie is actually in this show! Yes, as in Tsubasa Hanekawa (Monogatari, probably her best role), Carla (Fairy Tail), and Kouko Kaga (Golden Time). Here she plays Kosuri, the girl whose hairstyle looks like a…never mind. Satomi Arai plays the crazed artist Saotome, who discovers her muse through Kajou’s “stimulation.” Can you believe she’s Beatrice in Re:Zero? Sumire Uesaka plays the androgynous enforcer Tsukimigusa, who finds himself (herself?) similarly ignorant in sexual matters as Anna. Shalltear Bloodfallen (Overlord) and Nagatoro (Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro) grace her prolific resume. But my favorite inclusion among these famous mainstream VAs is Kenta Miyake, who plays the also romantically-ignorant Raiki Gouriki (the gorilla thing is intentional). Yep, if Miyake-san’s name is ringing a bell in your head, it’s from My Hero Academia. I’ll let you look that up and then laugh in realization when you see who he plays there!

So many memorable characters! They all have their quirks or roles that make them easily identifiable. Between this and the dialogue each of them is supplied with, it makes for a great set of characters that will be remembered for a long time in the world of anime. I can’t tell you how many memes contain Kajou or Kosuri making their infamous gestures, or Anna in one of her various states, or Fuwa’s face sticking out between Tanukichi’s legs. These girls and boys are fixtures in the world of anime, and rightly so. Their designs are highly creative, and they’re given amazing life by their voice actors. It’s so much fun to watch these guys and all the antics they go through. This is one of those shows you can rewatch and still easily enjoy multiple times. And in great part this is because of these fantastic characters.

Artwork

Rating: 5

Try to watch an uncensored version; the gestures are everything.

This show isn’t quite as ecchi as you’d think, at least in a visual sense. Kajou wears the sheet in her Blue Snow form, but it’s not very revealing actually. In fact, more male parts are censored in this show than female parts. Everything is just suggestive, not so much explicit. 

But all the vulgar gestures are censored! I know I’ve seen this show uncensored. I’ve definitely seen the gestures in still shots (the memes, omg). But at present I cannot find an uncensored version of the anime, making me question whether I’d ever actually seen such a version before. I could have just seen the memes and thought I’d seen an uncensored version. But the still shots for the memes had to come from somewhere, right? 

Anyway, the gestures are hilarious! If there’s a least offensive part of the multitude of potentially offensive things in this show, it’s the gestures. You get two or three of them per show. You figure it’s coming, and it still makes you laugh in uncomfortable hysteria when it happens! It’s really funny.

Yeah, that’s what I meant.

But that’s all that sticks out to me about the art. It’s pretty ordinary otherwise. I almost want to say it’s unique, but somehow it doesn’t quite feel that way. But when I see images of scenes from this show that I don’t immediately recognize, I still get the impression they’re from this show just be the look of them. I’m not sure what’s causing this, but this is the effect of the “uniqueness” I sense in it.

But even this factor doesn’t make it stand out. It’s anime art, but not much else. It’s not bad of poor quality, just there’s nothing special about it. The character designs are good, especially with Fuwa and Anna, but I know a lot of that comes from the LN and manga. Everyone looks very lively, as characters should in comedy anime. Fuwa excepted, but her appearance is comical in a different way. And I’m not even going to get into the one constant feature in SOX’s terrorist costumes.

The “cinematography” (for lack of an equivalent animation phrase) is good. The flashes to objects in and around the characters to enhance the suggestiveness of something in that particular scene is pretty well done. Fuwa appearing in odd places is also probably a feature from the LN and manga, but it’s executed well in this show. And facial expressions—obviously that’s of huge importance in this kind of show, and these artists do it well. Kajou’s comically passionate eye movements, Anna’s sexually passionate faces, Fuwa’s incessant deadpan visage, and Tanukichi’s bewilderment, confusion, discomfort, etc., are all very nicely drawn and animated.

So even if there’s nothing to get excited—excited—about, the artwork supports the show very well. You can pretty much recognize Shimoneta from any still you see of it. The artwork supports the high quality characters very well in that sense, ensuring they’re recognizable and memorable. 

Story

Rating: 5

The main premise is the only thing that matters to this story. Society, at least in Japan, has entered a weird phase where the powers that be have outlawed anything vaguely NSFW, whether that takes the form of printed or digital media, discussion or research, or even certain physical actions and actual objects (you can guess what kinds). Hence certain elements of society exist that want to undo this state of affairs and allow people to live more freely. This is the basis of everything in the show.

I could make this very serious and launch into a diatribe about how it is better for people to live freely as much as possible, regardless of the societal consequences, than to have a governing power impose restrictions on them “for the greater good.” I could discuss how people will always resist control of any kind, and how that could be either a good or a bad thing. I could regretfully note that often those who defend freedom end up looking like the bad guy because of they must defend the bad with the good in order to simply defend freedom. I could make a complicated argument about how this show measures society and finds it lacking. Any and all of that could be in play here.

It’s not what you think. It’s worse.

But I don’t want to read all that into this show. For one thing, I can think of a lot better ways to discuss such things than in the context of obscenity! But apart from that, I wouldn’t want to take away from the humor of this show. Who cares what society was thinking or how that reflects on the world around us today in the context of this show? It simply creates a hilariously impossible situation where one side hopelessly seeks to stifle the thing they oppose, while the other side reacts in the extreme opposite manner, shamelessly encouraging the kind of behavior those in power look to suppress. And they do it with as many capers and oddly comical behaviors, attitudes, missteps, and crazy plans as possible! So there’s no reason to look at this show philosophically. It’s just really funny and really entertaining, and that’s all there is to it!

The mini-arcs create all the storylines within that simple framework. The early storylines in these mini-arcs stick around for the rest of the show, like Anna’s transformation and Tanukichi’s deepening involvement as a SOX double agent. The other arcs introduce new SOX characters like Kasuri and Saotome or additional antagonists like Tsukimigusa or Takuma Ichinose, the Gathered Fabric leader. It’s handled effectively enough, and allows the characters to drive the series without getting in the way.

The story supports the characters in general, allowing just enough plot for them to latch onto and make it interesting without trying to envelop the audience in some unnecessarily complex plot. It allows the characters to shine. If the writers recognized the centrality of the characters to this series and therefore lessened the importance of the plot, they did well in that realization and so produced an excellent result. It comes at the expense of a pretty spare or weak story, but again, it’s enough to support the characters, and that’s all that matters.

Overall: 7

I really like this show. It’s highly indecent, even slightly satirical, but beneath all that it’s just wildly entertaining. For those that can stomach the innuendos and more explicit content (censoring or otherwise!), this show is hilarious. 

In my opinion, among shows that are based on their indecent humor (Asobi Asobase, Sentouin, etc.), this show is at the top of the heap. It doesn’t simply use explicit dialogue as a way to titillate an audience. It totally takes it to the extreme and completely makes fun of it. It knows what it is, and stays true to that throughout the show. It throws it in your face and lets you decide whether you can take it or not!

I’m sure a lot of you have some preferred favorite in this category, but many of you would throw Gintama in there, and therefore question me placing Shimoneta ahead of Gintama. But while I would certainly agree that Gintama is better comedy than Shimoneta, Gintama’s humor isn’t entirely based in dirty jokes. That’s scattered within the constant barrage of idiotic dialogue in that show, but it’s not the basis for the entire show. So they belong in different categories. And Shimoneta belongs at the top of this particular category.

I really hope there will be a second season. The passing Matsuki-san would necessitate a new VA for Anna, which would hit audiences wrong in a lot of ways. But if J.C. Staff studios can overcome that obstacle, I think everyone would be all too happy to see Kajou and Tanukichi up to their antics again! I understand there are a few more characters from the LN and manga that could be introduced to the show as well, and some of them, by all accounts, sound completely hilarious. So I hope for a new iteration of this series in the near future!

Hide the kids, keep the sound quiet, don’t turn your back to the door, and enjoy the effusion of madness that is Shimoneta!

4 Comments »

  1. The show has such a genius premise and they make it fun every episode. If I think about it though it’s kind of like a crazy dystopia but I love that they take it to this humor filled thing instead of something serious like you said. It’s such a good show to watch like mindlessly and laugh for a good while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading through all that! Yes, you’re absolutely right, one can just watch this show and enjoy it without bringing in a lot of serious topics, even though such a show seems like it could easily lend itself to such serious discussion. It’s quite well done.

      Like

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