Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I ordered the first disc of Nerima Daikon Brothers to fill out an order the other month, having not heard much of anything about it - or at least, not much of anything which stuck. It was stuck in among a hundred other C-list titles that ADV dumped into the market like a freighter full of cattle in shark-infested waters - apparently on the theory that if you throw enough of 'em in there, the sharks will eventually get too full to eat at least *some* of your beeves.

Uh, anyways - Nerima Daikon Brothers. It's a Nabeshin late-night anime, and not one of his hack-work directing-for-some-studio-spark make-work shows, like the Wallflower or Tenchi Muyou GXP. Remember Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemi? Yeah, that level of hyper bad taste. Except as a musical. A really sketchy, slapdash, cynical musical about the dreams of a suburban radish farmer, his host-club loser of a brother, and their gold-digging over-the-hill-former-idol cousin from Okayama. All of them dressed in a loose Nabeshin-eque approximation of the traditional attire of "Hassidic diamond merchants".

The show goes like this: introductory half-assed musical number in their daikon radish field. One or more members of the 'band' gets scammed by the bottom-feeding predator-of-the-week, via one or more short, hyper musical numbers; this is usually punctuated by a song-and-dance number from the loan-shark kanban musume dancers & their portable-shrine ATM of Doom. The Brothers escape, go to a back-alley pawnshop, to rent a preposterous weapon or device to defeat the villains (and rob them of all their ill-gotten gains), which they inveigle via song from "Oyaji", a shadowy figure with the traditional Nabeshin afro voiced by the director himself. One more violent song-and-dance routine later, justice is served, and Oyaji's pet "pandaikon" shows up with all the other victims-of-the-week, who walk off with all the Brothers' stolen wealth, leaving them destitute in their radish field to song-fight with their annoyed neighbors who probably thought that living next to a daikon field in sleepy Nerima would have been *quieter* than some more urban ward, right?

The songs aren't particularly brilliant - Sondheim isn't exactly quaking in his boots - but it's all delivered with a cock-eyed sloppy enthusiasm which makes it impossible to hate. The subject matter is pretty damned sketchy - the first episode is basically an extended homosexual casting-couch gag - which probably explains why it didn't get more notice back when it first came out. But it isn't all making-fun-of-teh-gheys, and the rest of the first disc mocks Korean pachinko parlours, predatory hospital operators, and mobbed-up cops. I was a little disappointed the Korean pachinko episode stayed within the relatively safe confines of "boy, the Koreans love their kimchee and cosmetic surgery, don't they?" and "housewives love them some Korean prettyboy actors", when I, personally, would have gone with the obvious North Korean commie-gangster line. But hey, it's still pretty funny, if kind of bigoted.

And damn, are there a lot of extras on the first disc. I started watching the disc, and just kept going and going until hey! Time to go to work! I'm definitely going to have to get the rest of the season the next time I make a TRSI order; we'll see what the next sale is coming up this Thursday.

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