11 CommentsTwelve Days / By Shinmaru /

12 Days of Anime #5: Welcome to the Jungle


Joshiraku was destined to get a raw deal, at least among ignoramuses like myself who don’t speak the lingo and therefore would be unable parse what’s going on at a rate that’s suitable for comedy. It’s full of language puns and other turns of phrase, and there are also numerous references to Japanese culture that fly over the heads of total dummies (i.e. me). However, it at least has the opportunity to have a somewhat broad appeal partially due to a heroic translation effort from gg, and mostly due to the fact that much of the show’s comedy is broader and more general than the show is given credit for.

One of the true pleasures of this series is how the conversation among the girls evolves and follows tight lines of logic of their own creation. If you follow the individual beats of their chats from start to finish, you can clearly follow where they start and where they end up, even if what they’re talking about makes little sense. One of my favorite examples of this occurs in the final skit of episode 11.

It starts with the ladies swapping shitty presents with each other, as often happens during the holidays. After grousing a bit about that, the conversation turns to the Amazon knock-off shopping site,  Jungle, where Tetora bought a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, when the tree is delivered, it turns out that it’s massive tree and fills out their dressing room to the point where it becomes an actual jungle. From there, Marii, who has had a cold the whole time and whose nose is now glowing like Rudolph, decides to re-enact First Blood, because why the hell not? And that evolves into a parody of Predator and Apocalypse Now, since, obviously, nothing screams Christmas like those three movies.

Eventually it ends with Gankyou slugging Marii to the point where her nose glows like a Christmas star, attracting all manner of strange folk from around the country and turning their Christmas party into a smash hit. A happy ending!

This is such a brilliant skit. It starts in one place and ends somewhere completely different, and the middle is truly a sight to behold. That was the best part of Joshiraku to me: the sheer anticipation of where exactly the girls’ bizarro logic would take them.

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  1. Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I love Joshiraku’s gradual descent into madness too. SZS tends to throw you into gags with an already insane premise, so this new structure was a nice change of pace. Mundane conversations ending with crazy, over the top situations that may or may not be related to what was being discussed is A-OK in my book.

    • Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Yep, the kind of comedy that Joshiraku goes for is something I really dig, and it’s also a style that lends itself well to animation.

  2. Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


    Today I learned a new and beautiful word.

    Regarding Joshiraku: it was fun to see how their talks became crazier and crazier, but it was not until the last few episodes I felt I enjoyed it all. It was then it slowly started to drop everything Japanese and more focused on stuff I dumb Westerner like me could understand.

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      I can understand that. I actually didn’t laugh much the first couple of episodes, but I kept with it and laugh more as the series progressed.

      • SQA
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:16 am | Permalink

        The super catchy OP & ED didn’t hurt matters, but I did find it quite enjoyable from episode 1. But, I also like this type of humor, even if it is translated.

  3. Narcogen
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    From vale’s excellent translation notes (which you should read if you liked the show) I understood that “jungle” referred to Amazon itself, and not a knockoff site.


    • Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      Well, yeah, I wasn’t claiming any different lol “Jungle” is a clear reference to Amazon because of the Amazon Jungle and all.

      But I will go ahead and read that stuff, thank you!

  4. shytende
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Yes, for the first episodes, I wondered if I should drop.
    I’m really happy I didn’t !

    I also loved the false continuity after Gankyou “graduated”… That was really unexpected for the episodic nature of the series

  5. Stef
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    First Blood and Predator are the kind of movies I would watch on Christmas.

    • Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a holiday well spent to me.

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