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.