28 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys episode 1

I was rather disappointed to discover that the first episode consisted of basically those pre-air episodes all over again, with barely 5 minutes of new content. It does give me an opportunity to talk about them properly this time, for all my intent was when I last posted about them was simply to correct my misjudgment in the season preview. Now though, I get to talk about why they are brilliant.

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is by the same director who did Gintama and School Rumble, so the guy clearly knows how to do comedy. Particularly the comedic timing that made School Rumble click so well is on display here too, especially with the Literature Girl segment. Each pause before the dramatic line was timed to perfection, giving us perfect time to stew in the awkwardness of the moment. Comparisons with Gintama are probably more apt though, especially given they’ve brought in Gintoki himself, Tomokazu Sugita, basically doing that exact same Gintoki voice. Much like Gintama, the show is primarily a parody of a certain other genre (Gintama’s case it’s shounen, Highschool Boys it’s cute girls doing cute things) while taking random potshots at other genres and social norms. Unlike Gintama though, Highschool Boys doesn’t constantly regress into the very thing it is supposed to be parodying, which is just one of the reasons why Highschool Boys is better than Gintama.

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is a satire of many current trends in anime. The opening sequence should tell you that much, starting off with the main character narrating that he’s just a normal guy in a normal town with no personality, only for Zakundams to come down and attack. The boys then inexplicably turn into fantasy warriors, the explanation given that it’s a collaboration between Sunrise and Square Enix. Little prod at producers who try to create anime by tossing in popular elements even when they don’t mesh together, feeling like it was thrown together by an executive boardroom, a criticism that is frequently directed towards Sunrise themselves? Call me out for reading too much into this sort of stuff, but these are the qualities that give comedy the extra laugh out loud factor beyond the immediate joke of crashing two completely different genres together.

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is what parody should be. Not that bullshit playful parody that the likes of Ouran, where they simply point out that they are embracing cliché. This is satirical parody, where it openly mocks the ridiculous of these factors. The kid running out of the house with a piece of toast in his mouth is followed by his friends eating ramen and pot noodles as they run from their houses. The pretentious dialogue about the weather many romantic stories use, pretending to sound deep and meaningful, but instead just come off as the characters trying really hard to sound cool and failing miserably. And in turn using that same dialogue to mock those airy ending theme songs with nonsense lyrics.

Not all of Daily Lives of Highschool Boys is like that, obviously. If the skirt segment was a parody of something, I couldn’t tell you what it was. It’s just the usual playing with social norms that most comedies worth their salt do anyway. The segment with the boys obsessing over whether the main character was dating this girl was the dramatic exaggeration of aspects of social life that we over-dramatise anyway. It does have that over-reliance on the straight man routine, as does it have a tendency to shout jokes rather too often for my liking  (although my love of Arakawa should tell you that these things don’t impede me from loving something). But it still pulls both these segments off great, with comic timing and delivery with jokes that are actually funny.  Doing this makes Highschool Boys a Good Comedy. But it’s the satirising of modern anime trends that makes it a Great Comedy.

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28 Comments

  1. @aogukip
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I really need to get one of those “Not sure if…” memes. Saying “Not sure if praise or Scamp”

  2. Moomba
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I originally wasn’t going to watch this – while I tend to really enjoy anime comedy, a lot of it is often too samey. But hey, an endorsment from Scamp meant it was at least worth checking out! Add to that the fact that someone once tried to get me into the manga but I never got around to picking it up.

    It was definitely worth it! It was an entertaining watch – the parodies were perfect and seeing it from a male perspective rather than the usual four-girls is a really nice change.

    None of the jokes felt overplayed to me, and the way they were framed made them easy to relate to as well – I can remember a few similar experiences back when I was in school, though nowhere near as exaggerated or as entertaining. Perhaps it appeals to me more because I actually can relate, whereas relating with female protagonists in a slice-of-life comedy could be considered harder.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Dudes doing dude stuff. Who’da thunk it?

      (and no, Kimi to Boku is not dudes doing dude stuff)

      • Moomba
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I never watched Kimi to Boku… a friend ruined it for me before it even began airing with her filthy filthy mind :(

  3. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    All those poor, defenseless frogs, dissected for your sick games! What about their siblings and friends? What about their familites?! O-Madoka why???

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Took me a while to figure out what you were on about…

  4. Karry
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    “”he’s just a nor­mal guy in a nor­mal town with no per­son­al­ity, only for Zak­un­dams to come down and attack. The boys then inex­plic­ably turn into fantasy war­ri­ors”

    To be fair, i’d totally watch that. We dont get anywhere near enough shows that explore the prospects of pitting magic and technology versus each other. Basically i want SMT:The Anime series.

  5. Animeking
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Okay okay… After reading this… I had to sit down and watch it, thinking. Hey who doesn’t enjoy a good comedy anime right? Just cause of the title I wasn’t going to watch it..but.. this level of comedy.. the stupid jokes.. I am going to go read the manga after this.. I mean seriously.. the skirt scene made me “lol” the most. It was such a obvious joke. You had to see it coming, I know I thought to my self I know they didn’t.. Then the sister walked in.. yeah. lols all around.

  6. Erif
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    This is turning out to be quite the “sleeper season”. Like them or not, Highschool Boys, Nisemonogatari, Brave 10, Lagrange, Aquarion, Space Pirates, Ano Natsu, Another, and even Natsume have all received some praise on their first episodes (well, not really pirates, but it still has a strong following. Whether they turn out to be good shows or not is a completely different story, but we’ve got some real good potential this winter season.

    Was kinda thinking about watching this, so I guess I’ll give it a go.

    • karry
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

      “This is turning out to be quite the “sleeper season”.”

      Not to mention “season of horrible OPs”.

      • Scamp
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        omg karry said something true!

        Lagrange had the only good OP so far

  7. Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I kinda want you to blog this like you did for Arakawa. Each skit separately.

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, this.

      • mcm038
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Aw. Should have read this first.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Eh…I really want to blog Nymphogear though :(

  8. SENSEISHUN
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I lol’d so much at the skirt part because he was the only 1 to actually get dressed aha. Havent watched a good comedy or cared to even watch a good comedy since i watched school rumble last year. Other comedies try so hard with overused jokes or try to give the premise of being more funny than the last comedy that it pains me to watch them. When i saw 1 of the boys running with ramen i knew this would be good.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Did last year have any good comedies? Level E was all right. Nichijou was bleh. I think the last comedy I loved was Arakawa

      • ma
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Level E and :
        Azazel san
        Reibai Sensei
        Ben-to

  9. fathomlessblue
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I can really see the School Rumble director’s influence here, especially during the school scene; the comedic timing was effin’ brilliant!

    The weird thing is, outside of the standard crazy Azumanga/Cromartie 4-koma influences, the series Highschool Boys really reminds me of is (non-anime) The Inbetweeners. Ok, obviously it lacks that show’s level of crudeness and awkwardness (thank god!), but the conversations and behaviour of the friends has the same genuine feel to it, despite the exaggerations. An anime with both trademark craziness and natural cast interactions; jesus, I never thought I’d see the day!

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Inbetweeners relies too much on shock dialogue and squicky awkwardness for my liking, although I do get the comparisons

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, to make it clear, I’m not a fan of the show, but there are similarities in presentation and interaction, if not the actual content.

  10. mcm038
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I’m sure this’ll be an interesting one to episodic blogging Scamp. It’s sure to get better with new discoveries.

  11. Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I am quite happy that everyone agrees that this show is brilliant in it’s own right. I’m just happy that my expectation for Danshiko is spot on. Gintama/Gintoki/Sugita, that’s my weakness there.

  12. Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    My one hope for this is that the “I AM SHOUTING THE POINT OF THE JOKE” stuff gets toned down, even a little bit. That really irritates me to the point where it totally breaks the mood. There’s enough funny shit in this episode that I still enjoyed it, but ugh.

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t you call Level E your anime of 2011? Mmm hmmm :P

      • Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Baka’s hilarity nuked all the annoyance I felt about the usual shouty joke nonsense.

    • Karry
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      “”My one hope for this is that the “I AM SHOUTING THE POINT OF THE JOKE” stuff gets toned down”

      Do you intend to fix Japan ?

  13. TheVoid
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    I think the part involving Literary girl is being a parody of people trying to live out their fantasies since most of what happened also happened in the novel she wrote.

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