What’s the show? Shimoneta: A Boring World Where The Concept Of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (2015).
A title and a plot synopsis in one, huh? Well, makes my job easier. ‘Tis but one in a plethora of Japanese anime with exceedingly long titles… speaking of exceedingly long…
Oh no, is this review going to devolve into 20 Dirty Jokes instead, I don’t need my job to be any harder than it already is. You’re making this too easy…
Fine, I’ll admit that one was my mistake, but let’s at least try and be professional about this? Fine, I can do this.
Okay, so what is the show about aside from being set in a world where dirty jokes don’t exist? Well it’s set in a sort of alternate reality Japan where everyone is enforced to wear devices called ‘Peace Makers’ which analyse and monitor every thing people say and even their gestures to make sure nobody is doing anything that the government considers ‘lewd’ or ‘immoral’.
Wow, sounds kind of dark. I thought it was a comedy from that title? It is! And a very funny one at that!
Explain? Okay, so let’s start off with the three main characters, there’s Tanukichi, a typical teenage boy who’s torn between living a law abiding life and following in his father’s footsteps as an outlaw erotic novelist. Then there’s the object of his unreturned affection student council president Anna who is very by the books and all about the rule of the law. And then there’s Ayame, vice president of the student council who in her spare time is secretly an erotic terrorist named ‘blue snow’!
Stop. What’s an ‘erotic terrorist’? Well she runs around the streets wearing nothing but a bed sheet and a pair of panties on her head while dispensing lewd pictures to shocked bystanders and shouting dirty jokes.
Interesting angle. But how does she do it? Doesn’t everybody have that monitoring thing that tracks what they are doing and saying? Good, your listening. She has a device on her phone that blocks the signal of the ‘Peace Makers’ for 3 minutes per day, in which time she can lewd up a storm!
And what’s her goal in all this? Is she just an anarchist who gets off on being able to say and do things in public that other people can’t? Well that’s probably a part of it, but her main goal and it’s a lofty one, is to eventually overturn the laws, which have turned Japan into a country so afraid of sexuality that even students in school don’t know what reproductive sex is or how it happens.
So it’s a story about the ills of mass censorship? Broadly, yes. It’s also a show about saying ‘dick’ a lot and talking about bodily fluids. Lot of bodily fluids in this show.
I’m almost afraid to ask. Well not to go into too much spoiler territory because it does take a couple of episodes for it to come about, but perfect student council president Anna, through various ways discovers what lust is and confuses/rationalises it as love and persists in trying to get Tanukichi to drink her “love nectar”.
So she’s a pervert? But that’s what makes her character so interesting and complex, is that because of the society she’s grown up in, one that disavows any kind of healthy sexual exploration she doesn’t even realise that what she’s doing is so far removed from ‘normal’ because what is normal is never a part of the curriculum or even taught by parents because of the laws of the country. Also, fair trigger warning because it is something worth mentioning, Anna does attempt to rape him.
Oh boy. It goes there? The show treats it in a semi-serious way, the way it’s animated and the tone of the scene it doesn’t play it for laughs, which is good. I personally didn’t have a problem with the way it was handled but I can understand why some people might feel uncomfortable about it.
Fair enough! Well, this review went to some unexpected places. Well you wanted to me to be professional, didn’t you?
Yes, and I’m very proud of you, well done. Thank you oni-chan!
I’m sorry what did you call me? Nothing!
Why do I get the feeling you’re being lewd? I don’t know why you’re always so hard on me; it’s not my fault if my words are coming off rude to you, maybe you should have a long look at yourself in the mirror and see why you spout off at the most innocent of comments.
Are you quite done yet? Penis.
Right. Final score and recommendation? Shimoneta is proof that even in a show filled with dirty jokes and rude words there can be a genuine and well-developed discussion about censorship and the implications it has on developing minds and society at large. It also helps that it’s a very funny show at times, as long as you’re prepared for a lot of immature gags. 83 out of 100.