What’s the show? Han-Gyaku-Sei Million Arthur, Episode 4.
So how’s this episode? Man this show is goofy as heck.
Oh yeah? And are you painting that as a good thing or a bad thing here? Obviously good. It’s always been a silly anime but this episode… well I was going to say it “dialled the goof-factor up to 11” but let’s be real, this is like a 6.5 on the goof-o-meter, it still has a ways to go!
Fair enough, care to elaborate? So this episode is focused on Yamaneko Arthur (or Yama-chan as Dancho and myself prefer to call her). And the episode starts off in a dark place with Yama-chan having a nightmare about the death of her parents by firing squad(!) followed by her retreating to her ‘happy place’ as she puts on her headphones and reminisces about an idol performance and dancing daikon radishes.
…that’s pretty damn strange. It gets stranger. The next morning Dancho makes breakfast which includes a pickled daikon radish side-dish called ‘takuan’ which Yama-chan seems oddly fond of. Then a call comes in that an ‘excalibur’ has appeared on their radar and they need to destroy it. Upon hearing the name of the town where the excalibur has appeared Yama-chan volunteers and Ruro goes with her. The town is a place from history that was (and still is) famous for producing daikon radishes and the pickled takuan variant. But as they explore the place seems utterly deserted and seemingly in the middle of preparing for a festival too. Then from one of the buildings a father and her small daughter appears, her proclaiming that they need to get ready for the festival while he warning that it’s too dangerous to be outside. Then from a nearby hillside, a sniper takes aim, a shot rings out–the little girl is hit and she falls down to the ground as stick of takuan.
Excuse me? The sniper’s gun turns people into long yellow sticks of takuan. And for what it’s worth its pretty dramatic seeing her father wailing as he cradles his now pickled root vegetable for a daughter. But, the show fully commits to its ~serious~ tone throughout the episode which ends up making it more and more funny and more and more absurd the longer it goes on. Seeing hospital beds with a single takuan lying on each pillow as sombre music plays in the background was just… well gloriously goofy.
Okay… and what’s the sniper’s motivation for turning people into pickled radishes? Her father was robbed of his claim to fame as the best takuan maker in town during the previous festival’s competition and he was “ridiculed” as a result. And seeing the daughters overly-dramatic downward spiral is as ridiculous at is hilarious. That said is kind of inconsequential as Yama-chan and the fairy sidekicks form a plan to take her down using a ‘takuan-proof vest’ and it works, and they destroy the ‘excalibur’ in the form of a sniper rifle and all the townspeople turn back to their human forms and everyone is forgiven and they all lived happily ever after!
And that’s it? More or less, I mean this isn’t the kind of episode that invites deep, introspective discussion. What is worth mentioning is that it takes an entirely silly premise and what could have potentially been a repetitive joke of an idea and commits to it fully, never once admitting that the premise is silly which not only makes it all the more funny but also endears itself too. This show absolutely knows what it’s doing and it’s kind of a shame not more people are appreciating it (which is understandable since it’s still not available legally anywhere in the West). So yeah, great episode, would recommend!
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