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Monday, May 23, 2016

Anime Hajime Review: Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken

Series Synopsis

Marriage is hard. Should you ever find that special someone, there’s a good chance they’ll be the last person you were expecting. Case in point, Kaoru (voiced by Yukari Tamura) and her husband Hajime (voiced by Kenichi Suzumura).

Kaoru never imagined she would ever get married and was largely content with focusing on her career. Now that she is though, she finds it hard to picture her life any other way. That being said, she isn’t always prepared to react accordingly to all the completely random stuff Hajime says or does. However, this guy might be an idiot, but he’s her idiot.

Whereas Kaoru never thought she would get a husband, no one believed Hajime would ever get a wife; especially one as great as Kaoru. The absolute definition of an otaku, Hajime has almost no understanding of what it means to be a functioning adult in modern society, or any society from any time period for that matter. Yet it was this unapologetic awkwardness that won over Kaoru and there’s no question Hajime loves his wife to no end.

These two are definitely an odd pairing, but they’re there for each other; through thick and thin, till death do they part.

Series Positives

There are two seasons to this show. I watched them both. It took me about an hour to do that.

Me looking at Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken as one rather than have two reviews has nothing to do with this series being short form. Both seasons are the absolute same in quality and it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. What I say for one completely applies to the other.

And with that I say, I f@#$ing love this show.

I can’t predict the future, but there are a few things for which I am pretty sure. There will most definitely be an Ichiban Short Form top ten, Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken will most likely be high on it, and this is the show that made me want to make that list.

Kaoru and Hajime

These two are one of my favorite anime couples, mainly because I firmly believe that they are indeed a couple.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. The awkward nerdy guy gets the girl that’s way out of his league. We’ve all seen this, but these two hit it right out of the park.

Together, Kaoru and Hajime make for some of the most hilarious back and forth routines I have ever seen. They balance each other out and are perfect compliments. On the majority of occasions its Kaoru reacting to Hajime’s antics, but what keeps this from getting stale is that the set up does flip.

Hajime’s character in particular can be a bit tricky to get right since the series could've very easily gone overboard with his awkwardness (I'm looking at you Princess Jellyfish). When it’s just Kaoru and Hajime in their home or with their group of friends who are familiar with these random spurts of tomfoolery, the show goes all out. However, when these two are in public and have to be adults, it’s toned back.

Right there is why I love these characters and I love this show. When Kaoru and Hajime have to be a functioning and loving couple, they do exactly that.

For instance, Hajime is playing a video game when Kaoru comes home. It’s a standard exchange and Hajime doesn’t even break eye contact with the screen. Then suddenly Kaoru collapses from exhaustion. Instead of continuing to play and enforcing the recluse angle, Hajime instantly stops what he’s doing to go take care of his wife.
Conversely, Kaoru doesn’t see her husband as a novelty whose only existence is to spout one-liners. Hajime is the person who Kaoru feels comfortable exposing her weaknesses to and the person who she turns to when she needs support. There’s a scene when Kaoru tentatively, like a turtle poking its head of its shell, tells Hajime that she loves him; not in a high school crush kind of way, but a true confession of feelings.

Because these two always put the other first, it allows the funny moments to be even funnier and the tender moments are off the god damn charts.

My absolute favorite moment of the show comes after Hajime makes a big commotion when he thinks Kaoru might be pregnant. It’s all speculation therefore he’s naturally a big goofball about it. After a pregnancy test, it looks like it was indeed him overreacting. There’s a little more sarcasm, but then the results come in and they go silent.

In that instance, they both got scared because this was not part of the plan at this point. There’s no talking, no silly antics, no stupidity, Kaoru and Hajime are allowed to have a moment together.

This scene did not take away from how funny the show is. A comedy doesn’t have to have nonstop jokes; it can take a second to have more serious stuff; provided it fits within the overall set up. Not only can this make a series good, it can make a series better.

Series Negatives

I have absolutely nothing to say here.

I’ve actually seen this series a couple times now because of how much I like it, and the run time makes doing so reasonable. 

Every joke I laughed at; some of them even took me out of commission for a couple minutes. Every affectionate moment I smiled at; Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken made shows like Golden Time pale in comparison.

If there’s anything, I want this series to keep going. I want to see more of Kaoru and Hajime. I want to see them try to be parents. I want to get to know their group of friends a lot better. This show, these characters are not spent, there has to be more that can be done.

This is a perfect example that illustrates that short form anime are isn't always a throw away of ideas that have no meat to them. They can be well done; they can be fantastic.

Final Thoughts

Could Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken make it as a full series; perhaps, but it’s more than fine the way it is.

I think I’ve beaten it to death  how much I enjoyed this show. It’s funny, its sweet, and it has one of the best anime couples there is. What more can I say, this one gets it right.

I’m not recommending this show based on the fact that it will only take an hour to watch, like I have for a lot of other short form anime. I’m recommending it because Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken is good.

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