Hideki, leader of the Nerima Daikon Brothers, has a dream to build a dome in his hometown of Nerima to hold a concert for his band. Together with his cousin, Mako (whom he has a crush on), Ichiro, and Pandaikon (a panda he found in his yard that resembles a daikon), they strive to make money any way they can, and in the process, rid the world of evil-doers and steal their money in the process. With help from a rental guy, Nabeshin, who rents them outrageous items that always seem to help them defeat the bad guys, the Nerima Daikon Brothers sing their way to victory but always manage to lose the money they stole in the end. Even under the investigation of Inspector Karakuri, they never fail to fight for justice the Nerima-Daikon way.
Nabeshin, most famous as the afro-sporting director of Excel Saga, thrives with material no one in their right mind would even think to create. With Nerima Daikon Brothers, he molds the story of two brothers, their cousin, and a soft... VERY soft... panda, who want nothing more but to turn their paltry daikon field into a concert dome where they can perform their music. But this is Nabeshin, so there has to be a catch, and it's a doozy... you see, Nerima Daikon Brothers is an anime musical. Singing, dancing, and lots of it.
Every episode deals with the Nerima Daikon Brothers looking for a break,
finding corrupt rich people, and taking their money then losing it all once again. Though the episodes are formulaic, enough elements carry over and alter the story so no episode is exactly the same as the last. Ongoing jokes seldom get old.
The characters themselves, including a shadowy Nabeshin, are not so much in it to grow or learn, but to wreak havoc, and they do it in spades. Hideki is a loudmouth horndog, Ichiro is a monotonous douche, and Mako is a materialistic bitch. They're selfish, foul, and incredibly loveable. Though they are nothing more than caricatures of themselves, the whole show feels like a caricature of itself, so it works well. Even when a certain infamous pop star becomes a recurring role, it just works because at that point, you're willing to believe anything the series throws at you.
The art as zany and colorful just like the show's atmosphere. Much of the time it straddles the line between American animation and Japanese. This gives it a unique and fun look, energetic but never sloppy, that can really be appreciated after the same constant anime designs over and over for the average otaku.
Also keeping in mind this is technically a musical, the show thrives on the sound element. Dialogue turns into well-timed puns with bizarre numbers on panda sex and following inane laws. The energy and pure randomness of it really sell it though. Recurring numbers such as the money song and rental shop song are fun, catchy, and brilliantly written to keep in line with the series structure. The dub especially so.
Nerima Daikon Brothers is a show you don't have to think about when you watch. It's pure, zany fun beginning to end. Many comedy shows these days are full of more cynical, deadpan humor, but Nerima's selling point is it's cartoonish brand of comedy that is actually funny more than it is groan-worthy. For a good belly laugh, just pop this in and enjoy. It's nothing memorable, but it's a solid 12 episodes of fun.
Overall, I give Nerima Daikon Brothers an 8 out of 10.
I actually analyzed this series for a University paper (yeah, you read that right...)
Directed by the infamous Nabeshin, this is exactly what one should expect from him, with a twist. This is the first ever anime musical comedy. While fans of the typical Nabeshin screwball comedy will love it's off the wall flavour, it was also the pioneer of a new subgenre. Unfortunately...the pioneer was drunk off his ass and ran his covered wagon into many a ditch.
The show does have a basic plot that tie all of the events together. Hideki, Ichiro and their cousin
Mako have big dreams of building a concert dome on their daikon field in the suburb of Nerima, where they will perform for sold out crowds of adoring fans. The problem? The brothers and cousin are perpetually broke due to freak acts of nature, evil corperations, and Mako's horrible spending habits. The plot, believe it or not, can be heavily paralleled with 'The Blues Brothers' and the main characters even dress similarly to Jake and Elwood Blues.
In all actuality though, the series is actually a scathing political commentary on Japan in the year 2005. Nobody is safe from Nabeshin's satire. Issues dealt with within the series include privatization of land, the Japanese health care system, partner abuse, police corruption, sexual harassment, homosexuality, the horrors of the music industry, the Korean Wave and gambling, to name a few. Some political and social figures are even spoofed. The Prime Minister, Michael Jackson, and Johnny and Associates are all satirized. The political commentary was very clever, but is now unfortunately outdated, and fairly irrelevant to American viewers.
It's...Nabeshin. So expect a lot of eye poping, over the top visuals, and for stuff to literally come out of nowhere. The laws of physics do not apply. This is far from the fluid animation of animes like Fullmetal Alchemist, or with the detailed scenery of Le Chevalier D'Eon. It's zany, cartoony, and it fits. Scenes and visuals are routinely recycled along with musical numbers, which gets slightly grating. Charicatures of real people are often diformed and discoloured (Michael Jackson's counterpart 'Yukel Hakushon' has purple hair, yellow skin and a detachable nose.) There are also plenty of visual references and puns, though with quite a few of them you need a basic knowledge of Japanese, which the English language team tried to adapt, sometimes ineffectively.
Hideki's Japanese voice is perfect for the lead singer of a blues band. The Japanese crew has a much better balance than the English crew, but the dub still manages to convey all the humour of their Japanese counterparts. One main complaint the fandom has is Mako's Southern Belle accent (she speaks in Osakan dialect in Japanese). It can get fairly annoying after prolongued viewing. Another complaint is that the songs, while pretty good, and catchy, get repeated from episode to episode, with different lyrics. Remember what I said earlier about the pioneer for this genre drunkly driving the covered wagon? Well...this is probably a mistake future anime musicals can learn from.
If you knew them in real life, you'd probably want them institutionalized. Since this is an anime comedy however, all disorders can be forgiven for the rule of funny. Hideki wants to marry his cousin Mako, who repeatedly lies to him about how the Japanese constitution bans first cousins from marrying (it doesn't) while Mako herself is in love with Ichiro. Ichiro in turn loves a panda found in the daikon field. A female police officer Yukika 'inspector gadget' also falls in love with the panda, but is torn between her love of the fuzzy panda and the fishcakes found in ramen. And that...that's just the main love tri...octa...love plot.
Characters have a lot of negative traits, though most of these are played for humour. What makes them more sympathetic though is that they are constantly being ripped off and stolen from by larger corperations, clearly making the Brothers underdogs. The one problem is in the later part of the series, the writers try to create drama and tear jerking situations in a Nabeshin comedy, creating mood whiplash at times. It's hard to genuinly feel sorry for someone who was just involved in a high speed chase on a unicycle.
I loved this anime for it's political satire and clever pop culture references. The musical aspect too to an extent, but once songs started to be repetedly recycled, it got kind of old, even annoying. My personal problem was that this series tried to do too much. It tried to be a scathing commentary on the times, a pop culture riddled comedy, a screwball random comedy and a musical. While it was still a fun anime, it just felt like the show could not decide what it wanted to be. At any rate, anyone interested in a social commentary on Japanese life might want to have a peek at this, but keep the internet on hand so you can understand all the references.
Warnings: Nudity (some sexual positions are displayed in the art in Ichiro's Host Club) foul language, bestiality, cousin-love, mind rape (it's Nabeshin) sex based humour and racism against Koreans. Also, cue a pink Darth Vader just for added wtf-value.
The show is really stupidly silly. But unlike Puni Puni Poemy and Excel Saga, this one has a story that he sticks to. I like the story because its heart wrenching but because of the black comedy, it doesn’t make me want to cry. I wanted to keep watching because of the characters and how they interact with each other, and to see if they ever would make their dream come true. They had me laughing from the start even if some of the jokes were a little gross.
The animation is not really all that wonderful, but it works with the fact that this
is a comedy and not a normal show. The characters at times lose all proportion, turn chibi, stretch out strange or have their arms and legs move strange but it all works.
When we get down to the music, It’s wonderful! Sometimes then they have a show that is all about the music, they will either fail or like this one, rock out! I loved ever song even if I won’t look for most of them on a CD. There really wasn’t much background music, it was all in the front and they never really made it feel like it should be put in the back!
All in all, great show and I would like to see more of this then the other style he does.
I really respect Watanabe Shinichi for what he does as far as being an active face and voice in the anime community, advising fans to buy anime DVDs and manga instead of stealing them via torrent download and scanalations, but I haven't enjoyed any of his work all the way through. Excel Saga was great, but got old near the end, and I hated Poemy from minute one. Nerima Daikon Brothers is the third Nabashin related work I've seen thus far, and this one is sliightly better, but suffers from the same problems.
The comedy is pretty much what can be expected; an insane
vault of madness with little rhyme or reason. And it works great at first. I pretty much loved all the parodies featured, even if I'm not native Japan and don't get 98% of the cultural references. The English dub is pretty damn funny, and worth checking out. I think it's Greg Ayers at his best. The songs are enjoyable, until midway through the show, then they begin recycling instrumentals and juggling mildly different lyrics.
And that's precisly the problem with Nabashin's style of humor. Aside from it being foul-mouthed and crude (which i can deal with), the show is seriously repetitious with the jokes it cycles. It became unfunny to me around episode 6 and becomes pretty mediocore from there out. The wackiness gets really predictable and I was lulled into a state of calling which song numbers were going to start before they were even cued. That style of comedy is very sketch-based, which means it's lifespan is not very long. Thankfully, it's only twelve episodes, so I found the fortitude to sit through the remaining four episodes I had on DVD for three years, hoping that the jokes I got tired of would be somewhat refreshed when I back into it. Not really so much.
The characters are pretty vibrant and off-the-wall, my favorite is easily Officer Yukika, who kept the show very enjoyable throught the end. Hideki, Mako, and Ichiro are decent, but become overbearingly annoying on a South Park level, as there's only two jokes between the three of them. The villians are episodic, but the bad guy in the very first episode was just so terrible I found it awesome. Every other villian afterward gets progressively more suggestive and borders on trying too hard to push boundries that it gets sad.
IN CLOSING: What starts out as a really fresh comedy, something that is drastically lacking in anime today, turns into a double entandre-filled, genitalia referencing, one liners and predictable, bland toilet humor that caters to this generation's Family Guy audience. In my book, only Great Teacher Onizuka and Azumanga Daioh have managed insane humor for 26 episodes or more because of clever writing, various characters to write jokes around, and a solid set of scenarios to keep you watching. Watanabe's humor work best in short bursts. For a pioneer who does a great job promoting retail purchases to keep anime a viable revolving door for entertainment, it's a shame that I really don't like his stuff. Fans and followers will love it, I prefer a tad more substance in my comedy and not flash in the pan jokes that garner shock laughter.
OVERALL SCORE: 5 out of 10
PROS: A musical comedy is rare these days, pretty good dub,
CONS: Gets old fast, humor is overall really low brow and cheap