Each episode follows Fukuzou Moguro, a traveling salesman, and his current customer. Moguro deals in things that give his customers their heart's desire, and once his deals are made and their unhealthy desires are satisfied, Moguro's customers are often left with terrible repercussions, especially if they break the rules of his deals...
"The World is full of lonely men and women, both young and old. I'm here to fill the gaps of your lonely souls. Completely free of charge I might add. A satisfied costumer is the only compensation I desire."
-Warau Salesman opening line.
Warau Salesman is a work by the legendary duo Fujiko Fujio, creators of classics such as Doraemon and Ninja Hattori-kun. The series follows Fukuzo Moguro, a salesman with a permanent grim smile that offers his services to struggling citizens, with quite disastrous results. Like the aforementioned works, Warau is an episodic anime with each one being 10 min in duration.
What makes this series stand out from Fujiko's catalog is the mature overtones of this work, deviating from the childlike nature of their most famous works, Warau Salesman's dark comedic elements come from the characters's misfortune and the unreal situations that they experience under Fukuzo's guidance, often ending up with their lives ruined.
Every episode is unrelated and they follow a very simple formula: There's a citizen with a problem, (work, family, love, boredom, etc...) Fukuzo approaches them, hands a business card and convinces them he has a solution, it turns out that solution is either quite extreme or Fukuzo himself sabotages the situation and the poor citizen gets screwed. All the development is done within those 10 minutes and that's it.
There isn't any kind of deep lesson to be learned other than the usual "be careful what you wish for", "greed is bad", that sort of thing, in fact, one of the things that surprised me the most is the fact that most of the people are quite innocent and end up traumatized for life. I personally advise not to question his methods as Fukuzo is inhumanly resourceful and preforms quite amazing feats sometimes so just assume he is some kind of demon and just go with the flow. Because of this, the best way to enjoy the series is to simply to go in with the mentality that you're going to get a laugh through someone else's misfortune. If this kind of comedy is not your thing or you don't enjoy episodic anime maybe this is not for you.
The art is fairly old school with very simple character designs and everyone seems fairly short in height as if they all suffer from Dwarfism, with some of them ending up looking the same. This is a problem that some old Anime/Manga have, in one of my favorite anime, Galaxy Express 999, some characters look exactly the same and that can be a drawback for some viewers. Personally, I grew up watching Doreamon and Ninja Hattori and it's quite nostalgic seeing those designs again. Also, the character's names are quite often related to the theme of the episode as their names are written with the Kanji for "Clumsy" or "Unlucky" for example, this is something that a normal viewer would not notice unless they are fluent in Japanese or in my case, having the translators pointing it out on the subtitles.
The music is handled by Tanaka Kouhei who is well known for the One Piece soundtrack and it fits the mood quite well though don't expect to hear orchestral music of Wagnerian proportions. It is compromised mostly of Orchestral and Jazz pieces and some incidental music well arranged for the situations presented, the pieces that play during Fukuzo's opening lines are short but they set the mood for the anime very well, the Demon's Nest, a pub where Fukuzo takes some of his clients has a very good Cool Jazz piece that gives the scene that 1950's/60's warm and dirty feel.
Overall, I believe that your enjoyment of the series depends mostly on your personal taste and sensibility in regards to humor and plot, if you like old school anime and you are having a bad day, I'm sure you'll get a good laugh or two from this one, plus each episode is 10 minutes long so you can watch it even on lunch break. If you are looking for a new perspective on the universe and your own existence I believe you won't get that experience from this series.
Want to see good and bad people alike get swindled by a fat man with a suitcase and a giant index-finger?
Give this a shot!
With the new revamp “sequel” this past year titled “Warau Salesman New”, I was surprised to see not a single review for the original series. Essentially, if you have a pessimistic side to you and enjoy dark comedy, you’ll probably get a decent amount of entertainment out of this one. I’ve only been able to find the first season, so this will only be reviewing the first 25 episodes.
In Warau Salesman, Every 10-minute episode features a brand new character. The
desires of said character are given to you at the beginning of the episode. Once Moguro appears, he offers a too-good-to-be-true deal for the character. Some characters fall for it right away, others he has to be more persistent with. Rest assured, he closes the deal and you get to see the aftermath of the character’s now-met desires. Depending on how scummy the character it is, the more satisfying Moguro’s wrath becomes. Or in stark contrast, the character doesn’t deserve the treatment at all and you end up feeling pretty sympathetic toward them.
It started airing in 1989, so don’t expect too much from the quality of the animation, artwork and sound. I actually like the old school style, so this was a big plus for me. The thing I liked the most in the artwork were the scenes focusing on the city itself, as it often gives a polluted and sleazy feel to the show. You would also expect the new character’s personalities to bleed into each other and all be the same, but I was impressed that they were able to give new characters a personality of their own for each episode.
Whenever I was having a bad day, I turned an episode of this on and it instantly made me appreciate my life again which is what I liked most about it. Though it has comedic elements, there are some pretty sad and relatable characters within the show. You are bound to relate to at least one of them if you watch long enough. It's an episodic show, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing. Warau Salesman does what it does very well, so you are bound to enjoy the rest of it if you enjoy the first episode.
Overall this is a great show if you are having one of those irritable days where you are annoyed by everything and everyone. I got a good amount of enjoyment of it in that respect. Next time you get into one of those cynical and depressing moods, maybe think about giving Warau Salesman a try.