Jun 4, 2022
“Tonari no Tokoro” is a 1-episode comedy/parody OVA by famous comedian George Tokoro that shows his take on a variety of classic fairy tales (in the style of “Fractured Fairy Tales”). It’s creative and well-written as a whole, but some of the humor is dated and crude, with jokes involving topics that aren’t funny, such as animal abuse.
The OVA, whose title is a reference to the Ghibli movie, starts with a 20th Century Fox logo sequence, and then a spotlight is shown on a surprised Tokoro, who comments that it’s not supposed to start yet, so he has it go through the whole sequence again.
This time, he’s ready, and he begins with a monologue, telling the audience that they wasted their money buying this video — but that that’s a good thing because Japanese people need to learn to waste money more. In fact, he says, they should go one step further and throw their money in a ditch — as long as they contact him with info about where they threw it away!
After moving to a studio set, he’s joined by a silent cat named Dadeo (apparently Tokoro actually owned a cat named Dadeo, and it became a mascot of sorts). After some banter with the non-speaking cat and some technical difficulties, he rolls the first tape.
The three stories shown are (1) a combination of Urashima Taro and Cinderella; (2) a combination of Momotaro, Princess Kaguya and Kintaro; and (3) Little Red Riding Hood. As stated above, these are all done in the style of “Fractured Fairy Tales,” in which modern twists are put into the stories for comedic effect. Tokoro interjects often, telling characters they need to redo scenes, getting into arguments with them or even appearing in the stories himself.
I think the fairy tales are well done. The twists are surprising, but they make sense from a narrative standpoint and don’t come out of thin air. The ones that integrate multiple fairy tales are written convincingly. I feel like there are a few pop culture references here and there that are easy to miss, but as long as you're familiar with the original fairy tales (and can understand Japanese), you'll be able to understand what's going on.
My main issue with this OVA is the amount of objectionable content in each story. The first and third stories feature animal abuse, and killing an innocent animal is the punchline of a joke in both of these. We also frequently see animals (and humans) smoking, scenes of attempted murder (although they’re cartoonish in nature), a character with a fetish who enjoys being stepped on, and a hostess club. There’s also a fair amount of sexism, and a naked boy. In general, most of the characters act mean to each other for no real reason (I guess it’s supposed to be funny).
The animation is pretty fluid, but the art is crude, especially in the last story, where most of the characters are essentially stick figures. (Maybe they had run out of budget by then?) The voices are decent, and the ending song, which is written, composed and sung by Tokoro, is surprisingly good.
Overall, I would give “Tonari no Tokoro” a higher score because of how creative and well put together it is, but the animal abuse and other such content leave me no choice but to give it a 5, which is still being generous. It’s certainly watchable, but there is currently no English version available. This seems like the type of OVA that fansubbers could pick up sometime in the future, though, so maybe that will change. If you can understand Japanese and the the objectionable content described above doesn’t bother you, you may consider this one worth a watch.
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