Reviews

Mar 26, 2020
AstralBread (All reviews)
- I thought I'd make this my last visit. Sorane-chan was my hope. She was all that I had. But apparently, she doesn't need me. Then there's no point in me coming here anymore.
- Could you sum all that up in a haiku?

Stories about socially unacceptable hobbies/subcultures/lifestyles too often fall into one of the two extremes. Type 1 is a true believer’s exercise in self-celebration, saccharine feel-good tales that gloss over any negativity, which you can take as either irresponsibly naive or maliciously whitewashed (e.g. Shirobako). Type 2 is “look at these dweebs” hot takes made by an outsider with the authenticity and subtlety of a minstrel show a la The Big Bang Theory. What both these types share is having little to do with reality. The beauty of OshiBudo is in how it manages to balance itself.
OshiBudo is a show about the idol otaku culture. It’s a celebration of this culture, and it’s an exposé of this culture. It does not shy away from the fact that idol otakus are troubled maladjusted people manipulated and exploited by performers whose entire business model is bleeding dry a small group of obsessed lunatics. And yet it does not diminish the fact that idol fans do indeed find meaning, fulfillment, social fabric and, ultimately, happiness in their lifestyle, i.e. they actually pay for tangible value they wouldn’t be getting elsewhere.

This nuanced portrayal (along with some other things like the superb character writing) is what makes this show “deep”, but that alone isn’t enough to deserve the 10/10 rating. The other necessary half is being “hella fun” and what makes this series fun is its jaw-breaking humor. Because don’t let the above paragraph mislead you - OshiBudo is pure, unadulterated satirical comedy.
It’s actually worth elaborating, because going into this show with wrong expectations can easily ruin it. It’s not an idol show, a romance show, or a yuri show - while it has all these elements, they’re nothing but props to set up comedic situations. No, there won’t be any romantic progress. Yes, they will run into the face-palm inducing misunderstandings that can easily be solved with saying things out loud, but won’t ever be solved. No, they won’t show girls kissing. Why? Because it’s funnier this way, that’s why.
Likewise, it’s not the type of comedy very typical for the anime medium. No reaction faces. No setup-punchline or boke-tsukkomi structure. No easily memeable cuts. Instead, the humor is low-key and, in a way, “methodical.” It’s a constant build-up of dozens of tiny chuckle-worthy fragments that just keep and keep snowballing into the all-out hilarity. Things are funny in the context of everything that happened in the show so far, both in the same episode and in the previous ones. Plenty of gags are split-second, like jiggle physics that rival the Konosuba’s boobs - for the fat guy’s double chin. You end up unable to suppress a permanent grin without properly realizing why.
Looping back, the drama of this show also exists mainly to prop up the comedy. Take the exchange from the epigraph for example. The guy is going through a genuine heartbreak/existential crisis. His friends are being callous dicks with their reply. All of it is no laughing matter. Which is exactly why it is funny.

To sum it all up: OshiBudo offers a clever and sophisticated portrayal of the idol otaku culture, and a hilarious one at that. Incidentally, it has its idol dance sequences hand-drawn, which I've been told is a big deal.

10/10 for “tangible value you wouldn’t be getting elsewhere.”