Denki-gai no Honya-san – 05

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Denki-Gai no Honya-san reminds us that Spring means panties and that means its time for the Spring Panties Festival!

Sensei-chan is challenged to truly appreciate panties by Director — and warned that her manga will never succeed if she doesn’t! Tapping her love, Protagonist, for all he’s worth, she and we all learn the depth we never knew!

dgnhs5_13this display incorporates a fan and a plastic pair of legs from which a skirt may flutter!

Did you know panty stories are always best in spring due to the stiff breeze? Did you know not showing panties is as important as showing them, because it implies nudity?

The entire act is delightfully pervy and fully of confusion for Hiotan, who consistently hears odd segments of conversation and always assumes the worst. The details too, are hysterical and so lovingly exposed that you can’t see how seriously the show (and the characters) takes its source material.

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Next it’s raining and all the girls except Sensei-chan have hair troubles. Kameko, who is wearing a Kameko shirt that’s probably a joke I don’t understand, is especially troubled. Her fro is fan-tastic

But the real madness sets in when Sommeliier shows up without a shirt…

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Everyone, including G-man/woman, loses their shit in a drooling phone-camera panic. It’s not even clear why Sommelier is shirtless, just that he is and it’s going to sell an awful lot of BL comics!

Extra points must be awarded for making the guys the most physically exposed, sexualized objects of the show. More importantly, when the guys are drooling over a girl, it’s usually because she’s an artist or an author they are really into…

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Act three could be entirely imaginary, or an art project run by Kameko, or actually what just happened to Sommelier from his own perspective. It probably makes no real difference because it’s in a totally absurd black and white art film filter.

In this… film… Sommelier protects a wet cat only to learn that it is a well taken care of animal owned by biker thugs who love it and even shampoo it! The movie is silent-style, with ‘dialog’ cards. This section too is wonderful and absurd and lovely retro music and visual effects sell every second of it.

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Finally we end on a Director focused act. Well, focused on his ex anyway. She’s a former employee turned manga writer and cosplay enthusiast. She acts just like Hiotan and Hiotan is insanely jealous!

But not in a Vanadis terrible way — Hiotan wants to learn from Director’s Ex. Hiotan wants to know why he loved her and why he doesn’t now and how she can get in that loop. At least, that’s what her actions say. Hiotan is a hot mess and doesn’t really know what she wants!

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I’ve decided Denki-Gai no Honya-san is actually about women in fandom, more than men. Its ‘protagonist’ has consistently gotten less screen time than the main girls, and when you’re about the boy loving on a girl, we see it from the girl’s perspective!

If i didn’t know any better, i’d say you were trying to make a statement. Especially with your average lookers. Even your blonde is a bit dumpy. (and Fu-chan is physically repulsive)

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What’s more, each of those loves is different. Sensei depicts the love of and for a fan, and the trouble that brings when that love is so obsessed with fandom in general.

Fu-chan’s love is for the hot guy who doesn’t belong in the industry (but probably has a weird festish below the surface that strands him there). It’s the Ugly girl who could maybe almost win the hot guy if he just has a weird enough reason to be around her story… that we basically never see anywhere else before.

dgnhs5_4Shin-chan parody? NICE!

Lastly, Hiotan’s love for Director is the love for a guy who’s in the industry, who knows what is going on and is willing to share it, and how she’s such an outsider wanting in.

Each of these loves makes the guy a guide in a way but they equally show case how incompetent at love these guys are. At life too.

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DGNHS is visually dense, quick, ugly as hell, and from an unusual perspective that I bet most people don’t even notice! It’s smart, educational, and full of heart and it’s built in a way that all those things come through clearly, but subtly.

That, in my book, is worth major major props!

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Denki-gai no Honya-san – 04

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Denki-Gai no Honya-san is this season’s Sabagebu!. I know! I promised I wouldn’t say that again but I have no better way to describe it!

The visuals are dated! The characters are totally bizarre! It’s shit-your-pants-scare-your family-in-the-middle-of-the-night funny (much of the time)!

How can it not deserve your love??!

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This week starts off with Hiotan and the Director continuing to build there while-no-one-is-looking relationship. You see it’s staff recommendation season and Hiotan is such a mainstream reader of manga, she has nothing interesting to recommend.

Nothing as genre specific (and sales-strong) as anyone else at least. However, the director knows Hiotan’s buttons — he’s even used her likeness to sell BL books in his own recommendation area — and he’s here to help. So she starts recommending BL.

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akak National Standardized Girl Power Exam Final Answer Finals!

Then we get a little bit with Sensei-chan. Poor Sensei-chan has forgotten it is Valentine’s day! Subsequently her Girl Power (bar) is draining as she loses consistently to all other girls in the store.

This segment is the funniest by far, if only for the absurd visuals and timing. Still, it plays into the fears a young woman may have and differently for a young woman who is no longer in the simple ‘high school’ world of being all about one boy. It’s hard for me as a 300-something American man to really connect the dots with this one on a culturally meaningful level but, like you’ll find it, I laughed my ass off regardless!

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Then we end with Fu-Girl. Good old horrifying Fu-girl and her terrifying teeth want to give Sommelier-san a gift because she loves him in a creepy sexual way because she has horrifying teeth and is, at least, five years younger than him, but probably ten years younger than him!

Poor creepy Fu chases Sommelier all the way home, past all sorts of imagery and locations that make no sense but are snot-bubble unexpected. She even climbs through the barbed tree-tunnel from My Neighbor Totoro!

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Eventually Fu reaches Sommelier’s house and she gives him a Manga he’s not read before. To her, she copped out in not giving him chocolate but to him, she’s warmed his heart even more than her cone-shaped-teeth and underage loins already had!

YIKES! Too bad neither character understands the other’s reaction and the relationship isn’t going anywhere. At least, I hope, until she’s a consenting adult and wont get Sommelier thrown in prison…

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Fu’s zombie chocolate. Words are unnecessary…

I’ve decided Fu-girl is a stand in for all nerd girls. She’s physically somewhere between unattractive and attractive, depending on the light and how ‘open’ her mouth is, but she has a lot of heart and a love of fandom any otaku should love if he weren’t obsessed with the creme of the top sexy new resin models!

That’s hyper conjecture on my part, honestly. I’m not sure if she’s meant to criticize the fanbase or not. If she is? Brilliant! If not? Who cares! Her story — the setting and visuals at least — is hella funny!

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Denki-gai no Honya-san – 03

cs3_17Yes, she has snacks hidden under that giant hat. Mystery solved!

Denki-Gai no Honya-san goes all christmas episode on us this week, divided in no fewer than 5 acts! That’s a lot of little pieces of crazy for us to gobble up make sense of. So lets get cracking!

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Act 1 starts us off with Hiotan, who’s agreed to dress up in a skimpy santa for the store’s first holiday sale. Little did she know that she would be standing out in a blizzard handing out fliers and that Fu-girl made the superior choice when she chose to dress as a reindeer.

The reindeer is totally gross by the way. It has a giant outy-style belly button but it is warm. FULL ARMOR ON!

cs3_99Love the zombie-like visualization for their customers. creepy AND easy to spot the employees in the crowd!

The director and Hiotan spar a bit, but the director comes out on top. Ehem. Which results in Hiotan agreeing to help him shop for decorations — for the employee christmas cosplay party hosted at the Director’s luxury apartment!

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Act 2 and 3 give Hiotan some payback. First, she totally has fun crashing around Director’s apartment. Then, after the sad-sack employee party act is over, she doesn’t leave with everyone else in the morning.

Instead, Hiotan hangs around reading manga (possibly the Director’s manga?), eating his food, and playing his gaming consoles. They have a good time, sorta, and eventually have dinner together.

Then Hiotan ‘comes back’ (aka never leaves) and Director is stuck with her all over again!

cs3_19Not to self: do not think about food when Hiotan is in the room. She can sense it and will say she’s hungry too!

I’m not sure if DGnHs is angling for a romantic interest between these two characters, but the implication is there. At least, that they sometimes like each other’s company. I only note it because I got the feeling Hiotan was part of a love triangle with Protagonist-kun and Sensei-chan.

Oh well, they get their own little segment soon but first…

cs3_22Gah! Fu-girl! Your freakish shark teeth give me nightmares!

The Electric City Bookstore throws a big sale for new years and everyone is killed in act 4. It’s all pretty crazy, watching more or the gray, zombie like shoppers trample our cast to death, or simply over work them at the register. Hat-chan’s unexplained blood-splosion was definitely my favorite moment.

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Act 5 is returns us to what may sorta, kinda, maybe, if anything is, be DGnHs’s central plot thread: the romantic tension between protagonist and sensei.

Here, we find them taking a train home alone. Together. Sorta both. Then, being the more interesting one of the two, Sensei finally speaks up and asks Protagonist if he wants to join her at a quiet shrine for New Years ceremony stuff.

He does and they do, which is a quiet good time that ends with them not entirely but maybe letting on that they like each other. At least, to themselves.

cs3_18What? My nips? nah dog, just took a bath. … why are you still in my house, anyway??

This week’s structure worked quite well. The little modules let us take little bites from many people’s cakes. Slice of life and all. As usual, everyone and everything is very silly, over the top, and funny.

For me, the most interesting development was the apparent redirection of Hiotan from the triangle over to Director. It’s not a bad thing. Not even clearly a stated intent. But it does mix up the formula and keep me guessing — and uncertainty is a good thing!

cs3_11about to cut off my finger in 3… 2… 1…

I’m not even sure I know what this show is about? Slice of life, duh, sure, but who’s? Not Fu or Sommelier or Hat-chan obviously, but we’re starting to get thought bubbles from Hiotan and Sensei as frequently as from Protagonist-kun.

Scratch that! We’re getting more thought bubbles from Sensei than any of them. Weird! Exciting! Unpredictable! Funny! If you liked Sabagebu! Go watch it!

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