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!

8_ogk

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!

8_ogk

Denki-gai no Honya-san – 02

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Denki-Gai no Honya-san follows in the footsteps of last season’s Sabagebu! in that DGnHs completely departs reality for a world of parody and crazy joy. It went totally off the rails this episode, made fun of many anime tropes and had moments that were absolutely pants-crappingly hysterical!

Episode two gave us two acts, which were tied together by Sommelier’s love for Fu-girl. Also, and this appears to be a core point of the show, a general sense of pervyness was around every corner.

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This week opened with a late night release party for The Devil is an Idol, a in-world LN advertised at the end of the previous episode. As with last week, the activities at the shop are only a foil for the interactions between the characters.

In this case, the activity sets the stage for everyone to go drinking together after work at a family restaurant that is definitely not the set from Working!! but end up back at the store because it’s too late to catch trains home and/or people are too drunk.

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Sommelier and Fu-girl leave first and, because he is so tall, Fu’s head gets banged on several door frames before officially being put to bed in the break room.

Perfectly executed slap-stick aside, the act keeps posing the protagonist and Fu as having a thing for each other, which is getting Sommelier down. Until the morning…

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The Protagonist wakes, straddled by Fu, who appears to be confessing her love. However, her true confession is that he has the face of the perfect Zombie and, to his horror, she has already done up his makeup.

It’s not clear what happens next, exactly. Except that Fu-girl goes crazy with zombie survival lust and beats the Protagonist senseless with a baseball bat. The whole scene would be disturbing if Fu-girl wasn’t so hilariously drawn. As is, it’s funny as hell!

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The second act doesn’t really need the context it doesn’t have: everyone is participating in a battle-style contest to win 10,000 yen. Each challenge is pervy, bizarre, and designed to embarrass its participants to the maximum.

Hiotan must gently race a giant golden ball that is body temperature across a finish line, The protagonist must race his ‘wife’ (a soft vinyl figurine balanced on a spoon) across a finish line, Sommelier must eat several pairs of panties… and race to a finish line. I think you get the idea here…

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Everyone has fun or is horrified, which is great because DGnHs jokes are pretty good here too — but also horrifying!

There’s something profoundly disturbing about seeing Hiotan in a skimpy bathing suit getting surrounded by men and ‘gunned down’ with water pistols while screaming. There’s something even more unsettling about the men moving off and revealing her in a pose so reminiscent of the fan-drawn gang rape hentai that seems to roll out parallel with each no anime season.

The scene is solidly funny, but in the back of my head I could hear part of my brain screaming!

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DGnHs solidly apes Sabagebu directly for much of this act. The gun play, the gruff no-failure nature and endless storm of cursing that comes out of Fu-girl. It’s all effective and fun.

But the best part is when Fu and Sommelier must ‘combine’ Voltron style to produce a mega water warrior. it’s totally stupid but absolutely on the spot.

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If I was worried that week one felt too much like a knock off of Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, week two banishes those worries. The show may well parody everything from last season, from general anime genres, and fandom at large — but I’m now certain it can do it in its own, mercilessly absurd voice.

DGnHs, you’re my kind of show!

8_ogk tbd_ogk