I always love how anime approaches normal, everyday activities. I know that fighting anime series always have characters that get inhuman amounts of bleeding, special fighting techniques that people can’t do including flying and energy waves, and people coming back from the dead, but those have always been extraordinary. The same could be said if we talk about space ships that travel faster then light and giant robots that are as tall skyscrapers. Things that are closer to real, but still have a long way to go. Even without all those things that go beyond the ordinary bounds of daily life, it’s not like anime has ever been what you can call normal. I am of the argument that normal doesn’t exist in anime or in life because averages should be saved for things that you can attach units of measurement too. Even then it still gets complicated. With few exceptions, there is no standard for how things work out in real life or how we perceive the ordinary in our own minds. This expression of how we see normal events is what makes anime comedy series amazing to me. Anime series like Nichijou and Azumanga Daioh have pushed the boundaries in the past and Asobi Asobase is doing it this season in its own unique style
The format Asobi Asobase is like a lot of school girl slice of life stories. Three characters who are complete strangers to each other meet through different circumstances and form a club. A club that has almost zero purpose at all besides having these girls hanging for some reason. How many times have you heard that one before? Many times I am sure. Stories like that have taken up the majority of the anime market a few years ago and we still have remnants of that in anime these days. This isn’t making a solid argument about why Asobi Asobase is one of the exceptions to the all the rules being laid down. It takes the generic frame work of all of these series and takes them into a more unique direction.
Our three main characters are a lot of fun. It would be easy to describe them as the genius girl, the foreigner girl, and the athletic girl. The truth is that there is traces of that are in each character, but they also derail each other in ways that feel organic. Our foreigner girl was born from parents from an English speaking country, but she was raised in Japan. She uses how she looks and tries to act all foreign to get attention or special privilege, but she doesn’t knows English and is better with Japanese that a lot of other people. That’s incredibly funny to me. Especially since she was asked by our smart girl to teach her English because that’s the one thing our smart girl constantly fails at. It’s just great comedy stuff. Then we throw in the insane athlete character who wants to be popular but can’t and you have the show. The three girls bounce off each other very well and are just a pleasure to watch by themselves. Then you get to their activities.
Using the power anime and some of the most absurd faces you’ll ever see in anime, the most mundane things are exploded out to how we would see them in our mind. It doesn’t have the production values of Nichijou to exploit during styles of animation whenever it feels like, so it’s like a more expessive Azumanga Daioh. A simple game of thumb wrestling into something insane by our “foreign” girl pushing her false culture of arm pit sniffing into the game as a form of punishment. Then we get into the simple game of show tossing a shoe over a line. How can you make that entertaining? Well, how else do you think school girls can get a show to fly over a line farther then humanly possible? I’m sure you might be thinking of some ways of how that is possible and I don’t think that I want to spoil you there. It would ruin the fun. Find out for yourself by watching the show or youtube clips. There is no possible way this show hasn’t had its own youtube clips by now. Also, there is a Butt laser that gets incorporated into the show as well and it has a backstory. Just in case you thought everything else was ordinary.
Lastly, I think that Asobi Asobase is good at playing the duality of life and what people say and what they actually think. Just like how our main girls are considering one thing at first and considered another through the series. Part of that is how we see their faces in public vs how they are when these girls are separated from the rest of the school. There was a massive difference between how normal anime faced each of them are and the ugly faces that each of them used to expressive themselves here. It’s such a great and realistic sense of fun. Then other characters get in the game like the high school president that wants to be nice but comes across as evil to other people. It’s such high-quality stuff that Asobi handles it better then a lot of series I’ve watched. It leaks into the games they play as well. It is all such fun stuff.
Believe me guys, I know that show is far from flawless. The very fact that these girls have some transphobic ideas in their head (would could be a cultural thing, but there are no excuses for it) and I haven’t seen a Ganguro girl in anime for a long time. That last interaction was at least played up to ignorance because one of the girls dressed herself up as Joker, but there are no excuses for that joke either. This show is a lot of fun and incapsulates a lot of the crazy things Junior High Schoolers think and do, but there are no excuses for some things.