A Winner is This

Ojisan to Marshmallow

For so many reasons the first episode of Ojisan to Marshmallow may have already won the season. It’s only three-and-a-half minutes long. Just watch it, and you’ll understand what I mean.


For the benefit of viewers that don’t recognize the nuances and humor in the show:

Large or obese men are extremely rare in Japan, so Wakabayashi’s attraction to Hige is rare and exceptional. Wakabayashi exploits Hige’s respect for the Japanese social convention of speaking politely and indirectly. It’s impolite for him to bluntly give a straight answer like, “Yes, I want one,” so Wakabayashi teases him, knowing that he’ll suggest rather than state. Wakabayashi is also unusually aggressive with her romantic approach, which is unconventional and therefore funny. The visual of Wakabayashi and Hige having a kung-fu battle within an ordinary Japanese office space is also so out of character for professional Japanese society that it’s hilarious. Even more, the typical co-workers just observe and gossip about it. Later in the episode, Wakabayashi’s advice, “You’ll give people the wrong idea…” is a hilarious double entendre that consciously refers to Japan’s lolicon fetish and the way Japanese women tend to look much younger than they are. In effect, in just three-and-a-half-minutes, the episode is overflowing with Japanese social satire, turning so many expected conventions of Japanese social behavior upside down.

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