There are several music animes out there (with “Nana” and “Beck” coming to mind first), but what about a musical anime, where the characters burst into song for no apparent reason. It may be that “Nerima Daikon Brothers” could be that first one. For your information:
Nerima – a ward inTokyo.
Daikon – the famous ‘white radish’.
Brothers – Well, brothers in arms.
It tells the story of Hideki (the big guy in the middle). Sure, he’s merely a daikon farmer, but he has dreams, big dreams and they do not involve farming implements. One day, he’ll build the world-famous Daikon Dome and his little entourage will play to packed houses of screaming, frenzied fans every night, rockin’ the house with some rockin’ music. But, until that time, he farms and rehearses every chance he gets, as they have a makeshift stage in the field. The neighbors do not take kindly to those musical intrusions, and hurl both bottles and epithets to get them to shut up.
The band consists of Hideki, his brother Ichiro and cousin Mako (plus some random pandas; don’t ask). Any resemblance to the “Blues Brothers” is strictly intentional. Alas and alackaday, big dreams cost big bucks and our little singing trio are badly skint in that area. In fact, Ichiro has a real job working at a host club, where not only is he a most popular draw, he also comes across a lot of help and information. Too bad they are spending most of their time fending off rapacious agents, devious psychics, duplicitous nurses and questionable auditions.
Adding to their woes, whatever money they are able to obtain is quickly siphoned off to repair for damages incurred during their latest escapades or balance off a massive debt imposed on them so they at least pull even. No one said being an overnight star was easy.
Then, they fall under the steely-eyed glare of Officer Yukika Karakuri, using her nom de Polezei, Inspector Widgett. She KNOWS the Brothers are dirty, dirty, dirty (especially after one destructive caper) and will do whatever it takes to bring them to heel (unless she is felled by her own panda lust).
Now, even though this is a musical show, you discover pretty fast that despite singing six or seven songs, it is the same six or seven songs, with the lyrics changed around a bit. Helping the absurdity along, even the artwork is recycled, adding minor tweaks. A slight drawback for the plotting is a lot of what goes down is based on Japanese pop culture, which means many references are lost on us. In this particular instance, the DVDs are really helpful, as they have a Pop-Up Video function that can be enabled.
Still, this is all from the school of jumping up and down, yelling and screaming and running about frenetically, but it works for our friends. So, whether Hideki is having to withdraw money from a debit machine (at usury rates while a phalanx of showgirl dancers gyrate around while they push about the ATM) or they have to speak to the mysterious ‘Pops’, (bearing a striking resemblance to the show’s director, Shinichi Watanabe) who can loan them whatever item or tool they need to extricate themselves from the latest pickle they are in, it really is a madcap ride.
Near the end, there is a connected story arc, with a Michael Jackson clone, space aliens and a scandal that shakes the Diet to their very core! What is going to happen? Will Hideki ever be able to marry Mako? (Well, he can, but Mako is having no part of this.) Will Inspector Widgett overcome her desire for forbidden panda love? How did Ichiro save up 23,000 yen?
The artwork is breezy and never gets much above cheesecake level, even though Inspector Widgett certainly looks fetching. This is some lighthearted fare, despite some oddly humorous perversion, although the actual ending feels a bit off. Still, a good time will be had, especially if you opt for the disk settings to learn more.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (It does veer into the cartoony)
Plot 7 (Your typical “We’re gonna make it” approach)
Pacing 9 (Pretty frenetic)
Effectiveness 7 (Sapped by a weak ending)
Conclusion 8 (It stops at a ‘save point’)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Jubei Chan”)
Overall 8 (It’s a good time)
And remember, it’s first time until you see it. And I’ve got front row tickets!