Slapstick is a harder genre to master than one thinks, as you have to balance the mayhem with the results. It doesn’t succeed as well as it should, and so “Aho-Girl “(“Aho gāru”, or “Stupid-girl”) kind of dissolves into sit-com madness. I say ‘kind of’, as it doesn’t grasp the elements correctly and comes off as more vicious than it needs to be. Let me explain…..
This tale follows the everyday life of high school girl Yoshiko Hanabatake, (her with the arms in the air) known to be stupid academically as well as socially. Seriously, she is trying to play solitaire with a pinochle deck. She hangs out with and constantly annoys her studious and serious neighbor Akuru Akutsu (the grumpy dude at far right), whom Yoshiko’s mother (Yoshie) wants her to marry. Yoshiko becomes friends with the level-headed Sayaka Sumino (our blondie), who, along with Akuru, try to keep Yoshiko in check. Hahahahahahaha! Herding cats would be easier!
The Public Morals Chairwoman dislikes the free-spirited Yoshiko but when Akuru makes some casual remarks that compliments her, the chairwoman falls in love with Akuru and begins stalking him while trying to repress her perverted thoughts. Yoshiko also befriends a bewildering array of folks: a delinquent guy, Ryuichi Kurosaki, who thinks of Yoshiko as a gang leader; a group of playground kids who are tons more mature than Yoshiko is; a group of gyars (glamour gals); and some other students and staff at school.
The problem is this: it is quite all right that Yoshiko isn’t any smarter than a bag of rocks (and that is insulting to the rocks), but Akutsu’s response is flat-out vicious and not slapstick enough to generate true comedy from this. In fact, some of the injuries inflicted could require hospitalization or a lawsuit of some ilk. Her only honest friend is her dog, named….’Dog’. (What, you were expecting something more?) However, when she runs into other people, she has some kind of aura or sphere of influence and then people start acting like her, a willful retreat from intelligence and reason.
There is a sequence when the Chairwoman and Yoshie get into a panty-swiping contest as though this was completely normal and to be expected between mature, responsible adults. And therein lays the concern with the show. It needed to be this level of unhinged, unencumbered mayhem and madness and then had to be ridden out. I would not have minded if the caliber of punishment dished out was just as over-the-top as the rest of the show, and that is the millstone for it. Otherwise, I would have given this show higher marks.
It’s a good thing it’s a short-pull, as you might find yourself exhausted at the end of it. A strong contribution to the ‘yelling and screaming’ school of comedy, it does whip-saw you about. A nice type of sorbet for you to consume between your more ‘serious’ show watching, just don’t expect too much from it.
There is a concern that with the high amplitude farce coming at you, it may not binge that well, as you need a pit stop now and again and even for a short pull, you aren’t going to get it. Still, if you don’t mind getting pummeled left and right, it could work for you, so it’s a guarded suggestion at best. My reticence is that you see the absolutely vicious nature of Akuru, which is a major drag on an otherwise screwball comedy series, but you need this breathless approach to fully enjoy the nuttier aspects this offering has to give. Just be aware of the butthead nature of our male lead.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard for what it has)
Plot 8 (This, but that’s farce for you)
Pacing 8 (Can get too frantic and wild)
Effectiveness 8 (For what it is trying to achieve)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 7 (You need even a small break)
Overall 7 (The violent responses hurt the rating)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Is that a banana?