Hyperintense Girlish Pastimes
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, School
- Airing Date : July 2018 – September 2018
- Studios : Lerche
Asobi Asobase (BRIEF) Introduction
Asobi Asobase is a school comedy series centering around the members of the “Pastimers Club”, an unofficial school group with the ambiguous premise of discussing and participating in different “pastimes” from around the world. This three-piece act consists of the energetic and neurotic rich girl Hanako Honda; reserved but often quietly intense, secret fujoshi Kasumi Nomura; and happy-go-lucky blonde “American” Olivia who pretends to be to be a foreign exchange student with poor Japanese ability but was actually born and raised in Japan by foreign parents and can barely speak any English. Asobi Asobase could be described as a decidedly wacky “cute girls doing not-so-cute things” anime.
What We Liked About Asobi Asobase
As you would expect for a school comedy series, first and foremost Asobi Asobase has a strong set of gags to get you laughing. The style has a focus on over-the-top facial expressions reminiscent of Great Teacher Onizuka, a penchant for sometimes risque or slightly gross subject matter somewhat similar to Please tell me! Galko-chan (but not as pronounced), and occasional references to modern video games. Asobi Asobase also has pleasant character designs (when they’re calm at least), memorable OP/ED themes, and a small but good cast of supporting characters like Hanako’s butt-beam-wielding servant Maeda, lonely teacher Chisato, and spooky but loveable Ruu Oka from the Occult Research Club.
1. Wacky Humor
As mentioned before, this series has a pretty distinct style of comedy that you’ll probably enjoy if you’re a fan of bizarre jokes and situations with a bit of a crude edge to them. Some of the best jokes involve references to modern games, like a Pokémon Go-like game based on finding and collecting different types of viruses and bacteria, so if you’re into games you’ll find special enjoyment there.
2. Funny Faces
Visually, the exaggerated facial expressions of the characters are what stands out most in this show. These are used to accentuate the moments of absurdity and exaggerated drama to great effect if you’re a fan of this type of humor and add tension and excitement to the show.
3. Good Voice Acting
The crazy faces mentioned above are accompanied with high-quality voices, particularly Olivia (voiced by newcomer Rika Nagae) when she’s trying to speak English or purposely bad Japanese and Hanako’s exasperated outbursts from fellow newbie Hina Kino. Ryotaro Okiayu’s performance as Maeda is another highlight from the great cast of voice actors in this production.
1. Nonexistent Plot
As expected of the genre, Asobi Asobase basically doesn’t have a plot. The initial setup of Kasumi getting help with English from Olivia and trying to get the Pastimers Club official recognition is more just a vehicle to set up the jokes. There’s basically no character development and the series ends somewhat abruptly without important conflict or resolution. Though, since you should be here for the comedy this isn’t a huge problem for the show overall.
2. Mediocre Animation
While Asobi Asobase’s wacky faces and spirited voice acting make it less noticeable, the animation in the series isn’t terribly well executed and most of the backgrounds are also pretty bare-bones and forgettable. Don’t come to Asobi Asobase expecting Nichijou levels of animation quality, this is definitely not a show for sakuga fans.
3. Not Moe
As mentioned before, this is somewhat of a deconstruction of the “cute girls doing cute things” type of show. While the character designs in their natural appearance are pretty cute, albeit in an unconventional way, this anime revels in distortion and over-exaggeration and can be a little gross at times. This is not a bad thing per se since it’s done intentionally, but if you’re looking for pure, cute moe girls this is not the show for you.
Overall, Asobi Asobase is a fairly well executed and unique entry in the school comedy genre with a good amount of jokes to keep you entertained each episode, but maybe not something you’ll remember for years to come. If approached with reasonable expectations and a love of somewhat crude, wacky humor and ridiculous facial expressions, and with no need for a coherent narrative, we think you’ll have a great time with Asobi Asobase! We’ll make special mention of the dissonance between the opening, the show itself, and the ending which mirrors the transitions from cute to weirdly intense present in the series.
Let us know what you think of the show in the comments below! Are you planning on watching the OVA this December?