Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: 49.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
This is not your usual comedy/musical.
I have to admit that I’m one of the few people around this office that really looks forward to the “musical numbers” that often pop up in the more crude and crass animated comedies like South Park or – the a lighter extent – The Simpsons. So, naturally, I was drawn to Nerima Daikon Brothers … a comedy/musical anime series that is way a bit on the weird side and filled with funny foot-tapping tunes. Why wasn’t the Blues Brothers as funny as this?
Nerima Daikon Brothers tells the story of a burly fellow named Hideki, a girly pretty boy named Ichiro and Hideki’s saucy and vivacious cousin Mako. Hideki dreams of leaving the life of a daikon farmer to turn his fertile land into a stadium where the trio could perform their brand of rocking blues on a nightly bases. They do have the talent for great vocalization despite the fact that their neighbors always complain when they break into song. All three also have a habit of singing whatever’s on their mind whether Hideki sings songs of his forbidden love for Mako or the pink-haired girl singing about her love for the Dom Perignon champagne she plans on drinking when they get famous. Oh, and a stray panda walking into the daikon field and Ichiro falls in love with it to the point that he sings about how much he loves his newly named Pandaikon.
In order to make their dreams come true, though, the three finds themselves searching for their first break. Luckily for them, Ichiro – who works in a host club – has a male client who promised him an audition. Unfortunately, the music producer is ripping off people by charging for each audition. Feeling cheated, the trio decides to get back their money by stealing it back. Stealing from a thief seems justifiable to Hideki and even more so if it means the money could be used to make their dream of having their own stadium comes true. One of the series most repeated sequence and songs are the three of them asking for money (which produces dancing girls that come out of nowhere while hauling a cash machine) or singing to the rental guy who offers an item useful to their mission.
In the end, however, they manage to take down the producer but don’t end up with the money in the end. This becomes the start of a number of missions to earn money only to end up foiling deceitful and greedy folks that think they’re beyond the law and end up with nothing to show for it. In another episode, Mako gets sucked into a Korean Pachinko place that is stealing older ladies looking to spend money on the machines and the good-looking Korean hosts. In another episode, Hideki and the others end up in a hospital where the hospital director is charging patients for unnecessary operations.
It is only after these events that a sexy police detective named Yukika comes to the farm that the series adds another player in this warped musical. The detective starts out looking to catch the three in the act but only ends up having a monster crush on Pandaikon and, later in the series, falls in love with Ichiro. In the course of the series, even Mako falls in love with Ichiro even though the pretty boy slaps her face and ignores her advances. Meanwhile, the man who does love her sees his failure to marry Mako as a law issue, which is why he ends up getting ripped off by a shady lawyer who promised to help him make a change in the Constitution so it would be legal to marry a cousin.
In a related episode, Hideki buys a wedding ring in hopes that Mako would agree to marry him but the girl doesn’t see that as a possibility seeing as she loves Ichirio. In the meantime, they go up against a fortune-teller who is blackmailing her famous clients as well as a woman whose connected with the number one pretty boy of a rival host club.
The final episodes of the series have Hideki turning his back on his friends to pursue his dreams while Ichiro, Mako and Yukika attempt to catch up to him. Mako even turns to Yukel Hakushow who acts and slightly resembles a certain “King of Pop” with removable nose, no less. In the end they even go up against the Prime Minister as friends come to the aid of the Nerima Daikon Brothers.
The good news is that songs are actually funny and the jokes are of the dirty variety that fans of Shin Chan know very well. I should mention that there’s more profanity and the jokes are a lot cruder in the English dub than the original Japanese voice work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all seeing as both language tracks means different jokes. The songs themselves are recycled throughout the series with different lyrics, though. The only time the songs really change is when a villain begins to sing but other than that you’ll be hearing the same melodies. Thankfully, the English dub cast of Luci Christian, Greg Ayres and Christopher Patton have great singing voices as well.
Nerima Daikon Brothers, Complete Collection are 12-episodes of salaciously off-the-wall fun. It’s the kind of series that marches to its own beat and man is that beat really loaded with funny lyrics that hit the right note if you’re into crude humor. While the series isn’t spectacularly hilarious, it will not fail to make you laugh out loud a few times. A Must Have if you like South Park’s naughty tunes or a musical anime with a sense of humor.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Hideki, Mako and Ichiro make up a fun trio with big dreams of having their own stadium to sing their brand of music to the Nerima masses. The trouble is that they keep running into shady characters they attempt to rob of their money but it just doesn’t work out. Yes, the songs are repeated throughout the series but the lyrics don’t.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The video is sharp and wonderfully colorful. In other words, its just what we want to see in a DVD release. The animation might be a bit by-the-numbers but the sight gags are genuinely funny.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The original Japanese track his great jokes for those that will get the largely Japanese pop cultural references but the English dub has more profanity and highly suggestive dialogue and songs. You just have to love the English dub cast who do a great job with the fun songs.
There’s a audio commentary track featuring Japanese voice actors Shigeru Matsuzaki, Showtaro Morokubo and Ayano Matsumoto. There are also some trailers and – thankfully – cleaning opening and closing songs. What, no sing-a-long track?
Wildly crude and utterly fun to watch, the Complete Collection of Nerima Daikon Brothers is a welcomed addition to the musical-comedy genre. I would have loved a variety in the song department but the change in lyrics keep the songs from become too tiresome. Overall, this is not a bad musical-comedy series that is sure to please those fans that like their anime a bit on the refreshingly improper side.