Japanese Girls Are Crazy About The Sextuplets! What Makes The Anime “Osomatsu-san” So Irresistible?
There are always the craze of Anime-fans whenever there’s a series on-air each season. “K-ON!,” “Magical Girl Madoka Magica,” “School Idol Love Live!” are some of the titles in the post-2010 that were said to be as “Social Phenomenon (社会現象, Shakai Gensho)” because their market hugely affected Japan’s economy by their merchandise, fanzines, and box-office revenues.
Recently, the anime series of “Osomatsu-san,” the comeback series to celebrate the father of Japanese “gag” comics, Fujio Akatsuka, are surfing the wave of success ever since the series started in the autumn of 2015 (still on its second season). But, it still hasn’t been described as “social phenomenon” yet. (Check out the previous article written by TGU’s ani-ota writer about the start of the Osomatsu-san:http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/osomatsu-san-analysis-20151268990.html )
Currently, there are many products sold and the crazed up female fans are always ready to collect them all. Not just figurines or fanzines that ordinary otaku will collect, but also, stylishly designed fashion goods like tote-bags, iPhone cases, and phone straps are also sold.
The majority of the fans of the 2015-2016 “Osomatsu-san” are said to be the younger, heisei generation (under 25 years old), than of the fans who are older to remember the previous, original “Osomatsu-kun” series which was on-air 27 years ago. Then, what makes these, simple, Showa-retro anime attracts the younger generations living in the 21st century?
I have heard about “Osomatsu-san” series from my otaku and fujoshi friends just as a rumor, and wasn’t able to catch up. I have took this time to catch up the series and to observe why “Osomatsu-san,” the revival of the Showa manga and animation so much speaking to the larger and younger viewers.
1. Fujio Akatsuka’s black comedy is what modern people craved for?
Fujio Akatsuka (1935 – 2008), one of the fathers of Japanese manga culture, was the mastermind of the black humor and comedy in Japan. One of his most famous work, “Tensai Bakabon (Genius Bakabon)” which was serialized Weekly Boys Magazine from 1967. The characters appearing in “Tensai Bakabon” are very iconic, especially the father of the protagonist, “Bakabon no papa (Bakabon’s dad),” stupid and unemployed father who lives with positively nonchalant attitude, is one of iconic characters when it comes to Fujio Akatsuka’s works.
“Osomatsu-kun” series is Akatsuka-sensei’s earlier works than of “Tensai Bakabon,” which has made Akatsuka-sensei up to the stardom of manga artist. The “Osomatsu-kun” series really reflecting the unexpectedness within the daily lives of the ordinary, teenage sextuplets. “Osomatsu-kun,” was soon aired as a anime television series in 1966, and the second season from 1988.
The currently aired “Osomatsu-san” is the revival series originally intended to air as a celebration of Akatsuka-sensei’s 80th Birthday, for the respect for his achievements as manga artist. The sextuplets came back as a lazy, young adult in the 20’s who don’t seek for hardworking jobs. In some ways, that main aspect of the sextuplets reflects the current Japanese young people, who seek for less effort in order to live with enough happiness. The “Osomatsu-san” succeeds and revives Akatsuka-senesi’s satirical spirit, and if the viewers enjoys this much, then it seems that people accepts that they like that un-expecting “gag” of the minimal, daily lives in the 2015.
Also, “Osomatsu-san” series are filled with parodies of other Japanese cultures, especially regarding the otaku culture. In order to understand the situation that the sextuplets in, the viewers need to know certain background knowledge of what is actually happening within that modern culture. For example, the first episode of when the sextuplets were trying to figure out how to make an extraordinary comeback to the modern anime, they have crammed in all the aspects of the popular animes from last five years. Have you noticed all? This draws in the people who knows of that parody or satire, but the people who don’t know it will be left out. It doesn’t mean that every viewer have to know every detail, but you do need to understand at least what is going on. The viewers seem to enjoy the modern parodies than of just having a “gag,” like the “Osomatsu-kun” used to have.
2. The Matsuno brothers’ laziness reflects the people’s desire?
The Matsuno sextuplets are unemployed, lazy, apathetic youth in the early 20’s. They are looking for the ways to live as less as possible, and they dream that it is possible because they have each other. Although all six look alike, they all have strong characters. Each sextuplets are wearing their iconic color sweatshirt, which is the main aspect to understand the each brothers, but their strong character with unique facial expression reflect all different kind of people. By watching the series, I figured myself to be Ichimatsu type, sarcastic and negatively remarks. Which one do you fit with?
Certainly, most of us want to live lazy in the hectic world with stress. Because each character is different and living in an ordinary life, one of those sextuplets can certainly be advocating your desire to be like one of them. This may be certainly be the attraction as well.
3. Female fans who like the sextuplets are women who are in to “damenzu”(good-for-nothing boys)?
There are some commonly known-fact how young women and girls are attracted to the “bad boys.” In some cases, young Japanese women are attracted to the “good-for-nothing” kind of bad boys, or “damenzu” (coined term by the manga essayist, Mayumi Kurata, putting together ‘Dame’ meaning ‘bad’ and ‘Mens.’) or “dame otoko.” The sextuplets are happy to admit that they are lazy and don’t care to be part of the society, which the viewers are also have to agree with as well. This is a risky move for the anime series, especially for the anime series nowadays, show the “uncoolness” of a male protagonist, that many of the fans do expect the coolness or “kakkoii” hero-type male protagonist. But somehow, there are many of the female fans are very positive to serve the virgin, lazy six boys, which is like the “damenzu.”
Also, it has been said that young females recently desires to have average male as ideal boyfriend or husband, while back in the 80’s to 90’s, it was more kakkoii males with fascinating backgrounds were desired. But, the sextuplets represents below than average; more like, good-for-nothing kind of men. Could it be the hidden part of the female fans that they desire more of the “damenzu” than of “kakkoii” hero-type guys? You never know.
“Osomatsu-san” is still on-air until this season, where there might be many fans who will suffer the “Osomatsu loss” in couple of weeks. I also wonder how this series would actually end. Will the sextuplets would get out of their home to find a job, and be independent from their parents and their brothers? Well, maybe most unlikely.
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