After I saw a post on a Japanese blog about this particular episode, which included a whole pile of intriguing screencaps (see below), I felt compelled to watch it! Why? because I’m a bit of a whore for any anime or manga that deal with the otaku culture or psyche, whether it’s parodying it, studying it, or lampooning it! I think the fact that I went and watched the 9th episode of an anime I had not only not seen any of before, but hadn’t even really heard of will attest to my fascination with this particular topic. Anyway, this episode, as you would probably work out by skimming over the screencaps, takes the parody route and kicks around some pretty nasty otaku stereotypes for laughs. It’s actually just a regular comedy series airing this season, produced by Production I.G. This episode introduces the otaku parody element which looks like it might be sticking around for future episodes. The premise is that the heroine of the show, Rinko, needs a classmate’s lecture notes to study for an exam. However, being a nefarious nerd, he uses her request as an opportunity to get her to attend the university’s anime club and cosplay a popular magical girl character. Out of desperation, she obliges and hilarity ensues!
It’s so over-the-top and yet strangely familiar that I think most anime fans can laugh along with it without feeling like its an insult. Unless you actually are as creepy as these people! There’s the fanatical camera-man type, the disturbed cosplayers, the rampant 2channeler, and there was even a sort-of prod for sakuga fans with one of the characters admiring an anime scene with an “ii sakuga desu nee” remark. I had lots of fun with the episode, both for these “in-jokes” as well as the general sense of humour the anime employs.
I noticed Megumi Kouno‘s (well-known up-and-coming Gainax animator) name in the credits, and I pegged her as having animated the part where Rinko hits the otaku guy in the face (and just afterward). I just had a look at her page on the Sakuga Wiki, and they seemed to have guessed the same. It was a cool bit of animation. But the whole show is produced very well! I’ll be watching more of this one, I think!