Asobi Asobase – workshop of fun – – Anime Review
Synopsis: Olivia is a blonde-haired beauty who was born and raised in Japan, but can’t speak any English. Despite always acting serious and as an intellectual, Kasumi is a bespectacled girl with short hair, who also can’t speak English. Finally, there’s the pig-tailed Hanako, who’s cheerful but can’t seem to become a normie. The three middle schoolers end up making a “Players’ Club”?! The ultimately cute, ultimately fun and hilarious teenage girls’ comedy is about to begin! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Asobi Asobase’s comedy predicates itself on its subversion of expectations and extreme reactions that often go right into horror show territory.There’s a lot of extreme and random elements to the show; like a butler character who shoots lasers out of his butt after being abducted by aliens, an occult loving classmate who ends up getting the girls into an occult game that goes horribly wrong, so on and so forth. Not to mention some of the most wtf statements in anime comedy history such as ‘ My butt needs to breathe’ and ‘How do you run away from poop?’ The comedy in Asobi Asobase can be downright bawdy and crass too, not as a means to exploit its female characters, but more so in a shocking way such as someone licking liquid off the floor to check if it’s pee or an android meant to be a replica of one of the girls turning out to spew nothing but very sexual statements in English.
Tom: Occasionally too weird for its own good, Asobi Asobase generally knows how to make some of the most outlandish ideas stick, with perfect execution from timed delivery, to the visually stunning reaction faces that Linny mentioned. The show is a little uneven shortly after some strong first episodes, but finds its footing from episode’s 7 all the way to the end, making it one of the strongest and most consistent Summer anime. It helps that the VAs behind each of the three lead girls does a stellar job, giving them lively personality and unique voices that help to solidify the girls as their own, quirky, selves. The vocal range these women produce works perfectly with the outlandish faces, creating a strong quality across the board through the visuals, performance and writing all coming together thanks to top level comedic direction.
Linny: Keeping it short and simple, each of out 3 leads girls pack in a lot of personality and really play off each other’s quirks. First up is Olivia who is often taking advantage of Hanako’s more naive and innocent nature to pull pranks on her. Then Hanako herself with her habit of shrieking and coercing her club mates to engage in some very bizarre and often made up games. Rounding up the trio is Kasumi, the bespectacled and most timid of the three who is the closest to a straight man from the trio but still manages liveliness with her obsession for writing BL manga and her participation in a lot of the club’s crazier schemes and plans.
Tom: The only real issue Asobi Asobase has is when it drifts into uncomfortable territory. While Chio’s School Road, Summer’s other major comedy, frequently struggles with sex based humor, Asobi Asobase has a few elements that drift into more uncomfortable territory like gender, or cultural humor that can feel more offensive than it really is when you lack the understanding of some of Japan’s more obscure elements. But Asobi Asobase quickly drifts away from those moments, and they become so few and far between it’s easy to forget about them in the long run. Especially when they’re surrounded by such otherwise strong material.
Linny: Beyond those little bumps and possible issues of contention, the show does a nice job of really bringing out the crazy in its cast.It’s not just the three main girls but anyone who comes into contact with them either already have some insane quirk themselves or get it brought out thanks to the main trio. The best example of this would be the members and President of the school’s Shogi Club that end up having to face off against Olivia, Kasumi and Hanako, for the rights to a club room. These characters only appear twice throughout the entire run but will leave their mark due to the sheer escalation their story involves.
Tom: Asobi Asobase is near perfect and currently sits as one of, if not the best comedy of 2018. The girls are endearing, absurd and near always funny. Even when the show drifts focus onto the side characters the charm of the series’ bizarre tone and constant escalation shines through. Asobi Asobase is a must-watch and currently sits as a strong contender for Anime of the Year.
Linny: One of the undeniable downsides of Asobi Asobase is that because it does such a good job of keeping its comedy consistent, if you do not care much for what you see in episode one, as can be the case with a lot of shows, it becomes yet another case of easily skippable. Things don’t really change over its course and while it continues to come up with all kinds of absurd scenarios, the punchline of almost every gag is extreme screeching/reaction face/horror face and that could get old fast if you’re planning on binging the entire show in one go. It’s still undoubtedly one of my favourite comedies in recent anime seasons and one I would suggest you at least give a one episode try if you happen to be partial to comedy like me, especially the over the top and bizarre kind.
Asobi Asobase is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.