Shimoneta – Anime Review
Synopsis: Who is the panty-masked villainess spreading obscenity in a country where even the mildest off-color musing can land you in jail? (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Shimoneta is probably one of the most misunderstood series from the Summer 2015 anime season. Shimoneta isn’t some exceedingly dirty ecchi series focused purely on fanservice, titillating the male viewer, or arousing you in anyway. No, Shimoneta is about crazy sex humor, wildly inappropriate jokes and something resembling social commentary. Indeed the very way the show presents itself makes it clear Shimoneta isn’t out to give you an erection, but rather tickle your funny bone with dirty joke after joke. Sometimes, yes, the strings of obscene words becomes monotonous, especially if your sense of humor has evolved past a fifth grade level (mine hasn’t) but beyond the periodic string of profanities lies a clever, and highly consistent raunchy sense of humor.
Linny: Yes, Shimoneta is crude. Yes, it’ll probably appeal and entertain male audiences more than female viewers but no, it’s not the depraved demon it appears to be at first glance. It’s packed with over the top gags and is a hilarious source of wtf humour. Yes, there’s a lot of nudity and vulgarity but it isn’t an endless parade of fan service. Excluding one character, the seemingly chaste and “pure” student council president Anna Nishikinomiya, none of the other characters behave or are depicted in a manner that reeks of shameless/sleazy fan service. There are complaints of certain female characters dressed or acting extremely raunchy but the show does the same to its male cast as well, making it seem like more an attempt at comedy than titillation. That said, I’m not claiming Shimoneta is a paradigm of virtue. It’s stuffed full of nsfw scenes, jokes that cross the line and it is definitely not a show for everyone.
Tom: The way Shimoneta censors itself shows that they’re not out to arouse, but instead provide laughs. The series never lingers on its fanservice, instead opting to keep the plot moving at a brisk pace, with development after development each episode, constantly evolving the plot and our characters. The show doesn’t stop there, keeping twists and turns coming frequently. The tame, pridefully chaste Anna Nishikinomiya? Yeah, she’s got a surprise for you. Or how about a mid-series villain that stirs up additional trouble midway through the season? Constant developments bearing down on our heroes, the panty-masked villainess and cohorts, making their mission of sexually liberating Japan that much more impossible? It’s all there. But that isn’t all Shimoneta provides. It’s characterization is one of its strongest qualities. Tanukichi Okuma, our innocent young man unfortunately wrapped up in the budding war between a purist, chaste Japan and the perverted terrorist, Blue Now, very visibly grows (pun oh so intended) between the first and last episode, giving a satisfying pay off as you watch him ‘mature’ and change as a person.
Linny: Shinmoneta has a colourful and quirky ensemble cast and every character is put to good use. It packs in decent social commentary regarding Japan/society’s tendency to censor sexual content to a ridiculous manner, while avoiding heavy handed preaching thanks to its lighthearted and immature jokes. Despite the constant barrage of wtf gags, it has a surprisingly strong and serious plot. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for Shimoneta. The never-ending and repetitive innuendos and sex jokes start to feel worn out and lose their charm a little with each random and forced interjection. Even if you don’t find it offensive, crude humour loses its sparkle when overused. This may not be much of an issue for the intended audiencer, but it is definitely a factor that deserves mentioning especially for anyone with a low tolerance for that kind of humour already.
Tom: Shimoneta has further issues, points of contention for anyone seeking to give it a try. Shimoneta often straddles the line between acceptable and unacceptable humor. There’s several jokes that hinge on non-consensual conduct and if that’s a big no-no for you (perhaps even more likely a problem in a post #MeToo world), Shimoneta is something that’ll constantly be testing your comfort levels. Hell, the show really isn’t for anyone who’s made uncomfortable by sexual conduct in the first place, with several very big wtf surprise jokes hinging on this very kind of comedy. However, if the gag of women forcing themselves on unwilling men doesn’t bother you there’s a pretty good chance Shimoneta will provide a solid level of entertainment to anyone who enjoys raunchy, lewd humor, but isn’t looking to pitch a tent.
Linny: There are indeed numerous instances where sexual misconduct and assault are played up for laughs and will most definitely appall a certain subset of viewers. Like we said before, this isn’t a show for everyone and its humour and crudeness are very in-your-face. I’d still recommend it to those of you who enjoy dick jokes spicing up a somewhat satisfactory story. As ridiculous as its premise is, Shimoneta maintains a grounded feel by never turning its protagonists into overpowered superheroes and instead gives its protagonist, Okuma, well executed character development. Even the finale ends on a subdued note, which may disappoint some, but gives the show the moderation to balance out the outrageous ride.
Tom: Shimoneta ends on a high note, highlighting Okuma’s strong character arc by illustrating just how far the entire cast has come. While the final episode does play a bit more like an OVA special, it’s a nice change of pace to end with a short, but sweet mini-story that allows for fans to dive into the Light Novels, assuming they ever make it over to the U.S. (Three years out from the anime and still no U.S. Light Novel release? Yeah this isn’t happening.) Ultimately I had a lot of fun with Shimoneta, and was less repulsed by the non-consensual jokes that straddled that fine line between okay and not okay, than other viewers were. That said, Shimoneta is admittedly a series that hasn’t aged well, particularly in the current climate of constant revelations on the very kind of inappropriate conduct Shimoneta peddles as comedy. Maybe, much like the Titanic, when we’re past this current upheaval and society feels in a better place over the issue of sexual harassment Shimoneta will return as something more easily digested as silly and outrageous. For now, there isn’t enough distance between the reality and the fiction for me to feel Shimoneta is something I could offer a true recommendation to.