12 Days of Anime #9: Erabe!

I am sort of embarrassed to admit this but NouKome was one of my favorite Fall 13 anime. Granted, it was probably because I didn’t keep up with Kill la Kill, White Album, Golden Time, Outbreak Company or any of the other various, popular anime this season.

NouKome had a good amount going for it. It had a pretty good cast, good visuals, good soundtrack and a great sense of humor. All of that was brought together in one enjoyable package thanks to “Absolute Choice”.

NouCome 183

(Absolute Choice refers to the choice in his head that Kanade would be presented with every now and then. In the show, an Absolute Choice was always announced with “Erabe!” which means Chose.)

The genius of “Absolute Choice” lies in how flexible and useful its use could be.

It could be used to make an arbitrary, normal situation hilarious. “What’s that? Kanada is having a normal conversation with someone? Well, that won’t do. Let’s present him with a terrible Absolute Choice to make this situation as awkward/hilarious as can be.”

NouCome 127

Another thing that “Absolute Choice” did was that it demonstrated and developed Kanade’s character. As a general rule of thumb, Kanade would be presented with a two choices. Often, once choice, if taken, would embarrass himself and a the other choice would potentially embarrass/offend someone else.

Kanada almost always chose the latter choice. That is to say, if possible, he chose the choice that caused him and not someone else, harm. This went a long way in demonstrating Kanade’s character.

NouCome 104

Often in anime, we are expected to believe a main character is nice. Other characters seem to like (romantically or otherwise) the main character for no real reason.

They claim the MC is nice, but we, as the viewer, often find that hard to believe. This is especially true if the “niceness” of the MC is really just common courtesy.

Despite his brash nature, Kanade is actually quite caring and nice. And, we know this is the case because his choices in “Absolute Choice” demonstrate this.

He isn’t selfish. He almost always places other people before him. I really like that. He is definitely among the best Male MCs this year.

They say the you choices you make reveal the true nature of your character and that is most certainly true here. It is perhaps even more true because no one apart from Kanade (and I guess the sensei/President) even know he was presented with a choice.

The other great use of “Absolute Choice” was in dispelling/reversing serious situations before they got really serious. The show would have something beginning to get serious and just when the audience is most scared/nervous, an “ERABE” comes out of nowhere and results in stomach clenching laughter.

One of my favorite examples (and favorite NouCome scenes in general) of that kind of use came at the end of Episode 9 when Kanade was about to shoot Ouka with onion extract.

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Earlier on in the episode, Kanade had been told that cheating would end badly for him. This lead to an uneasy feeling in the audience (or in me anyway). When Kanade ended up pointing the pistol at Ouka, I got really nervous.

What really bad thing is going to happen now? Will Ouka hate him forever? Will Ouka somehow forget about him? Will he fail the challenge because he cheated? And then…

NouKome 449 NouKome 450 NouKome 451

Fantastic. That was a hilarious way to calm my worries. That scene was even more impressive because of the excellent voice acting. That “Right. I guess I can’t cheat ” was said in a different, deeper, defeated tone.

Some Other Great Little Moments

NouKome 496 NouKome 458 NouKome 456NouKome 464

NouKome 337NouKome 338NouKome 339NouKome 340

NouKome 281 NouKome 169 NouKome 75 NouCome 248 NouCome 143 NouCome 49 NouCome 5NouCome 6

From the hilarious one-liners, great jokes, great poses, great scenes ( e.g. Oni-chans vs Masochistics, Chocolat’s Yaoi fantasies, Ouka vs Konagi  oil wrestling, etc…) and the ever present Absolute Choice, NouKome was a hilarious, great show.

It was as a friend once said, NouKome is not an average tier anime.

PostScript

This post should have been published on Sunday the 22nd of December, but it was instead published on the 25th. So, I will take this chance to wish you all Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays.

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  1. #1 by Highway on December 25, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    I loved covering this show, and really liked how it both handled the harem aspect, plainly showing that Kanade knows he’s not in love with anyone, and especially with his last choice that he’s not going to manipulate anyone else, or even himself. It’s interesting that he realized if he picked any of the girls, they would love him, but also he would love them. To me, that means that his feelings wouldn’t have been fake, after the fact. They would be genuine from the point that he makes the choice. Yet he still chooses to not even enter that relationship with the wrong intentions.

    I mentioned in my review that it was kind of an odd show for a comedy, in that some of the jokes were just awful, at least for me. Your post shows that some of the ones that I just couldn’t stand were appreciated by others (onii-chans vs. pig slaves was a complete waste of my time, dreadful). But others were terrific, and sometimes chained together for maximum effect (like “Smallest in the World” which was great misdirection – I thought it would be the smallest swimsuit in the world right to the Absolute Choice voice *laughing* at Kanade about having to life Utage-sensei like a little kid).

    There were a lot of things I wish they’d explored more, and if there was a second series of this, I’d probably watch it, but if I was to list series that I wanted another series of, this would be pretty far down the list.

    • #2 by Highway on December 25, 2013 - 11:02 pm

      Oh, and it’s not even a question: Ouka was the best girl, maybe followed closely by restored memory Chocolat.

      *Style!*

      • #3 by Reiseng on December 26, 2013 - 10:29 pm

        ooooo, those handstands were great. I really liked that part in the opening.

        I also liked the slow camera walk through all the girls standing in their swimwear.

        The ending had some nice choreography as well. I liked the ending song quite a bit and was pretty fond of the opening song too.

    • #4 by Reiseng on December 26, 2013 - 1:21 am

      I actually hadn’t realized that he would also fall in love, but yeah, his decision at the end demonstrated a lot of moral character. He didn’t want to have to decide between three girls and thus he picked the most honest option.

      I tend to like ridiculous, over the top, unbelievable things (hence my love of JoJo and Valvrave) so I found things like Pigs vs Oniichans to be quite funny. That said, I’d probably get bored of them if I saw them again and again.

      I hadn’t actually thought about the misdirection thing. That is pretty cool when I think about it. There was definitely some great joke chaining at times.

      As for the second series, well when I think about it, they really don’t have much left to talk about. I mean, we already sort of got the harem end, so I can’t see much more being explored from here on.

      It would be nice to get some information on the mysterious senpai (the last member of the reject 5) as well as the previous hikikomori god.

      Oh and you liked Memory restored Chocolat??? You are probably the only person I know who liked her. My impression was that everyone felt her only place in this anime was to make regular Chocolat look better. That said, I do like elegant, refined individuals so it is not like I hated her either.

      • #5 by Highway on December 26, 2013 - 1:38 am

        Yeah, I actually did like Memory Restored Chocolat. I liked the serious straightforward character she had, even if it was just for a few minutes. I also liked that she was assertive in going after Kanade.

        I quickly figured out that the rest of the Reject 5 was a distraction. I’m actually surprised they showed as much of #4 as they did, but ultimately they didn’t matter at all, and I’m kind of glad. The show’s about the girls they showed in the OP, and that’s pretty much it. The thing I’d want more information on is who is Seira? Why does she know so much. I mean, Utage-sensei went through the same thing (I can’t decide if they should have said that earlier or not), so she knew about it, but what’s Seira’s connection?

        The other thing that I always liked about the series: The handstands from the OP. That was just captivating to watch. I did like the music, too. SML is “like 7 bands all auditioning at the same time” and Taiyou to Tsuki no CROSS had that interesting guitar work.

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