Give me a good plot with good characters and I’m a happy anime fan. I’m always up for something that is well-constructed and thought out plus distinctive enough to stand on its own and offer a compelling reason to watch. It is something that can’t be made up with just beautiful pictures or flashy animation, which is why despite excellent aesthetic qualities, I can’t passionately get into shows like “Mushishi,” and “Mononoke.” Shows that are played for humor with no plotline whatsoever also aren’t my cup of tea since the humor wears itself out after a while and I end up finding something else to dislike about the show. Examples? Try “Lucky Star,” “Shirokuma Café,” “Nichijou,” and “Azumanga Daioh.” They’re great for an occasional laugh but in the end I usually don’t follow through and finish the series. However, somehow, I managed to find a series that fits in the same realm of the aforementioned shows with no plotline, but somehow didn’t annoy or bore me so much that I wanted to just give up. So what was so different about “Osomatsu-San,” a show one of my friends compared to “The Simpsons?”
Well, maybe it is the fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is enough structure to establish the personalities of each of the 6 main brothers along with the side adults, and the chemistry amongst these characters is just fantastic. The humor is distinct, sharp, silly, yet sophisticated, with even the dirty jokes done in a classy manner. There are many scenarios, and as a result the jokes and humor are framed in multiple instances so they don’t wear themselves out. The humor doesn’t feel recycled, and characters are consistent so that viewers eventually say, “Yep, that is so much like _____.” Each episode is split into several smaller segments, and each character can hold their own by themself but also interacts well when combined with several others. Of course, when all 6 brothers are featured together, especially with the adults or against each other, just seeing the contrast pushes up the enjoyment factor significantly. The different types of humor amongst the 6 brothers mean that all viewers will be able to identify with at least one of the 6 brothers in some way, shape, or form, and laugh at at least some of their antics. Further evidence of the mood continues with the animation and drawings, which is at most sufficient for most of the series. There are times where it improves, such as when the brothers are portrayed as idols, but when the brothers are portrayed in their normal forms, there is minimal actions with the too-simple character designs (except for the always-smiling Jyushimatsu, have fun identifying characters when they are not wearing the same outfit) and overly basic backgrounds. The series thus has to rely on dialogue and humor to chug along but at least it does so at a steady rate. There is enough of both to make the series not drag, but when each subepisode is at most 10-12 minutes and how most subepisodes can stand on their own with only a minimum amount of connection with other subepisodes, one doesn’t struggle too much.
But what kept me interested in the series despite its lack of plot and character development? Perhaps it’s how the humor was different in every episode, with jokes being recycled with much less frequency than other series. Maybe it was that the annoying characters were not featured too frequently and that somehow, the series was able to use the factors that made some characters annoying as an advantage by playing on it in a humorous manner. Annoying characters are mocked at and sparingly portrayed, to minimize their effects as an annoying thorn or wart to detract from the series. Maybe it was because many subseries often featured only a few characters at a time and allowed them to develop as individuals. Since more time can get devoted to each individual, each can stand on their own more effectively. Maybe it’s because the humor and characters are not too dull and slapstick to come off as cheesy and elicit a reaction of “who cares, just move on already” but not too sophisticated to elicit a reaction of “what are you talking about and why is this even funny?” Heck, even the easy nickname jokes (Shittymatsu and Fappymatsu are often mentioned as nicknames for Karamatsu and Choromatsu respectively) don’t come off as cheap. And yet towards the end of the series, I was not pining for its conclusion since the quality of humor was kept consistent throughout rather than suffer from dramatic peaks and valleys.
So this leaves the series in a unique point, as it manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of its competitors. It’s exceptionally consistent and well-balanced. It is humorous whilst avoiding being cheesy or obnoxious. The characters are silly and funny yet avoid being irritating. They are distinctive enough and work well in almost any combination. The series is not overly simple and throwaway, yet is easy enough to get into and extrapolate. Despite there being no plotline, there is some inherent character development as the series moves forward at its steady pace. The series itself is 25 episodes, but could have also worked even at half its length. But could it work with another 25 episodes? Only time will tell, as a second season is currently airing. At least give the series a chance, but most will probably want to continue watching after the first few episodes.