“Three classmates play simple hand games. One of the girls is good at games, but hates them as she always lost to her older sister and forced to do chores while growing up. Another girl is of American descent, but raised in Japan, and who only pretends to be bad at Japanese. Another girl usually observes their games, and loses to the other girls.” -Asobi Asobase (manga)
Rather than a large overarching storyline, this focuses on day to day life of Kasumi, Olivia, and Hanako. But don’t let the promo art and opening fool you, there’s twisted and dark humor that is prominent throughout the show. The show is like eating a spoon full of green tea ice cream…only to realize it was actually wasabi. While Asobi Asobase does focus on simple Japanese games, the story usually escalates into bizarre situations that are both ridiculously amusing and uncanny.
Artwork & Animation:
The art is as surreal as its comedy, going from elegant pastel aesthetics to hyperrealistic details very quickly. If you’re familiar with how sporadic the art is for Pop Team Epic, then you’ll feel right at home. There are a few art style references to famous artist such as Salvator Dali, a famous artist whose art focuses on surrealism, which I thoroughly enjoy.
The characters are definitely interesting, but as this is a gag and comedy anime there isn’t that much room for character development. What you see is what you get in a sense. Even though the characters are pretty much static throughout the entire show, they are still compelling enough to keep your attention and make the show interesting to watch. Kasumi, Olivia, and Hanako are the most entertaining as they are the main character but the side characters are just as interesting. And then there’s Maeda, if you know….you know.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Even the entire soundtrack is weird as it gets. It includes tracks that are very flowery, with light fun percussions and soft guitar strums but then on a flip of a dime another track could play featuring hard staccato string in a minor chord and then the next piece turns into what sounds like a guitar riff from a 90s metal song. The opening and ending themes are also two different entities altogether, the opening featuring Olivia, Kasumi, and Hanako all singing to some light-hearted instrumentals and the ending…well if you’ve heard of Babymetal, it’s that.
There were a lot of funny moments in the show, though it did take a while to get used to the strange art and the dark comedy.
Overall: Score 7
With a bizarre art style and a twisted type of comedy, Asobi Asobase isn’t what you think it is. This comedy is anything you’ll see coming, it’ll hit like a train whether you’re prepared or not. With an exotic cast of crazy characters and an interesting perspective at comedy, Asobi Asobase will either have you laughing your head off or wishing that your head was off.
Best Girl: Olivia
Out of all the characters Olivia was the cutest to see. From her facade of being “foreign” and feigning ignorance to speaking Japanese well. Her quirks and antics, as well as her character design, are too cute to say no!