Joshiraku Ep. 1
Summer 2012 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Girls’ Ease) (more info)
The five girls of Joshiraku all have their unique personalities and styles and each seems to be getting a pretty equal amount of screen time, so if you’re looking to adopt a character for this moe, comedy series I’m sure one of them will fit your tastes. But I think the main reason Joshiraku isn’t firing on all cylinders is because a lot of its jokes are very Japanese in nature, from poking fun at other Asian countries to making political commentary about its own government. And even if you’re up to date on current Japanese politics like I am (sort of), it’s still not exactly a barrel of laughs.
The best way I can describe this series is that it’s sort of like the political cartoon in your favorite national newspaper was given a twist of moe and a seasoning of Japanese; more of a thought-provoking satire than anything really worth smiling about. While that’s a success in the contest of being unique, I don’t think it has much appeal beyond a niche audience that likes moe, ironic jokes about the government and understands current events in Japan. I’d think this series would almost be better suited to a short five minute timeslot injected between the evening news for comic relief.
Its plot is also structured in an interesting way. Joshiraku makes no secret that it knows exactly what it’s trying to do as it frequently comes right out and breaks the fourth wall on a regular basis; each character knowing full well that they are in an anime with a dubious premise. Because of that I really feel like it’s trying too hard in almost every possible way. This especially comes out when it goes into fanservice mode after all the characters put on their pajamas to showcase what constitutes, “normal/casual dress,” and one of the girl’s sleeping attire happens to be nude. So the other girls strip her down and she’s forced to hide behind an oversized pad of paper that doesn’t quite conceal her profile. The commentary then continues as her cover is used to brainstorm ideas completely unrelated to what happened only a few minutes ago.
So while Joshiraku is silly and cute, it has a lot going against it and if you absolutely need to get your moe fix this season, I recommend Yuru Yuri.