Text version and links:
Full Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw6UBKuaMyFAxI1scBKFw_KEvKLzh-EaR
Intro and Honorable Mentions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry50LpI3ais
#20. No Game No Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRNs31tcJbk
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Watch Danna ga Nani on Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/i-cant-understand-what-my-husband-is-saying
Over the last five years or so there’s been a massive influx of comedy shows with three-and-a-half to five minute episodes, usually lasting around twelve episodes a season. These shows are easy and inexpensive to produce, and work well with with adapting 4-panel comedy manga, which are often based around very quick gags to begin with. The lightning-fast pace and minimal animation of shows like Danna ga Nani has in my opinion capitalized on the comedic timing of 4-koma style far better than a lot of long-form adaptations such as the currently running Gugure Kokkuri-san have managed to.
Having said that, there have been very few series of this nature which held my attention for long while they were airing, just because they’re so easy to forget about. Short episodes don’t leave much room for impact, so unless a series can pack a lot of punch in that little bit of time, like 2011’s hilarious Plastic Nee-san did, then it’s bound to fall by the wayside in the midst of a season full of meatier shows. Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, or I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying, might have fallen through the cracks like so many other shows of its nature–except that the premise of the series was so inviting to me.
Danna is the story of a woman named Tsunashi Kaoru, who finds herself inexplicably married to an otaku; whose interests and attitude are totally beyond her comprehension. At first, I wondered how any sensible woman would end up marrying a guy like this, but as the series went along, I got a sense of how the laid-back and passive nature of these two characters causes them to gel pretty naturally and somehow work as a couple against all odds. Both of them come off as self-aware and realistic enough that it’s easy for me to buy into their romance, which in turn makes me incredibly envious.
After all, it’s hard not to read myself into a twenty-something otaku whose only income is generated through running a popular anime blog, and who has a sort of take-me-as-I-am attitude, even as he apologizes for it. Seeing a character I can so easily relate to happily married to exactly the kind of woman I wish I was married to has a lot to do with why I like this show.
Does it help that I like shorter women? Does it help that I like women with yellow hair? Does it help that I like women who smoke? Does it help that I like women who can drink me under the table? Does it help that I like women with deadpan expressions? Does it help that I like women with straightforward personalities? Does it help that I like to see couples go about their everyday lives without any drama? Does it help that these character live exactly how I’d like to live should I ever get married? The answer to all of these is yes. There’s a gigantic element of wish fulfillment fantasy at work here, which probably elevates this show a lot more in my mind than if it had been the same thing with slightly different characters.
But really, the tone of the comedy comes out of this couple’s laid-back nature. When these two are together, the humor is often very deadpan, and a lot of the jokes revolve around completely normal aspects of their everyday lives. Only when the other characters, like the husband’s little brother, or the wife’s father get involved, does the comedy get a little more energetic, and these lead to some of the biggest laugh-out-loud moments in the series.
I also greatly appreciate how the show is willing to take on sexual themes with a straight face and complete lack of embarrassment, which is something I just don’t get nearly enough of out of anime. Sometimes the punchline of a joke is an unexpectedly hilarious sexual encounter, or simply the matter-of-fact way that sex is presented in the main characters’ relationship. I don’t want to give away any of the best jokes, especially since the series is so short, but there’s also a character who calls himself Destiny Fucker. In English. That’s the best endorsement I can possibly give.
If anything captures the magic of this show perfectly, it’s the adorable duet-sung ending theme, which features the main couple in various stages of happily bathing and singing together. The singing and animation are at once adorable and kind of romantic, depicting, more than anything, a happily married couple. As much as I love the otaku humor brought about by the husband or the incredibly charming personality of the wife, what really sells me on this show is getting to see a cute married couple and how they function together, which to me is much more romantic and heartwarming then watching the process of two characters hooking up could ever be.
If anything you’ve seen or heard sounds up your alley, then definitely give this series as watch, as you can easily binge it in like half an hour. The series is available for free legal streaming on Crunchyroll, which I’ve linked in the description.
So what did you think of I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying? Let me know in the comments below, and in case you missed it, click the annotations on screen to watch the introduction and honorable mentions video, as well as #20 on this list, No Game No Life, and stick around on my channel to see what my eighteenth-favorite anime of the year is tomorrow.