NouCome & Nihilism (or: My Mental Hangups are Completely Interfering with this School Love Comedy)

Text version and links: If you enjoy my videos, consider supporting me via patreon: Or through paypal: Watch NouCome on Crunchyroll: A just God is as a compass, clung to for fear of navigating the Godless void. Without God, individual choice reigns supreme as filtered through subjective experience. However, what if there is no God and you have no choice? Or, what if God has no plan, and your choices don’t matter? Which one is less comforting? Ore no Nounai Sentakushin ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru continually presents the idea that life is defined by a series of choices. In its hilarious opening scene, it displays the entirety of human history as a long sequence of binary choices made by every important historical figure across millions of years. Yet the humor of this sequence is largely in how the choices are not really choices at all. At one point, the evolution of man is decided when a monkey makes a choice between walking on four legs, or walking on two legs; and a bird decides that they want to live in the sky instead of on land. Several times, the choice made by a historical figure is between following the natural course of what they intended to do with their lives, and doing something completely different. For the universe to operate in a logical way, choices must follow a logical progression. If we think of the present as the result of the past, and the future as the result of the present, then these events must flow logically into one-another. The logic behind what seems to us like a choice may not be readily apparent–and yet, it is always there. If today I decide I want the salad, in spite of being known to get the soup, then there must be some compulsion in the back of my mind which drove me to make that choice; even if it was simply the compulsion to break character. There is a logic to experimentation and chaos, as it is through these things that we learn more and build onto ourselves. These are the construction blocks of evolution. For all choices to make sense as a linear progression, then choice, itself, must be an illusion. You were never going to make the other choice, because history did not lead up to that choice, and the future does not expand on that choice. If the linearity of time is only experienced by third-dimensional creatures such as ourselves, then in higher dimensions, all of time must exist at once–meaning that there can be no divergent outcomes in our universe. And yet, for reality to be infinite, every possibility must exist; and therefore be simultaneously both predetermined and unpredictable. NouCome is a series in which individual choice does not matter. Amakusa Kanade is afflicted with a curse in which a voice often appears in his head and present him with two or more absolute choices, which he must choose between or else suffer massive headaches. The outcomes always lead to Kanade’s comic victimization, and the options are usually between one very bad choice versus one even worse choice. On the rare instances that the choices are more complicated, Kanade always searches for the one that is most ethically correct, or which has the least unpredictable outcome. In other words, his work is always cut out for him; the voice is less presenting him with choices, and more presenting him with inevitabilities. In the second episode, Kanade is put into contact with a God whom he describes as, “flippant.” God himself neither understands the nature of Kanade’s curse, nor is totally sure on how to cure it–as he’s just taken up the role of God from a previous God who also didn’t know much of anything. This God, while claiming to have control over physics and to be a protector of the universe, is neither all-powerful nor all-knowing, and definitely has no plan. God presents Kanade with a series of missions which, when completed, will bring Kanade closer to removing his curse. These missions typically involve building his relationships with the multitude of girls who are in love with him in strange ways. Without his mental binary choices for guidance, these are the scenarios wherein Kanade has to put his own decision-making skills to the test, and make choices not governed by a supernatural entity. However, over the course of the series, Kanade’s missions are not once completed by virtue of his own decisions. Kanade’s decisions usually bring him just short of reaching his goal, before victory is granted through random happenstance. His first mission is completed when he literally trips over a banana peel and busts his ass. In this series, it is neither the will of destiny nor the power of individual choice which resolves conflict, but the chaotic nature of an unpredictable yet logical universe that continues onward beholden to nothing. There is a God, but he has no plan; Kanade has a choice, but the outcome is predetermined. It is an exercise in the unstoppable flow of inevitability, and absurd reality of a nihilistic universe. — Now, because I’m sure you’re going to ask, I’ll tell you my opinions of NouCome. It was a fun show. Had it been longer than ten episodes, I probably wouldn’t have watched it all, and I don’t know if I’d watch another season–but it was enough fun to watch at least once. When it comes to harem shows, I tend to favor the ones that have a cast of happy-go-lucky characters who get along fairly well. I’m not a fan of shows wherein the characters argue all the time, especially if they tend to rehash the same arguments again and again. All of the characters in NouCome were likable and had decent chemistry together, and most of their vocal performances were really good. Having said that, I just didn’t find the show all that funny. While I liked the premise, I felt like it never followed through on its gags enough to get a good punchline out of them. It was odd to have the main character always presented with two choices for funny things to happen, but in a way in which he’s always bound to pick the less-funny choice. More scenarios should have forced him into picking the choice which would cause him the most pain instead of hinting at that possibility and never delivering. A lot of the humor was incredibly predictable, with me calling out the punchlines before they’d happen; and overall I felt like this was probably meant for a younger and less jaded audience. It doesn’t help that I’ve been watching Nichijou recently, and the humor in that is so well-crafted and unpredictable that it makes NouCome look worse in comparison. Still, I enjoyed the series well enough, and if you’re into these kinds of shows, then I think I can recommend it wholeheartedly. It wasn’t as funny as the funniest parts in Nourin, but it was a better show overall and handled the underlying dramatic development of its characters much more smoothly. Check it out if you’re into that kind of thing–or if you’re not then check out some of my other videos for more recommendations; and if you dig my content then consider supporting me on patreon or just by sharing these videos around. I’ll see ya in the next one.

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