Looking Back at Joshiraku in 2022 #TBT

For today’s Throwback Thursday, there’s only one article I’d like to talk about, and that’s my final thoughts on Joshiraku. When I finished watching Joshiraku, I described it as the most Japanese anime I’ve ever watched. It fuses just about every Japanese cultural element there is under the land of the rising sun. Anime references, check. Anime meta references, check. Live-Action Japanese TV references, check. Anime tropes, check. Japanese folklore references, check. Uniquely Japanese gags, check. And why not throw in some references that western audiences would get? There should be a guide somewhere on the internet that explains every reference shown in Joshiraku.

Joshiraku has some self-aware comedy.

The anime’s main focus is on gags. Story progression and character development are completely irrelevant in Joshiraku. As of December 1, 2022, this is one of the types of anime I prefer. I recently answered a poll on YouTube by a Bocchi the Rock YouTuber by the name of Just a Channel @JamesBob1337, and 59% of voters said that Story is more important for voters in the anime, which is kind of funny, since 58% of voters said that Slice of Life is the voters’ favorite genre of anime. A lot of slice-of-life anime aren’t focused on stories, but some are.

A pun that may or may not be lost in translation

To me, what’s most important in anime are the characters. More specifically, character designs. This includes the way the characters are drawn, the physical appearance of the characters, the clothes they wear, and in some cases, the objects associated with those characters. If you look at my 8 Criteria, an anime featuring amazing character designs is the #1 criterion. As for Joshiraku’s character designs, they’re OK from a personal standpoint.

Joshiraku does have some hilarious slapstick.

What drew me into Joshiraku was the music and the funny moments. In that same poll, only 2% of voters say music is the most important in anime. Music is my #7 criterion, and it helps make some anime more memorable. Great music helps make anime great, but it’s not the #1 thing I’m looking for in an anime. The ending theme of Joshiraku is legendary, and it has racked up 46 million views on YouTube! How’s that for publicity? Even more impressive is that the video was uploaded in February 2021, about 5 years after I watched this anime!

One of a handful of Joshiraku references that western viewers would likely get

I was curious as to how it got so many views other than being an amazing ending theme. After doing some research, I found out that TikTok was responsible for making this anime popular again! While my opinions on TikTok are unfavorable, I’m glad that Joshiraku had an even bigger surge in popularity! Looking at Google Trends data, it’s almost like Joshiraku got a second season in Spring 2021! Now I feel a little old for watching Joshiraku in early 2016.

Google Trends Results for Joshiraku (Dec 1, 2022)

The ending theme isn’t the only song from Joshiraku that is amazing. The opening theme might not be as memorable, but it’s still awesome. I also love the soundtrack. If I had to make a list of anime with the best music, then Joshiraku might be on that list.

As for the anime itself, Joshiraku was a mixed bag. But, it is one of the better mixed bags in anime. The good moments happen more often than the bad moments. But again, comedy is subjective, and this anime was made for a Japanese audience. Joshiraku is not a must-watch anime, but if you love gag comedy and want something extremely Japanese, then knock yourself out.

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