Watching anime allows you to compare and contrast Japanese culture with, in my case, American culture. In particular, when you compare both American and Japanese of comedy, you start to see patterns. A lot of American comedy lies in social critiques. Its humor can be intellectual to low comedy. Think South Park and The Simpsons for low comedy and The Daily Show for more intellectual comedy (not to say that the former two aren’t intellectual). Japanese comedy I’ve found to draw its humor from wild, whimsical, borderline crazy plots, reversing what we expect to be important, making a big deal out of the trivial.Today, we’re looking at one of the best examples of Japanese comedy. It’s also one of the best-named animes of all time: Noucome, short for Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteru, (My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy).
The Story: A dirty magazine lies in the road. What do you do? Do you A) sniff it? Or B) eat it? Some of you might say, “I’d do neither”, but for Kanade Amakusa, he has no other options. He suffers from a curse called Absolute Choices, a phenomenon that forces him to make a decision between two random options. Of course, not only does he have no control over the options or when he has to choose, the choices are often perverted or socially inappropriate. Needless to say, his “unusual” behavior has left Kanade at the bottom of the school pecking order.
One day, while walking home from school, Kanade is forced to make a choice again. And is squashed by a girl falling from the sky. At long last, Kanade has a chance to make his curse fade completely. He simply has to complete some missions to succeed. But of course, hilarity ensues.
There is no other way to describe Noucome‘s plot than outrageous. The whole show was me flailing at the screen, asking, “what the hell is going on?”Each episode makes sense, but they all deal with plot elements in absurd ways, using Absolute Choices. However, there is direction. Noucome is divided up into little arcs, each revolving around the missions Kanade has to complete, those highlighting different girls. Given the show’s constraints, the arcs are well done. By the end, the arcs deal with Kanade’s unofficial harem;those are also well done. Of course, the show doesn’t miss any opportunity to abuse its mostly-female cast and poor, poor Kanade for humor. Noucome keeps itself light-hearted that way. In other words, fanservice. Much of Noucome’s humor comes from sexual innuendos, which might be off-putting for some.
However, Noucome‘s storytelling has one fatal flaw: its length. 24 episodes tends to be the standard length for an anime season; I’ve also seen 12 episodes work pretty well. But 10 is too short. There simply wasn’t enough time for a satisfying end or a well-paced story.
The Characters: I’d love to give detailed analyses of each of the characters, but none of them are adequately developed. The show is simply too short for any meaningful character development, with one exception.
Kanade Amakusa: Kanade works similarly to Shido in Date a Live. Despite his curse, he is actually an uninteresting character, instead milked for comedic effect. He is not interesting, but he helps to make the characters around him ( all girls) more interesting than him.
Furano Yukihira: Yukihira is character development done right. Out of everyone, she gets the most meaningful development and the story does a good job taking advantage of it. Normally, I’d say the amount of development she got was small, and to an extent it was, but the quality was so good that the amount doesn’t really matter.
Ouka Yuouji: To contrast the brilliance that is Yukihira, we have Yuouji. Not to say she’s a bad character, but she is a bit of a letdown. Unlike Yukihira, any development Yuouji gets does nothing for her because it comes so late; there’s no time for her character to play out. She’s fun, but not a compelling character.
Chocolat: Yuouji wasn’t that bad of a character, but the same can’t be said for Chocolat. As the one closest, plot-wise, to Kanade, she’s horribly neglected, only serving as comic relief. She gets development halfway through, then conveniently decides to neglect it. As a result, she’s no better off than a side character, despite being the most critical female “main” to the plot.
Final Verdict: Noucome is a good example of the difference between an enjoyable anime and a good one. While you are likely to enjoy the show, there’s not much meaning behind it. Watch Noucome if you’re short on time or just want a good laugh.
Final Grade: C+/B-