By Former Contributor / January 19th, 2015
I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying is a slice-of-life comedy series based around a relationship between an otaku and his relatively normal wife. The series is also made up of episodes that are only three and a half minutes long. As a result, it uses a lot of jokes based around both otaku culture and a husband-and-wife dynamic. So, the question is whether this is a series where it is really worth understanding what it is saying.
To get one thing out of the way, the first episode was downright terrible. The episode clearly meant to serve as an introduction to the series, but all it succeeded in doing was making our main character look awful. In this episode, Hajime, the titular “husband,” is portrayed with having all of the worst aspects of a stereotypical otaku. He cannot live without anime and pays more attention to it than his wife, Kaoru, he earns a meager living as a blogger because he does not want to get a job and the one time that his wife enjoys an anime movie they see together, Hajime nitpicks it to death for his review on his blog. At best, one can view this episode as one whose only joke is “otakus are annoying.” At worst, someone could take this as a mean-spirited jab at otaku culture.
In the last commentary I did on Denki-Gai, I made a comment about how it handles making comedy out of otaku culture better than this series. At the time, I had only seen the first episode, and it initially turned me off to the entire series. However, seeing as how there was a significant improvement with the rest of the series, I can say that the statement I made was inaccurate beyond the first episode. I initially assumed that the series would be based entirely around this gag and would be consistent with the quality of the first episode. However, when referring to the first episode specifically, I still stand by that jab.
The reason that later episodes are significantly better than the first one is because, unlike so many failed comedic anime, this series realizes that you cannot rely on one joke for an entire series. This may seem like something that is painfully obvious, but, when you have a series where the only joke, for multiple 20-minute episodes, is someone getting bludgeoned to death or having to embarrass himself in front of a crowd, you realize that this mistake is made rather often. As a result, I was quick to assume that this series would rely on no other jokes than “otakus are losers” when its episodes are only three and a half minutes.
Surprisingly, the series tried to do a lot more than just repeat one joke ad nauseum. It tried to get off many jokes at a rapid fire rate, build and develop characters and even tried to have actual conflicts in episodes; though, note that I said “tried.” For the most part, the jokes were pretty solid and the characters were well developed. Hajime’s character greatly changed from his portrayal in the first episode, and the series did dive into why the two are in a relationship in the first place. It also shows a competence on the writer’s part that they knew to not play Kaoru as the straight women every time, and by mixing things up by having her be the crazy one (the one episode about her getting drunk comes to mind). Mayotama, Hajime’s cross-dressing younger brother, was also a very good addition to the cast. I say this particularly because it shows a good amount of attention to detail to how some of the weirder members of the otaku community are. Despite this, though, they never try to mock Mayotama, and he ends up being a likable character regardless.
Unfortunately, the series starts to fall apart during its delivery with these things. First of all, the episodes all play out in a way that makes me feel like I am watching a Zero Punctuation video; it ends up going by really quickly and gives you very little time to take it in. As a result, the jokes end up being not as funny as they might have been if they moved at a slightly slower pace. Similarly, a lot of the episode plots do not feel fleshed out enough. I say this because there are obvious conflicts set up, but, since they are resolved in three minutes, there is very little time to add significant depth to them. This is rather unfortunate, seeing as how, with some fleshing out, this series could have been arguably better than Denki-Gai.
In terms of animation quality, I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying is on the “meh” side. On one hand, I will give it credit for its character models and being bright and colorful. Unfortunately, the animation quality is not up to par. The most notable thing is that the corners always have a white tint to them regardless of what the scenery looks like. Oftentimes, it looks like a drawing that didn’t have the edges of the paper colored in; this ends up being rather distracting and can take people out of the mood. One could argue that it is a stylistic choice or that it is trying to give it a storybook aesthetic. However, this approach really does not work, seeing as how the art design does not go well with a storybook style.
Overall, I Can’t Understand What My Husband Was Saying was a decent series. The writing, jokes and characters were all very solid, and one can get some entertainment out of them. Unfortunately, though, it is harmed by its short run time, which greatly reduces the amount of depth the series has. That is also not taking the first episode into account. However, seeing as how you can watch the entire series in about a half hour, there is not much to lose by watching it.
anime reviewCrunchyrollDanna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai KenDream CreationG-angleI can't understand what my Husband is saying.otakuSeinenSevenslice of life