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Seto no Hanayome

Friday, December 7, 2007 |

It's impossible to review comedy well, and since there's probably nothing more subjective than what's funny, reviews of comedy series are honestly pretty useless anyway. One blogger will say any given comedy is pure gold, the next will say they'd rather stick their face in a fan than watch it. Having said that, I can tell you I laughed out loud like an idiot at practically every episode of Seto no Hanayome, both the first and second times I watched it, but your mileage may vary. This is probably going to end up my favorite series of the year, so I'll ramble on about it anyway.

The basic plot of Seto no Hanayome is simple enough--Nagasumi goes to the Seto Inland Sea with his parents for summer vacation, and promptly gets a leg cramp and looks like he's going to drown. Of course, to avoid this being the shortest anime series ever, he doesn't drown and gets saved by a mermaid. It turns out that mermaid, San, is the daughter of a yakuza family of mermen and mermaids, and that since he knows her secret San has to die--unless, of course, he marries her, in which case he'll be a family member and knowing her true identity won't be an issue. So they end up engaged, even though they're both still in junior high, and heading back to Nagasumi's home in Saitama...although now the majority of San's family wants to kill him, including her father, and he has to made sure no one else finds out San's identity.
Just from the description of the plot you might think it's just another love comedy, and it's true it doesn't aspire to be more than that--but it does do the comedy side of things very, very well. The cast is excellent, with all of the characters being very unique and memorable. The character-based humor, slapstick, and over-the-top comedy all reminds me a lot of Urusei Yatsura, or more recently Magikano (from the same director as Seto). Luna's reaction when her Terminator-lookalike father shows up in serafuku...Mikawa's reaction whenever his helmet's taken off...San's reactions to Akeno's 'training' to resist turning back into a mermaid when she gets wet...Nagasumi's reaction to Masa's CPR...there are too many moments like this to list, but they're all hilarious, and wouldn't be possible without a great cast. You could argue the romance part takes a back seat to the comedy, and that's probably true, but overall I think Nagasumi and San's relationship gets developed well along the way too.


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