First Look: Teppen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laughing ’til You Cry

Manga adaptation by Drive
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

The Teppen Grand Prix is the pinnacle competition for high schoolers looking to show off their manzai comedy skills. Yayoi, Yomogi, and Yuzu are three students from Kazuki High School in Nanba who have entered the trios division, and find themselves boarding in a dormitory with the other contending teams.

Zigg’s verdict: Silly Season

I’m no translator, but I have to believe that translating comedy has to be one of the hardest possible things you can undertake. Comedy is so rooted in local tastes, cliches, and norms that to a cultural outsider it can appear unfunny or simply baffling. That’s perhaps even more true in the case of manzai, an old-school style of comedy that’s deeply embedded in Japanese history.

What I’m basically building up to is that I don’t think Teppen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes, the fifteen exclamation marks are part of the official title) is particularly funny, but also I don’t necessarily hold that against it. Usually ‘you’ll like it if you like this sort of thing’ is a bit of a sop argument, but in this case I think it’s about as accurate as any review is going to get. Pretty much the entire audience for Teppen can be summed up into two groups – those who are watching for the manzai skits which make up the vast majority of this episode, and those who will watch cute girls doing cute things in pretty much any circumstances. In the first case I’m unqualified to judge whether this episode was good or not, and in the second case the quality of the episode is almost immaterial.

Yet despite all of those disclaimers, I thought this episode was a pleasant watch, mostly because it punches above its weight considerably in the audio-visual department. While hardly a sakuga-fest the animation is sharp, bright, and colourful, and the wide array of girls have pleasingly distinctive designs. What’s more, the pop-rap opening is an absolute delight and there are a couple of great sight gags, like the increasingly ‘customised’ trophy. So while this isn’t really a show I’m going to follow, I think that there’s definitely some care and love in here, and if you’re into manzai at all I’m sure it’ll be a treat. You could do a lot worse!

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