Original Run: July 3, 2010 - September 26, 2010 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Norio Sakurai
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mitsudomoe. Reader discretion is advised.***
Satoshi Yabe (voiced by Hiro Shimono) has finally achieved his dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. Full of drive and passion, Satoshi is ready for anything that might be thrown at him.
Or, at least, that was what he thought.
Satoshi is put in charge of Class 6-3 which contains Japan’s three most problematic children – the Marui triplets, Mitsuba, Futaba, and Hitoha (voiced respectively by Ayahi Takagaki, Satomi Akesaka, and Haruka Tomatsu). Together, this trio is an unpredictable storm of trouble. With zero effort, they will pull everything around them into their destructive wake. It’s only ever a matter of time before something breaks.
Although the days are exhausting – and occasionally painful – no one can ever complain about boredom.
Mitsuba, Futaba, and Hitoha might be a handful for the inexperienced Satoshi, but the girls are not demons. Satoshi just needs to realize he will never be able to contain the sisters. All he can do is learn to direct their energy to minimize the number of casualties.
This review has been a long time coming.
I absolutely love Mitsudomoe.
For those few who might remember, nearly three years prior to this post, I actually ranked Mitsudomoe as the fourth funniest anime on my Top Ten Anime Comedies list.
I’m not saying this will happen soon, but I should really consider updating that list since there have been several, more recently reviewed series which would make for valid contenders. Mitsudomoe will have its work cut out for itself if it wants to stay within the top.
Granted, that was what I assumed when I sat down with this series again. It’s clear to me now that I need to flip my train of thought.
I, unapologetically, 110% stand by my inclusion of Mitsudomoe as one of the funniest anime comedies. Although there may be some rank shuffling, this remains among the very best of the best.
All that for a future date.
Mitsudomoe worked because it knew how to balance; it knew how to be fair. Without its masterful use of give-and-take, this series could have quickly turned mean-spirited. Every character in this show fell into one of three distinctions:
- They got what they deserved.
- They got even.
- They didn’t care whatsoever.
Side note: There was also Satoshi who was in a unique fourth category – adult. He was the teacher in charge of a bunch of rowdy sixth-year elementary school students. In such a position, the thinner your skin is, the more likely you will be turned into a target.
(And that is coming from a person who has worked with children in a Japanese elementary school)
This series knew the ins and outs of how each of its characters operated. No one ever behaved the way “proper” people would when reacting to a particular situation. Everyone from Mitsudomoe responded the way they specifically would respond. Never did anyone go against their personality, and therefore, this show knew how far it could step without crossing over the line.
Nowhere was this more apparent than with the three Marui sisters – Mitsuba, Futaba, and Hitoha.
Mitsuba was that first type of character – she always got what she deserved. Of the trio, she was the rudest. In Mitsuba’s mind, she was a goddess amongst mortals, and everyone around her was mere ants to play with. She was quick to insult, lie, and manipulate. The problem for her was, she wasn’t very good at any of things.
It was never long before Mitsuba got called out. She couldn’t get away with anything, and more often than not, she was responsible for digging her own grave. Her desire for instant gratification was ultimately her downfall whenever she acted like a brat. This was especially true when she thought she could mess with Hitoha.
Unlike her sister, Hitoha – the second character type – would not go out of her way to mess with people. In fact, she wouldn’t bother dealing with anyone if she could help it. Hitoha preferred to keep to herself, and instantly dismissed anything that wasn’t interesting.
That was unless somebody was foolish enough to wrong her.
Hitoha could be extraordinarily petty, and even the slightest annoyance could cause her to retaliate. And when she did strike back, Hitoha was able to put the fear of god into her adversaries. A lesson you would think someone like Mitsuba would eventually learn, but alas, you would be mistaken.
All that notwithstanding, of the three sisters, it was really Futaba who was the most destructive – as well as the third character type. That wasn’t because she was the meanest or the most vindictive. In actuality, Futaba was the kindest of the three sisters by a vast margin. She put the feelings of others before her own. The trouble was, Futaba’s sense of doing-the-right-thing was horribly askew, and it usually involved using her inhuman strength to fix any given problem.
Since Futaba was a natural goofball, no jab from Mitsuba could get her down. And because she was genuinely trying to not be a butt-head, Futaba rarely suffered Hitoha’s wrath. Nevertheless, both Mitsuba and Hitoha were sometimes collateral damage whenever Futaba let loose.
This trio formed a perfect triangle that allowed one to keep the other two in check. But that wasn’t what made the Marui sisters, or this series, fantastic.
Mitsudomoe excelled because it made an effort to show Mitsuba, Futaba, and Hitoha did care about each other. Peppered throughout this series were examples of the girls going out of their way for one another. None of them ever needed to be told they went too far with a joke, prank, or action. They could instantly see when they had – even if unintentionally – hurt their sisters.
There was an ironclad rule when it came to Mitsudomoe’s humor. It could be vicious, spiteful, and cruel, but the second someone tapped out, the fight was over. There was no kicking someone when they were clearly down.
Even during this re-watch, I was surprised by how well Mitsudomoe handled itself.
There was one thing.
Mitsudomoe relied on a lot of misunderstandings-humor.
First off, I don’t like this type of comedy as a personal preference, so please take this next critique with a grain of salt.
Second, when I say “misunderstandings-humor,” I mean characters – usually both parties of a given conversation – will misinterpret what someone is saying and drastically fill in the blanks. And as a part of that, everyone then starts speaking in incredibly vague ways that don’t feel natural. As a result, the problem only gets more compounded.
There were a lot of these sorts of jokes in Mitsudomoe.
However, the reason I still consider it to be one of the best anime comedies is because this series rarely let a misunderstanding go on indefinitely. Typically, there was one person who realized there had been a miscommunication somewhere. When that did eventually happen – and it was often a Marui sister who saw the disconnect – the following could occur:
- Mitsuba would double-down to avoid embarrassment.
- Hitoha would feel too awkward to correct a mistake.
- Futaba…Well, Futaba probably wouldn’t care in the first place. And if an idea was planted in her head, it was there to stay, misunderstanding or no.
I bring this up because, by the end of this series, these jokes indeed began to lose whatever luster they may have once had. Luckily, there was enough variety in Mitsudomoe’s arsenal to keep everything immensely entertaining.
Although I really don’t want to, I will wait to re-watch the second season of this series.
Fortunately for me, I have a pretty good feeling it will be worth it.
This show could not have held up any more than it did. Actually, I may like it better now than I ever have. It was funny, the characters were brilliant, and it was an absolute blast.
It is with great pleasure that I finally get to recommend Mitsudomoe.
But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Mitsudomoe? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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