geinin intro

NMB48 Geinin Ep1-2

While I still have a write up of my Japanese trip to do, and a few articles outstanding to complete, tonight I don’t have anything planned and so I’m going to gun through the first 5 episodes of Geinin. As odd as it may sound, being in Japan with access to a TV, did not in fact make it any easier to keep up with TV shows.  The fact these shows tend to be shown late at night, on various syndicated channels  which makes it a pain to actually sit down and watch.  Internet 1 Television 0.  So I decided that while I watch, I’m going to write down my thoughts about each episode, I usually don’t do TV reviews and probably won’t do many, but just for something different, I’m going to do this.  These will be fairly spoiler heavy, so be warned.  

NMB48 Geinin, a pseudo drama/variety show in the vein of SKE48′s Magical Radio. During the show there is an ad-libbed variety section. At the end of the show 2 members pair up and do a manzai routine.  Stars; Yamamoyo Sayaka, Watanabe Miyuki, Ogasawara Mayu, Eriko Jo, Yamada Nana, Fukamoto Aina. It is hosted by Terumoto Gotou from the comedy duo Football hour, and each week  several other NMB members guest star with Kondo Rina and Yoshida Akari in recurring roles. The plot focuses on the members as they take part in their schools comedy club activities.

Note.. subs for some of the episodes can be found over at ProjectSub48.  Not all of the episodes have been subbed as yet, but I’m sure the crew over there are working really hard to do them.

Episode 1

Manzai : Sayaka Yamamoto and Watanabe Miyuki

The plot focuses around Sayaka’s searching for a new comedy partner.  While the episode starts by going over some older ground for anyone familiar with NMB and their comedy backgrounds (the Nana being old jokes from Naniwa Nadeshiko mainly) there is plenty to laugh about.  It’s not long before Jo breaks the scene up with her reckless enthusiasm and massive grin.  While it’s only for the story that Sayaka wants to be the Boke (funny member) and Jo wants to be her Tsukkomi, (straight member) I think it’s fairly obvious that if these two members ever do a manzai routine together,  the roles will be reversed. Gotou shows up and brings with him some new members of the club to help with Sayaka’s search for a new partner.  Kondo makes her appearance debuting her little catchphrase which amounts to looking at the camera and saying her own name, somewhat in keeping with her slow-witted but adorable character.  Miyuki finally makes her grand entrance, and after some discussion it’s decided that even though Sayaka wants to be the Boke, by working with airhead Miyuki, she can learn to become a better Boke herself.

The next section is the unscripted variety section. This is the part which I think most people are looking forward to, as the members comedy skills have to stand up (pun intended) by themselves.  With a seasoned pro like Gotou providing the backup, they shouldn’t have too much to worry about.  The topic is; to make a poem using the 3 characters of Gotou’s name; Go To and U.  While the jokes themselves in this section by themselves don’t stand out, Gotou’s reactions to them make it a lot funnier than it is.   After the first few serious attempts at humour fall a little flat, they start trolling him with stupid answers which then allows him to use his seasoned tsukkomi skills to help raise the quality of the  segment up.

We then move onto this weeks manzai section.  While not the best manzai the Saya-Mirukii combi has produced (I thought their Nicofarre and Naniwa Nadeshiko performances were much stronger) it’s still somewhat amusing. Mirukii makes an effective Boke, as she is somewhat believable as the forgetful and easily distracted airhead that she presents herself as.

Episode 2

Manzai: Fukamoto Aina and Ogasawara Mayu

This episode opens with Miyuki being late and the gang being interupted by Yoshida Akari from the flight attendants club (a school with a comedy club.. fair enough, flight attendant club?.. what kind of school is this..) who gives a short rundown of her club activities (being able to have your bum touched by a drunken passenger without losing your cool being one of them) before challenging the ‘comedy’ club members to make her laugh.   After Jo successfully makes her laugh with an old gag, she then admits her real reason. She’s looking to recruit members for her club.   I feel Akarin does a good job here with the character she’s given, the slightly aloof, better than you character seems to suit her and the image she portrays.

The theme of this episodes variety section is, “The type of flight attendant I’d like to meet.”  This is done in a prop comedy style, using whatever they can find around the room to help with their gags.  Cue lots of slighty edgy jokes (well as edgy as idol jokes can be) from the older members.  Jo being a bit younger doesn’t take part in those jokes and instead looks straight at the camera and just grins her trademark childlike smile.  While what she says isn’t funny “want some tea?” (in a familiar tone as opposed to professional) watch the members in the backgrounds reactions to her.  Jo’s brand of humour, while not actually funny if you look at it straight up, it’s very innocent and stupid and full of enthusiasm and it’s hard not to laugh at just how absurd some of it is.   Overall a much funnier section than last week. NMB have always been strong at this style of off the cuff one line humour.  Gotou offers to buy Jo some yoghurt after the show, which kind of carries on some of the gags from Naniwa Nadeshiko in which regardless of what Jo did, Peace’s Matayoshi would always give her sweets.

The manzai is performed by Maachun and Ainyan.  While it has some funny moments, it’s not as strong as the variety section before it.  Maachun is possibly NMB’s best manzai perfomer, even reaching the quarter finals of the the R1 Grand Prix this year (National Japanese comedy competition, successor to the M1 Grand Prix.) Ainyan keeps up well with her, but I feel they could have done better with stronger material, hopefully they’ll get another chance or two during the show.

This turned out longer than I’d anticipated, so I’m going to break it up into sections, 2 episodes at a time.

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