Having become a member of the streaming service Crunchyroll a few months ago, I’ve sampled a few anime series, but for over half of them I ended up bored and never made it to the end. One exception was “Time of Eve” which I reviewed the other day.
Besides anime, Crunchyroll also has a few live-action dramas, though the selection isn’t that great so it’s even harder to find something good. But I was fortunate to stumble upon a totally hilarious comedy series recently which I just finished watching today, “Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store” (ニーチェ先生～コンビニに).
This show’s format is similar to an American sitcom, where the scenes are shot on only a few locations, and the focus is more on comedic dialog than a complex plot. As you might have guessed from the title, the setting is a convenience store, and the characters are mostly employees. While the actors don’t necessarily exemplify any award-winning acting, the characters are each pretty unique and they interact well together. For example, there is an ultra serious, morbid guy who wants to become a monk, a lowlife who thinks of nothing but get-rich-quick schemes, and a self-absorbed, childish manager.
The comedy is generally dark, extreme, and outright insane, but I enjoyed a large part of it.
You would think that the language of a bunch of people working at a convenience store at night would be pretty down to earth and informative for those learning Japanese, and while I won’t say it’s completely useless for that purpose, the intellectual/eclectic/weird nature of the jokes means there is a good deal of Japanese you might not hear too often in daily life, whether it’s buddhist sutras or made-up words (the latter is most commonly heard in the manager’s speech). But if you are looking for a challenge feel free to watch this series with the subtitles off and see how much you can figure out.
I can’t say whether the comedic style will be your thing, but I highly recommend watching one episode to see if you like it. You’ll enjoy it even more if you nibble on a pack of chocolate squid while watching. (That’s a reference to one of my favorite jokes in the show)