Japanese drama review: Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store (ニーチェ先生~コンビニに)

By | October 19, 2016

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)

 

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7 thoughts on “Japanese drama review: Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store (ニーチェ先生~コンビニに)

  1. Kitto

    There’s actually a manga. Not sure which came first, manga or drama, but most likely it’s the manga. It’s magnificent too!

    😀

    Reply
  2. Amarin

    Hi Jeff,

    I would like to ask you 2 questions about the word どうなんだい.

    1) Does it mean ‘How about…?’
    2) Is there any difference in term of definition between どうなんだい, どうなんだ, どうだい and なんだい ? Can I use them interchangeably?

    Thanks and Regards,
    Amarin

    Reply
    1. locksleyu Post author

      Yes, “どう” generally means “how”, though in some cases it can be translated to “what” (ex: “どう思う?” => “what do you think?”). なんだ〜 is a contraction of 何+だ where 何 (なに) means “what”.

      どうなんだ is short for どうなのだ. The “の” here is used for emphasis. You can see my article about の here: http://selftaughtjapanese.com/2013/12/30/say-yes-to-a-better-understanding-of-the-japanese-particle-no-の)/

      ”どうだい” is the same thing as “どうだ”. Using だい instead of だ and かい instead of か is an informal speech pattern often used by men. It sounds “tough” to me. I generally recommend learners to not use ~だい or ~かい unless you are very comfortable with them.

      Reply
    2. locksleyu Post author

      One more question, where did you see my first name? I usually go by ‘locksleyu’, surprised you knew it (:

      Reply
      1. Amarin

        Thank you for your useful answer. To your question, I knew it because when I wrote an e-mail to you to ask a Japanese grammar question, you answered me and used your first name at the end of the letter. It’s quite some months ago 🙂

        Regards,
        Amarin

        Reply

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