Tuesday, April 12, 2011

F1RST IMPRESSIONS: 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku

We continue our look at the newest anime shows for Spring 2011 with Health & Physical Education for 30-Year-Olds (30-sai no Hoken Taiiku), an anime adaption of a Japanese guidebook series animated by Studio Gathering.

Storyline: 2

I really feel for the nerds and otaku portrayed in anime shows. Usually the victim of the running gag, the lonely bespectacled male never seems to be able to solve his inadequacies regarding virginity. It's a shame that there can't be some show that instructs otaku on the ways of losing the cherry and finally bedding the girl of his dreams. While we may still be waiting for the perfect "Sex for Dummies" guidebook, I suppose 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku will have to do.

Hayao Imagawa is your average office cubicle Dilbert, still inexperienced when it comes to the opposite gender. It seems that his plastic doll Momoko might be the best way to solve the problem, but things go inexplicably wrong when Hayao finds a naked male in his bedroom. No matter how many times he kicks him out the "God of Sex" returns, promising to help Hayao lose his virginity and not taking "no" for an answer. The rest of the episode delves into absurdist approaches to help Hayao, from exploding breast-shaped mousepads to behinds that work like a Dyson vacuum.

I refuse to explain that last one. Let's just say that this show appears to be less authentic in actually teaching people about sex and more like a means to make fun of the sexually awkward and frustrated.

Animation: 0

The animation for 30nHT is handled by Studio Gathering, the same studio that gave us the first Tono to Issho animation. Considering that the stiff movement of the characters that hung around Tono to Issho still haunts the characters in 30nHT, little seems to have been done to increase the quality of the production. It certainly doesn't help that quite a chunk of the animation gets hidden by neon scribbles, indicating that the content of the animation was a little too extreme for network standards.

Characters: 1

It's too bad that the characters in 30nHT aren't a little more unique, but I suppose a stereotype has to be in place for the humor to work. However, making the main male lead a prototypical glasses geek with Hiro Shimono as the voice actor seems way too appropriate and bordering on typecasting, while the female lead could certainly use a little intelligence. Here's to hoping that the next players acting as sex gods and goddesses bring a little more to the playing field.

Track: 1

Nothing to hear here. The music is drab, the acting is hammy, and the opening and ending themes aren't exciting. Perhaps the only thing that could keep the soundtrack from bottoming out is the fact that the anime self-censors its dialogue with nonsense words spoken by a different voice actor—"sex" becomes "chome-chome" during the explanations...hey, why does the word "sex" need to be censored, anyway?

"Hype": 1

There wasn't much publicity for 30nHT to begin with, especially with the knowledge that the show would be produced by such a young studio and director Manky├╗, who also directed Tono to Issho. The show also likely fits together with the previously-reviewed Hen Zemi to produce a thirty-minute block, so the show is reduced to a disappointing 12 minutes after factoring in the theme songs and half-episode length.

Overall: 5/25
There really isn't much to review about 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku. Considering that the subject matter appears to have been too steamy for broadcast, it really brings into question just how constructive the show is for educating people about sex, if it was even the point in the first place at all. If we're going to take something such as learning how to massage breasts seriously, why make them explode?

If the show is meant to be a comedy, then why advertise the show as being an "instruction manual"? If anything, it probably is trying to enforce the idea that being dumb and awkward to the idea of sex is not a bad thing, but it hardly comes through in the end. 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku is unfortunately a virgin in itself—it is so self-conscious that it's unsure if it should cross into the "adult films" section or not.

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