Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist (Anime Review)
A title that only provides a half truth, Shimoneta focuses on a futuristic Japan where decency police have instituted order to keep all perceived immoral activity from being part of society. These special moral police have been granted the authority to destroy all immoral objects and punish immoral individuals, by any means necessary. Power to know what all members of society are doing is key in this fight, hence all people are now forced to wear Peace Makers to analyze every spoken word and hand motion for any action that may break the law. Books of all types are burned in this moral cleansing. The main character Tanukichi Okuma has just been accepted to the top “public morals school.” Okuma’s reason for entering this elite institution, focused on indoctrination above all else, is that he is chasing his crush, student council president Anna Nishikinomiya.
However, while traveling to attend his first day of class he decides to save a fellow student who was being framed of touching a woman’s gluteus maximus, on a crowded train. Taking the blame for this action, Okuma becomes the target of decency police. Before he is captured he is saved by “Blue Snow” a noted erotic terrorist, whose mission is to spread indecency, dirty words, and arousal throughout this clean society. Due to certain discussions being off limits, those indoctrinated in this pure society are naturally curious about certain things.
Soon after class, Tanukichi is approached by the sleep deprived science student, Hyouka Fuwa, who asks him to explain how babies are made. Fuwa asks Tanukichi as he is transferring from a school known for low morality scores. She seems to have some ideas, but believes that she may be close to a big breakthrough. Student council vice president Ayame Kajou saves Tanukichi from this very dangerous situation, and brings him to the student council meeting where he would be offered to join. Being closer to his crush seems like a great idea, so he passionately accepts the offer.
To celebrate Ayame takes Tanukichi to a small café to congratulate him, but instead she reveals to him that this is her base of operations as she is actually Blue Snow. Panicked, Tanukichi attempts to report her. Once Ayame restrains Tanukichi, she tells him the story that she is the daughter of a disgraced former member of the Diet who attempted to fight against the morality laws. Before he disappeared he gave Ayame a flip phone that is able to disable her Peace Maker for three minutes a day, allowing her to say anything she wanted during this time. Ayame targeted Tanukichi to be part of her new organization as his father was a lewd comedian and had taught him many dirty jokes when he was younger. Their new organization SOX looks to show the public the positive side of indecency.
Shimoneta’s story is one that seems to have some inspiration in the censorship seen in all new forms of media.An American example of this would be the Hays Code from the early days of film. While censorship is nothing new to society, this anime takes a comical look at censorship taken to the extreme. Mishaps shown, such as the studies done by Fuwa, limiting of what can be drawn, and the destruction of knowledge provides great entertainment as well as a cautionary tale. People saying that they take offense to something, in order to not be looked down on by others, and using their collective power to pressure a government into enacting various laws is a large part of Shimoneta. Morality as a weapon is a fascinating concept for a comedic anime and it works surprisingly well. Jokes are well timed, and out bursts of an insane string of dirty words is amusing. For a show that says dirty jokes don’t exist, there are a lot of them. Even more so are the actions that the characters take. This is not a comedy for younger audiences, but would fit nicely with your favorite R rated comedies from Kevin Smith and Judd Apatow.
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