Monday, January 6, 2014

Let's hear it for Sazae-san! (In which I give my imprecise impressions of cartoons my wife and I watch)

Yeah, we watch Sazae-san pretty often.  I can't tell you exactly what time it airs, and certainly not the channel, but it's on almost every night at our place and the theme song is stuck in my head.  My impression of the show was that it was about a middle-aged woman.  My wife corrected me:  "No, she's 29, I think."  From my Wiki reading today, it seems Sazae-san is actually somewhere in her mid-twenties.  Sazae-san has a family, but I don't know their exact relationships to one another.  They all live in a house together.  Occasionally, I pick up on some matter of plot or story but I'm kind of like a dog or a cat trying to make sense of this strange moving lightshow the humans enjoy staring at instead of rubbing my belly or giving me food.

Another show we tend to enjoy is Chibi Maruko-chan.  This one is easier for me to figure out.  It's about a little girl who lives in 1970s Japan with her family.  She has a big sister and they argue a lot, but love each other.  She also has a group of schoolmates she pals around with and a lot of crazy things happen, like the time she and one boy started hogging their family's telephones to have long conversations with each other.  Eventually, Maruko-chan caught hell for doing this and promised to stop.  At the end, an old guy I believe to be Maruko-chan's grandfather took up the phone habit.  One we saw in December featured a Christmas theme in which Maruko-chan and her grandfather befriended a hard-working young man who enjoys Christmas a lot.  If I remember correctly, they gave him a Christmas cake for a little seasonal cheer while he worked.  Maruko-chan has a slightly raspy voice which I find pleasant and easy to listen to, even when she raises it in protest against some parental outrage.  She also appears on quite a few food packages at our favorite supermarket.

Doraemon is another favorite of ours.  My wife knows a lot more about this one than either Sazae-san or Chibi Maruko-chan.  From her I learned the kid Doraemon helps is a total loser.  He's not even one of those lovable Charlie Brown type losers, either; he's a little shit.  The plots typically involve this kid whining about being bullied or being in trouble at school due to his general worthlessness in almost every aspect of kid life and Doraemon making the mistake of providing him with a magical device that's supposed to help him.  Doraemon relies on basic human goodness to prevent this from becoming a major hassle for everyone involved, but the kid disappoints him every single time because he possesses none.  In fact, at times he's downright cruel.  He puts poor Doraemon through impressive agony before wising up and fixing whatever chaos he's caused with Doraemon's gift. 

Just recently, Doreamon gave him a box with a small gorgon or Medusa in it, the idea being the kid could turn his legs to stone so he could withstand his daily punishment of having to stand in the corridor outside his classroom.  The gorgon escapes and starts turning everyone to stone, and the kid is too cowardly to do anything about it without recruiting some classmates.  In the end, he confronts the gorgon and restores all the stoned people to their natural organic state.  Another time Doreamon gave the kid gloves he could use to control others from afar, which he then abused.  He even roughed up Doraemon something fierce.  Why anyone would want to injure the adorable Doraemon is beyond my capacity for understanding.

I like Doraemon, but I can't stand his little friend.

We'll talk about Tensai Bakabon and Crayon Shin-chan one of these days.  And my wife's absolute favorite cartoon, the one about the cop with the M-shaped eyebrows.  Whatever that one's called.

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