Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Nerima Daikon Brothers
Directed by Shinichi Watanabe
Written by Studio Hibari
Starring depends on language
Produced by Hiroli Yoshida
Okay, for you anime buffs out there, what I’m about to tell you is going to put you into full-on fanboy mode. Or fangirl, depending.
Okay, stop screaming for a minute…how am I supposed to tell you anything if you won’t stop screaming? Good…now that you’ve had a chance to calm down, it’s true. Nabeshin, Shinichi Watanabe himself, has launched up another anime, and if you were around for “Excel Saga” some of his earlier work and one of my personal favorites, you know what you’re in for.
And indeed, it’s all the standard Nabeshin craziness. Three radish farmers, two brothers and a female country cousin, from Nerima, apparently (based on the notes ADV so generously provides as part of the DVD) the radish capital of Tokyo, are desperately trying to raise money to build a concert dome on their radish field so that they can spend the rest of their lives singing. One brother is actively lusting after his cousin. The other, a part-time host club waiter, has a thing for pandas. Meanwhile, our country cousin is desperate for a taste of sweet Dom Perignon, and thus spends her time chasing after money by whatever means available.
Worse yet, the Nerima Daikon Brothers (and this does include the female country cousin) frequently run afoul of various money-grubbing types, and thus have decided to steal from these money-grubbers to get the money to build their dome. This is where Nabeshin comes in—he’s running a shop that will loan anyone anything, except money. And thus, when the Brothers are in need of hardware to accomplish their heists, off they go to Nabeshin’s shop, where they sing basically the same song into his window. Nabeshin will then grin, remark on how much he likes the Brothers, and hands over some impossibly large piece of firepower (everything from bazookas to tunneling machines) to aid in their ultimately futile quest.
The casual observer, by which I mean anyone with a pulse and even a passing interest in American cinema, will notice a whole lot of similarities between the Nerima Daikon Brothers and the Saturday Night Live alumni Blues Brothers. This is, apparently, intentional.
So if I were asked to describe, rapidly, “Nerima Daikon Brothers,” I wouldn’t have too hard a time with it. Basically, all you’ve got to do is cross “Blues Brothers” with “Excel Saga” and tack on a whole bunch of radishes.
On the down side, it’s essentially the same episode every time, with a handful of specifics changed. Volume one will make that clear. And yet, every episode is roaringly comic. Somehow, the fact that they can still make fresh laughs despite rampant plot reuse actually makes me respect it even more. I find myself wondering, how long can they keep this up?
The special features include a music video, a sing-along section, two separate commentary tracks, a track of pop-ups that detail certain elements of the plot, and a clean opening and closing animation, along with trailers for “Paniponi Dash,” “Get Backers,” “Excel Saga,” “Jinki: Extend,” “Full Metal Panic?FUMOFFU,” and “Guyver.”
All in all, do I really need to say anything more? It’s a Blues Brothers / Excel Saga hybrid from none other than Nabeshin himself. That’s all anyone needs to know.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
Got a problem? E-mail us at email@example.com