Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Chokkyuu Hyoudai Robot Anime Straight Title

Chokkyuu Hyoudai Robot Anime Straight Title, also known simply as Straight Title Robot Anime, is a comedy anime that aired in early 2013. The animation was made using the freeware program MikuMikuDance, giving the show a look reminiscent of a low budget third party Dreamcast game. Thousands of years into the future, mankind is extinct and sentient robots wage endless war against each other, for reasons long since forgotten. Three non-combat robots seek to end the war by rediscovering the lost human art of comedy. In an odd bit of bait-and-switch, the show's opening sequence is all-action, showing battle scenes from the endless robot war.

Each episode is split into three segments, the first of which has the three protagonists Fuji, Kato and Mori standing in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, discussing a certain kind of comedy (for example, one-liners, puns, sarcasm, et cetera), and trying to come up with their own examples to try and make each other laugh. The humour in these segments mainly stems from the concept that's at the heart of the show: the characters are robots and as such, none of them has a sense of humour. Even if any of them could understand comedic concepts well enough to successfully make a joke, none of the others would be able to find it funny. So it's a kind of anti-comedy, where you get to enjoy terrible, nonsensical jokes totally falling flat.

The second segment, and by far the weakest, sees the three heroines using a computer simulation to see if the war could be ended by changing the conditions of the world to make things more comedic. So in each episode we see the opening animation again, only this time, all the robots are dizzy, or the entire world is coated in lubricant, or all the guns make farting noises. It's okay I guess, but the show would have been better off losing it.

The final, and by far, the best segement has the robots attempting to perform prop-based improvisational comedy. The great thing about these segments is that they do seem to actually have been improvised by the voice actresses, who are constantly corpsing and struggling to stay in character throughout. There's also moments when they'll make references to things that the other two just don't get and will try and explain the reference while also pretending to be a robot living millenia after the fall of man.

Straight Title Robot Anime instantly became one of my favourite comedy anime once I sat down and watched it, and the fact that it seems to have been ignored by most anime fans (and most of the ones who did watch it obviously didn't get it) shouldn't put you off. Don't bother watching the laugh-free final episode, though.