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Breaking the Narrative Episode 55: Stupid Girl Goes Bananas! Breaking A Review on Aho-Girl!

In searching various feminist anime blogs trying to see if they tried to bash the subject of today’s article I found that for the bulk of them they are avoiding this like the plague. That tells me something very specific – they don’t want people to even know that this show exists! Why is that? Well I’ll go into that as we perform our review.

So what is Aho-Girl? Aho (あほ)in Japanese literally means ‘idiot’ while the more commonly known ‘baka’ (バカ)means ‘stupid’. However, the author decided to write this word in pure katakana as アホガール which Romanizes into the Aho-Girl moniker we are using today. Why? I figure its because the author realizes that its more marketable than ‘Baka-Musume’(バカ娘) which is what would have been used if they were keeping with a purely Japanese audience. However since they decided to use the simpler to say Aho-Girl I believe that the original creator always meant for this to be a world wide release. Now that we understand the name of what we are covering, Let’s Hammer This In!

To begin, let’s set our stage in the first episode. Since this is more of a skit comedy type of show there isn’t much of an overarching story. Therefore even if I go into detail on what happens in these episodes it’s not really a spoiler as it doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of watching the show. The comedy is so solid that as long as you have a working sense of humor you can watch the show knowing what’s going to happen and still enjoy it, similar to how most everyone knows how a Three Stooges episode is going to go, but you still find it funny if you watch it again. It is comedy designed to be funny at its core, and not because of the context of the day and age its based in.

Our setting is a normal Tokyo Japan high school.
How do I know this is Tokyo even though it doesn’t show any of the usual landmarks of such like Shibuya Station, the Parliament Building or anything in Shinjuku?
That’s because its based in publisher Kodansha’s Bunkyo ward of Tokyo, an area known for its varied schools and parks along with other cultural centers like Tokyo Dome. I even checked multiple high schools in the area and the design senses and landmarks do match up with someone living in and working out of Kodansha’s offices. First among our main characters is Yoshiko Hanabatake, the aforementioned Idiot Girl. She is so dumb she manages to get straight zeros on her tests…. when they are multiple choice. Here is the catch: She also is obsessed with bananas and thinks she is astonishingly beautiful when the series makes a concerted effort to put forward that she is merely average looking. She has no redeemable qualities whatsoever.

Next we have our foil, Akuru Akutsu. Typically called Ah-Kun due to his alliterative name combined with him constantly calling Yoshiko an idiot. If you haven’t caught on to the joke about the word ‘Aho’s’ permeation into the entire set up of this show I can’t help you. As many have said and shown Japanese humor is typically dependent on puns and word play due to the nature of the language. The way this show combines this with slapstick can be seen in the first five minutes of episode 1. The moment Akuru gets too frustrated with Yoshiko’s inane blathering about bananas and how he should marry her so she could survive without learning jack shit and mooch off him forever, he outright decks her, punching her straight across the room.

She then starts trying to prod him and shame him into apologizing, then trying to tempt him into perving out on her. He responds to this with smacking down her arms because this is all happening at 1:25 PM between classes. After, he claims no one wants to see her ‘filthy panties,’ his meaning of the word being lewd or perverse, she takes it the wrong way and blurts out how not even she would have skid marks in her panties, that there is no poop. She interrupts him telling her not to talk about that stuff during class by stating there is a special banana sale. Then she bolts, leaving him to taking a breath and sitting back down, then realizing she just left school in the middle of class.  All of this happens by 4 minutes within episode 1, so that goes to show the pacing of these skits. The show being exactly 12 minutes long, this leaves us with 3 skits per episode.

The second skit of the first episode starts out with Yoshiko in her undies in bed trying to sleep in, with Akuru standing over her in disgust telling her to wake up. This is a request from his neighbor, Yoshiko’s mother. While most mothers we are shown would celebrate someone like Yoshiko as a ‘special snowflake,’ we see that Mrs. Hanabatake is much more realistic. An admitted gold digger, she is not only ashamed of her daughter’s idiocy but desperate to pawn responsibility for her off on the nearest possible patsy. Out of his realization of how dangerous it would be to leave her unchecked, Akuru promises to try to make Yoshiko somewhat bearable so she can be married off, but suggests in the worst case scenario to trick her into committing a misdemeanor so she’ll be imprisoned and therefore safely removed from society.

We are then introduced to Sayaka, the show’s baseline for what a normal girl is supposed to be. She is acceptably cute and actually is a normal functioning member of society. It is through this introduction and Sayaka’s actions that we are shown that Yoshiko is not seen as anyway beautiful by anyone in the series. This isn’t the only episode in which this point is made, either. In episode 2 we are introduced to Ryuuichi Kurosaki, the resident delinquent character. When first introduced to the group he tries to kidnap Sayaka for ‘playing,’ but Yoshiko beats him and ‘sees’ him making him subservient to her. With how stupid he is this shows us that in this universe Yoshiko is a primal chaotic force, one that will infect you with her idiocy if you are not careful.

This is illustrated by Akuru’s little sister Ruri. She tries so hard to be intelligent like her brother but because of Yoshiko’s influence as a negative female role model she can’t help but be just as stupid as Yoshiko is, despite wanting so desperately to not have anything in common with the idiot at all.

Why am I recommending this so avidly? First, it gives the idea that maybe part of the reason herbivorous lifestyles for men in Japan may have been a result of this type of idiocy being so prominent. In addition, there is the fact that overall, feminists are trying to not even acknowledge its existence, because it isn’t actually misogynistic but does show a singular woman in a bad light and makes a sympathetic male who is definitely masculine.  It also shows something that feminists hate with a passion: Pure unadulterated meritocracy, the last type of system they want working.

This is actually a common theme in the works of Hiroyuki – the one name creator of the series. His other works have meritocratic effort as a running theme, with demonstrations of laziness and aloofness as undesirable traits, while hard work and perseverance is king. Even with the mildly sexualized nature of some of the jokes, I’d have no issue with a young teen watching this show. Basically 14 and up sounds good to me with this one because it’s using comedy to promote good traits and demean negative traits. Besides, it will piss off all the right people.  It’s only on episode 4 right now and is ongoing, but I highly recommend supporting the official release of this via Crunchyroll or any other format you desire. Show Japan that this is a necessity!

If I have to give it a score I’d give it a ‘Spread this fucker like jam on toast,’ if only to aggravate all the right people in all the best ways. If you love slapstick and quick witted humor based more on intelligence than on gender then embrace this show and give it everything you got, because its golden! Now that we’ve managed to sing the praises of something I think next week we’ll go for something surprising. Until then Please Remember to Game Freely!

Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.
Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.