It might seem a bit odd for me to say that shows like Seto no Hanayome that rely solely on comedy and jokes are not at all hard to form a valid criticism whether or not the show succeeds in how it portrays comedic moments in absolutely hilarious ways. People will say that finding something funny is difficult to describe in an objective stance because every person has their own taste in what’s funny and what’s not funny to their own individual preferences. What I would suggest is not necessarily just why the jokes themselves are funny but how they work as they are structured. Comedic timing is important and how the characters, or rather Voice Actors, handle jokes through their interactions. Does Hanayome succeed in this? For the most part, very much so.
One thing that needs to understood about Hanayome is that it’s a harem show. When you hear that, it might seem like a negative to it because harem shows since the past decade have always been relying on the same old premise where you have a protagonist that will have characters traits that tries to make it seem like he’s like any introverted awkward boy who has no way of keeping his own self together whenever a girl talks to him. However, with Hanayome, the show celebrates the fact that it’s a harem by taking the whole genre as a joke in-itself. In other words, it doesn’t take itself seriously and the show is aware of this and tries to have some fun with the idea by putting all jokes on the side of satire and parody. The jokes are often portrayed by a lot of slapstick and over-the-top animation. The animation is not by all means spectacular but it’s actually put together very well in how the characters often look very deformed with in context with the humor that show is trying to portray. It’s very hard for me to describe how the animation portrays the characters in those humorous moments where the characters yell out a lot of their dialogue through crazy shenanigans. I guess I would say the characters all seem to have an instinct to become very obnoxiously crazy, and I mean that in a positive manner.
For instance, you have a character named Maki who at first glance seems like one of those hi pitched moe-ifed characters who loves to protect Sun Seto. Once the protagonist named Nagasumi comes along all of the sudden she turns into a deranged psychopath who absolutely despises the fact that he is taking Seto as her bride. The voice acting and the way they write the character is done very well given in context to the situations that they put with each of the characters in the show. It also relies on the type of humor where it starts out very serious but then it turns itself around and all of the sudden it turns comedic. Some shows try to do this but it never works because it comes across as being very bipolar and incoherent with in context to the show. Then again, the shows that do that were also trying to be dramas and Hanayome doesn’t even try to be, at least for the most part. The drama is very minimal in Hanayome; yes there are romantic moments where Nagasumi and one of the female characters will both be near each other and have a sentimental conversation but they aren’t as shifted around too much like most romantic comedies. Once that’s over the show quickly gets back to the comedy and gets back in the flow of things.
It’s one thing if the humor is nicely done but what about the characters themselves? It might surprise you that a lot of the characters do have a lot of depth to them despite of the satirical nature of the show. While there might’ve been some characters that could’ve been written with a lot more depth and characterization to them that would make them funnier and more human, I wouldn’t want to have to put this show down because of these minor faults. Seto Sun herself might seem like a generic heroine at first glance but she actually gets a lot of great humor and gags within the show. She’s definitely very driven through her intentions on being a great wife for Nagasumi and the humor only makes it more joyful to watch. Now we have more girls on the show since it’s obviously a harem show, do these girls provide equally great humor as well and not just filler characters? Absolutely yes. Lunar makes for a great comedic characters based on her hilarious holier than thou character trait where she tries her best to become the greatest idol in Japan. The Class Rep, who’s name is never mentioned, provides one of the hilarious episodes in the whole show. And Akeno who I would say is probably the weakest of the rest. Not that she’s terrible but there wasn’t much to her character that garnered any laughs for me. There is also a running gag involving Masa-san, who’s one of the bodyguards of Seto’s family, giving Nagasumi’s first kiss after preforming CPR on him. Some people might find it odd and unnerving but it’s nice to see them try new humor that isn’t often used in the harem genre. The dads in this show are a definite favorite; there’s especially one episode where they try to stereotypically dress like moe girls and it’s done so very well because of the fact that the way they act through their voices are like grown tough men trying to act like cute girls almost made me have tears coming out of my eyes from laughing so hard.
Comedy shows are very hard to recommend. Like I said before, you’re either going to love the humor or you’re just not going to get because it doesn’t fit your taste of what’s funny. Strangely enough, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really watch many anime comedies like Hanayome and even I enjoyed it. I usually go for subtle humor that relies more on jokes that don’t involve a lot of fast or kinetic humor that would probably entertain kids with low attention spans. I think the only difference that separates Hanayome from the rest of those shows is that it doesn’t treat the viewer like their stupid. It’s very honest for what it is and let’s you know that they want to make you laugh with the utmost joy and respect that you have for them. It’s not often you see a lot of Anime that you will laugh and also will touch you. Once the show ends, you’re begging to see more and that’s what most anime comedies should always try to do. For better or for worse.