We’ve had the occasional serious Osomatsu-san episode-length chapter. And more commonly (like last week), one serious-ish story paired with a couple of absurdist ones. But I don’t remember another instance where two serious chapters were played back-to-back like this week. And they were both damn good too – not a lot of laughs in either, but that was by design. Another notable element was that the sextuplets were the only speaking roles this week, which reflects just how much these vignettes cut to the heart of the premise.
First we had a bit about Totty and the girl he fell in love with – the clerk at the drugstore in the shoutengai. The part where Miyu Irino used sound effects when he was unable to talk was very funny, but this was a pretty bittersweet chapter from start to finish. Karamatsu falls for the same girl after Todomatsu points her out, and that’s trouble for obvious reasons. I think we know how this is going to end – Jyuushimatsu, who’s both darker and sharper than he lets on – certainly gets the essence of it. But it’s still a bit of a heartbreaker.
The thing is, Todomatsu and Karamatsu are probably the two brothers who are the closest to fully-fledged characters in the traditional sense. They’re my two favorites so a story focusing on them has a head start to begin with. There’s also a little bit of extra pathos when Totty is involved, because of all the Matsunos he’s the one who always seems to be just on the cusp of grasping a normal life. He may have been grasping at straws about how the drugstore lady felt (“Customer service, Bro”), but a normal life is something he could grasp at too (if he chose).
Next up is a very low-key and sad chapter, the entirety of which is the boys walking to the station (which they seem to have no idea how to find) after a wedding. It’s their first as a group, and the first time a classmate from high school gets married can be a slap in the face to anyone – especially a NEET stuck in eternal adolescence. What I like about this is that Matsubara and Fujita don’t go for the cheap laugh at all here – they let this scene play out in all it’s existential darkness, and it works the better for it.
There’s been quite a melancholy tone to this season as a whole so far, and it shows me that progression is a thing in Osomatsu-san. Jyuuushimatsu being the one to keep asking hard questions may initially be surprising, but he has this side from him even if he hides it most of the time. Perhaps the best part came when the boys starting musing on what it had been like for their parents, having to suddenly deal with six children after only just having gotten married. Characteristically it’s Choromatsu who lays it on the table – they really shouldn’t continue to be a burden on those parents at this age. But knowing it and doing it are two different things.
Osomatsu-san obviously puts bread on the table with the ecchi, gross-out gags and cultural references. But I like that it doesn’t feel compelled to do that every time, and I like it when it reveals the Matsus to be recognizable, relatable people with a degree of introspection and self-awareness. It’s always walking a fine line when the show goes there, because it’s a comedy and any serious look at their lives is bound to be depressing. But it’s something Matsubara and Fujita usually handle deftly (as they did here) and it pays dividends in making the boys more sympathetic and believable characters.