Atarashii Joushi wa Do Tennen is another underappreciated odd duck in a season that’s rather full of them. I don’t think Fall 2023 is great on the whole, but it’s unusual to see a season with so many shows fitting the same basic profile. Which is to say, quirky and not fitting any particular commercial hot zone. This is largely a season of two tiers – blockbusters which command tons of attention, and ragamuffin series that slip in under the radar and deliver most of the on-screen quality.
There were several interesting elements in this episode, along with the usual handful of guffaws. Momose being all atwitter (pun intended) that Shirosaki isn’t responding to his texts could hardly be more boyfriend material. But the reason is that Shirosaki has left his phone in the fridge (intending to have put his bar of test chocolate in there). I have to confess, once or twice in my day I’ve left the odd (in both senses) item in the fridge, the TV remote being the most likely example. I suspect I’m probably not the only one either, else this sort of thing wouldn’t be played for comedy.
Kinjou is at the heart of a couple of interesting turns here. In the first place, he confirms something we already knew, he’s bisexual. Momose is thrown by Kinjou talking about his ex-boyfriends (and ex-girlfriends) on his “Ensta” account, though he really shouldn’t be. A guy being bi is hardly a stunner in a series with as much suggestive material as Atarashii Joushi, but it’s still nice to see this treated in a matter of fact way. That’s still very much the exception in anime, so full points for breaking the mold here.
I also like the fact that while Kinjou and Momose are both ex-boss battle-scarred, their situations are quite different. Truth is, there is more than one kind of bad boss. Someone who thinks they’re doing the right thing while doing the wrong thing (like Haijima-san, Kinjou’s old boss) is different from someone who’s simply a sadistic bastard (like Kurono-san, Momose’s old boss). The idea that Haijima might be capable of learning and changing – as a result of Kinjou’s honesty – is probably a bit idealistic. But it’s nice to think it’s possible.
The other kind of boss, however, is never going to change. And when Momose dunks his phone thanks to a traumatic flashback at the aquarium, his new one somehow (I don’t think it works that way) unblocks Kurono-san. I think we can assume Kurono has been trying to call and threaten Momose all this time, which is incredibly demented when you think about it. I do think in narrative terms it’s time for Momose to move past this, but the truth is, that kind of experience really can scar you (like Shirosaki’s – Shiro and Kuro, get it? – smartphone) for life.
The way this is handled is wrong of course. Kurono should never be allowed to get away with this. If his company allows him to harass its employees that’s one thing, horrible as it is. But harassing someone who doesn’t even work there? Their HR department should have been told immediately and, if necessary, the cops. Someone needs to stop this bastard, though I realize that’s asking a lot of Momonse given his PTSD. Having Momose move in with Shirosaki is bad on multiple levels,, because it also means Momose is continuing to run away from his trauma rather than confront it. I’d kind of hope that gets resolved before the series is over.
Of course Momose and Shirosaki living together is great fan-baiting, though, so it’s full steam ahead there. The one I really feel for is Aoyama (blue, get it?) – he constantly begs for someone to move into his big house and Shirosaki scores on his first offer. And at the rate they’re going, they might get the cabbie to make it a threesome (unless you say it already is with Hakutou) soon. It’s a fun twist even if it’s a bit of a thematic stumble, and I’m sure it’s going to be the root of a lot of the comedy in upcoming episodes.
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