- Genre : Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy
- Episodes: 26
- Studio: Seven
Kaoru has had some bumps in the road. Like most of us she’s had some growing pains. She didn’t know where she fit in, she rebelled without cause. She lashed out and acted out and pushed everyone away. She ended up lonely and convinced herself she was unworthy of love. Then she met Hajime, an introvert and irremediable otaku with a laundry list of problems of his own, who managed to convince her otherwise. Two fragile and a little broken people who together formed a flawed and wonderful whole.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is another series I picked up based on title alone. So far, I’ve had a pretty decent success rate with that strategy (although I would also have missed out on some of some faves like Psycho Pass, Hunter x Hunter and Soul Eater…) In this instance, the title actually fits the show pretty well as both Kaoru and Hajime are more often than not in a state of loving bewilderment at their spouse’s behavior and it works extremely well for them.
On a technical level, there’s really not much to say on this one. It’s probably a little subpar in visuals and animation and all I can really say about the soundtrack is that it was unobstructive. The voice acting was quite good though and delivered just as bit of extra depth to the more emotional scenes, creating a surprisingly touching show. This is a short program, based on a 4 panel comic, and the simplistic art and minimalistic designs work quite well within that context. Although I would never point to this for someone that’s looking for eye candy, I can’t say it bothered me either.
When considering the fact that each episode is about 3.5 minutes, the story is really remarkably well developed. Kaoru and Hajime are both fully realized characters and the evolution of their relationship is organic and honestly very heart warming. I’m not particularly romantic by nature but I found their love story really delightful and would like to have a similar one someday. Part of the strength of this show, versus the slew of similar titles (i.e. super otaku with really hot “normal” partner – ha dorks are funny) is that the couple is balanced. The show isn’t about changing or “growing”, it’s about accepting. And not necessarily accepting others. The main theme is about accepting yourself as someone worthy of love and accepting that love when it comes. Both characters are flawed but also charming. They work as an item not because they love each other, which they do, but because they respect each other. An important point that can get lost in some supposed “romantic” epics.
It was also nice to see the story from a slightly more grown up viewpoint. They deal with real world problems and preoccupations such as, mortgage, starting a family, careers, that aren’t explored as often in anime. It was a pleasant change of pace. I’m making it sound like this is some down to earth, serious exploration of contemporary relationships. It is by moments but those are rare. For the most part, it’s silly vignettes and satire of otaku culture. Most supporting characters are personifications of some sort of tropes or walking punchlines. Considering the time crunch, they are understandably not developed but don’t feel like cardboard cutouts either. The pace is brisk and tender moments are quickly replaced by wacky ones.
Some elements work better than others. There is a lot of meta commentary on otaku culture going on (not only anime and manga references but the actual culture as a whole in Japanese society). All the puns and winks can be fun but they might also go over the some viewers’ heads, rendering some episodes confusing or a little boring if you’re not in on the joke. I was also uncomfortable with certain depictions of sexualized children and Mayotama’s character all together. I understand that lolicon is a part of otaku culture but it’s not for me and I found it jarring as such an accepted part of an otherwise super sweet show.
This said, I seem to have more of a hang-up about these things than the average viewer. I have similar complaints about a number of shows and have found that I’m the only one that feels that way. As a whole, I would consider this a generally sweet little show that would probably be enjoyable to someone looking for a light romantic slice of life.
Favorite character: Tanaka
What this anime taught me: Some things about loving oneself and some things about underage traps.
Who needs beer goggles, I got vodka binoculars!!!
Suggested drink: Happily Ever After
- Every time Kaoru smokes – take a sip
- Every time there is Imageboard-speak – take a sip
- Every time there’s a masturbation joke – blush
- Every time Kaoru drinks – join her
- Every time you catch a reference to another anime – have a sip
- Every time we hear a jackhammer – raise your glass
- Every time we see Kaoru before meeting Hajime – take a sip
- Every time we see an eyecatch – have a sip
- Every time Kaoru and Hajime shae a genuinely loving moment – awww
- Every time someone reminds Kaoru that she said she would never get married – have a sip
23 thoughts on “I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying and that’s what makes the marriage work”
One my favorite short anime. Still hope that we get a 3rd season someday
Me too. It got progressively better so I can just imagine that a s3 would be delightful.
Just stumbled upon your blog and OH. MY. GOD. I’m pretty sure I just found my new love as I deeply enjoy both drinking AND Anime!! This one sounds like something I would have chosen on the name alone as well, lol! I’ll have to check it out!
Ahehe, though it was more of for the fact that I find the jackhammer scene hilarious. So if uncontrollable laughter equals a loss, then I don’t mind it too much. 😛
My favorite drinking game so far, haha! Gives me an excuse to rewatch this series with my friends. That’ll be a blast.
I’ll probably lose it at the jackhammer part again.
But can you really lose? We’re all winners here
Ah, the series sounds nice overall but the tidbit about sexualization of children turns me off.
Still, it was nice reading your thoughts about the series. Their relationship sounds very lovely and I liked how you pointed out that I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying is about accepting not only others but also yourself.
Thanks for sharing!!
Always a pleasure. It’s not a huge aspect mind you and such a short show. I think you might actually like it considering you can be something of a romantic.
Ah, fair enough. At least it’s keep to a minimum.
Hmmm I think you might be right!
You’re certainly not the only one who’s uncomfortable with the sexualisation of children in anime. It was, as far as I remember, the single most prominent complaint against Kobayashi San chi no Maid Dragon (same mangaka). It’s a topic of its own, and I think that the paedophilia angle eclipses other angles in that context (that are creepy in a different way). I had my aha-experience while watching Amaeniaide Yo (a rather bad ecchi harem show I couldn’t finish). The show’s concept is that the protagonist is a fairly useless pervert but becomes a powerful monk when sexually aroused. So defeating various monsters/youkai/whatever (I can’t remember) involves a lot of stripping. There’s a little girl here, too, and the camera tends to treat her the same as the rest of the female cast. The show’s an unpleasant watch to begin with, so that doesn’t really up the ante very much; I merely rolled my eyes at that. However, there’s a scene where she’s the only one around during an attack, so she strips… and nothing. No arousal. She’s just a kid. Now, clearly the character panders towards a certain fetish, but there’s more to it. There’s a sense of grooming children for future potential. There’s the purity ideal and it’s cute when kids act in a sexual way, because they don’t really understand. And it’s “funny” to pretend kids are sexual beings. It’s squicky, but it’s complex squicky and not simple squicky, and so even when sexualised kids are a staple in that mangaka’s work, I’m unsure how to interpret that.
Still, I’ve really liked every single based on this mangaka’s work (Husband, Dragon Maid, Komori san), because the shows have a special kind of low-burn warmth. They’re not flashy shows; they’re not immediate hits. But they draw you in and charm you, and you’re sad to see them go.
You know I skirted the issue because I believe it deserves more consideration that I can properly offer here but lollicon as a concept, whether it’s actual children or characters drawn to look as children is always uncomfortably because it ultimately presupposes that placing kids in a sexual context is “ok”, which I think we can all agree it is most certainly not.
On the other hand, I have no issue with flagrant and even gratuitous violence in media, and I certainly don’t think that violent video games lead to violence, because they don’t. A lot of very violent individuals consider violent entertainment in poor taste… Basically I understand that someone can enjoy a concept in a virtual setting without being attracted to the idea at all in real life.
So yeah, I just typed two paragraphs to say it’s a complicated issues and I’ not sure how to properly parse it. Ultimately, I get that some people are into lolicon – I am not at all.
As always, your comments are some of the best writing on this blog. ” the shows have a special kind of low-burn warmth. They’re not flashy shows; they’re not immediate hits. But they draw you in and charm you, and you’re sad to see them go.” This is beautiful and I really wish I could string together such an elegant description.
So when are you starting your own blog? Am I just an idiot who hasn’t found it yet? I would love to read more of your thoughts.
That “lolicon” thing is a such a bundle of messed up stuff, but it’s also complex enough to merit further discussion. That it’s anime and not real-life actors makes a difference (and that – in itself – is a subset of children in showbiz which has its own overlapping issues). There’s a lot to say, but if I did (more than I already have) it would overwhelm the show, and the show doesn’t deserve this.
I don’t have a blog because (a) I don’t like the idea of moderating a comment section, and (b) I don’t have the patience to handle screenshots (and an anime blog whithout screenshots is also not something I’d like to do). I’m not on any social media: I have no twitter. I do have a facebook page, but it’s de-activated, and it’s been hacked since, and Facebook wants a telephone number from me so I can log back in, otherwise I’d have gone back to finally delete that account. I’m mostly on forums (and in some few blog-comment sections), but I’m not that active these days either.
Thanks for your kind words, though. Writing fiction’s been a hobby of mine (but I haven’t written much this last decade, either). Unlike with screenshots, I have a lot of patience when it comes to mess around with words (sometimes I forget to write them down, though, as in “I’ve liked every single based on this mangaka’s work”).
Well that’s certainly our loss.
I’m just going to push my luck a tiny bit more then I’ll give up a) you can deactivate the comment section or like me *not* moderate it. b) well there’s not much cure for this… I use my face book once every 5 years or so and got on twitter only about month ago. Neither seem particularly necessary.
Ok I’ll give up now. Please feel free to use my comment section as ersatz collab post anytime!
ps – Yes the fact that it is animated makes a huge difference and the fact that the art style is particularly cartoonish to even further separate the notion from reality is also of some small consideration.
One of my all time favorite shorts. I’ve often said that, for the main pair, they pack more character development into half an hour than many shows do into two cour.
They really do have a lovely relationship
I really loved this series, and like WingKing, I think the first season is much better than the second. The episode with the cooking is quite possibly my favourite thing, because it shows just how great of a husband Hajime is. Maybe it’s just me, but when I cook I really want people to praise it and get nervous if it’s not good. The fact that he’s encouraging and shows his appreciation, even when it’s not the greatest, just warmed my cold little heart.
I agree with both of you, the second season was mostly filler ut since the episodes are so short it wasn’t too bad. I also think Hajime is great in many ways.
This was a fun series, although I preferred the first season over the second. I thought the second season had too many episodes focused on the secondary characters, who weren’t strong enough to carry the show on their own. Then I found out later that the second season was mostly side stories and interludes that took place in-between the first season episodes because they’d already caught up to the manga by the end of season 1, which explained a lot (like why season 1 ended with Kaori’s pregnancy and season 2 never followed up on that).
Also, I’m pretty sure the kid brother said he was actually in college at one point, he’s just really short. Of course, given the nature of the series, that could itself be a riff on any number of VNs where you have the obvious lolibait character who is “officially” 18+ according to the game’s literature.
He is in college (although I was in college at 16 so that doesn’t necessarily mean 18+) This said, it’s harmless anime and part of the culture just a pet peeve of mine. I’m always super uncomfortable when very young looking charas are sexualized. Black Butler is tough for me…