Original Run: July 9, 2018 - October 1, 2018 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy Based on the Series Created By: Yukiwo
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Jashin-chan Dropkick. Reader discretion is advised.***
Which is more terrifying: A demon from the depths of Hell, or a human powerful enough to summon and control one through fear of pain?
The serpent demon Jashin (voiced by Aina Suzuki) is trapped in the human world until her summoner, Yurine Hanazono (voiced by Nichika Omori), dies. To make that day come sooner, Jashin gleefully tries to put an end to her master’s life. Too bad for her, Yurine is far smarter and far crueler than anything Hell can devise.
Essentially trapped, Jashin tries to adjust to her new life, but the nature of a demon isn’t something that just goes away. At every chance she sees, Jashin takes the opportunity to cause mischief and suffering. Every time she does this, though, Jashin happens to forget that Yurine’s wrath is always right behind her.
Nevertheless, Jashin and Yurine go about their days with an ever-growing group of friends from both Hell and Heaven. It seems the daily routines of humans, demons, and angels are not all that different on Earth.
When first learning of Jashin-chan Dropkick, I thought it had a similar look to Kobayashi-san chi no Maid Dragon – animation-wise. I will admit, that alone shouldn’t have gotten me excited to watch, but sometimes, what are you going to do?
Adding to that, upon starting this series, I was instantly reminded of Gabriel DropOut. From the outset of episode one, the setting and characters of Dropkick had a familiar feel to them.
Suddenly, there were two outstanding anime on my mind while I was sitting through Dropkick. I was curious to see how this show would carve out its own identity – if at all.
I can promise you now, this review will not be a comparison piece. Even faster than it took me to see the possible commonality, I quickly realized Dropkick would have its own identity and personality. It was neither Kobayashi nor Gabriel. After all, those shows were great, and this one was disappointingly serviceable.
Dropkick wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t that great either. Despite any excitement I may have had – misplaced or not – I didn’t have any real expectations about this series. In that sense, I finished this show satisfied enough. However, throughout my entire viewing, I was acutely aware of how uninvested I was.
This was one of those instances where I could see talent, effort, and quality behind everything, and yet, nothing seemed to click. This show did make me laugh, and I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy myself. Regardless, Dropkick will most likely become one of those series that isn’t going to stick with me.
Be that as it may, labeling this show as middle-of-the-road would be undermining the number of high points there were. If nothing else, this series did manage to impress me several times.
First, Dropkick’s animation was solid; this was a good-looking anime. That was critical since this was a visually reliant show. Much of the comedy depended on reactions and movements, as well as the creative diversity of Yurine’s punishments towards Jashin.
Dropkick wasn’t sluggish when moving between cute, energetic, and brutal. This series not only had a decent balance with its humor, it knew how to make a joke work under many different circumstances.
For example, Dropkick often used over-the-top, cartoonish violence. The hits everyone took (and by everyone, I mostly mean Jashin) were no doubt gruesome; broken bones, shattered backs, severed limbs, impalements, and multiple mutilations with a chainsaw, to name a few. The exaggerated nature of this series helped dampen what would have otherwise been rather intense injuries. Plus, Jashin’s ability to regenerate her body was a key tension releaser.
Second, Dropkick was terrific with keeping its fanservice in check. Although this show did occasionally play up a character’s boob physics, the fanservice was never overblown, in-your-face, or the focus. It stayed on the sidelines and only came out in force intermittently. What was most surprising, though, whenever fanservice did happen, the most ridiculous character was never Jashin, the person who was always shirtless.
Dropkick was in a prime position to go as ham as possible. Instead, this series chose to let its characters’ personalities drive everything. It did this so well that there were long stretches of time when I stopped realizing that Jashin’s breasts were always technically exposed.
Third, this series gave us a large group of characters to follow immediately. The opening bit of episode one involved Yurine and Jashin, as well as their friends Medusa, Pekola, and Minos (voiced by Miyu Kubota, Yurie Kozakai, and Chiaki Omigawa). In almost any other show like Dropkick, those last three characters would have had an entire episode dedicated to their introduction. By the time there was any semblance of a full cast, the series would have been half over (assuming everyone received their respective episodes early on).
Dropkick skipped all that.
Granted, there were some later additions to the cast, but there was plenty to work with right at the beginning. In fact, this series never bothered with detailed backstories or motivations. You could pick up much of that information by merely watching events as they unfolded. I wish more shows did this because it’s frustrating when a fun character appears in episode ten of a twelve-episode anime and then they don’t have any time to do anything.
Fourth, the voice cast of Dropkick was great. Everyone did a commendable job, but I want to specifically mention Ms. Aina Suzuki and Ms. Nichika Omori, the voices of Jashin and Yurine respectively. These two performances helped deliver some of this show’s funniest moments. And speaking of Jashin and Yurine:
Jashin and Yurine
The idea was: When a summoner called up a demon from Hell, the demon could only return upon the death of the summoner. With Jashin being egotistical and selfish, and Yurine quick to anger, perhaps you can already piece together these two’s relationship.
The Jashin-Yurine pairing was easily the best aspect of Dropkick.
Jashin was a handful (which I’m going to bring up again later in this review). I’m trying to remember the last time I came across a character who was this self-centered and mean-spirited. I’m not coming up with many names, but with the few there are, Dropkick had one crucial distinction. I don’t believe I have ever liked a character as bratty as Jashin.
Jashin always blamed others. She never took responsibility. She lied, cheated, and manipulated everything to her favor – results varied. Her personality was holier-than-thou, and she looked down on those she felt were lower than her. She openly saw her closest friend, Medusa, as her personal ATM. Jashin went out of her way to bully poor Pekola who was always struggling to get by. She could never bring herself to say anything nice.
In a word: Jashin was a bitch. However, she remained likable for two reasons.
One: In her own way, Jashin had a side to her that cared about others. She may have been awful at showing it, but Jashin did look out for her friends when they were in desperate trouble.
Two: Yurine never let Jashin get away with anything.
Whenever Jashin acted out – so basically all the time – Yurine was right there to smack her back down – violently. If I were to discuss the details of Yurine’s methods of discipline, you might think she was a complete sadist. The truth is, she was.
Nevertheless, Yurine never crossed a line because Jashin always had it coming. These two kept each other in check. Jashin could be downright despicable, but Yurine had her pay up. Conversely, Yurine could be cruelty incarnate, and yet, the punishments fit Jashin’s crimes.
These two had an extremely antagonistic, but no less strong, bond that kept things together. They were what allowed Dropkick to be as good as it was.
Unfortunately, this series had too many self-imposed obstacles standing in its way from becoming something special.
Let me put it simply:
You can do much better than Dropkick. If you really want a great comedy series from the 2018 Summer season, I highly suggest either Cells at Work or Asobi Asobase. When up against those two, Dropkick’s forgettability is off the charts.
This series had a bunch of self-referential, fourth-wall-breaking humor. That wasn’t the problem. When done right, meta jokes can be some of the best sources of comedy out there. However, when they are forced or fail to land like they did in Dropkick, they can be some of the cringiest, too.
One of the opening jokes was when Jashin claimed the first episode would also be the finale as she first tried to kill Yurine. That wasn’t the smoothest of starts, and it sadly set a precedent the rest of this series was never able to break from.
Luckily, this show didn’t acknowledge it was an anime all the time. That said, near the end, the amount of parodies Dropkick threw in started to get ridiculous. These moments weren’t clever, and they didn’t make sense for what was going on. It was a free-for-all, and there was no consistency.
Next, there were segments when Dropkick focused on other characters. Although not a bad idea, in theory, many of this show’s characters were only at their most interesting whenever they were with Yurine and Jashin.
For instance, Pekola seemed to be trying to star in a series of her own. She had a set of troubles that could have been separate from what was going on with everything else. Pekola, Yurine, and Jashin’s paths only crossed because this happened to be – or, least, it was supposed to be – the latter two’s story.
Then again, I can’t go blaming Pekola for this – not entirely.
Pekola and every other character (minus Yurine and Jashin) had a massive dilemma to contend with, and this became a huge issue.
None of them knew how to handle Jashin.
If we were to take Yurine out of Dropkick, Jashin would have single-handedly ruined this show. Earlier I said it was Yurine AND Jashin who made this series fun. These two together were a match, and they canceled out the other’s extremeness.
For Yurine, she was friendly and kind to everyone she met. Jashin, on the other hand, without Yurine to reign her in, was an unstoppable monster. Jashin’s brattiness, when unchecked, was insufferable.
To be fair, when Jashin acted alone and didn’t involve others, she was a destructively isolated, and therefore harmless explosion. Sadly, when someone other than Yurine got involved, this series became too lopsided.
Pekola didn’t have the spine to stand up to Jashin’s bullying. Medusa enabled Jashin’s lecherous behavior. Minos was just around, and I actually have no idea why she was in this show at all.
Jashin was the type of character that would have poured gasoline onto an out of control fire to deliberately make things worse, and most of the other characters would have let her get away with it. That was why Yurine was so important. She was the one person who could force Jashin to stop.
The biggest problem with Dropkick was that it couldn’t survive without Yurine looking after Jashin, and for some reason, this show took Yurine away a few too many times.
I am not going to tell you to skip this show. However, I’m also not going to insist you drop what you’re doing to watch it.
This series had many highlights to its name. The makings of something good were here, and occasionally, everything fell into place. This show had solid animation, character-driven humor, and two enjoyable main characters. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough to make everything work one-hundred percent of the time.
You could do a lot better when picking your next comedy. Then again, you could do a lot worse, too.
Rather than recommending Jashin-chan Dropkick, I won’t discourage you from checking it out.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Jashin-chan Dropkick? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
Post Editors: Onions