Shin Chan - Season 3 Part 1 ReviewElizabeth Williams
Meet Shin Nohara. He is a young boy going to an American school in Japan. He loves playing with his friends and watching his favorite television shows. Like most small children, Shin is prone to mischief and tom foolery while his mother, Mitzi Nohara, struggles to keep him in line. Sounds like a pretty innocent show, right?
Until you hear half of the things that come out of Shin's mouth. Think Dennis the Menace with raunchy jokes. This show embodies the phrase "kids say the darndest things". Only Shin also does the darndest things. He's like the kid that you went to school with that meant well, but he was so embarrassing you found yourself avoiding him. Just a few of his favorite things to do include pulling down his pants and dancing in public, also known as the "ass dance", singing ridiculous songs with offensive lyrics, renting adult movies without his parents' permission, making suggestive comments at older women that would make anyone blush, and did I mention the ass dance?
The humor in the show is that while it seems like a lot of the things Shin does are outrageous, they actually aren't that far off from what a lot of children really do. There's an episode where Shin's mother takes him and his friends to the movies. Shin tells his friends that his mother will all buy them programs for the movie. Not wanting to look cheap, Mitzi begrudgingly agrees. Within a few minutes, all of the children are bored with the programs, and poor Mitzi is forty dollars poorer.
At the same time, the show has its dark moments. Shin's friend, Penny, has severe control and anger issues, and it is heavily implied that both she and her mother are abused by Penny's father. If the scripts weren't so darn funny, the show is actually pretty sad at times. Sarcastic humor, mixed with Penny's perky attitude, make these moments of the show some of the most amusing. The abusive nature of Penny's father was just one of the changes made to the script when Funimation got the license to dub this show.
A lot of changes were made to the dub because a lot of the Japanese jokes weren't able to be translated well. There are also changes to character's personalities. For example, the writers made Shin's friend, Georgie, a comically extreme republican. Miss Polly, a mostly shy and quiet teacher at the school, has been turned into a nymphomaniac whose lines are a bit shocking at times. Episode plots were changed as well. One of my favorites was one where a neighbor brought Mitzi a matsutake mushroom, which is very rare and delicious. Mitzi was very protective of the mushroom and was horrified when she found that Shin had snuck pieces of it. Of course, they changed the mushroom into a "special" one, and the effects and dialogue was hilarious. It was fun watching these episodes and predicting what the original plot was.
My main complaint with this dub was the large number of pop culture references. While a lot of the jokes would have been lost on English speaking audiences, the dialogue, especially Georgie's, will no doubt be outdated in a mere couple of years, and the jokes will be lost. The dub was released in 2005, and there are already celebrity references that are becoming irrelevant. And while the occasional risqu line from Miss Polly was hilarious, the episodes that featured her were kind of boring. In the script writer's attempt to be "naughty", every word that came out of her mouth was extremely raunchy, and I found myself desensitized to the humor. I had similar dilemmas with Georgie's character. He would go off on Republican rants for nearly an episode, and I found myself looking at the clock, waiting for the episode to end. The best episodes are the random, goofy ones.
In all, Shin Chan was a pretty amusing show. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for something quick, funny, and quirky. There's no driving plot between episodes, so you can watch them in whatever order you want. Some episodes make an occasional reference to an older one, but it doesn't make the show any less enjoyable. And no matter how many times you see the ass dance, it never gets old.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
I started playing games from a young age, but really got into it when Santa left a SNES in the fireplace. My other hobbies include reading, writing, gardening, and playing with my two cats.
About the Author: Elizabeth Williams
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