Following the recent success of the rebooted Osomatsu-san, Fujio Akatsuka’s other work, Genius Bakabon, got a similar modernisation adaptation in the season that just ended. Here’s the low down for those of you on the fence about watching it:
For those of you who don’t know, Late night! The Genius Bakabon (深夜！天才バカボン, Shinya! Tensai Bakabon) is a comedy that follows the exploits of Bakabon’s Papa (yes, that is his name), who finds himself in strange situations as a result of his silly antics. Papa then makes things worse, or weirder, through even more bizarre acts. When the other characters point out how crazy it is, Papa calmly assures and corrects them with his catchphrase, “This is how it should be”. It’s hard to say more than that without spoiling the show. The rest of the main cast are Papa’s family, who are: Bakabon, his little brother Hajime (who is a genius), and Mama. Outside of the family, the other important characters are: Cop with the Connected Eyes, Rerere, and Eel-dog. Yep, Fujio’s characters are very unique from their names alone.
The humour of the show comes from a combination of toilet humour, fourth wall breaks, and frankly just plain weirdness. The prime example of this is how they use the real people who feature on the show for comedic purposes, leading to Papa moaning a few episodes later that there are too many real people popping up! There are also a lot of jokes about them not being able to air various gags. Some of the gags are Japanese culture references, which may make the humour harder to access for some, but usually it is so bizarre I find it funny without really knowing the reference. I spent a lot of the time watching it confused about what on Earth was happening on my screen, and I loved it. However, sometimes it can fall short for me when it does the odd sketch where they completely change the premise of the show. Still, these are only very short segments due to the pacing, so doesn’t ruin anything.
It’s hard not to see comparisons to Osomatsu-san, however, they are very different shows. Unlike Osomatsu, Bakabon is a mixture of quick gag sketches or follows one situation from the start. It does not have the story or context Osomatsu-san has, and the toilet humour is more outlandish and weird. Despite being from the works of the same author, it’s key not to look at Bakabon as another Osomatsu show, as they are very different paces. Osomatsu-San is more of a direct reimagining instead of a reboot. Particularly Bakabon is more of an acquired taste, more in line with the original work than being it’s own thing. To get the best experience you need to treat it as it’s own show.
Overall, if you are looking for fun and crazy show then Late Night Genius Bakabon will be up your street!
Studio: Pierrot Plus
Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life
Based on eponymous manga by Fujio Akatsuka
Started airing: 11 July 2018
Number of episodes: 12
Episode duration: 24 minutes per episode