Iroe Genma, Makina "Makimaki" Sakamaki, and Hazuki Okamoto are the only members of a high school club that, hypothetically, spends its time building plastic models. Truthfully, however, their high school life consists of a series of nonsensical, surreal, and inscrutable shenanigans.
I'm frankly unsure of what to make of Plastic Nee-San. Its wikipedia article refers to it as a "dadaist" series, but given the lack of any obvious political connotations within this show, I suspect that the main reason for invoking this term is its embracing of nihilistic absurdity and jettisoning of internal logic, which I suppose might be enough to render this into the concept of "anti-art" so central to that movement. I have a distinct feeling that Plastic Nee-san may simply be a shock-value piece, not one that necessarily startles the viewer via sex or violence but rather one whose parade of nonsense is designed to catch the viewer's attention by simply startling, confusing, and baffling him or her. I suppose it succeeds on that front, but given that I never found it very funny or especially engaging beyond said shock value, I don't think it's necessarily much fun to watch.
There's a vague semblance of a premise to Plastic Nee-San, but just as Mario the Plumber's occupation is irrelevant in every regard besides his outfit and his use of pipes for transportation, the girls who claim to be building models might as well be making meth in their school bathroom, for all the bearing this premise really has on anything. One of the few moments I found to be genuinely funny came in the first episode, which is the one of the only moments in which model-building is at all relevant; the girls appear to wear hair accessories in the shape of military craft, and at one point, when the tank on Makimaki's head is hit by a projectile, a tiny soldier comes out of the tank and starts yelling nonsensical obscenities at the trio. If this was indeed meant to be a joke, it worked for me because it related to the specific setting of this series and genuinely surprised me. In contrast, a fair amount of the humor in this series lingers too long on a joke's given punchline, much to its detriment: a gag surrounding a girl who speaks in stereotypically "attractive rich girl" tones and berates the trio for being unsophisticated but is comically ugly herself outstays its welcome and in turn becomes mean-spirited.
Perhaps like Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected, the humor is meant to be that none of this really makes sense or follows what you'd expect from an anime gag comedy, or anime in general. In one of the more infamous scenes from this series, the girls observe a pair of male student council members being brought into an alley by some punks to be beat up, and a popular and handsome jock from the school's baseball team appears, apparently to save them, as would be commonplace in many sports, punk, or shounen anime. Instead, said jock proceeds to rip off his clothes to reveal a bra stretched over his muscular physique and rushes towards punks and victims alike while thrusting his waist forward, causing all involved to flee in terror. It pretty well exemplifies the show's attitude: do anything that will cause the audience to say "what the hell!" or something less polite than that regardless of whether it's actually funny or tasteful (in this case, the homophobic undertones are hard to ignore). I realize that this is a style that will polarize people, and that some people will find the sheer randomness of this show to be enough to make it fun, but considering how short it is, I frankly thought that the entire thing was pretty boring. It doesn't help that visually, it's something of a cheap-looking effort; yes, the character design is cute and the animation, while crude, is consistent enough, but the show misses an opportunity to have its visuals bolster its humor. Again, the one case in which the show actually pays any attention to its supposed premise, the girls' hair accessories, is just about the only time that a visual gag works on its own.
I'll admit to getting a few chuckles out of this show, but most of Plastic Nee-San is pretty asinine, frankly. It might succeed at making people gawk, but its delivery stops it from being genuinely funny. It instead comes across as simply random, and if there's any underlying sense to this randomness, I'm not picking up on it.
It might be dadaist, but it's also far too close to [b]Family Guy[/b]'s habit of having unfunny and drawn-out non sequiters carry its humor, and it's ultimately simply not that useful for anything besides shock value. — Nicoletta Christina Browne
Recommended Audience: Teenagers and up. There's one episode in which the girls rip each other's clothing off, in addition to the scene in which a guy rips his own clothing off, not to mention a fair number of pantyshots and other bits of standard-fare fanservice. Slapstick violence is commonplace, and there's both a fair bit of strong profanity (in most English-subtitled versions) and a good number of obscene gestures.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital Source, Japanese with English Subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Plastic Nee-San © 2011 Cha Kurii/Square Enix, +Tic Neesan Production Committee
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