Once again I’ve participated in the Reverse Thieves’ Anime Secret Santa, where various bloggers, podcasters, etc. anonymously recommend anime to other people. This year, the show I will be reviewing is Plastic Nee-san (aka +Tic Elder Sister) a comedy series that somewhat defies description.
Ostensibly an anime about three cute girls in a high school plastic model club, Plastic Nee-san thrives on being utterly bizarre yet just familiar enough to make it difficult to label it as simply “wacky.” Even as the girls eviscerate each other physically and mentally, it can be difficult to predict where the show will go next. Episodes are extremely short, amounting to about two minutes each, and the jokes are rapid-fire while never overstaying their welcome.
Of all the anime and manga I’ve seen, the show that comes closest to Plastic Nee-san is probably Ai-Mai-Mi! Both series utilize their settings as the absolute loosest of pretenses to engage in strange, often non-sequitur humor, revel in watching their characters suffer while generally deserving it. The key differences between the two would be that Ai-Mai-Mi! goes places that Plastic Nee-san doesn’t even dream of (Plastic Nee-san at least tries to keep things in and around their school), and that Plastic Nee-san gets more over the top with its facial expressions.
On the Kurumi Erika scale of amazing faces, Plastic Nee-san is clearly a 10 out of 10.
Another show that Plastic Nee-san is Nichijou, particularly in terms of the Kyoto Animation adaptation. At some point on your internet travels, you may have come across the following animated gif:
This lovingly animated moment is from Plastic Nee-san. In fact, this is how an episode starts. While the rest of that episode isn’t quite so violent, it still does a brilliant job of building from that initial shock to leave you dazed, confused, and asking for more. This is what makes the anime, strangely enough, very accessible to even those unfamiliar with anime, as the impact of the humor is unforgettable. Even if they don’t know the name of the series, it will inevitably go down as “that crazy anime you showed me.”
The last thing I want to point out is that while a number of shows have super cute girls doing obnoxious things, in the case of Plastic Nee-san this is greatly improved by the fact that just about every individual in this series gets what’s coming to them quickly and mercilessly. Unlike other series where characters never get their comeuppance and continue to expand their irritating and annoying personalities (which I know can be a deal breaker for some), Plastic Nee-san rains slapstick vengeance on them like there’s no tomorrow. In some cases, characters don’t even realize that they’ve paid their price, which makes things all the better. In this respect, it’s like Nichijou with all of the warm, heartfelt moments excised.
In short, if you were to watch Plastic Nee-san and Ai-Mai-Mi! in the same day, you’ll probably either solve world hunger or doom the planet to an eternity of plagues.