A Fitting Farewell: Shin-Chan: Episodes 59-72

Mike Ferreira (Editor) — February 2nd, 2012
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After three seasons and seventy-eight episodes, the writers for Shin-chan felt that it was time to throw in the towel. The crew wasn't content with simply letting the show end, though. Instead, they went to great lengths to ensure that the series would close out with a magnificent bang. As the show steamrolls toward its finale, all restraint is thrown out the window. From transgendered snowmen to genocidal teachers and lesbian photograhers to a kappa named Pa-Rappa, the laughs refuse to let up in Shin-chan's final arc.

The final batch of episodes round out many of the show's loose ends. Between the various misadventures of Shin and his friends, the side stories of Bitzi and the Flamer are rounded out. Everything builds to a conclusion that obliterates the fourth wall. To fill the gap between important episodes, viewers are treated to the same demented sense of humor and outlandish plots that defined the show, from horny pandas to randy grandpas.

In this reviewer's opinion, the three most noteworthy shorts in this final set are "Girls Don't Melt", "Donut Resuscitate", and "The Jackson Vibe". In Girls Don't Melt, Kasukabe is blanketed by a freakishly odd layer of snow in the dead of summer. Shin, being the average kid, decides to build a snowman. Unfortunately for Hima, Shin's snowman can somehow comminucate with her. On top of that, the icy hombre is actually a snow-woman trapped in a snowman's body. With no other options, Hima stands as the only character that can help this frozen fellow gain the womanhood he so desires. The episode itself primarily focuses on the snowman and Hima, with Shin serving only to set up the scene. With this in mind, the snowman absolutely steals the show in this episode, despite being a character with one facial expression and no physical movement. With his flamboyant tone and hilariously overly helpful disposition, it's hard not to fall in love with the gender-dysphoric non-human. His jokes are raunchy and offensive, as he asks Hima to perform tasks like replacing his dangling carrot with a "puffy pink peach". Aside from being an easy target for jokes, the snowman serves as the most educational character to exist in the show itself. His dialogues with Hima are possibly the most grounded explanation of transsexuals to grace modern television, as he talks about the differences between transsexuals and transvestites, and the general phobia of the group that pervades modern society. His existence terminates about as quickly as it begins, though it's hard not to feel bad for the fallen snowman, who could end his life in his proper gender.

In Donut Resuscitate, a new donut shop opens in downtown Kasukabe. The shop, known as Kinky Kreme, sells a special pastry known as the Kreme-splosion, which promises to melt in the buyer's mouth as she melts in her pants. The reputation gained the attention for the neighborhood's resident sex fiend, Miss Polly, who wants to curb her sadomasochistic urges. Shin finds himself in line with his teacher, and serves as an unfortunate witness to Miss Polly's slow agony as the stand's remaining Kreme-splosions are bought one by one. The real fun of the episode rests in the innuendo and shameless sex chatter. Parts of the dialogue border on smut, particularly Miss Polly's descriptions of what she would do to each person in line. She gleefully describes increasingly twisted S&M practices, and her desire to dominate. The hilariousy filthy descriptions are punctuated by her trademark panic attacks and pithy insights by Shin. The episode paces well, and the dialogue works as Shin plays the straight arrow to the deviant Miss Polly.

The final highlight, "The Jackson Vibe," takes a deeper look at Miss Katz, the self-loathing, sex-starved, compulsive-gambling teacher at Shin's school. The episode opens with Miss Katz sneaking into the local department store to take a ride on the "adults-only" vibrating chairs. Her intimate moment with the erotic furniture meets an unfortunate interruption when Mitzi drops in, Shin in tow. Miss Katz, being the hateful soul that she is, would rather die than be bothered by these two, so she cobbles together a quick disguise from a surgical mask and sunglasses. Much to her chagrin, the getup, combined with her waxy skin, makes her look just like the late Michael Jackson. Now, Miss Katz has to deal with the nosy kid as she tries to get an orgasm that will make her scream "Aow!" The episode is, without a doubt, one of the most juvenile and vulgar in the entire series. But, as we all know, this is when Shin-chan is at its best. The erotic subject matter and dirty one-liners are good for a number of cheap laughs, mostly at Miss Katz. No punches were pulled, as every page on the Michael Jackson gag-book, from the alleged pedophilia to song-related puns. The generous helping of jokes about the former King of Pop may strike some people as a bit too soon for comfort, especially given how ruthless the writers were.

With the final episodes finished and the major plots wrapped up, it feels like the right time for Shin-chan to sign off. FUNimation's experiment was certainly bold, and it worked on a number of levels. While it's be sad to see the series finally end, the experience was certainly one worth enjoying, from the first episode to the very last.