Danna Ga Nani Wo Itteiru Ka Wakaranai Ken

April 24, 2015

I am sure there are lots of jokes about marriages regarding the husband can’t understand the wife and vice versa. I don’t know. I’m not married myself so I can’t really tell if it is really hard to understand the other party but I kinda get the hint after ‘observing’ real life and reel life married couples. Oh yeah. And read lots of those marriage jokes too. So what does it take for one to understand another? Perhaps Danna Ga Nani Wo Itteiru Ka Wakaranai Ken (I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying) would enlighten us all. Even if it doesn’t helps us fully understand (or even drives us crazy just trying to figure out the logic behind it), at least a little understand goes a long way and it is better than nothing. Despite each episode’s length is only 3.5 minutes and some may wonder if it will amount to anything because it is so short, I guess it is better to be short and sweet to get the message across. You wouldn’t want your wife to be nagging and nag you for 24 minutes straight, do you?

Episode 1
Kaoru wonders if she married Hajime because they know each other faults. Is it there is no gap between her ideals and reality? Heck, he even told her that he couldn’t bring her happiness and she thought wearing a wedding dress was good enough… Their honeymoon was the most boring ever. They stayed indoors not wanting to get wet or sunburn so Kaoru ended up trying her swimsuit in the room and they had lots of sex! As narrated, Kaoru is 2 years older than Hajime and as society would describe her husband, he is an otaku. Yup, he considers his 2D girl his real wife! He is also a blogger who types all his otaku stuffs all day long if he isn’t watching any anime. Hardly bringing in the money, eh? Then there are sexy 2D female pictures lying around in his room and he was ‘using’ them! Kaoru is devastated that men think nothing but boobs. He admits he does. Which men don’t? Unless you’re the ‘flat’ kind of lover. When Kaoru wants to go out on a holiday, he feels lethargic and wants her to fire him up. A little cutie “Nya~” move was all that was needed to get him going. Of course they’re going to watch an anime movie since he needs materials for his blog. Once it is over, Kaoru’s opinion is generally short but Hajime starts going in-depth and critical analysis of it. On the way home, there is a place Hajime wants to stop by: A love hotel. Wouldn’t their home be just fine?

Episode 2
Hajime’s brother, Mayotama comes to visit. Uhm… You mean his sister? Nope. Brother. Holy sh*t. So girly… Anyway he is here because he cannot draw a manga about an original pairing with his brother anymore! But when he learns Kaoru is a normal person and nothing like an otaku, little brother stopped all the otaku talk with her. When it is getting late and time to go home, Kaoru suggests he stay for the night. That sicko immediately zips down his pants and want to bath together. That earned him a lonely one way train ticket back home. Kaoru might be having a little trauma seeing how ‘scary’ his manga is. Hajime breaks down while revealing Mayotama has made 30 different variations of the manga and every thousand copies printed were sold out. Had Hajime not marry her, he would have been robbed of his manhood. Kaoru acts like the tender wife to go comfort him but it is just an act she is following from the manga. Disappointed? When Kaoru’s friends come over to visit, they are surprised to see Hajime in a horse mask! Embarrassing, no? The friends never thought Kaoru would get married as she said she was going to stay single. Hajime explains how Kaoru became her angel and the friends thought he was trying to test them by acting all normal. Kaoru suggests Hajime to invite some friends over next time. But he has no real friends. Only those on the internet… Oh you poor thing…

Episode 3
Mayotama is often mistaken as a middle school student when he is actually in college and in the manga research club. With the kind of manga he draws, it is no surprise it isn’t allowed there. Although this means he would work better alone, but there is danger of him becoming a loner. Is this advice from Hajime speaking from experience? Don’t worry, Mayotama also has lots of friends. On the internet… Hajime may have said the wrong thing because even though he might not have friends but at least he is married with a wife! Kaoru rubs salt into wounds to add that she indeed does have friends. Mayotama suggests some bonding with Hajime. He probably got ahead of himself of even suggesting they f*ck each other. Another ticket home… Who needs real friends anyway when you have them online? He sees an offline meeting from one of his forums. Going with Hajime, they meet the coordinator, Destiny F*cker AKA Miki who thinks Mayotama is a girl. I guess Mayotama has resigned to that fate and accepts being a girl. Hajime warns him his brother is a trap… Mayotama has a decent conversation with Miki since the latter is a fan of his manga and according to Hajime, he’ll be okay at this rate. At least according to OreImo! Now all he has to do is endure this situation for the next few hours… Miki finds Mayotama interesting and even hints of seriously going after him. Hajime gives the big approval! Kaoru thinks Miki is a friend of Hajime but he wouldn’t call him that. He considers him as a sacrifice… I guess Hajime is freed from that yaoi horror, huh?

Episode 4
Whatever dramatic narration Hajime is telling us, when Kaoru is asking about his blogging, he tells her he has suspended it. After some reflection, he decided to go back being a regular user. This means he’ll be a proper NEET. He dons his suit and Kaoru cannot be happier that he is serious trying to take up employment. Now she can properly answer to other neighbourhood housewives about her husband’s job. But that might be premature as he mentions he was just using the internet to expand his knowledge. A week later, Hajime still couldn’t find a job so Kaoru takes a look at his CV. Despite his handwriting is much better than hers, this might be the culprit: His picture is a horse head! Suggesting he call Miki for some work, instantly that guy starts chiding him. Looks like he found out Mayotama is a male when he tried to ‘move in’. Yeah. He’s freaking pissed. He’ll make him work hard in data entry. As he types, Miki advises him o use this chance to spread his wings in society. But as for hiring him, he wants him to work at home because he should cherish his time with his wife. So now Hajime is a web designer working from home. He wonders if the neighbourhood housewives will understand what kind of work he is doing. Kaoru doesn’t mind as long as she understands.

Episode 5
The place is in a mess. No, it’s not because they’ve been robbed but it is because Kaoru was drunk. Yes, it’s hard to believe but she can turn into a real devil when she’s in that state. Usually she drinks after a pretty stressed out day at work and she doesn’t remember what happened. So last night’s drunk was the ultimate and Hajime describes it that she was raping him 10 times in a second! Wow! May be exaggerated but it’s not a lie! Yeah, can’t believe it either, eh? Kaoru suggests to record her the next time but this is also her plan to see him when he is drunk. Next night, the pair goes out for a drink and although Hajime is cautious, by the fourth round, Kaoru is already so drunk that she’s already the devil. She really turns it on by playing strip rock-scissors-paper, then stripping herself and then spouting a load of crap about loving him before a big smooch to shut him up. Next morning, Kaoru wakes up in bed not remembering what happened. She asks if she said anything weird but Hajime couldn’t even begin to describe and thus making no sense to her. That bad, huh?

Episode 6
Kaoru collapses and although it is nothing life threatening, her doctor friend, Tanaka suggests she quit smoking for good. Kaoru hangs out with her other friend, Rino who also feel that it would make Hajime feel at ease. Kaoru promises she won’t be a bad influence on the kids… Of course she wants him to go back the way he was so she’ll stop smoking. Hajime calls Miki to get some more work. I guess single people won’t understand… Hajime thinks it would be 100 times better if he had collapsed but Miki suggests they should both work on not collapsing instead. Kaoru’s dad who is some chef is mad at Hajime probably wants to be hit him but decided not to as this would make Kaoru sad. He wants him to return to his wife. Hajime becomes the caring husband taking care of all the chores. She doesn’t like him putting up that fake smile and looks best when he says dumb stuffs with a straight face. She starts crying that he is acting like a different person and it scares her. She doesn’t want it that way and please return to the way he was. Please pay more attention to her. They hug but the squeeze his hard most probably it is because of Kaoru’s withdrawal symptoms. Toughing it out, huh? Kaoru asks Tanaka how long she should stop smoking. Until her child is born. No, seriously.

Episode 7
Kaoru sucks at cooking. Even the friend rice she makes just looks so-so. However Hajime accepts it all and considers it good. He doesn’t have to be so modest, you know… Ironically, Hajime is a better cook than her! She tries to make meat and potatoes but Hajime couldn’t make head or tail out of this sugar powdered potatoes… So they head over to Kaoru’s dad’s place to learn and Hajime could have just left out the remark that he doesn’t want his wife to lose her bad cooking attribute. Daddy seriously is going to kill him… Meanwhile Miki is in a dilemma to accept homemade lunch from Mayotama. The thought of turning him down makes that trap cry… Can’t refuse… Dad and daughter have a little chat. She doesn’t know if she’s putting up with him or vice versa. It’s funny to think that she has become his wife. She also thinks it is pathetic for a parent to teach a child cooking but daddy believes this isn’t the case. Because her late mom, Miri also sucked at cooking. When Kaoru was born, she panicked and asked him to teach her. Miri matured because of her and he is sure she will get better too. Hajime gets a taste of Kaoru’s pasta. I know he wants to show how good it is with a thumbs up but why take off his shirt too?! Does it make him feel manly?

Episode 8
Kaoru accepts the task of temporarily taking care of a relative’s daughter, Ai. In that case, Hajime better stay in his room! When Ai is here, she starts taking off her tight shirt and doesn’t want to wear them, pouting. Kaoru tries to warn her about a ‘wild animal’ here and oh, here he comes… Hajime gives Ai wear a loose adult shirt. It might be okay to him but Kaoru is cautious because she knows he is a lolicon! Suggesting that they should play a game, it seems Ai’s favourite game is golf. Her mom is a pro golfer while her dad is the caddy. She planned to retire after this game to raise her child, the reason why Kaoru accepted this task. They head to the driving range to play golf and naturally the kid hits better than the adults. At the end of the day, Ai had lots of fun and thanks them. On the contrary, they thank her instead.

Episode 9
Mayotama wants to know their first date so he could use it as reference in his manga. A date between guys? Kaoru feels depressed that she is being labelled handsome by him… So it all began when they met while working part time. It was really an awkward situation while she asked him out. Mayotama suspected something amiss when Hajime was panicking and even forgot his favourite handheld game. Likewise, Kaoru’s dad was serious after learning his daughter is going out on a date. He suggests taking a taser with her! No, a rifle! No, even better. He will come along! So as they get their first date going, they ended up walking and talking about their future. Kaoru thought from the way he said things, his future looked bleak. But after seeing his real smile (he often puts up fake ones as she noticed), she stopped worrying and they both had great fun. In the end, Hajime got the guts to ask her out again. Mayotama won’t be using that since it sounded like a precious memory. Also, writing that would make him want to kill himself…

Episode 10
Hmm… Who could it be at this hour? Oh lookey, it’s Hajime’s mom AKA House Destroyer… I can see why because in her excitement she broke down the door. Apparently she just heard her son got a job. Of course, now she’s bugging him if has a child yet… And she means a child with his wife not an elementary schooler. He thought he could pass it off to Mayotama who may pop out 3 for her but mom knows she only had sons. So when Hajime asks Kaoru if she wants a child, she almost choked on her drink. And no, he is not referring to his elementary schooler. This has Kaoru think of all the necessities needed to being a parent but she can’t imagine him being one. But first, she has to stop smoking, right? Talking out with Rino, she mentions she doesn’t do it that often with her husband, Nozomu. Maybe it’s because she’s small? Insult! Well, maybe to Nozomu he is acting like her mom… The duo try to think up a name for their child and avoid something that is culture inspired. But with Hajime suggesting some names from Evangelion, I guess she gives up. Anime and manga aren’t culture inspired? Kaoru continues thinking and isn’t sure if this is going to happen. Even so, not for a while. Hajime’s mother calls Kaoru to apologize for the other day and thinks he must be joking because it must be a joke too that her son got a job. Kaoru thought she must have been really happy. When Hajime makes some remarks about girls a certain age wear the same underwear and some might make their father’s wear it, Kaoru believes a child with him isn’t going to happen.

Episode 11
Aside from the very bad and poor animation of this episode, this serves more as a flashback and reminiscence of Kaoru when she was single. Despite working in the service industry, she never quite liked it. Even more so when she was transferred to the sales department. She thought she was losing a part of herself. She thought drinking, smoking and watching TV was what she needed to go on. Then alarm bells start ringing when Tanaka announced she got married. She was happy to see her in a beautiful white wedding dress but at the same time, something inside her start to panic. As she was used to living alone, she thought it was okay. She wondered if she is going to die alone. Then it hit her. That will not be okay. And now thinking back about it, she’s lucky to have Hajime as her husband and loves him very much. Vice versa too. They might have their differences but she realized people can’t survive on their own. Another short flashback shows Kaoru had to handle an interview for a part time position. That very strange CV… It could only be from… I supposed that’s how they met.

Episode 12
Hajime used to hate Christmas before he was married. Not anymore! No more lonely nights! Wohoo! Oops, sorry. Kaoru needs to work on that day. Alone again, naturally. So he goes hang out with his friend (see, he has some) but Nozomu isn’t too pleased and would even pay him to go back! Rino accepts Hajime’s company but needs him to leave by 9pm. What is that sex hinting gesture?! Tanaka and her husband, Yamada are also here. She makes a joke they keep their surnames and together they are called Yamatanaka. Hajime can guess Yamada is wearing a wig. He takes it off and explains it is to keep him warm. Seriously, Tanaka doesn’t even know about this! On the way home, Yamatanaka is getting so lovey-dovey that they are literally crushing Hajime’s soul. He’s dead… Kaoru and Hajime coincidentally meet each other on the street and they had the same idea of buying cake for the other. Kaoru thought he would be spending Christmas in front of his PC but he mentions of trying out unfamiliar things. Then he hints by saying “Hole over hand”… Kaoru no understand… But Kaoru is turning to bed early not because she got the message but because she has to work tomorrow too. She’ll make it up the day after tomorrow. His loneliness continues…

Episode 13
I guess we should have expected this anyway since Hajime is an otaku. He is already breaking the fourth wall and complaining that feeling when an anime is coming to an end! He is worried that usually some crazy stuffs happen when anime ends like graduation, etc. However he doesn’t have that much friends for that to happen. Nozomu says he has always been his friend (really?) as they have hung out a few times together. But Hajime feels confused so Nozomu wonders what kind of standards he was expecting. When he goes home and finding Kaoru home earlier than usual, she isn’t feeling well and tired. She doesn’t have a fever, though. Then it hit him what this could mean. Oh no… Morning sickness! He panics and thinks his next step. He goes to the store to buy a pregnancy test kit when Miki spots him. And then it soon spreads like wildfire. Every darn character in this anime congratulating him. Although Hajime is nervous, they assure him it will be fine and will support him. Hajime doesn’t feel all this is real. I mean, does he deserve this? It could all be a dream and disappear tomorrow. Mayotama then asks him a question he couldn’t answer before: Why is dad always home? Because he works from there. Hajime feels better that it is just going to be a misunderstanding. And so here happy Hajime is leaving it up to the gods when Kaoru’s pregnancy kit turns positive… Oh dear. Tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, I presume. They hug each other. Well, this isn’t the dramatic end he was expecting but just like in life, you accept it quietly with a mix of happiness and uneasiness.

It Takes Two To Tango
Hmm… I thought the title is a bit misleading. Thinking back, this entire series isn’t exactly about Kaoru trying to understand her husband nor do we see Hajime spamming us with his antics that gives Kaoru a hard time trying to comprehend what the hell he is thinking. It may be so in the initial episodes for the setting and all but as the series progresses, you’ll find that this is more about them trying to live a decent marriage life together. Maybe I misinterpreted about the ‘can’t understand’ part since after all, the act of Kaoru and Hajime interacting with each other and getting along is pretty much an understanding itself. Not to say that Kaoru fully understands Hajime perfectly but from what I can see is that she understands him enough to know who her husband is.

Sometimes it may feel a bit unrealistic because if you think about, Kaoru puts up with Hajime’s ‘uselessness’ of being an otaku and patiently listens to him. I am sure in real life there are such stories we won’t hear or read of but generally it feels unlikely. For a wife to put up with such a husband, it would only lead to arguments and then divorce. Sure, I would love to have a caring and understanding wife like her and so do many of us but what are the chances in reality? Of course, it’s subtly like saying more to woman power but that isn’t the point. However it may be unfair to label so because Kaoru herself isn’t perfect. Taking a look at her smoking and drinking habits is already a sign. I supposed she knows of her own shortcomings and therefore it is not right to lash out (assuming if you want to go for reality) at Hajime for being an otaku. Therefore I feel generally it isn’t about Kaoru trying to understand her husband but rather more about herself and coming to terms and overcoming it. Even if she doesn’t really understand what he is saying, at least she doesn’t ignore him.

Hajime likewise is also trying his best to be a good husband. It was certainly surprising that after a few episodes into the series, he suddenly stops being an otaku! And I thought guys like that will never change! I know. I speak from experience :p. Despite his otaku mentality (it is a pleasure to spot a few anime references with him around), he isn’t that all useless because he is a better cook and deeply cares for his wife although he doesn’t typically show it off with flowers and kisses. Well, like they say, it is the thought that counts. So with both of them trying to understand each other, in a way I could say that their marriage is a success because you don’t need lavish material objects to be happy. Love is all you need and all they have. They may be awkward at times but it is their character and they accept it with all their heart. It is marriage that matures them and I am sure even more when they have their first child. Now all Kaoru needs is the will to stop smoking and drinking, which I am sure she can.

I don’t know how Kaoru ended up getting her hair dyed blond because during her younger days, it was of a dark colour. I thought it was all the years of smoking and drinking that changed her hair colour (there is no scientific proof for this!) and even more inclined to think that because of her ‘delinquent acts’ (smoking and drinking, right?), thus she dyed her hair that colour when she got married. Because you know, everybody else looked the same back then and it is like physically only Kaoru had changed. So is it true that only women change but men don’t? Also another mind boggling thing I noticed is how Hajime’s mom calls him Takashi. Is this his real name or his pet name? Because I am pretty sure she was referring Mayotama as Youta (which is believably his real name because which parent would be crazy enough to name their child as a mayonnaise ball? Unless…).

Other characters add dynamism and quirkiness in addition to Kaoru and Hajime who are of course the main focus of this series. Although it feels like a side distraction (because they show up for a short while and then made to ‘leave’ to return our focus back to our main couple) but their appearance does help make the series more enjoyable. From Mayotama’s trap and yaoi fetish (a little pervy too), Miki’s ridiculous nickname of Destiny F*cker (I guess in a way it is true to a certain extent because life actually screws with you, depending on how you look at it), the petite Rino who is often mistaken for somebody younger than her age, the overbearing Kaoru’s dad and the typical crazy mother of Hajime (which mother don’t want a grandchild?), I’m sure every family have one or two characters like them we can relate to. And with a new member coming into the family ‘soon’, everything is going to get crazier, livelier and happier. Yeah. I guess a person like me who never had a child of my own would understand.

This anime is produced by Seven who specializes in producing short anime series like Morita-san Wa Mukuchi, Recorder To Randoseru, Ai Mai Mi, Shin Strange and Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san. Therefore the art and drawing style of this anime is somewhat closely similar to most of these animes since after all, with this anime being of a comedy genre, you don’t need to put in lots of details in your characters. Some look generic like Hajime’s otaku background and others just for a bit of variety like Mayotama’s cross-dressing and Miki’s forever-wearing-sunglasses. The cartoonish and simple drawn feel enhances the comedic effect. My only grouse is that flashback episode where the quality takes an obvious dip. Perhaps they want to showcase to us a different time setting but it was bad enough for me to think that the producer was off for that day and in an attempt to beat a deadline, they hired an amateur to finish it up and voila, you get your half-baked animation quality.

It is fun to hear Yukari Tamura as the role of Kaoru. I might have said it many times before and I’ll say it again that she hasn’t lost her touch of her trademark voice over the last decade. Although she doesn’t go into a myriad of emotions or burst into many squeaky shrieks (she is more subdued as Kaoru here), she portrays well a wife who sounds tired of the same routine life but soldiered on thanks to the hope of having her husband by her side. Kenichi Suzumura as Hajime also sounds subdued unlike some of his sadistic/holier-than-thou character roles like Sougou of Gintama and Hayasaka from Wake Up, Girls!

It is also surprising to hear Rie Kugimiya and Ryoko Shintani as Rino and Tanaka respectively. The surprising fact was they weren’t in their trademark voices and I could actually recognize them! Oddly too, their character roles sound more subdued than their usual (that is how I used to identify them) so it was a pleasant surprise that I could identify them after hearing a line or two. Not bad, eh? The rest of the cast include Kaori Shimizu as Miki (Akira in School Rumble), Sayaka Horino as Mayotama (so far her only other role is Nezu in Inugami-san To Nekoyama-san), Kazuma Horie as Kaoru’s father (Ryuu in Special A) and Kotono Mitsushi as Hajime’s mom (Excel in Excel Saga). The rest like Daisuki Tonosaki as Yamada, Toshifumi Sakai as Nozomu and Mai Sugano as Ai are making their debut role.

The ending theme, Iikagen Ni Shite Anata by the duet of Yukari Tamura and Kenichi Suzumura is quite catchy since it has this oldies feel in it. Too bad it is just 30 seconds but I supposed that is okay since the show itself is short so there is the justice. You can’t have the song longer than the show itself, can’t you? I noticed that there are a few variations of this piece. There was an episode with a karaoke version of it. It was a surprise to hear the off-vocal version so I started singing myself. Let’s just say it was so horrible that I don’t want to do it again… Then there is a slow an instrumental version which lovely suits that flashback episode and also a jazzy one for that Christmas episode.

Overall, despite the brief duration of this anime, this is still a great watch and there is a level of maturity you can see portrayed in the jokes (some may be a little perverted but not very excessive) as well as the struggles you could see faced in an ordinary family. In the end, everyone is just being human and just trying to be happy. So next time you can’t understand what your spouse is saying, don’t retaliate with louder screaming words because softer ones are the ones that make you grow closer and more lovingly. Sometimes you just can’t understand what is being said but you kinda get the feeling instead. Then again, maybe that is why lots of misunderstanding happens… Get it? Sighs… Nobody understands me…

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