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Anime / Nerima Daikon Brothers

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The main characters of Nerima Daikon Brothers. From the left: Mako, Hideki, and Ichiro (no, not the pandas).

Nerima Daikon Brothers is about three struggling would-be musicians, Ichiro, Hideki, and Mako, who dream of becoming a famous R&B act and building a huge domed stadium where they play sold-out shows night in and night out that also carries their namesake. In the meantime, they run a daikon (radish) farm in Nerima Ward (famous for its daikon harvests) while trying to fend off creditors, their neighbors, trespassers, and Mako's unmitigated greed.

The show uses a musical comedy format, with the characters often breaking out in song to show their emotions or go through a montage scene- there will often be 4 or 5 songs in the body of an episode. The melodies are sometimes recycled episode after episode with different lyrics substituted for the particular situation. The musical comedy format is rare in Japanese animation and the show's style is influenced by American musicals such as The Blues Brothers and Bollywood musicals such as Muthu. There's some Bonnie and Clyde inspiration in there as well.

Despite its containing Nabeshin's trademark off-the-wall crazy Mind Screw humor and more sexual innuendo than was previously thought possible in a 12-Episode Anime, the show is at its core a rather high-level satire, mercilessly skewering a number of very real prominent people and groups in Japanese society... to the point that the production came very close to getting in trouble at least once. Let's just say that it manages to slaughter a few sacred cows that are normally never criticized, at least not in animation.

The series originally aired in 2006 in Japan, and was released on DVD by ADV Films in 2007.

Funimation acquired the series during ADV's 2008 collapse and streamed it on its video portal, but eventually they too lost the license note .


  • Accent Adaptation:
    • Mako's Okayama dialect is given the typical switch to a southern accent in the dub.
      • Interestingly, when she starts speaking Okayama-ben exclusively, the subtitles use a Cajun dialect to reflect this, but the dub just has her using rather dense slang, probably because Luci Christian isn't Cajun (a notoriously difficult dialect to imitate).
    • Hideki also has a Texan accent in the dub, but doesn't really have a particular dialect in Japanese.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Hideki loves Mako. Mako loves Ichiro. Ichiro loves Pandaikon. Neither of these loves is mutual.
  • All Men Are Perverts AND All Women Are Lustful: Let's just say there's a LOT of perverts in this show!
  • All There in the Manual: Unless you're Japanese or know a lot about contemporary Japanese culture, you're not gonna understand much in this show. Fortunately, the original US release contained director commentaries and copious liner notes, both in-video and in pack-in flyer thingies...
  • Ambiguously Bi: Well, not really so ambiguous. Hideki has a clear crush on Mako and fantasizes about her constantly, but in the first episode he really liked the idea of being seduced by the male record producer (to the point that he actually ends up harassing the producer), and in episode 9, when the Villain of the Week visits the group's field, Hideki offers to let him make a pass at him.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Madame Gokutsubushi threatens to expose various famous people's scandalous activities such as a politician keeping a house for his mistress with public funds, an athlete's steroid usage, and a sumo wrestler who uses baby toys on his wife in bed at night.
  • Author Avatar: Shinichi Watanabe, though silhouetted, appears as his character Nabeshin.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Number 1 and his wife, at the end of Episode 5.
  • Big Bad: The Prime Minister, who planned on "Privatizing" Nerima (making it a gigantic condo neighborhood).
  • Big Good: "Pops", a.k.a Nabeshin, who each episode rents the NDB an item which helps them fix their problems
  • Brain Bleach: The record producer's musical interlude makes Hideki state he'll have to stare at the sun to burn that image out of his mind.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Yukika's image song, where she sings general life advice you'd expect to hear from a cop, has her randomly segue into advising viewers not to drink before they sleep so they won't wet the bed, using herself as an example. note 
  • Camp Gay: The talent producer in the first episode is this, cranked far beyond 11. In the original Japanese, he speaks with feminine inflection – common for gay/effeminate characters – until Hideki ticks him off enough that he switches to extremely masculine rude language. Since English does not make any grammatical distinction between masculine and feminine speech, he drops his gay-lisp and starts cursing to get the effect across.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Most of the bad guys just love being evil money-grubbing bastards.
  • Censor Steam: Mako, with money.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the beginning of Episode 8, Hideki is browsing in a discount store (owned by that episode's villain) when he comes across a rocket being sold very cheaply. This rocket later turns out to be what he and Mako need to rescue Ichiro from the bad guys.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Honestly, one could argue every single character in the series qualifies – the good guys, the bad guys, the neutral guys. No one is spared.
  • Cool Shades:
    • The entire band, and Pandaikon.
    • When Yukika temporarily joins, she also sports a pair.
  • Corrupt Cop: Ichiro gets a tip from one of his clients that the chief of police gets bribes from the head of the Yakuza. Turns out it was a trap by Yukika to catch the NDB, although ironically it turns out that the chief of police actually IS accepting bribes from the head of the Yakuza
  • Cranky Neighbor: Hideki is constantly getting into fights with his neighbors. In their defense, Hideki has a tendency to hold his band practices in the middle of the night on an open-air stage.
    • At one point, they literally call in the SDF (the closest thing Japan has to a military since, thanks to that little incident, they're constitutionally barred from having one) to bomb the daikon field.
    • Hideki himself counts, given his reactions to his neighbors' complaints. In his defense, on at least one occasion they started screaming at him before he even started practice.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Hideki at one point is so angry about Mako's feelings for Ichiro that he sabotages the rocket they're flying in to try and rescue Ichiro until Ichiro admits that he doesn't love Mako.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: Michael Jackson shows up as one of the villains.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Ichiro. Hideki has a green scarf to match his eyes.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It seems to be physically impossible for Ichiro to not talk in a deadpan tone.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Ichiro. Hell, even animals want him.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Yukika is variously attracted to Ichiro, Pandaikon, and ramen fish cakes!
  • Eyes Always Shut: Three of the hosts in episode 9.
    Yukika: I didn't know this club employed blind men.
    Hosts: Ever feel outside of an inside joke?
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • Despite defeating the bad guy at the end of each episode, they never get to keep the money, not even what they lost during that episode to begin with!
    • That goes double for Hideki trying to woo Mako.
  • Firebreathing Diner: Pandaikon, after eating some kim-chee.
  • Freudian Excuse: Parodied in Episode 7, where we get to see a flashback of the bad guy du jour (a crooked lawyer), and how when he was a child a girl he creeped on would constantly threaten to sue him for it. It's completely ridiculous, but he and the main characters treat it as thought it were an honest-to-goodness Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Generic Cuteness: Just about anyone who isn't a Gonk is pretty cute.
  • Gonk: Most of the villains du jour. Subverted in one episode, where plastic surgery was used to put Bishounen faces on previously unhandsome Koreans.
  • Greed: Mako wants to blow all her - and Hideki's - money on Pachinko parlors and top-shelf champagne.
  • Henohenomoheji:
    • Anytime a member of the Brothers is MIA and the other two have to rent from Nine Dragons without that member, said member’s place in the song is taken by a cardboard cut-out with this face.
    • Except for a couple of times, one in which Yukika joins in and another wherein Nabeshin himself joins up (along with Yukika again)
    • Sort of – the one time Hideki is MIA, Yukika simply takes his place.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Most of the English episode titles contain sex jokes.
    • This happened in the Japanese as well, though not always as blatantly.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Mako is from Okayama, which is a fair ways west of Osaka and Kyoto, but still considered part of Kansai.
  • If I Were a Rich Man: Mako frequently has these, even as part of the opening theme.
  • I Have a Family: When trying to steal from one of Ichiro's rival host club hosts, "Number One" is revealed to be abused by his overbearing wife, but still loves her and their many children.
  • Inspector Javert: Yukika a.k.a Inspector Widget, who is obsessed with capturing the NDB in the act of committing one of their acts of vigilantism/theft
  • Interspecies Romance: Ichiro and Yukika and their... panda-love.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: When the casting director calls Mako an "stupid ugly slut", her reaction is an indignant "Ugly? UGLY?!"
  • Jerkass:
    • Mako at her worst can come off this way.
    • Hideki as well in Episode 9 and 10.
    • Prime Minister Oizumi definitely qualifies, as do pretty much all of the villains.
  • Kissing Cousins: Unrequited, anyway: Hideki wants Mako, Mako wants Ichiro.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Dear lord yes. Both languages (though the English dub does it somewhat more often)
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The English version ending theme which is basically saying, "Thanks For Buying the DVD of this show (since there was no way in hell it would ever get broadcast on mainstream American TV). Now we have money for booze."
    • Sadly the joke is kind of lost when watching the episode on Funimation's website.
    • And when buying a used copy.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Yukika, when she finally uses her skills for good instead of... well.
  • Loan Shark: The ATM from the Nerima Agricultural Bank which loans money (at apparently disastrous rates) to the main characters once an episode, complete with song and a band of identical scantily-clad dancers. In the last episode Hideki manages to buy the dancers' loyalty in the fight against Prime Minister Oizumi
  • Love at First Punch: Mako doesn't develop an interest in Ichiro until he slaps her.
  • Magic Skirt: Lampshaded in one episode with an upside-down Mako, Hideki watching for her skirt to fall, and Ichiro explaining that the artist doesn't feel like drawing it.
    • The real reason for this is because series aired on TV Tokyo and they don't allow panty shots (for the most part). Their censorship standards have been kinda strict since 1997.
    • Worth noting Nabeshin himself is not a fan either; he considers it cheap and lazy (though he otherwise doesn't shy away from fanservice). When directing Excel♡Saga back in 1999, he sent a note to the animation directors specifying, "No Panty Shots!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: Ichiro gets all the girls (and some of the guys too).
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Mako and her greed. Although really, none of the main characters have moral high ground. She's just worse than the rest.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mako, and she knows it.
  • Naughty Nurse Outfit: Aside from Mako's normal attire (which includes a black mini-skirt), she once dressed up as a nurse.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A large number of the villains are parodies of celebs or political figures from Japan. The Big Bad is an Expy of Junichiro Koizumi, the prime minister at the time the show came out.
    • The original ADV release went into great detail on exactly who these people are meant to be. In the episode with the Michael Jackson Expy, the VidNotes started out with: "We really hope we don't have to explain who this is a parody of."
  • No Fourth Wall: As one should come to expect from a Nabeshin show. This is doubly the case in the English dub
  • No-Respect Guy: Either Hideki or Ichiro could qualify as this, depending on your interpretation – Hideki is the Only Sane Man, but Ichiro is almost certainly more intelligent than Hideki is.
  • Nosebleed: Hideki for Mako. Also lampshaded.
  • Once an Episode:
    • The band hits up the Nine Dragons Rental Shop for a Plot Coupon.
    • Someone (usually, but not always, the band) exclaims their need for money, and the ATM and dancers for the NAB show up to loan them some.
  • Only Sane Man: Hideki. Ichiro looks this way, but his behavior is every bit as bizarre as many of the situations they encounter, and only Hideki consistently reacts to things the way a normal person would.
  • Plot Coupon: Rented from Nine Dragons.
  • Punny Name: Most of the villains have these.
    • Yukika also applies. She's a detective-inspector, which is often shortened to Deka in Japanese. But Deka can also mean (among other things) machine. Because of this and the cybernetic things that occasionally come out of her, the dub opted to nickname her "Inspector Widget". It should be pretty obvious what they're referencing there.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Mako used this against the manager of the Korean Pachinko, including saying the sound effect out loud.
  • Ramen Slurp: Hideki, Mako, Ichiro, and Yukika do this as part of a song, including singing the sound of slurping.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hideki and Ichiro – to the point every outfit Hideki wears has red on it and every outfit Ichiro wears has blue on it.
  • Shout-Out: Hoo boy. Where to start?
  • Shown Their Work: Nerima ward in Tokyo is (or was) famous for its daikon radish fields.
    • Episode 8, the one with the corrupt attorney, goes into some detail on Japanese marriage law – first cousins can marry in Japan, but Mako says they can't and Hideki believes her.
    • The final episode is one giant reference to Prime Minister Koizumi's eventually successful attempt to privatize parts of Japan's Postal Service which, despite its name, does a lot more than just delivering packages – it also dabbles in small-scale banking and insurance.
  • Something about a Rose: Ichiro's rival from the Kabuki-cho host club.
  • Spit Take: With ramen in one instance.
  • Straight Man: Ichiro. Although Ichiro's behavior is often at least as bizarre as anyone else's, even if he doesn't have the personality to match.
  • Strictly Formula: Every episode until the final arc follows the same basic formula: the group encounter a villain of the week who is exploiting money from people in the neighborhood, rent a new item from Nabeshin to help them resolve the situation, have a big finale musical number and fight scene, and end up losing the money they just stole from the villain in some way. However, a lot of humor is derived from tweaking and subverting the formula and the various stock songs that play every episode.
  • Surreal Humor: It's Nabeshin. What do you expect?
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Officer Yukika Karakuri, a.k.a Inspector Widget.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Hideki, Ichiro, and Pandaikon grow muscles thanks to Kim-chee in episode 2.
  • That's All, Folks!: The ending theme song.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: ALL. THE. TIME.
  • Translation Convention: Lampshaded in episode 11.
    Hideki: (to Pandaikon) "Speak English! Or Japanese, or..."
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Hideki gets annoyed at Ichiro for treating Pandaikon as this in the first episode, insisting that a normal person would at least go "Waaa!" at seeing a panda in a daikon field. It's also parodied/enforced in Episode 4, when the Nerima Daikon Brothers deliberately ignore Yukika's Dramatic Entrance for as long as possible.
    • However, there are plenty of straight examples too. For example, nobody seems to think anything of Madame Gokutsubushi's green skin, or the fact that the recording studio the band visits in the first episode seems to be filled entirely with alien creatures.
  • Visual Innuendo: TONS!
    • The picture hanging on the wall in Ichiro's host club (featuring an ever-changing assortment of stylized people in various sexual positions) is especially notable because it had to be censored in the Japanese broadcast.
  • We Sell Everything:
    • The Don Quixote expy carries just about any product one can imagine, up to and including a rocket.
    • The Rental Guy has given the Brothers everything from a bazooka to vegetable costumes to a heat-seeking enema to a drill-tank.
      • The sign outside his store actually says "I'll loan you anything. Except money."
  • What Song Was This Again?: The dub version of the songs on occasion.
  • Whip of Dominance: Yukika is a sexy, domineering policewoman with over-the-top Dominatrix tendencies, such as the fact she dual wields cat-o-nine-tails whips and has a fondness for handcuffs.
  • Widget Series: Well what did you expect?! This show is made by the guy who directed Excel♡Saga!
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The discount store in Episode 8 (real name "Don Quixote"), and Ichiro mentions in the original that his host club rival drives a "Ferrori" (the dub doesn't bother and just flat-out says "Ferrari").