Old-School Sunday: Crayon Shin-Chan

There are currently a little over 800 episodes of Crayon Shin-Chan. Granted, they're short, but that's still a pretty prolific amount of anime on the table. Funimation brought Shin-chan to the States with a really excellent dub, the jokes all work really well, giving a Japanese feel while still being pretty understandable to the average American.

The whole gag for Shin-chan is the idea that five-year olds are making horribly inappropriate jokes, not too far from South Park, usually relying on either fart/poop jokes or on some actually pretty clever wordplay jokes. That's where the similarities end, however, because around that gag is a surprisingly heart-warming show about two young parents trying to survive in Japan, while enduring their hellish children and their weirdly mature peers, as well as a wide variety of insane neighbors. The show has plenty of room to develop deep, round characters that feel very authentic. It also pokes fun at popular tropes, including super hero shows, magical girl shows, and doesn't hesitate to take jabs at the culture of machismo in Japan. The mother Mitsi, for example, wears the pants in the family, handles their finances, and also raises the truly horrid brat Shin can be at times.

Funimation brought 52 episodes stateside, usually with three mini-stories inside each, barring a few larger episodes that span the full thirty minutes.

Shin-chan was an early anime series for me, running for roughly a month in 2007 on Adult Swim in the middle of the night. A very young Mr. Empty was enamored with this uncouth youth and his devil-may-care approach to the world, and the bounty of innuendos within. Despite its mostly spare and simple art style, the content makes it well worth the time.

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