Wacky TV Nanana
With their most popular show, Banana Mesh Night, cancelled due to public complaints about indecency, the Nanana crew are tasked with heading off to the faraway lands of Ecuana to film the Keena, a mythical half-pidgeon/half-kitty beast. (Don't ask.) And if that won't save their flagging rating now that their flagship program has been taken off the air... well, there's always more dangerous missions to undertake on a budget that might very well be nonexistent.
The budget allowed to our erstwhile TV crew in this show might very well be indicative of the kind of advertising budget this show has had to begin with, because trying to dig up some information about it has been.... difficult. Most of the pages I've managed to find has generally been of the "well... it exists" variety, and it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. Heck, the only reason why it found itself on our synchro list? Take a good look at the box art on top of the info bar on the right. I mean... how could we not?
Wacky TV Nanana's style is certainly something else, though. The closest comparison I can think of offhand is South Park, in that the whole thing seems to be assembled by various movable parts arranged by way of stop-motion animation, though it bears mentioning that Wacky TV Nanana is a lot more... textured... than South Park. That they managed to turn this frankensteinian conglomeration of graphics and live action backgrounds into something even resembling visual appeal speaks well enough for Wacky TV Nanana.
It goes without saying that only the most piss-takingest of storylines would be appropriate for a visual style like this. The core -- our group of heroes being blue-collar workers for a TV station barely able to stay afloat -- is ripe for satirical takes, and my main worry even after having seen it all is just how many jokes are flying right over my head. It's no secret that the Japanese people (on average) are more than a bit overworked, and Nanaoka and his crew exhudes this with every single thing they say and do. With an episode runtime of 3 minutes a pop, that isn't a lot, granted, but given how Wacky TV Nanana's main job is to be irreverent about pretty much everything, that's also probably all you need.
His working conditions is probably what created the man (Banana?) that is Nanaoka, who has all his rough edges intact despite his job trying its darnedest to sand them down. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is all in the eyes of his cameraman, Nanamori, and his assistant director Nanayama. Where Nanaoka is beholden to his boss, Nanamori and Nanayama are beholden to whatever whims drives Nanaoka. And while his attention is usually focused on his job, you never know when you'll be caught up in a situation where your life depends on a good karaoke score. Which is not to say the other two are necessarily better people (Bananas?), as Nanayama didn't take too well to being replaced by a monkey he trained in the art of being a good assistant director himself, and planned on ousting from his job by some good ol-fasioned internet trolling.
Of course, you could argue that the entire cast are a bunch of originals, with some modifications. While Nanaoka and his crew are poster children (Bananas?) for the gray and grey morality equation, their boss is the one making the unreasonable demands, and that's not even getting started on the boss of Nanazon who honestly looks and acts more like Donald Trump rather than Jeff Bezos -- sorry, Nanaonald Trump rather than Nanajeff Bezos -- who drops by in season 2 wanting to fire most of the people (Bananas?) working there, if not all of them. And that's not even getting into all the caricatures of races and jobs out there: the low-budget airplane crew, the native tribes of South America, various semi-corrupt border guards, other TV stations and personalities... the list is long and probably more than a bit politically incorrect.
What makes this show so much fun to watch is all the banter going on between the characters, who, let me again remind you, are a bunch of talking bananas. Well... most of them, anyway, if you discount the mice, the monkey, the... uh, minotaur and cyclops who keeps popping up, don't ask. Wacky TV Nanana stays thematically on its main selling point, so character types don't matter as much as what they can add to the big TV station debate. Even the aforementioned karaoke song is solely dedicated to their crappily paid jobs, a song of lament for the (soon to be) fallen. It helps that the song our crew sing in the first season is pretty fun and incredibly well performed, despite containing words I cannot utter here. The second season also has a pretty fun song to its name, which made me and Tim look forward to seeing which kind of musical insanity the third season would unleash upon us, only to find out that it was... pretty much the exact same song as in the second.
It's a bit ironic that the image you see above here is the cover art for said season, because the third season of Wacky TV Nanana is also the weakest one, and the reuse of the musical act for season 2 is just one part of many signs that the show was probably running out of steam. The ending of the third season was particularly disappointing, as it showcased a gag that went even beyond not being unique for the show itself and right into absurdity for absurdity's sake, and in a way that more or less swept all the trials and tribulations under the carpet for a quick end at that.
This makes Wacky TV Nanana a rough show to rate, because it starts out so well and keeps the momentum going for so long. (Well... as long as a show with three-minute episodes can anyway.) What makes it even more fun for an old-timer like me is that most of the jokes in the first two seasons are centered around our trio of bananas and their daily work-related tribulations, and while the second season briefly touches upon more modern venues of entertainment, it's not until the third that streaming services and social media comes into play as the centerpiece of the jokes, and... well, I guess some wounds are still a bit too fresh. Or rather, the pool is still too shallow, leaving the jokes short on options outside of the "we're chasing likes" variety. "Press like and subscribe", right? If that statement left you with a bad taste lingering at the back of your tongue, then you are not alone.
In the end, Wacky TV Nanana is unique enough that it's an easy recommendation for an audience looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. Its visual style is fun and inventive, and the commentary is generally fun, as long as you're on board with our team of characters being less than admirable at times. The show might even be more rewarding if you're familiar with the several TV personalities I suspect the show is either portraying straight or parodying to various degrees. And due to its short runtime, it's an easy gamble to take; you won't be losing much time if Wacky TV Nanana doesn't end up quite to your liking. I say go for it.
Strong three. If you're willing to skip the third season, you can easily add one star. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There is some light fanservice, if you can consider banana women clad in thongs and showing their banana boobs (lightly censored) as such. It's a reference to a show that the channel in question used to run, which seems like a bit of a late-night skinflick thing. Outside of that, there is a thong that keeps showing up from time to time to save the day (don't ask), so there's that.
Version(s) Viewed: igital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (72/72)
Wacky TV Nanana © 2018 Studio Crocodile
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