Thinking about why Upotte! goes too far for me
Upotte was supposed to be this filthy innuendo vehicle for dirty perverts… but it really is not. It turned out to be a comedy, and honestly I liked its comedic payload more than that of Naruto SD. Funco dealing with puberty gave the haters the excuse to lash out, but it’s entirely up to the viewer where to focus.
I had a strongly negative reaction to the first episode of Upotte! when I tried to watch it, but that's far from universal and a number of people with good taste actively like the show. Author's entry has pushed me into thinking in more detail about my reaction.
It's certainly possible to deal comedically (and tastefully) with puberty in the way that Upotte!'s sort of trying to do; I even quite enjoyed a highschool comedy that went much further than Upotte!'s relatively tame innuendo. What I think got to me is the presence of the male teacher and the focus of Funco's thoughts on him; this gave the jokes and especially Funco's daydreaming involving him an uncomfortable edge, especially since Funco is in middle school. In hindsight I don't think it's a coincidence that I stopped being able to watch right at the point where Funco was fantasizing about him being the one to work her trigger.
(Looking back on Seitokai Yakuindomo, I think that part of what made it work for me is that basically everyone involved in the sex jokes were peers; adults rarely or never got pulled into them.)
Of course, it doesn't help that comedy is hit or miss with me and usually misses. The odds were always that I wasn't going to follow Upotte! even if I didn't bounce off of it with a strong reaction, but every season I check out a comedy or two in the hopes that they will really click with me. When comedy works, it's great.
Written on 05 May 2012.