This is something new that I’ve not done before. I’m trying out some random new anime series from this season. In each instance, I’m going into this blind having never seen any media about this show, read any reviews, or seen any previous seasons. So, this is merely a superficial first impression with my thoughts on the show. Your mileage may vary.
The Laughing Salesman (New) is a new series currently airing on Crunchyroll in the United States. The show opens with a creepy, laughing salesman telling us that he works by selling hearts, filling them. This is followed by an eerie, pop infused opening song. It’s catchy as anything.
The show has a very distinct art style, which immediately reminded me of Doraemon. Turns out, the original manga it’s based on was created by one half of the art duo that created Doraemon (Motoo Abiko). The show is a dark comedy and has some interesting elements worth delving into in a future piece, but for now, I just want to talk about my impressions of what happened.
After the theme song, the episode shifts into two parts – Daydream and Make a Budget and Stick to It. Each part has a “moral” lesson for the viewer. Spoilers will follow.
Daydream is about a salaryman named Nakajima. It begins with his coworker taking him out to lunch, despite him not wanting to go out…or so it seems. Instead he takes him into Basement Level 2 and offers to take him drinking at a place called Daydream. Inside the bar are women and drinks. They’re greeted with “Good evening,” and asked about their drink orders. A woman named Haruka then sits down next to Nakajima and begins flirting with him. He’s very uncomfortable. That’s when…the Laughing Salesman walks into the scene.
Nakajima’s coworker then reminisces about meeting the Laughing Salesman. He complained while at a bar one time that there was nowhere fun to go. The Laughing Salesman comes in and offers him what his heart wants – a place to drink with ladies in the middle of the day. That’s what he gets, a “club” called Daydream in his building.
The remainder of this part of the episode follows these two men getting sucked into the world of “Daydream” the next business day. They spend the entire day there, losing their time and all their money. As they return to work, drunk after a day at this bar – they get screamed at by their boss. That’s when the Laughing Salesman gives you your first moral lesson – “Everyone has a right to dream. However, if you have no money you might wake up from that dream much too soon.”
The second “customer” is Takashima Mitsuko, an office lady. She is frustrated at her job. Frustrated about not being taken seriously. Disappointed in how poorly she’s treated. What does she do to make herself feel better? Shopping. As she looks at various purses she discloses that she’s very much in credit card debt. That’s when he shows up saying he could solve her problem and hands her his business card.
Next day, she goes into work and gets mocked for what she’s bought. What does she do? Go out and buy more only to have her credit card declined. She walks home disappointed because she can’t afford anything new. That’s when she finds his card and remembers what he told her.
He then shows up as she reviews his card and brings her to a bar to talk. She complains about being single and alone, how shopping fills the void and helps her feel better. Then again, she’s sacrificing what she needs to continue paying her credit card debt. That’s when he says “Leave it to Me.” He hands her some kind of special credit card and says to use it next time she goes shopping. Flash forward to the office and seeing younger female coworkers flirting with the boss to try to get her fired. Upset, Mitsuko runs out shopping after work buying a ton of new clothes with the new credit card. She’s loving life for a moment. That is…until the next morning. Everything she purchased with that card was repossessed the next day. The Laughing Salesman comes in laughing saying, “Oh, did I forget to tell you that?”
She continues to buy and buy, to get repossessed the next day. That is, until she decides to give herself a spa day and a makeover. The next day? Her youth and beauty was repossessed, she found herself looking old and haggard. That’s when the second lesson comes in. The Laughing Salesman says, “Clothes, jewels, and youth…in order to obtain something, you must offer the appropriate payment.”
In each case, the main character of the portion of the episode is seeking to make their heart content. The problem in each case is that what they think will make their heart content, is fleeting and unfulfilling. It eventually fades away. The Laughing Salesman knows this all too well as he makes these bargains with the various characters in the episode. He knows these things are fleeting, but he’ll give them to you…for a price.
In reality, there are a lot of fleeting, pleasurable things. Things we may enjoy for a short time. But, they don’t last and sometimes there are consequences we do not expect from grabbing these superficial things we desire. You feel bad for a moment for each of these characters, but in each case – they received their reward. Fleeting, temporary happiness. Never long term joy. Sadly, most people on this world want exactly that…and there’s many a laughing salesman all across the world to offer it right to them.
Overall, I enjoyed the first episode of The Laughing Salesman. It serves as an interesting and at times amusing reminder of the fleeting joys we seem to all chase. While it feels a little…nihilistic at times, I think I’ll keep watching it.
Have you seen the first episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below?