This short-form anime is just three and a half minutes long but is packed with romance, comedy, and slice-of-life moments that make you want to keep watching. Like most short-form series, this anime started as a 4-Koma webcomic created by Cool-kyō Shinja which was then compiled into volumes. The anime adaptation started airing in 2014 for 13 episodes and received a second season the following year. Created by Studio Seven, you can see their long history with moe anime throughout this show, but that certainly doesn’t detract from the show at all.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying follows the lives of a husband and wife who couldn’t be more different from each other. The husband, Hajime, is a complete otaku who works as a web designer and obsesses over figurines and manga. Kaoru, the wife, is a more “normal” person who likes socializing with her friends and works a regular office job. Throughout the series, their differences in interests and culture clash, but they both work hard to try and understand one another.
The moe style is a key factor of this anime, and while I’m usually not the hugest fan of moe, with this one it seems almost integral to what the creators are trying to do. The anime itself and the content within it is geared towards an older audience, with some mature themes popping up here and there. The use of moe in this context acts much the same as many other comics that use say animals or a cuter style in that it is meant to subvert our expectations of what comics for an older audience can look like. I think it works in the context of this anime in that we’re both dealing with problems related to married life and gags brought on by otaku culture. The mix of moe and serious subjects creates a style that is in some ways subversive to expectations of what a moe show should be. Plus the fact that Kaoru is already drawn in a moe style leads effortlessly into gags about Hajime’s love of moe as an otaku. However, while the animation is pretty strong throughout, there are a few episodes here and there that seem to deviate from it into a looser more dynamic style. This makes me think that the episode directors or key animators changed in the process of the series for at least those episodes. This happens sometimes, but the conflicting styles were different enough to confuse me for a moment.
I’ve seen people talk about this anime before, but only really resolved to watch it now, and found myself binge-watching it in pretty much one sitting. I think it was the overall premise of the show that made me stick around. Unlike a lot of romance animes where they focus on the creation of a new relationship, Hajime and Kaoru are already married. It becomes this story of learning more about one another and learning to find common ground with someone who may be completely different from you. Kaoru doesn’t understand what her husband finds so interesting about anime but she makes the effort to at least try and see his point of view. She may not agree with everything he does, like buying a whole bunch of figurines, but she does indulge him from time to time. This shows that you can be in a health relationship even if your interests differ.
The beginning of the anime leans heavily on the otaku gags, like Hajime coming out in a horse mask, but then slowly transitions into more serious topics. Discussions of parenthood, in laws, and job security come up showing just what market they are targeting this anime at. In the same vein gags about doujinshi and yaoi culture are sprinkled in to the point of excess in some scenes, which started to turn me off a little bit. Luckily this was confined mainly to one character and didn’t take up much of the show’s overall plot, so it was easy to overlook. The anime also focused heavily on Hajime and Kaoru, relegating the secondary characters to the background most of the time, no matter how many times they tried to bring them into the picture. The humor fluctuates between crazy gags and deadpan humor, and I definitely think that if the episodes were any longer, I would not have liked this series as much. Three and a half minutes seems to be the optimal length of time for this anime’s style.
So if you’re looking for a more mature comedy that focuses a lot on otaku culture, then I’d recommend checking out I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying. If you’ve seen it already, feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below!