Funky Monkey Noise was one of the shows this season that had me the most interested. Romance and drama with a backdrop of a musical focus has a tendency to be fantastic as seen in Nana, Nodame, and several others. At the same time a lot of stuff more recently trying to follow in those footsteps tends to fall flat on its ass when trying to do it, but the first episodes of this definitely stood out to me as hints that it was NOT going the way of Your Lie in April (shit) and so I looked forward to more. It turned out pretty great in some ways; the music early on is fantastic and gets plenty of emotion across, the art is nice, almost all the side characters are really likable even if they trick you into thinking one is going to be a cunt (she turns out to be the most likable cast member), and right off the bat there are some powerful moments. Almost everything about the show ranged from good to slightly below fantastic for the first half with the exception of any scenes about Momo which were all complete shit from start to finish.
However, everything began falling to Momo’s level and both started falling even further pretty fast after the first half-ish. It becomes very clear that Fukumenkei Noise struggles in an attempt to be something it isn’t even close to achieving. It treats itself as some sort of Nana-for-kids while actually just being a cliched mess of unbelievable main characters, nonsensical motivations, and simplistic writing at every turn.
I don’t say Momo is such a problem because of not liking him or because of some personal OTP, but because everything about him – including himself – is nothing more than forced in bullshit that has nothing to it beyond “I exist to be a drama element” and anything he’s even indirectly involved in brings that along with it. The show basically boils down into being a love triangle involving Yuzu, Nino, and Momo and love triangles are already a dangerous ground to tread as it’s easy to fall more on the side of shit rather than Honey & Clover, and this takes the former direction near immediately and never course corrects. Because of Momo the entire show has to take a big turn from this really emotional and fun romantic thing directly to a realm of magical conveniences even within the very first episode and it seeps into the backstory of all the leads as well as every event from that moment on.
Originally I wrote a massive never-ending paragraph here going over all the “just so happens” situations in the first episode alone, but I got rid of it because it’d just look like I’m exaggerating. Go ahead and watch the first episode yourself and just imagine all the coincidences there multiplied by 10. Thanks to Momo almost 100% of the show is exactly that – a big unbelievable magical conveniently coincidental list of cliched events that go beyond just cliche into plain retarded because of how unnatural putting so many of these events together ends up becoming. Instead of stopping the bullshit the show continues to double down on that stupidity every episode and into every plot thread and character.
Beyond that, and almost more importantly, the motivations for the cast are just so goddamn poorly made and the way they manifest makes it straight up retarded at points. The whole show ends up being about Nino’s love for Momo, Momo’s love for Nino, and Yuzu’s love for Nino. Nino’s reasons for loving Momo boil down to 6 years ago when she was literally 10 years old or so she used to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her neighbor (Momo) sometimes and she has maintained an unhealthy obsession over him since. That’s it. She dedicated her life to him from then on pretty literally to the point of rarely speaking and wearing a face mask 24/7 to not let her voice be heard by others properly because it “belonged to him”. She’s almost psychotic about it.
Momo’s love for Nino comes from 6 years ago when he was literally 10 years old or so he and used to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with his neighbor (Nino) sometimes. That’s it. Then there’s Yuzu who appeared immediately after Momo disappeared all those years ago out of nowhere and Nino just as immediately used him as a rebound. His reasons for loving her actually have some merit as he spent meaningful time with her rather than the empty “humming twinkle twinkle little star or singing twinkle twinkle little star” time the other two spent together, with him constantly being there for her, talking to her about more serious things and understanding her more as a person, and even literally destroying his own future dreams and personal health to make her feel better on one occasion as kids. But in reality he was basically “friendzoned” and lead on by her the whole time, being used as something to help her handle being without Momo by being overly close with another boy while not realizing what being a step away from sucking his dick would make him think is going on.
Yuzu’s reasons for his feelings are at least shown and developed as something you can see someone ending up with in real life but later in the show it ends up fucking even that up by making him an actual non-meme cuck. Not only does he avoid ever telling her his feelings the ENTIRE SHOW, he CONSTANTLY tries helping her bang Momo. On top of that he eventually does confess, but instead of anything remotely believable he pulls the anime cliche of going HEH NOT REALLY, I’D NEVER FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT YOU LOL ;) to get out of being slightly embarrassed, then yet again helping her try and get dicked by Momo. He also stays friends with Momo because I forgot to mention but these two were somehow close friends all along without realizing it just by pure chance until later in the show and he’s a cuck so he’s fine being friends with the guy trying to bang the girl he likes while he also encourages the girl to get banged by him. His realistic emotions turn into unbelievable drama fodder pretty fast but at the very least the show manages to have some really touching moments between him and Nino prior to the literal cuckening. Things for Yuzu only get worse as time goes on with the finale even concluding the show with a scene where he, yet again, pushes her to get Momo’s dick deep inside her at all costs when she was finally going to give up.
As for Nino’s feelings for Momo and Momo’s feelings for her – the entire basis of that is an insane obsession with people they knew as toddlers and nothing more. I know I’m repeating myself some but I can’t help it. We see plenty of flashbacks to them together as small children and there is no attempt at all to actually show them bonding or implying they are close at all – just that they happen to live next door to each other and like the same shitty song making it difficult to believe there was anything between them BEYOND that as almost 100% of the time they were together they were singing it or humming it nonstop regardless of any surrounding context. It’s hard to buy that as the reason someone spends over half a decade autistically covering her face with a mask 24/7 and avoiding speaking or singing so that nobody will hear her voice but him because she loves him just oh-so-much – and that someone else would just as obsessively for just as long avoid her to the point of using fake names at every possible chance just so she won’t see his name and realize it’s him because “I make money with music she will think I am Satan now but I love her so much because we knew each other at one point as slightly more than acquaintances and sang twinkle twinkle little star together”.
I’m not exaggerating about this fucking twinkle twinkle little star shit either – there’s even an ENTIRE EPISODE where you almost hear NOTHING BUT THAT either being sung shittily by the two as children or being played as BGM as if it’s some incredibly powerful composition. Also it’s worth repeating “I make money with music she will think I am Satan” because this is the entire cause of drama in the entire show with Momo. He actively avoided her all this time because he somehow believes monetizing music will make her completely hate him and believe he’s abandoned the medium. There’s no basis for that belief given they last knew each other at very small children who had no concept of what money even was, and no there is never any explanation of why he thinks it even though he is fully aware SHE IS LITERALLY MAKING MONEY OFF OF MUSIC.
Yuzu is likable but incredibly cliched the further into the show you get – he typically managed to be fine up until the whole “please bang this other guy, girl I love” stuff started. Nino is also likable until you realize she’s an unstable mentally ill person with deep emotional scars because of, and an unflinching love over, someone she kinda knew as an 8 year old and becomes even worse when you realize her entire character is nothing except that. Momo is ACTUALLY nothing though. He’s a non-character. He has no personality, his design is unbelievably generic and you could easily mistake him for a character in a million other shows (easy example – one of the main cast of aoharu x machinegun), and even the moments he shows emotion it feels like you’re watching a really terrible actor who has never felt anything aside “lifeless brooding” trying to trick the audience into thinking he’s feeling something which is almost incredible in a way given it’s a fucking drawing and shouldn’t be hard to draw a fucking different facial expression on him beyond “I’m attempting to act” yet hey never ever do anything but that.
Later on in the show Momo starts his own new band somehow (even though he only does shitty work for failing idol groups he’s somehow garnered enough power within the label to make a band) and it’s a cheap ripoff of In NO Hurry in every single way and even features the same lead singer and same gimmick of anonymous members hiding their faces with masks and wearing wigs. This is a lame twist, but fine – at least until the entirety of Momo’s character becomes him just constantly repeating “IN NO HURRY IS SHIT!!!!” when it makes no sense given In NO Hurry is one of Japan’s top bands and all Momo has done is work with idols that are about to lose their contracts and now a shitty ripoff band of a band he thinks is shit. If it was just bitterness that’d be one thing, but they REALLY try to push that he genuinely thinks they are just awful. It gets worse when the show ultimately ends up with a music festival and these two trying to battle it out and see which is more popular. For some reason JAPAN’S TOP BAND that is MEGA-FAMOUS FOR AWHILE NOW ends up on the SMALLEST STAGE AT THE FESTIVAL yet a band that formed like 3 weeks prior has a larger and better one.
Nino is okay but also shit. She’s cute because her voice acting and the fun facial expressions they throw on her all the time, but writing wise she’s swamp ass even aside her stupid motivations and nonsensical feelings. They couldn’t even be bothered with keeping her consistently any personality, she jumps around at random. Normally she’s a cute vibrant teen and then she’s a MEGA EDGELORD saying cringy shit out of nowhere but only during the finale concert where she now thinks she’s the biggest badass to ever exist when she’s never acted like this – even on stage – any time prior. The show keeps trying to just push whatever will do best in a given scene rather than what is sensible for the CHARACTER during that scene.
There’s also some of the most retarded anime moms possible as both the lead boys have outright insane mothers. Yuzu’s believes music itself will reach out with its hands and strangle you to death because music is a sentient living creature of evil. It – not the industry or anything around it, but music itself, killed her husband (only mentioned in passing in one single line in the entire show and never explained) and it’s going to kill her son. He is not even allowed to LISTEN to music or have a TV on if there is a commercial with a jingle or she gets fucking triggered. She almost fucking hits him but instead goes into an insane screaming fit over finding a fucking music file on his computer. It’s ridiculous and thrown in to add “depth” to his character and a dramatic drive for him but it just comes off as fucking retarded.
Then there’s Momo’s mom who is far worse to the point the show has every rare appearance of her treated like she’s a villain in a serial killer movie. Evil edgy grins, almost always just seeing her mouth and blocking her eyes conveniently, and having her say some really ominous lines. She’s also shoved in without any believability – she lives cities away, miles and miles away across Japan yet ONE RANDOM DAY he RANDOMLY ends up bumping into her at a RANDOM train crossing while she and him both are RANDOMLY on walks. What the fuck was she doing here? Plus they talk for like 10 seconds, so it’s not as if she came out here secretly, stalked him, then pretended to coincidentally be here – so actually it’s even more creepy and fits even further into the serial killer aspect. The show either expects you to assume she by pure chance chose to take a train for 3 hours so she could take a walk on some random streets and luckily bump into her son OR assume she’s been stalking him all this time. On top of that her character is just retarded – GIVE ME MONEY, SONNY. I’m no stranger to crazy mothers obsessively and even violently attacking their children for cash, stomping in at 3am screaming at the top of their lungs and demanding your money because it belongs to them somehow, so sure it happens – but it’s just nonsense here.
Taking it one step further, if she’s so incredibly poor how does she afford to stalk him? She threatens to destroy Nino during the climax of the show as well and this is NEVER expanded upon. Is she ACTUALLY a serial killer, is that what’s going on here? She has no fucking money and no connections so it’s not like she could destroy Nino’s career she just wants to fucking murder her, I guess. Too bad music will choke the life out of her first because music fucking kills.
In the end you’re left with three likable side characters who sadly play barely any role in the show at all. One being the cute woman Momo lives with who the explanation for is hilariously stupid (she saw him playing guitar on the street and so moved him into her house and got him a deal to work with idols the same day?) and who also conveniently pops up to push the Momo-Nino narrative forward every now and then either directly or by Nino assuming she’s fucking Momo’s lame ass.
Then the other two who are actually my favorite characters in the show – Miou and Daisuke Ono’s Haruno, or as I call them Mushroom and Blond because I think Nino called Miou mushroom once and it was easier for me to remember and Blond because he’s blond. Mushroom was actually pretty interesting in that she started off seeming like she’d be the “bitch” character of the show, yet she quickly dropped that and became friends with Nino upon realizing she had no romantic interest in Yuzu (who mushroom likes). I never really noticed anything after her initial rude personality that was off putting with her and throughout the rest of the show she remains a good character who sadly ends up being used by two bands for the same fucking purpose of being replaced by Nino if-and-when she ever showed up even though she’s way more talented and way cuter.
Then there’s the blond who actually plays a fairly relevant side role at important parts of the show that involve the band at all and is even why Nino ends up taking guitar seriously. He’s a charismatic character and Ono D’s voice helps that a lot, but I also was really interested in seeing his romance with Mushroom blossom into something. It never does, it’s literally just gone after multiple scenes focusing on it without any explanation or conclusion – it just gets forgotten and never brought up again. Oh, and his eyes are the only ones in the entire show like that, it’s never mentioned though.
I’m not done yet though, I really want to spend some time on the final episode of the show.
The conclusion of the series is just a huge leap back to the starting point – Momo ditches Nino again because his evil mommy threatened to hurt her, Nino quits the band without any explanation for it, Yuzu quits the band without any explanation for it (probably his own evil mommy) while helping Nino try and get dicked by Momo still…and oh, right, that all happens in a not-mentioned time-skip halfway into the episode after recap bullshit with just rehashed footage and audio from the prior episode. The rehashing footage doesn’t stop there though, but we’ll get to that.
They introduce a new song in the last 2 episodes with new lyrics that Nino chooses to write on her own so that the emotional impact will be even stronger and she can sing even more powerfully. Instead of something that gives you goosebumps it makes you want to just mute it, the song is a mess and not in a good on-purpose type of way for the story, the vocals don’t match the music at all and the emotion behind her voice is the weakest it could possibly be – there’s less emotion here than in the flashbacks of her shrieking out twinkle twinkle little star – but the show treats it like this mind-blowing moment when this song is revealed. This really blows too because the rest of the In NO Hurry songs we get to hear in the show? Really fucking good stuff.
They were also very lazy with production – and no, I’m not only referring to the really low-budget terrible CGI they constantly use for the concert scenes. I mean with the music. They consistently talk about how different someone is singing or playing this time but they literally used the exact same recording for the audio and even the same already-rendered so-why-not-reuse-them CG sequences. They’ll have dialogue going “WOAH SHE’S GOING CRAZY AND EVEN BLOWING RIGHT PAST US IGNORING THAT SHE’S IN A BAND” basically saying she’s going fucking HAM out there and it’s just the IDENTICAL AUDIO TRACK AND CG ANIMATION.
If you’re going the route of making it an important plot or character element that they’re singing or playing a song differently at any point then you absolutely have to put in the effort of re-recording tracks that clearly sound different. Nodame did this, even the LIVE ACTION did it, and it’s all classical music so 90% of people won’t even really be able to fucking tell aside during the really extremely different S-orchestra versions of some songs – it added a fuck ton to it even if you couldn’t fully grasp the difference you could tell it wasn’t the same. A shit ton of effort, money, and time, was put into making sure it had that difference. In a case of pop music with vocals it’d be even easier to record her going all out and just singing normally (it’s also much easier to notice differences or the lack of them), but why fucking bother, right? “Why fucking bother” is sort of the motto of the show overall really.
One of the dumbest fucking things I’ve seen in the last few years of anime happens as the most important moment in the last episode and the entire series. Nino’s wish to reach Momo with her voice finally comes true…literally.
I mean it REALLY fucking reaches, like, FAR and through impossible circumstances. During the concert Momo and Nino’s bands are both playing at the same time miles apart from one another with massive sound systems in a concert set up and with a huge crowd screaming as well as structures and tents in the way. He hears her anyway and just abruptly stops playing and looks up dramatically for a couple seconds. It is the most supernatural unbelievable embarrassingly stupid bullshit and it’s super obvious that it’s meant to be so goddamn touching and emotional that it’s almost depressing to think the staff and original creator thought this was so amazing.
They then follow that up literally within the same scene of her learning about this having a flashback to when it happened which was just a few minutes prior in THIS EPISODE so we’re now flashing back for over a full minute within the same 10 minutes and DIRECTLY reusing the footage and audio without even a new monologue over it or something. Don’t forget, this is during the same FINAL EPISODE that already spent about 4 minutes at the start rehashing footage from the penultimate episode with nothing new as well. So almost a quarter of the FINAL EPISODE is reused footage and dialogue. Really just the best way to end your show. Then, on top of all that, like I said already it concluded absolutely nothing in any way at all for a single member of the cast on any level.
This is a show that deserved to be good and definitely could have achieved it’s goal of being a realistic and character driven romance-drama focused around a band and a girl, taking inspiration from Nana and removing all the more mature and heavy elements making it more lighthearted and family friendly while still delivering something great. Sadly, it chose to just be a clusterfuck of dumb bullshit that went nowhere. And I really do mean it went NOWHERE. Ultimately it’s even more upsetting because there are some genuinely great moments early on – very touching, especially between Nino and Yuzu, but they never do anything like it again and none of it goes anywhere. It’d never have a hope of reaching the upper tier of music-romance anime but it COULD have been one of the best shows of the year rather than what it became – possibly one of the very worst.
There is nothing to be gained from watching this show because even the show itself gains nothing from progressing through the episodes. Don’t bother.
Oh, right, Shia Lebouf’s Cuck-Cage makes an appearance too, making me wonder how self aware Yuzu’s entire story was.