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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Simpson's: Japanese Couch Gag

I was watching a re-run of the 500th episode of The Simpson's television show this afternoon with my son. At the beginning of the show where they usually do a skit called 'The Couch Gag", this time they showed off all of the couch gags - snippets, some lasting no more than half-a second or so it appeared.

My son asked me to slow it down and watch it frame by frame, as he wanted to see the LEGO version of the Simpson's - which I admit to wanting to see as well.

So... we watched frame by frame every single one of these gags - or rather their 'punch line', when I suddenly saw one where Homer was dressed up as Ultraman!

A bit of research shows that this episode was from either 2008 and 2009. I did say 'a bit' of research.

For those of you who need to know: 
Ultraman (ウルトラマン Urutoraman) a live-action Japanese television show that began in 1966.

Swan Jun, ((科学忍者隊ガッチャマン Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman) from the anime Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (also known as Gatchaman, G-Force or Battle of the Planets).

Astro Boy(鉄腕アトム Tetsuwan Atomu, lit. "Iron Arm Atom") was first a Japanese manga (comic book) from 1952 and a anime (cartoon) in 1963.

Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン,  Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon, officially translated Pretty Soldier Sailormoon) was a Japanese comic book (1991) and then an animated cartoon series (1992). 

Pikachu, an electric mouse from the animated show called Pokemon ポケモン which was changed from the Poketto Monsutā (ポケットモンスター  or Pocket Monsters)
Now, the title of this You Tube clip calls it 'Simpsons Anime Sofa', but I wonder.  As mentioned, Homer's Ultraman was a live-action show. I know... I watched it (reruns) back in 1971. I still have vivid memories of my friend Umberto and I pretending we were Ultraman and a monster fighting each other on his family's front porch.

When ever I needed a laugh at one of the seven junior high schools I taught at in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan, I would either sing the theme song to Ultraman-7 or do a pose from the original Ultraman show:
Always got a laugh, because my nose is much bigger than Ultraman's.

A final note... the Japanese writing on the bench/couch the Simpson's sit on says:   シンプソンズ, which translates to Shinpusonzu, which is how the Japanese would say Simpson's. Mt. Fuji, is of course, in the background. That's how you really know The Simpson's are in Japan.

Thank-you Simpson's for the memories.

Andrew Joseph


  1. Wow! Now this is really getting hard-core Otaku!

    1. Did you mean me because I actually had watched Ultraman 40 years ago? Ha-ha! Truly, though... I dislike Japanese anime ONLY because it seemed cheap to me - or perhaps because I was already in my late teens early 20s when first exposed to it and at that time I wasn't willing to accept things for their differences - I only mean anime style. I really do like Pokemon. Loved Avatar. Just getting into the original Dragonball. Loved Goma-chan, Chibi Maruko Chan. But that was because the humor or adventure outstripped what I consider to be half-assed animation techniques.
      Akira changed that for me a couple of years before I went to Japan...

    2. Good grief... wait until you see what pops up in 8 hours...

  2. Professor: Gets paid to tell others they do not know enough.
    Writer: Gets paid to tell others they do not know enough... in an entertaining way.
    Student: Pays someone to be told they do not know enough.
    Otaku: Gets told they know too much because they do not get paid.