4-nin wa Sorezore Uso wo Tsuku Four People and Their Respective Lies, Yonin wa Sorezore Uso wo Tsuku ４人はそれぞれウソをつく
The Little Lies We All Tell story: What do an alien, former ninja, weak telepath, and boy pretending to be a girl have in common? They are all classmates at Kashihara Girls’ Academy, and they hide their true identities from the world. Rikka, Chiyo, Sekine, and Tsubasa seem like the best of friends, but they each harbor a monumental secret that they cannot reveal, no matter what. In order to continue masquerading as normal middle school girls, each of them must invent creative ways to conceal their true selves. But that is easier said than done, as the four students end up entangled in numerous shenanigans along the way.
Secrets. Lies. Everyone has a tale that they don’t want to tell to hide it away from the world for 1001 reasons. Be it being a human or an extraterrestrial, a boy or a girl being in the suit of the opposite sex, straight or transgender, this is what makes the world revolve in its oddball-shaped mess of a planet that we call Earth. But in this season, there’s a show like it: mangaka Madoka Kashihara’s 4-nin wa Sorezore Uso wo Tsuku a.k.a The Little Lies We All Tell, that showcases the bizarreness between hiding what’s true to the heart as opposed to exposing whatever is appropriate in reality. And with just 2 volumes in circulation, one would expect that shows like this needed more time to get noticed, but apparently by the grace of the anime gods, this feels like a breakneck speed of fast adaptations being cash cows, but I guess that there’s a silver lining of interest, especially in a very diverse and stacked season such as this.
The series title, also literally translated to “Four People Lie in Their Own Way”, it’s exactly what the show is going for with its absurd comedic gimmick of ordinary people, but unordinary in their own way of fashion: the loli alien Rikka, the glorified former ninja Chiyo, the scrupulous psychic Sekine, and the tomboy-ish real male Tsubasa/Tsuyoshi. All 3 girls and a boy roam together in their school being the best of friends, but also at the same time, maintaining their posture that they are just as ordinary as they come, forebearing their “true” origins, almost akin to playing Among Us where all of them are sus in their own way. Be it preposterous or full of shenanigans, these 4 characters try to subvert one another into revealing who they really are, while navigating and trying to negate any suspicions along the way to protect themselves and the friendship between the 4 of them. And as weird as it sounds like, it can be funny, or constantly feeling like a hit-or-miss affair.
Each of the 4 characters complement one another by the way of their own personalities, and as eccentric as it is, it’s hilarious to see them be hard-wired towards the perception of others, sometimes overthinking to the point of situations like “the total destruction of the world”. No doubt that this is a psychological battle of wits and valour to try and see who can get the most suspicions right, but knowing when to take a step back relinquishes the know-it-all minds of the people, preserving the friendship as such. Alas, as much as I would want to like the antics here being in the vein of the superpower-like school setting that’s pretty much filled with gag humor, the comedy felt dry sometimes and didn’t quite punch the way that it should. Nevertheless, I can understand that “comedy is subjective”, and this to you, may be good or bad depending on your watching experience with the show.
Studio Flad is a rather miniscule studio with 4-nin being the 3rd show in its line-up (Winter 2018’s Dame x Prince Anime Caravan with Studio Pierrot’s production assistance, and last Fall’s Shin no Nakama with WolfsBane for production cooperation), so it’s obvious enough that they had to have some form of external help, and it came in the fashion with Studio Pierrot and WAO WORLD for production assistance. And for the most part, though bombastic as it comes, it is serviceable and looks decent to the eye for the unkempt weirdness that is its style for flattery. Same goes with the OST, it’s really fine though, but nothing to write home about.
There’s a reason why the anime community have developed this thinking of “turning off your brain for enjoyment”, especially for shows derived from source materials that are unlike the usual fashion of expectation. And while 4-nin is a show where either you find the comedy good or bland, it’s really up to personal preference, and this is something that you must gauge whether if this is the type of comedy that you’re looking for. While I can say that it’s just a fine show, some might find it better (underrated even), and some will find it boring.
What can I say? If Pop Team Epic was already weird enough to begin with, why not works like these? It truly boggles the mind.