Who hasn’t had a bad day, wishing for some relief? Would you be willing to risk making a deal with the devil to get out of your mundane routine? It’s a question that crosses many minds, and The Laughing Salesman attempts to explore the topic using vignettes.
The Laughing Salesman is an episodic series that follows the devilish Fukuzou Moguro and his “clients.” Moguro specializes in “filling the hole in hearts” of lonely people by either giving them advice or granting wishes that can ease their burdens. Each deal either comes with a set of instructions or a warning, and if the client doesn’t follow Moguro’s words, they will have a price to pay.
It’s a formulaic approach that is similar to The Twilight Zone, which featured supernatural stories about people wishing for a better life or facing a type of karmic justice. The Laughing Salesman diverges from The Twilight Zone in that it’s not concerned with moral tales or playing with the episode structure too much.
Each episode consists of two, 10-minute stories about a person facing some sort of trouble (like a salaryman facing verbal abuse from a boss). Their lives are turned upside-down after meeting Moguro, who will either give them an item, some advice, or take them to a special place. Everything is dandy, but Moguro will issue a warning – usually advising not to fall into excess. Being a sly devil, Moguro naturally preys on highly impulsive or weak people, so they will break the deal and BOOM, a punishment is issued.
The Laughing Salesman isn’t going to challenge your expectations or throw wild twists about. Each episode is set up guaranteeing the client’s failure. Instead, you’ll be tuning in to see how the client ruins their life due to impulse while guessing what kind of punishment Moguro will dish out.
The goofy grin on Moguro’s face and cartoony world design hides the darkness under each episode. There are no happy endings for the clients, and a majority of it is their own fault. However, there are some segments that come off as if Moguro is actively seeking out a client’s failure, which can come off as too cruel when a client is just looking to relax from a hard day of work.
The Laughing Salesman isn’t the top dog of the season, but it’s worth watching while you wait for your main shows to update. The episodes are predictable, but sometimes it’s fun watching people give in to their dark desires and face retribution. It also helps that Tessyo Genda does a fantastic job voicing Moguro. His voice is just perfectly for the sly, old devil.