If you open your show with anime intro music and Stevie Nicks, I immediately have some form of respect. Setting the tone for a journey of an hour, Yuriko Kotani starts a mission to find her inner ‘kaiju’ (think Godzilla). Kotani is a free-spirit, encasing punchline after punchline in her witty and engaging anecdotes. Kaiju About covers break-ups, everyday racism, self-care, growth and loneliness in London.
There’s something really warm about Yuriko Kotani’s presence on stage, she is open and honest which is what makes her set so entertaining (and of course, very funny). In the trend of many comedians this year, post-lockdown blues seem to be a key focus. However, Kotani’s show takes on a less cynical approach and aims to capture hope by the end.
There are moments of vulnerability when Kotani speaks of a bad review that didn’t criticise her jokes but English as her second language. She also picks at the idea of ‘Orientalism’, after all, what does that even signify? Kotani handles these deep subjects with light-hearted jokes, such as arguing that Tamagotchi isn’t orientalist orbs nor Nintendo orientalist machines.
Then there are glimpses into Japanese culture with her discussion on onsens, tattoos and the Yakuza. These include a hilarious anecdote of Kotani walking past someone on the street who had an unfortunate Japanese tattoo with a double meaning.
At intervals, Kotani projects shadow hand monsters onto the walls as kaiju. It is at these moments, as she navigates through her set whimsically, that I am reminded that Kotani is truly one of the most quirky comedians at this year's Fringe. She’s a free spirit, who reminds you like a good friend that there’s no manual to getting back on your feet. Also like a good friend, her bluntness will also have you in stitches.
An hour with Yuriko Kotani is simply enchanting. There is something really magnetic about her storytelling. Just like the cherry blossom outside her flat, Kotani reminds us that ending things is momentary. I just wish this hour didn’t end so soon.
Read our interview with Yuriko here
For tickets and more information, visit edfringe.com