A thoughtful response to current anime.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – Episode 6

Of the six shows I’m currently watching, Denpa Onna is the one I’m least excited about by a fair margin. I’ve mentioned this before, but Touwa Erio just leaves me completely cold. I see people across the internet say she’s cute, or more likely “kawaii”, and I sort of tilt my head and narrow my eyes in a gesture of exaggerated skepticism. Well, clearly Shaft have a target audience, and they’re pleasing them, so it’s not my place to complain. And the show’s technically well executed, I have no complaints on that score. And the rest of the characters are fine, some are even great, like the dude’s hot aunt, or his actually cute friend Ryuushi. I wonder what it says about me that I find Ryuushi’s intentional, affected innocence cuter than Erio’s actual, naive innocence.  Maybe it says that behavior that has been optimized to have an effect on others has more of that effect on others than behavior that just sort of purposelessly occurs?  Possibly.  Let’s hope Ryuushi puts on a good show for us in episode 6 of Denpa Onna.

…thirty minutes pass…

Interestingly, in the original Japanese, the expression is "where there isn't fire, there isn't smoke". Which is logically equivalent to the English version of the saying!

So of course this show had to go and prove me wrong for doubting it – this was an excellent episode.  I can’t help but think that part of the reason for this is that Ryuushi was featured prominently.  They seem to be setting her up as a sort of a villainous character, trying to undermine the protagonist’s relationship with his cousin and representing the forces of evil conformity that have pushed Erio to the fringes of society.  I think I might have been wrong when I called this a hikkikomori rehabilitation show – it’s a show about how society is evil for creating hikkikomori.  Look at the old woman’s speech about how all human relationships are ultimately airy vanity.  Look at Maekawa being the voice of rationality and wondering where, exactly, Erio is supposed to fit into society.

I dunno that I necessarily agree with the point I suspect they might at some point try to make.  This is like what happened in episode 6 of SKET Dance, the puppet play they put on about how sad it was that nobody wanted to be Momo Onihime’s friend just because she had been terrorizing them all all the time.  They say, these people have been treated unfairly and ostracized, but in reality human social relationships are inherently unfair.  Society is a game, and if you play badly, you might lose.  Even earn a decisive defeat, like Erio did when she flipped out in class.  And yes, that’s sad, it can be pretty awful to lose games, especially ones with a lot riding on the outcome (as social status games often have).  But if you look at this and say, nobody must ever be allowed to lose, then you’re not only destroying the possibility of losing, you’re destroying the whole game.  And yes, the game of human social interaction can be frustrating sometimes, but do you really think we’d be better off destroying one of the key aspects of what makes us human?

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