“If you sat an alien down and screened for him all the movies made in America in any given year, their first question would be “why do most of these have close up shots of dicks going into various orifices?” See, a huge percentage of films made in North America are hardcore porn because it’s cheap as chips to make and very lucrative. But when we think of “American cinema”, My Ass is Haunted is not usually part of the conversation. We compartmentalise porn and regular cinema, while filing Japanese hentai simply under “animé”. Japan’s porn tends to be animated, but other that there’s no real difference. The Japanese are no more “weird” or “sick” than we are.“
I wrote that back in my review of Akira, the first animé I ever reviewed for this blog. It was a plea for mutual respect and understanding between nations, a plea I must now formally retract because oh my God Japan’s weird guys.
Japan is so, so, so weird.
So a few years back I got really into the Attack on Titan animé and because I got sick of waiting for the next season to come out I decided to just buy the manga. And I did this because nobody warned me that the artwork is bad enough to cause serious corneal damage.
Now, the manga also included a question and answer between creator Hajime Isayama and his young fans. And one of the questions he was asked was “What’s your fetish?”* Not “do you have a fetish?”, “what is your fetish?”, because in Japan, fetishes are like assholes; everyone has one and it’s fun to stick eggplants up there while dressed as a gender-swapped Abraham Lincoln. And okay, that’s fine. That Japanese society just assumes you have some weird sexual kink and doesn’t judge you for it is kinda inspiring honestly. But, much like its love of radioactive lizards or its borders during the thirties and forties, Japan just has to take things a little too far.
Consider the following story:
- Dude has one weird, very specific fetish.
- Dude makes a comic catering to that fetish.
- Said comic becomes very popular.
- Considerable money is spent adapting this comic into an animation.
- Rather than hiding the result in an attic, yet more money is spent localising this animation so that the whole world can get in on this.
- Poor unfortunate rodent has to review this travesty.
Now, for all its faults, let us just recognise that in the West the above story does not get further than step two.
The dude is Riichi Ueshiba, the manga/animé is Mysterious Girlfriend X and the fetish is well we’ll get to that.
So the manga originally ran from 2006 to 2014 for a total of 12 volumes whereas the animé consists of a mere 13 episodes. This surprised me honestly, because the animé does not feel like several years of storyline have been crammed into a baker’s dozen of episodes. This show is positively languid.
Our hero is a Japanese schoolboy named Akira. He’s shy and has never had a girlfriend, and is having weird dreams about flowers and fluid and butterflies opening their silky velvety wings and trains entering tunnels so obviously he’s worried about his exams. Anyway, a new girl named Urabe joins his class and everyone wants to be friends with her despite the fact that she looks like climbed out of a TV set to kill the people who watched her video tape.
Urabe has weird habits, like breaking out laughing at inopportune times and falling asleep in class. Anywhere else, I’d say she was on drugs but this is Japan so it’s probably something to do with shrines. Anyway, Akira finds her asleep in the classroom after school and wakes her up. She looks up and he sees her eyes for the first time and realises that she’s actually really cute. She leaves and he sees that she’s left a pool of drool on her desk. And then he…
So first of all, thank you. Thank you Riichi Ueshiba for making me retroactively regret every kiss I have ever had. Because now I realise that they all involved puttng someone else’s spit in my mouth and obviously that is disgusting and perverse and what is even wrong with me?
Soon after that, Akira falls mysteriously ill. I mean, everyone thinks it’s mysterious, it’s really not. If you’re just going to start sampling the lukewarm mouth juice of random strangers honestly it’d be a fucking medical miracle if you didn’t get sick. So Akira’s at home with a fever being tended to by his sister who raised him after his parents died, presumably from disgust. Urabe arrives unexpectantly at his house and tells him that she knows what he did. She tells him that the reason he’s become sick is because he is now addicted to her spit because he’s in love with her so now she is going to be his girlfriend, his “Mysterious Girlfriend X” if you will. And so now they begin a relationship of walking home from school everyday and her feeding him some of her spit so he won’t die like he’s her goddamn crack whore. Also, she’s got a magic pair of scissors that can cut through anything. Sure. Why not?
I would be lying if I said the central premise didn’t squick me out but that’s not even the part that makes me really uncomfortable. Every episode ends with long lingering shots of the main female characters sleeping with drool coming coming out of their mouths and the series is full of panty shots and butt shots and close ups of legs and these are children, I remind you. These are high school age girls. And sure, Mysterious Girlfriend X is not alone in this. Hell, this is tame all things considered. This shit absolutely infests animé as a genre. But with something like, say, Neon Genesis Evangelion there’s enough good to make me, well, not forgive the pervy shit but at least to content myself with sitting with my knitting in the corner tutting disapprovingly. MGX commits the greatest sin any piece of smut can commit; it’s boring.
There’s little to no plot to speak of, each episode has some banal slice-of-life problem thrown at our protagonists, Urabe acts weird and the episode ends with Akira basically turning to the camera and saying “Wow, she sure is mysterious, that girlfriend X o’ mine”.
Anything this plot light has to get by on its characters and MGX is not exactly bringing a deep bench. All the boys are creepy perverts and all the girls are…actually, also creepy perverts. It’s refreshingly egalitarian in that regard.
The episode where I finally packed it in was Number 8; “Mysterious Sensation” where Akira has a dream about touching Urabe’s breast and can’t stop thinking about it. When she finds out about it, she offers to let him cop a feel and he does. And then he just goes berserk and pins her to her bed and starts licking her ear because this fucking show can’t even have sexual assault without making it weird. When he realises that Urabe is crying, Akira is horrified at what he’s done and the next day he apologies sincerely to Urabe which…sigh, okay that’s something I guess. But then she tells him not to feel bad because she actually enjoyed having her ear licked and anyway it was also her fault for letting him touch her boob…
Done. That was it.
Done with this thing. I never want to see it again, I don’t want it in my house any more, I don’t even want to admit to anyone that I’ve seen it (he said. On his blog. On the internet).
When it comes to a show like this, there’s really only one response.
Competent TV quality animé.
The Leads: 02/20
Alternate between bland and deeply unsettling.
The Villain: N/A
Riichi Ueshiba’s drool fetish is not actually a character in this. It just feels that way.
Supporting Characters: 03/20
You won’t find a more deplorable group of ciphers, perverts, freaks, sex criminals and lunatics this side of the GOP.
Appropriately for cartoon about sweet, addicting saliva, the theme music is sugary, catchy and ultimately colourless.
FINAL SCORE: 25%
NEXT UPDATE: 12 December 2019
NEXT TIME: Fact 1, it’s almost Christmas! Fact 2, Frozen is back baby! So what better movie to review than…
*For the record, the answer was “women with hairy toes”.
Help. I couldn’t stop raising my eyebrows in shock throughout this and now my neck looks permanently surprised.
And for a second, I thought you were going to review Coco. (It IS on that poster, after all!)
Everyone loves Olaf’s Coco Delaying Adventure!
I presume he will never review it for being too perfect. What is he going to make fun of?
Frankly, I found Coco to be not perfect and kind of dull and actually not as representative of actual Latin America culture, because, like most USA depictions of life under the Rio Bravo, uit tends to sugarcoat the experience of living in an underdeveloped country.
Then again, other than Wall-E, Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo I’m not as much of a big fan of Pixar as everyone else either (although, against most people’s directions, I actually kind of like Brave).
Fight me, y’all. 😛
Assasins have been dispatched.
I thought you also loved The Incredibles?
Honestly this isn’t even the craziest thing this author’s done by a long shot. Offhand there’s Discommunication where a guy’s idea of a date is just covering his girlfriend’s head and locking her in his basement all day. I really find that way creepier than anything in MGX.
Yeah, show definitely isn’t for everybody, though I absolutely love it myself. Part of what makes it work for me is the unrelenting weirdness of it, but I also think there is a certain sweetness to the show’s kind of overall theme, which is probably more present in the manga, that every couple pretty much has their own weird quirks and there’s no reason to try to force yourselves to fit within a defined box. It is definitely strange but I find Urabe and Tsubaki’s relationship really cute in its own unusual way.
Still, yeah, I’m sure I probably just come off as a huge weirdo for being a big fan of this show (granted I know I’m not the only one, believe it or not this show actually is fairly highly reviewed in some anime circles), and admittedly I certainly didn’t expect it to go over well here at all.
… And yeah, I will completely agree that the show is not a fast show by any stretch of the imagination. Probably the biggest problem I have with it, the show has a formula and up until the end it really never gets out of it. Which really extends to the manga, it’s very late in before it really starts getting all that experimental with its formula and really it’s almost halfway through before they feel the need to add another main character (who actually does pop up in the anime, but only for like 30 seconds toward the end for some reason).
Though overall the most inspiring thing about this show to me is…
– Someone pitched this premise as a one-shot.
– Someone approved it.
– This one-shot went over well enough to sustain a full series.
– This series built up enough of an audience to get an anime adaptation.
– Someone dubbed this anime adaptation.
– Someone officially translated the manga.
And I’m glad because yeah, I both own this show on Blu-ray and own the full manga. I’m weird, I know.
It is quite telling that your defense of the series never explicitely refers to Mouse’s main cause of anger: the sexualization of teenage girls and the victim blaming herself for her own sexual assault.
You’re (willingly?) ignoring the main issue with that piece of garbage.
They are just saying why they enjoy the series, not that everyone has to enjoy it. You should chill out
There’s 12 volumes of this? I…don’t know what to say about that. I mean, obviously I’m horrified, but it’s also kind of like discovering someone collects ABC gum from the underside of benches…and has over 50,000 of them, all carefully bagged, labeled, and logged by location, color, consistency, and estimated age. Like, “You’re a total freak, but I admire your ability to commit”.
Don’t think I’ll ever be watching this one, or reading it, or glancing at the Wikipedia article in a futile attempt to figure out what the hell, and in fact I may now go experiment with sticking fridge magnets on my head in various ways in an attempt to erase my knowledge that it even exists.
Comic story lines have a bad tendency to last way, way, way too long.
Hm, well, congrats on giving it a try. Honestly, I’m not sure how to react to your reaction, which is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure you’re overreacting; on the other hand, I kind of get the feeling that overreacting IS the correct response. 🤨
Let’s just admire the show from a distance, shall we? And periodically increase the distance, just to be on the safe side. 😑
Dammit Mouse, you’ve made kisses weird for me too. I tried to rationalize how having someone else’s spit in your mouth from a kiss is totally different and not gross. Of course, it’s gross and creepy in this series, which also seems gross and creepy. I feel some morbid curiosity, but I’m not curious enough, so TvTropes should be enough.
Great and hilarious review as always!
Jesus christ, Mouse, I was sipping tea when I came across this review’s descent into madness now I may never drink anything ever again.
Objection your honor!
William Moulton Marston used his fetish for educational purposes and elaborated on them in several essays as well as in his home life with his wife and partner. I find the comparison between him whatever the hell is going on with Riichi Ueshiba to be unfair and stricken from the record.
By the way, are we the sickness wasn’t Mono? Because doing crap like that is how you get Mono.
As a devout anime fan I feell like I should make some sort of defence for this show. Then again I’ve never watched it and have no intention of ever watching it, so it’s not really my place.
I love Japan and all it’s weirdness (from my cultural perspective), but sometimes it goes in a direction that just isn’t for me. This is one of those times.
Thanks, Whoever Commissioned This Review, for steering Mouse in THE COMPLETELY WRONG DIRECTION for anyone wanting to get into anime series, that is, beyond the usual Miyazaki-Otomo movies ‘socially acceptable’ tier. Come to think about it, that also goes for whoever had the bright idea of commissioning the Haruhi Endless Eight fiasco BEFORE the first series. It’s like you guys want to make the medium look bad.
I mean, why didn’t you commission Bible Black while you were at it?
A downside of doing reviews in trade for commissions, I guess.
I don’t think the Japanese have more fetishes than any other culture, it’s just they’re much more open about it, and while I often are skeeved out by those fetishes myself, I still prefer that way of thinking to the Western Victorian approach of bottling it all up while putting on our politically correct masks to parade before others. That being said, yes, this particular show sucks.
As for Attack on Titans’ art, eh, I don’t read the manga myself, but even after leaving aside the fact bad art often doesn’t hinder a good story (not that I’m saying AOT has one, for all I know it has one or not, but art still shouldn’t be the single or main decisive factor to follow a series), several comics at both sides of the pond start with bad looking art and then improve. That’s artistic evolution, something pretty much any creator undergoes.
I men, I assume you began from the manga’s start.
I dearly hope this post isn’t deleted (it wouldn’t be the first time…) I don’t think I’m really offending anyone, but this whole affair still has left me kind of upset.
Hey now, as the one responsible for pointing him at Haruhi Suzumiya, I have the excuse that I recommended the six-episode arc that opens the series. Hardly my fault that KyoAni decided to embark on a disastrous experiment that subsequently drew Mouse’s attention instead.
Besides, from what I can gather, Mouse is familiar enough with the heights and depths of anime that I doubt he’s going to be put off the genre entirely because of one or two shows. After all, he’s still reviewing western animation even after Felidae and Foodfight, which bespeaks a spine of true steel and/or a truly heroic degree of bloody-mindedness.
Turns out reviewing terrible animation is MY fetish.
I don’t understand why you even tried to review this and why you forced this on us Mouse.
Anyway Olaf’s Frozen adventure didn’t screen with Coco in my country so when
I could have seen it I had just heard too much negativity to see it (I had a similar experience with Cursed Child but it was about spoilers). But maybe I ought to watch it before seeing Frozen 2 (not yet in my country but at least I only have to wait until mid December not mid March this time.
Cos it’s me job, innit?
It might because I have become jaded to this shit after all these years on the internet, that drool fetish doesn’t sound that strange to me. Icky and gross for sure, but after hearing about attraction to every human body part, animal species, object, bodily function and more, drool fetish doesn’t even reach top 20 in my list of weirdest kink.
Funny you say how this isn’t the weirdest thing you’ve seen, because by the time Mouse got to the ear-licking thing I was reminded of a review I watched five years ago that depicted a scene that can only be described as “non-consensual teeth-brushing” and wondered if this was that show.
Ha jokes on you, I’ve been feeling that way about kissing for my entire life. Just want to know, do you advise agaisnt a bile fascination watch?
Also, in terms of things to give you pause during an interview with the guy behind Attack on Titan, being asked about his fetish seems lesser than his support for Japanese Imperialism.
Imperialism. Now that’s a real thing to be creeped about, no matter the country it comes from.
I watched the first episode. It’s basically just hentai for a fetish I don’t have so, boring.
Great if extremely uncomfortable review, but … what was Judge Frollo’s ruling? 😀
Japan has to stay 9500 km from me at all times.
Probably the best for both parts, I suppose.
See Mouse, there ARE worse things to watch than VAN HELSING! (By the way, glad you stopped watching at exactly the right moment; going by the rest of this review, things had gone from “Why the heck would you WATCH this?” to “Why the Hell would you MAKE this?” with awe-inspiring speed).
By the way, please allow me to send Best Wishes to the Clan Mouse, one and all! (-:
So the author of AoT wants to bang a Hobbit?
The thing one needs to understand about Anime, especially late night Anime is that it is a niche interest even in Japan.
Well, I mean, does wanting to bang a hobbit even count as a fetish?
I´m pretty sure it at most sub-section of more common fetishes, such as foot fetish, dwarf fetish and maybe invisible person fetish, but of course you need a magic ring for that, so it accounts more like a preference for a special type of sex toy.
Well in Anime Elves are a Fetish.
That depends on whether or not you plan to put a ring on it first.
I guess you had trouble SWALLOWING this premise, eh?
*pulls out megaphone* OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE IS FINE. DISNEY WAS JUST STUPID FOR PUTTING IT IN FRONT OF COCO WITH LITTLE ADVERTISEMENT.
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