First Look: Pillow Boys

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Alternative titles: Makura no Danshi
Anime Original by Assez Finaud Fabric and feel.
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

A series of short first-person vignettes, each featuring a different bishounen who exists solely to soothe viewers to sleep.

Artemis’ verdict: Could Be Worse

Admittedly, I was ready to just mercilessly poke fun at this show and dismiss it straight out of hand. I mean, it’s a series of first-person, 4-minute shorts (less if you count the OP) featuring 12 different bishounen, whose sole job it is to talk the viewer to sleep. Essentially, they’re pretty-boy manifestations of the audience’s pillow, and I had a hard time even thinking of taking that seriously. But then I watched the first episode and realised that actually, I was being way too judgmental.

Don’t get me wrong, even now I still can’t take the show that seriously, but what I can see is that it has some genuine value. I don’t care for the OP, I don’t even especially care for the general art style (a little too cutesy and pastel for my tastes), and the writing is about as inspired as you might imagine given the ‘plot’. Here’s the thing though – this show is still a great deal more palatable to me than any number of other shows out this season, mostly because I don’t think it tries too hard to be sexy. Sure, the characters are all ostensibly hot and/or adorable bishounen, so being eye candy is basically in their job description, and yet they’re not there for fanservice so much as they are for emotional healing. I guess I was expecting to laugh hysterically at a bunch of clumsy attempts at dirty talk or something, but instead I felt surprisingly empathetic. While Pillow Boys isn’t really my kind of thing, I can’t deny that I’ve often wished for someone who would be there for me when I get home from work and finally fall into bed at the end of a long day – someone I’d find attractive, of course, but more importantly, someone who’d listen passively to me if I wanted to vent, leave me the hell alone if I wanted space, pay me their undivided attention if I wanted pampering, and best of all just lull me effortlessly into dreamland by their mere presence. This mind-reading bedtime paragon obviously doesn’t exist, but the very idea that they might is pretty soothing, and that’s really what Pillow Boys is all about. However insipid, I’ll take that over gravity-defying b00bs or moe-rrific lolitas any day.

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Jel’s verdict: Is This How the Other Half Feels?

Being a guy I can at least understand the appeal of sexy anime ladies, even if I don’t personally find that to be a good reason for watching. So I’ve always been interested in how someone who isn’t attracted to girls must feel watching most anime, which of course traditionally is designed to appeal to guys. I’ve certainly watched plenty of other shows geared toward the ladies but for some reason Pillow Boys made me say “Ah, now I get it!” more than any of them. Maybe it’s the fact that it tries to appeal to your heart as well as your eyes? If that were the case, then this dude in the first episode really needed to give me more time to talk about my day. Seriously man, I might have to kick you out of bed and see if someone better turns up next week.

Marlin’s verdict: Hentai For Women

That’s pretty much all I could think of once the sparkly bishounen came on screen and just wanted to know how the audience’s day went. I can certainly see why a show where an attractive man wants to listen to you would be appealing, but it does speak to a certain pathetic sense of loneliness. Any person who gains some genuine benefit from this is obviously treating a symptom and not the cause, and it’s that context that makes the whole thing kinda sad. As for pure titillation value, I will note that you can clearly see from the OP that some of the men might be far less dressed than this one, and that the cast includes a little boy, which just exponentially increases the creep factor to me. This first one was pretty generically bishounen attractive, but at the end of the day it seems clear each one is supposed to cater to some weird fetish.

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