Sometimes a show comes along that just deserves to be eviscerated. Perhaps it showcases the worst of anime’s stereotypes. Perhaps it takes an interesting premise and ruins it with befuddling plots or infuriating character arcs. Perhaps you think a show should literally be labelled a war crime by the Geneva Convention. That’s where the HATEWATCH comes in. When the show does it to such a degree, sometimes you need to watch it just for the cathartic value of demolishing whatever dreg of culture or bad taste it represents. This is #HATEWATCH 2017.
I think it’s time for a confession: When I was younger, I always wanted to have a little sister. I grew up in a family of all boys, and I was never very close to my older female cousins. I didn’t have a lot of hobbies traditionally assigned to boys beyond a love of adventure. I wasn’t feminine or anything, but I did always wish I had someone my own age in my family to better empathize with them and relate to them. It really wasn’t until I became a full-fledged adult that I had mature friendships with women. It’s probably because of this that I have such disdain for little sister shows. I understand that a lot of my desire to have a sister was to have a female relationship that wasn’t complicated by the sexual factor. However, these shows exist to sexualize such a relationship, to pervert it into something that isn’t natural. What I wanted for so long is only masturbation material in their eyes. As Jel will point out, this show is complicated by just how unrelated these two people are other than their parent’s marriage, but this show goes to such lengths to establish this brother/sister angle that it disgusts me.
This might seem like a small complaint considering the laundry list of problems so far, but man it feels like nothing happened this episode. This isn’t even like a “oh but there was a lot of character development” kind of thing. Playing a video game and having a girl show her your panties does not establish a friendship. I mean, don’t get me wrong pretty much all of these episodes seem to be stretching this material to its very breaking point, but here we have the “development” that happened last episode wiped out and having to be reestablished for no apparent reason. I assume this is solely in the service of bringing Tomoe and Megumi into the story, but I am still at a loss as to why these characters are at all necessary to the plot outside of tapping into very specific fetishes. Wait, right, that’s all that female characters require in this new otaku order.
Marlin’s Ethics Lesson of the Week
Aristotle actually goes pretty extensively into the concept of friendship in his discussion of ethics. It makes a lot of sense, since friendships are some of the most basic units of society and ethics is meant for the proper ordering of the entire human community. For him, only virtuous people can truly be good friends to each other. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t have lesser friendships, in fact that is practically unavoidable in our large interconnected society. Often times, we have what are called relationships of utility, where both parties use the other for mutual benefit. Usually this manifests as an exchange of goods or services. So far, these are the only kind of relationships that Masamune has with other people. Even though he wants to “love” Sagiri, it’s pretty blatant that he gets a lot of use out of her artistry and values it highly. With Elf, he uses her for her experience in writing in order to “grow” in so far as that is possible in this sick perversion of normal life. Finally, the clearest utility relationship is the one he has had with Tomoe from the very beginning of the show. She gets business and inside scoops from the light novel industry, he gets preferential treatment in her store. Now, he plans on exploiting this relationship even more than usual. This show is pretty much proof of that idea that people without virtue can’t be real friends.
I’d almost, ALMOST be willing to give the show credit for cutting to the chase this week with Masamune and Izumi basically confessing their feelings for each other. The whole situation is still weird and creepy but if they’re going to go for it might as well get it over with. Of course though, they couldn’t even get that right. Instead we get a dumb misunderstanding and Masamune declaring he actually wants to be her big brother, managing to somehow make things worse.
To dig a little deeper, it’s worth pointing out that they have only been living together for a year, so it’s not like they’ve grown up together as siblings as is usually the case when these things happen in anime. While there’s so many other issues I could get into with their situation, it’s not inconceivable that two teenagers with no guidance stuck alone in a house together might feel attracted to each other. Let me emphasize I am NOT saying this is OK or defending the show. My point is, if it was just that then it wouldn’t be as bad as what we got this episode. Maybe you could chalk up Masamune’s declaration to masking his hurt feelings from their misunderstanding, but I’m just going to say it adds an extra layer of creepy.
I don’t even know if it’s worth recapping the fan service bits as that’s pretty much a given at this point, but it’s hilarious so I’ll do it anyway. The big emotional moment last week was Izumi learning to draw big boobs after nii-san made fun of her, but after being inspired by seeing Elf’s panties, she can only draw little girls again…. SO NATURALLY the solution is for Masamune to ask his well endowed friend at the book store to show Izumi her panties so she’ll be fired up about drawing big boobs again.
“Can you hop onto Skype and show Eromanga-sensei your panties?”
That is an actual line of dialogue in an actual television program that a lot of people worked hard to produce. I… I have nothing else to say this week.