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.
This episode is offensive in so many ways I don’t even know where to start. First off, we have Shidou along for the ride again just to make tasteless gay jokes. We finally have another man, and he only exists to be an even more two dimensional character than all the rest! I’m honestly not surprised by the “Elf has an island” bit, that’s just par for the asinine court. What I can’t tolerate is the idea that somehow a girl who has gone to an island only accessible by boat somehow doesn’t know how to swim. Is that some kind of like niche vulnerability fetish that someone has? What other possible reason could there be to have to write that scene? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills or something.
Honestly the whole idea of an Elf focus episode in the first place is mind boggling to me. Did she not get enough of that when she was first introduced? All this episode did was play the lamest lip service to whatever sad shell of a man is twisted enough to read this garbage and say “yeah I’d bang anthropomorphized helium”. The sad thing is, as Jel and I noticed while watching this show, she actually is the best girl. She’s the best in the same way that 999996th place is the best of the bottom five out of a million. She at least has some ambition outside of Izumi’s pants, even if she’s the one who most slavishly tries to dive into them. Everyone else either has no character to speak of (Tomoe, Megumi) or stake their entire reason for existing off of Izumi’s approval and creative talent (Sagiri and Masamune). Elf is the only one who has an (immature though it is) individual drive that existed before Milquey McMilquetoastface came into her life.
Which is why it’s such a shame this episode does everything in its power to make her even more unlikable than usual. For the millionth time, this blog doth proclaim, making references to how certain things are old cliches and then doing the old cliche does not make it better. And it’s not like I think this show really has any plot worth talking about, but it feels like what little exists was totally subjugated to make this fanservice fest. The whole premise could be written in like four sentences and you wouldn’t miss any context for the entire thing! It used to be ragging on this show was actually entertaining because the bad stuff at least had some hilariously tone-deaf thing that I could rag on, but this time even on that front the only thing we get is the frankly creepy notion that these two men talk about a teenage girl’s “wifehood” material like it’s a Victorian drama or something. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this was all so unenjoyable that having Sagiri involved again would be an actual improvement.
Marlin’s Ethics Lesson of the Week
Virtues are habits, they’re character traits that exist within us even when we do not practice them. In the end, having good virtue should be what makes a person appealing. When Chris compliments Elf, all he talks about is what she can do or how she looks, that says nothing about her character. In perhaps the only moment of clarity this show has ever had, Izumi acknowledges that what makes Elf unattractive is all the bad habits Chris omitted. No matter what shallow qualities a person can have, without virtue pursuing them is guaranteed to lead to suffering. As for this show, its characters are wholly unrepentant. The suffering must continue.
This was wish fulfillment in its purest form: a cute girl that is super rich whisks you away to her private island, gets naked on the beach, and cooks you dinner. Then she takes you to a romantic spot to tell you she loves you. Great. Do you feel better about yourself now? Because otherwise this was all pointless.
All that was really accomplished was throwing a bone to the Elf fans out there. None of the girls are going to beat out Sagiri so the only purpose of character focused episodes is to sell more merchandise and drive one of the worst “best girl” debates in recent memory. If I had a gun to my head… well I’d just let them shoot me, so let’s say if my family was being held hostage and I had to choose I guess Elf would win simply for having a shred of personality. Even so, I’d rather stay on the true path of #hatewatch and stick to the main story than waste time with this.
Also, Elf gets an entire episode and we still don’t know why she has actual elf ears.