First Look: Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway

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Alternative title(s): Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou.
Light Novel Adaptation by Project No.9
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

After crushing rejection, Tokyo office worker Yoshida stumbles home, drunk and frustrated, to find a high school girl sleeping on the side of the road. Rejecting her repeated attempts to seduce him, he nonetheless allows her to sleep in his apartment for the night, discovering the next morning that the girl, Sayu, is a runaway teen from Hokkaido who’s been trading sexual favors to get by for the past six months. Nobly continuing to refuse to sleep with her, Yoshida instead decides to let her stay with him indefinitely in exchange for taking care of the housework.

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Artemis’ verdict: Let’s Not

I suppose that, as someone who’s nominally supposed to be reviewing this anime, I should be talking in some way about the quality of the show – the general storytelling and plot execution, the depth of characterization, the production values as far as visuals and music are concerned, etc. etc. The truth is, it’s pretty hard to do any of that when you’re distracted by the show being about a salaryman who allows a runaway high school girl to stay with him in exchange for doing all of his household chores.

I’ll be frank, pretty much everything about this concept rubs me the wrong way, and it likely would even if Sayu had legally been an adult. I don’t like the fact that Yoshida is immediately presented as the victim when it comes to his romantic relationships. I don’t like that he’s seen as some kind of white knight just because he chooses not to physically assault a teenage girl who’s clearly in need of help of the kind that he’s clearly not able to provide, and because he does have at least some element of self-awareness and basic human decency. I don’t like that ensuing events seem to perpetuate the idea that good, hardworking office men are naturally deserving of a good woman to keep house for them (because how could a young, single guy possibly work and cook at the same time?). I don’t like that the camera insists on repeatedly showcasing lingering, close-up shots of Sayu’s breasts and thighs, clearly for the audience’s titillation.

Could it be worse? Absolutely. Is that setting a super low bar? Also absolutely, and I’m not about to watch more of something just because it didn’t happen to involve rape. So do yourself a favor and skip this one – it may have pretensions of being about “a touching relationship between a heartbroken adult and a runaway high school,” but whatever life lessons Higehiro may have to offer, this is clearly not an ideal way of exploring them.

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Jel’s verdict: NOPE

There are a lot of bad things to unpack here, most of which Artemis already mentioned, but basically they are trying real hard to mask the fact that this a schoolgirl grooming fantasy. They’re not even trying that hard, considering how much the camera and the main character’s own thoughts drift toward various parts of the main girl’s body. I can already imagine some people trying to defend this by noting how often main guy explicitly states he’s not physically attracted to her, but A. let me know how that’s working out by the end of the series and B. that only addresses like, 30% of the issues with their situation. Don’t be fooled, skip this one.

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