Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter 2014 Harem Hill, Week 3 ? Sort of

I mean, I won't do the whole arbitrary point system thing again, 'cause let's be honest, no one's going to beat SAIKIN, IMOUTO NO YOUSU GA CHOTTO OKASHIINDA GA (IMOCHO for short) this season. Plus, NISEKOI is harmless and I suspect that it'll stay that way for the most part. I mean, Shaft already had its fanservice jollies fulfilled with the BAKEMONOGATARI series so . Regardless, these three shows air at relatively the same time during the week, and maybe it'll be fun to bring back this old feature where we try to highlight anime's more shameless characteristics. Now, the Harem Hill posts are a little different from how I usually write about anime. These will consist of more recapping than analysis, 'cause, well, I'm watching these harem shows so you don't have to. Besides, there's not much analyze.

To take stock, IMOCHO has been about a ghost raping a poor imouto and forcing her into a salacious relationship with her step-brother. Maybe I'm exaggerating, maybe I'm not. Meanwhile, NOURIN has been busying itself with blasting unmarried women over 25 everywhere. Oh yeah, it's also a tale about kids on an agricultural farm school, and how a popular idol recently retired just to transfer in. But none of this is that important! Last -- and kinda least as far as Harem Hill is concerned -- our hero in NISEKOI has to play pretend boyfriend with the rival gang's daughter. Boo hoo for him. Oh, and don't ask me about MAKEN-KI, because I think there's a difference between it and the three shows I'm looking to highlight. The latter three, I feel, definitely aim to be romantic comedies first, silly harem fanservice second. Well, that's the theory anyway. On the other hand, I believe that something like MAKEN-KI is unabashedly fanservice first. Anyway, let's begin.NOURIN EP. 2

So you know how "Yukatan" transferred into the school and introduced herself to the class as Kinoshita Ringo? Well bully to that, 'cause right off the bat, this week's episode lets everyone know that Ringo is the retired pop star. Yes, yes, it would have been rather trite to go through the whole "Is she really Yukatan?" for a couple episodes, but then why even bother coming up with the whole Kinoshita Ringo alias if you're just going to ignore it the very next week? Oh well. By the way, the entire time that their sensei is telling them about Yukatan's actual identity, she's licking her lips and everything. Those damn slutty Christmas cakes, y'know!

So the cat's out of the bag. What to do now? Kousaku immediately fantasizes about how he'll eventually bed her. Why of course! After all, he is entitled to her by merely existing. In any case, he shows Yukatan around the campus. By that, it's literally just him doing all the talking and his friends are merely tagging along. We get to learn such interesting facts like how female peacocks aren't as beautiful as male peacocks. Thanks, NOURIN! Then, Kousaku tries to impress the new girl with a sappy story about how the farm school gained a wallaby -- yes, a wallaby in Japan -- for a pet. It's so touching: our hero even slept naked with the wallaby inside a dakimakura. See, if Yukatan plays her cards right, it could be her inside that pillow cover instead.

We then learn stuff like how fertilized eggs are no more nutritious than unfertilized eggs. Yay, facts. What's sad though is how -- despite her age -- Yukatan doesn't know what an unfertilized egg is! But clearly, she's only rendered clueless for a gag. Oh no, how will we ever tell her about the birds and the bees! Chickens doing it is so dirty! I can't tell a pure-hearted girl about that! First off, it's a little weird to me that a guy on a fucking farm thinks that this topic is dirty. It's part of your life, man. Secondly, Yukatan is too pure-hearted for such a dirty story? What does that even mean? Will it traumatize her? Are girls so weak that she'll now have PTSD flashbacks of chickens rocking the casbah? Or will it corrupt her into becoming a raunchy sex-loving ANTI-FEMININE SUCCUBUS like every unmarried woman over 25? Finally, if anything, Kousaku is the dimwit here that you have to protect from the topic of sex. Just look at him now! He's clearly the corrupted one.

Anyway, Kousaku tries to hand the task off to Kouchou, but the latter fails spectacularly when she refers to an unfertilized egg as acondom? We then cut to Becky attempting to teach Yukatan about replant failure, but Kousaka somehow mistakes this for more raunchy sex talk. He's so offended that he jumps in front of the girl and tries to shield her vision from the black board. Yes, please, protect our defenseless Japanese maidens from ever learning about sex or anything that might even resemble sex. Then ten years later, you can rant about how no woman wants to get married and have sex -- that the birth rate is dwindling into nothing -- without a clue as to why these current state of affairs came to be . The real problem is that there's no balance. Kousaku gets to sit there and act like a total idiot, and no one really calls him out for it.

Moving on, the kids play the King Game, and Kousaku tries to get Yukatan to step on his face with her bare feet. I dunno, not even going to judge. But wait a minute, letting her learn about sex is bad, but it's okay for you to get turned on by her feet? Unfortunately for him, Minori keeps ending up being the person Kousaku orders around. Well, the scene plays out just the way you'd expect it to: "The more you step on it, the bigger the barley grows." Uh huh.

The following morning, it turns out that Yukatan doesn't know how to operate a washing machine. Oh those pure-hearted girlsthank god we have a man to train her in the ways of domesticity. But wait! Sex! You have to be ashamed of it! Be ashamed! Right now!

Kousaku: Kinoshita-san ?

Yukatan: Huh?

Kousaku: Isn't it embarrassing to show me your laundry?

Yukatan: Why?

Kousaku: Because I'm a man.

Yeah, why aren't you awashed in shame?! Why aren't you turning beet red? Sex! SEEEEEX! SEEEEEEEEEEEEXXXXXXXXXXXXX!ahem, anyway, like I said above, there's nothing to balance out Kousaku's idiotic behavior. If he can't save Yukatan from his own lechery, it just means someone else has to step in to protect the poor girl from dirty, sinful sex:

So instead, Minori tries to give Kosakuher panties, but he instantly rejects them. Then everyone fights over Yukatan's panties, including Kei who just showed up out of nowhere. I guess he was eavesdropping or something. Small school, after all. But back to the story, everyone is fighting over the retired idol's panties. Yes, this is actually happening. I must be in some deep circle of hell, I'm sure. It all culminates into a pantsu-picking contest, where we learn the true value of a pantsu. In the end, Kei tricks Kousaku into sniffing panties that had been sitting in the former's armpit for quite some time. A brief respite, I guess. If you could even call it that. We'll end NOURIN's write-up with the following exchange:

Kei: Well, I will take Kinoshita's panties.

Kousaku: What? That's not fair! Ouch!

Kei (socks him in the face): You have your own already, don't you?

Kousaku: Huh? Which one? Where?

Kei: Inside your heart.NISEKOI EP. 2

Compared to our other two harems, NISEKOI is not that bad. Unfortunately, this isn't really saying a whole lot. Two miserable characters will pretend to like each other until one of them -- almost always the girl -- actually falls in love with the other person. Huh, this puts a whole new meaning to the idea of fake it until you believe it. The question is how long it'll take Raku to come around and like Chitoge back, but seeing as how harem leads are always as dense as a rock, it'll take us all season for him to sort out his feelings. In the meantime, Chitoge essentially gives us a lesson on how to be tsundere, a practice that Shaft is apparently masterful at. Meanwhile, Raku has just as much of a prickly side, but being the male component of a harem, he never goes dere. One must wonder if Japanese men ever go dere long after the marriage has been consummated. For the time being, however, Raku utters condescending shit like "Well, she can be kinda cute when she's seen and not heard."

Oh no, Chitoge won't get his loving yet; the object of his current affections is still the toothless Kosaki. I'm quite sure she's a nice girl, but how exactly does a conversation with her play out? Then when you really think about it, you can't imagine how a conversation with any of these girls would play out. Therein lies the biggest flaw with these so-called romantic comedies. If the central conceit is that the main character will get to know one of these girls and fall in love with them, why is it so hard to actually understand what makes these girls tick? What are their interests? What are their ambitions? Shrug. Although Claude, Chitoge's bodyguard, is unconvinced for now that his lady and Raku are now dating, the problem for the audience is that we'll likely never believe it even when they actually do fall in love with each other.SAIKIN, IMOUTO NO YOUSU GA CHOTTO OKASHIINDA GA. EP. 3

To continue from where we last left off, our two step-siblings are still trapped within the bathroom. Unfortunately for our heroine, she is still completely naked. As such, she tries to hide out in the bathtub, which can't be a very good idea. After all, no harem lead would like a prune for a sister, and his attraction to you is all that matters! Oh right right, he just doesn't want her to pass out. Sure. In any case, good guy oniichan already thought ahead about this. He thus takes off his sweater so that Mitsuki can cover herself up. It would make too much sense to have a towel nearby or something.

The two of them proceed to bond over their precarious circumstances. Yuya's mother died before he could form any memories of her, and naturally, the dad is never around. It's a good thing that the dad has now remarried, continues to be an absentee parental figure, and he's even found a woman who's willing to abandon her own offspring too! Yay! It's a wonder why anime insists that family is so important when it nevertheless portray the parents as, well, pretty much the worst parents ever. The cognitive dissonance is rather puzzling, because while it's true that Japanese dads are usually busy with work, the moms are often around to support and raise their children. So what's the deal, anime?

Mitsuki proceeds to tell her side of the story and it's even worse. At least Yuuya merely lost his mother to something nobody is likely at fault for. Mitsuki's estranged father, on the other hand, was apparently an abusive gambling addict. Gee, a wife of an abusive partner also runs off with her new lovesounds familiar. I mean, I'm sure there are single mothers out there who aren't flighty and in desperate need of male attention, but maybe just not in anime for whatever reason. In any case, the reality is that Mitsuki gets to bounce from a scumbag father figure to an absent one. Again, I'll remind you that, thus far, the anime has tried to portray her as kind of a frigid bitch who isn't nice enough to either her stepbrother or her mom.

Thankfully, our hero is there to proclaim his lack of intent to hurt her. Wow, such bravery. You should get a medal for not wanting to hurt people, especially your own stepsister. Still, this oh-so-touching moment is enough to fill up the chastity belt's meter. So I guess you don't have to knock some socks to get Hiyori into heaven, but then again, the implication here is that familial bonding and the sexual assault from first episode have the same net effect. Yeesh. And since sex between siblings is a whole lot more fun, let's have Mitsuki do that ol' slip and fall just as a rival is about to walk in on her and Yuuya!

With the introduction of a new girl to the story, what are the two critical things we need to learn about her! Ah yes, yes, Yuki used to be Yuuya's childhood friend. Very important; childhood friends hold a very special place in anime. Critical information number two? She has a giant rack! But look, it's not for us guys to drool over or anything. Oh nononono, the fact that Yuki has a giant rack is for Mitsuki. Y'see, Mitsuki is for some reason rather insecure about this very fact. So much so that she's even thought about it all day at school, and -- for good measure -- she thinks about it on the way home from school as well. I've had talks with girls before, and they're always like, "Gosh, all we ever think about is boobs, boobs, and more boobs." Shocker, I know.

So now, for no reason whatsoever, the Mitsuki/Hiyori (Mityori?) combination actually begins to treat Yuki as though she's an actual rival to Yuuya's affections. I call it a combination because although Mitsuki is now exhibiting signs of jealousy at the sight of Yuki, she tells us that these are not really her feelings. Rather, it's Hiyori's possession that's causing her to act all cold and bitchy to both her brother and Yuki. Either way, the message is still the same: girls are just naturally jealous creatures like this. At one point, Hiyori takes control of Mitsuki's body and starts acting all deredere again. Mitsuki whines that all these random mood swings will make people think that she's crazy, but I dunno, maybe anime wants us to think all girls are bipolar. In any case, Mityori goes on the offensive and tries to humiliate Yuki by, uh, pretending to trip and getting a cake to rest neatly on Yuki's boobs. Oh, howembarrassing. There's cake on my boobs. Whatever will I do .

Yuki fights back the only way a girl knows how: with sex appeal!

There's still the matter of there being a cake on her breasts, but hey, that's what the wholesome male lead is for. And while Yuuya is scrambling for a wash cloth, Mityori whines, "I can't believe she'd put on such an effective display of lewdness." Right, spilling cake is supposed to humiliate someone, and now licking frosting off of your finger is also "lewdness." What's next? Are we going to twerk? 'Cause honestly, if a girl ever twerked in an anime, I think she'd just be arrested if we're going to react this way to a finger lick. Mityori, in all her combined brilliance, decides to double-down: if one cake isn't humiliating enough, here'stwo?

No! Not two cakes! I'd rather be naked in front of the entire student body! Won't someone stop this madness? Thankfully, Mityori's better half tackles herself, causing Yuuya to fall headfirst into those twin peaks:

Phew. Random groping is a whole lot less embarrassing than two spilled cakes, I'll have you know! Mityori tires of all the cake-throwing games, and decides to be direct. She straight up asks Yuuya if he prefers small or big breasts. Ever the diplomat, Yuuya replies that he likes both. Somehow, this answer makes Mitsuki's spirit squeal with embarrassment -- damn, embarrassment everywhere -- but her chastity gauge nevertheless fills up ever so slightly. Why? Is embarrassment also potent? No, it's because Yuuya affirmed his love for pettankos everywhere! Oh true lovesteps even begin to appear in the mystical limbo world, which is met with much happiness from Hiyori. Meanwhile, Yuuya sits alone and goes, "Big or small breasts? Duuuuh, wuz dat a riddle?" Honestly though, that gauge looks like it's going to fill up fast when it's only the third episode of the season. I see heartbreak looming on the horizon.

On the following morning, Mitsuki's Aunt Nanami drops by but she appears to be drunk off her rockers. I don't think I've met a responsible adult yet in this entire show. You've got those absentee parents, the drunk aunt, the incest-justifying teacheroh, I guess that doctor that treated Mitsuki when she fainted in the first week was probably an upstanding citizen. Maybe. Anyhow, drunk aunt is up to no good herself. She shows up only to spill water onwell, we've been talking about boobs, so naturally, you might think we're in for some wet t-shirt nonsense. That'd be a smart guess, but ah, y'see, you're not going deep enough. What has been the consistent theme throughout the last two episodes? Yep, Mitsuki's pissing herself. So of course, if we are to spill water anywhere, it must be on Mitsuki's crotch.

H-how did Aunt Nanami even manage that? Pfft, who cares? More water sports, son. Let's even zoom in for a closer look! Which, uh, we'll censor anyway.

Be sure to catch the DVD/bluray for the definitive vision of IMOCHO, wink! Afterwards, Yuki shows up to walk with everyone to school. We also learn that Hiyori might've known Yuki in her past life, but not only that, Yuki might have the ability to see the supernatural. Scintillating developments.

Uh huh. Neither does your audience, I'm sure. That's why in pure eroge fashion, we suddenly find out that Mitsuki forgot to wear any panties to school. If you think a flashing is about to occur, you'd probably be right. For now, let's just have lunch with Mitsuki's best friend. Oh no, it's so windy outside. I wonder why. Yuuya shows up out of nowhere, and suddenly acts all pushy. You know how it is in anime when the guy grabs the girl's wrist forcefully. He's just "holding her hands." No need to freak out. It's completely normal to grab people's wrists like they're little children. Plus, now is really the time for Mitsuki to tell him why she's mad at him! He really needs to know! Even Yuki showing up -- what the hell, are these people magnetically attracted to each other? -- doesn't save Mitsuki from embarrassment. In a moment of weakness, the wind blows and Yuuya gets full view of Mitsuki's almost-bare ass. Twice now, IMOCHO has ended with Mitsuki's utter humiliation. Cool! With that, we're finally done this week.

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