Harem Hill Week 9 & 10: A light at the end of the tunnel

Appropriate picture. It’s hard to tell if I’m just losing my edge or these shows just don’t have much left to mock. Or maybe it’s just the fact that we’ve been following the same five shows for over two months now, and we’re getting pretty tired of their gimmick. Either way, our five harems are all trying to wrap up their plots, so everything’s just gotten super serious. It’s not that there isn’t any stupidity left, but there’s also a lot of plot to wade through. To further compound the matters, none of these shows are what I’d be watching if not for Harem Hill. As a result, it’s boring plot that we must all wade through. So there’s the task ahead of us. Let’s start off with Campione! this time.

I had forgotten all about Godou’s dreamwaifu. That’s how pimp he is. Even in death, he gets a babe to mack on. Y’know, a babe that says, “You can call me ‘mom.'” Godou reacts appropriately by becoming a story device: “What was this? The border between life and immortality?” That’s just some expert storytelling there, filling the audience in because we wouldn’t have known otherwise. I wish someone in Birds would’ve done the same thing: “Man, what are with these birds? The manifestation of incestuous maternal rage?!” But there goes Hitchcock again with his stupid “metaphors” that we’re supposed to figure out on our own (250).

Godou is mystified in the screenshot above, but it’s quite simple really. Within the harem shoujo exists a superposition of quantum states where she is both pure and viriginal yet willing to sex the hero up at the drop of a hat. You must simply observe. At first glance, Liliana looks as though she wants to throw up when she learns about Godou’s extensive harem (Erica, Yuri, and Lucrecia), but when Godou looks again, Liliana is DTF (‘down to fuck’ for our less-than-hip readers!!): “R-remember this well, King…. Even if you violate this body, you shall n-never have my heart!” Uh huh (250+150).

Look! Back she goes to being pure and virginal. And Godou becomes the consummate gentleman: “I-it’s fine. Before, it was kind of hard to approach you. But now that you’ve cried and gotten mad, you seem like a normal girl — much easier to talk to.” Hell yah, normal girls are moody bitches who cry and rage all the time. You ladies out there know what I’m talking about — if you weren’t too busy cryin’ about it (250)!

I don’t even know where the green-haired maid came from (100). Or why Liliana’s fantasies of Godou transforms him into Cyrano de Bergerac (100):

Tsuntsun (50):

Deredere (50):

Tsuntsun (50):

Deredere (50):

The next thing I know, Liliana tries to confront Athena alone, who then… stuns her into submission and starts stripping Liliana… naked (150)?

What? Good thing the start of the tenth episode makes just as much sense when the villain stirs the crowd into a rage by asking them questions about Greek mythology (100). We all love our fucking Greek mythology. And thus begins Godou’s second fight with an underdeveloped villain. Let’s get the exciting battle started!… right? Oh shit, we’re back to this again… tsuntsun (50):

Deredere (50):

God, just get on with it already.

Feels like we’re plagiarizing here a bit. But hey, bending every woman to his beck and call is what gets Godou going. Spoilers: he wins. I’m not going to get into the action scenes because this isn’t what Harem Hill is all about. At the end of our two episodes, Godou gets another person to add to his harem. Yawn.

KKK! — 27945
Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai — 26600
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica — 21060

Amidst an election, a childhood friend feels left out because Oojima is getting a little too popular with the ladies (one of which just happens to be his damn teacher). One of Chocolate‘s myriad problems is that a lot of its side stories don’t have one damn thing to do with the actual election plot besides maybe the bullied girl, but that story pretty much dropped off a cliff after the third episode only to be picked up at the last minute, but we’ll talk about that in a bit. Repairing a broken relationship between the teacher and Shinonome? So what? Chisato feeling unloved? Who cares? The oh-so-traumatic incident that left Oojima and Chisato short of a friend so they pay their respects to him by buying chocolate bars? Has nothing or should have nothing to do whatsoever with the election. The anime’s story is as disjointed as its mood, which hops from silly clubroom antics (like the midget girl inventing all sorts of weird shit) to suddenly hot and heavy drama between Oojima and his “haremettes.”

How does this figure into Harem Hill? Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t say it matters all that much. I do Harem Hill to capture the sort of trope-ish, pandering anime full of fanservice that plagues most harems. Chocolate doesn’t really embody the sort of target that Harem Hill is after. It’s just a poorly told story. Case in point, episodes after the bullying incident, that story suddenly rears its head again in the ninth episode now that most of us have forgotten about it. And it’s a pity ’cause it’s the only side story that is relevant to the election bit. Oojima is risking his election by taking on an unpopular policy, and whoa, that shit happens all the time with real life candidates. The problem is that it has taken us so long to get here.

Then the entire situation diffuses itself because Chisato isn’t a complex Karl Rovian character who’s hellbent on getting Oojima the election victory in order to further some nefarious agenda. She’s only outraged because she thinks Oojima’s out to impress girls besides her. It’s gets even worse:

Yep, that’s right; it’s Chisato clinging onto Oojima’s arm while he’s trying to take a shower. Turns out Oojima just got hit by a car so Chisato completely freaks out over it. He punches a mirror, slaps her and she still runs back to him with a chocolate bar. Can we just get back to the election and unpopular policies? Well, not so fast. In the rest of the remaining episode, Oojima uncovers a Big Brother-esque spying system designed to to keep tabs on the school’s students. Yes, a bunch of high school students have installed spies throughout the campus to maintain peace and order! Not only that, there’s a conspiracy involving a comatose agent! Oh dear, oh my!

In the end, what does this all tell me? It tells me that Chocolate has no confidence. And because the show has no confidence in itself, it has to cook up these wild, far out scenarios involving a yandere childhood friend (with a symbolic candy bar) and a shadowy student council government that wants to reenact Brave New World. Even worse, it hops from one subplot to the other without allowing anything to develop. There is, however, a bit of a trick being employed here. By making the scenarios as over-the-top as possible, you give the illusion that you have something to say. Chisato going yandere is an attempt to shock the audience into submission: “Look how crazy she is! That makes her character meaningful!” But it doesn’t. What does it really say about Chisato that isn’t skin-deep?

To me, the premise of a green, idealistic candidate who slowly becomes cynical when he exposes himself to the political process is already interesting enough. You could develop this. You could examine Oojima’s ascent (or descent from your personal perspective) from multiple viewpoints that sheds light on how real life candidates fall victim to the same tragic system. Everything just has to play out on a high school stage. But Chocolate doesn’t believe in itself. It weaves a whole bunch of plot, but there’s no depth behind any of it. The anime looks like it has a lot to offer, but it’s doing fuck all.

Any amateur writer can just cram as much silly subplots into a story, but you could honestly recap all of the anime’s subplot with a single sentence. For example: “Chisato lost a close friend when she was really young, so she now has abandonment issues with regards to Oojima’s newfound success.” The yandere part adds nothing to our understanding of her character or her subplot, which is why I regard it as a cheap trick done for thrills. On the other hand, a master storyteller takes a single plot and makes it a complex issue that reveals something to the audience that isn’t readily apparent. So Chocolate tries to be everything, and as a result, it’s nothing. Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate should have just been Senkyo, the one thing about it that can’t be found in other anime shows.

No points awarded or deducted.

KKK! — 27945
Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai — 26600
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica — 21060

Estetica‘s ninth episode wants to convince me that Ousawa is a ladies’ man. Why? Because he stands up to authority and defeated a giant, berserk cock some odd episodes ago. Right, right… I guess that makes up for that piss-inducing incident: “Sure, he’s a bit lewd at times… but it’s hard to hate him.” Oh, okay (250). Have fun justifying your Stockholm syndrome.

Anyway, a knight from video game world another dimension finally shows up and kidnaps Myuu. I guess this is the anime’s “plot.” As such, the characters are actually acting semi-seriously and there isn’t a whole ton of fanservice outside of the fact that Myuu’s in a ridiculous get-up (100). Instead, characters grimace at each other, people power-up and “battle.” Y’know the sort… a dude randomly disappears then reappears, so his opponent gasps, “S-so fast!” (50). One guy even has the ability to copy Naruto (50):

That’s not to say that Estetica has entirely abandoned its rapey roots. The villain, aptly named Phil (100), defeats Myuu easily and so he decides to pin her to the ground (250). To top things off, the camera luridly zooms in on her crotch (150) ’cause in the middle of becoming a true hero, I guess you have to prey on a demon princess. Don’t let plot get in the way of the male gaze, y’all. Good thing Ousawa quickly shows up so the two men can rub their swords against each other. They rub so hard that sparks fly.

They fight, they talk, blah blah blah. It’s not even fun to watch. You’ve seen one shounen battle, you’ve seen them all. Phil’s motivation (man, I just can’t get over that silly name of his) basically boils down to “I wanna be the hero!” In the end, Ousawa wins because he doesn’t need weapons or magic to fight. Ergo, his neck is invincible (100). Makes sense.

What follows is the most awkward romance scene I’ve seen in a while:

Ousawa had to overexert himself to defeat Phil, so now his body heat is falling fast! We better both strip naked and rub up against each other. This sounds reasonable until you remember that people have magic in this world (250). I guess no one has fire magic though, so we’ll just have to play assgrab instead (150+350). Also, body heat isn’t going to work too well if you don’t have any means to trap said heat, but fuck thermodynamics! Even when Ousawa continues to rub her ass, Myuu merely exclaims, “He must be in pain!” Stockholm syndrome is a helluva thing (250). Then the villain conveniently shows up again because he’s not really dead; I must reiterate: you watch one shounen and end up watching them all. Phil’s such a gentleman though; he waited until Ousawa was done molesting Myuu before deciding to show up again and power up (250). Yeah, okay, that’s enough outta Estetica.

KKK! — 27945
Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai — 26600
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica — 23360

Suddenly, Imouto introduces us to a new character (obviously female). At this stage of the game? Clearly, Shougo’s harem will continue to expand until it reaches critical mass, and at which point, everything collapses into an apocalyptic singularity where all haremettes become his sister. This girl is already ahead of the game when she flat out introduces herself as Shougo’s sister!

So do we buy Yuzurina’s story? Hell, can’t Shougo’s rich ass just buy a DNA test? After nine episodes, I’m just dumb for continuing to ask such a commonsensical question. Clearly, the most logical course of action is to watch your alleged sister sniff your bed to see if you’ve been fucking anyone in her absence (250). No, no, don’t even ask why a sister would care about such matters. That’s just how they do it in Japan.

For a split second, Shougo demonstrates a bit of balls when he argues, “I don’t think how I live my life is any of your business.” Yeah, creepy alleged sister! If Shougo wants to have a harem, what’s it to you! Unfortunately, her argument of “We’re family! It’s only natural for a sister to be worried about her older brother!” actually works on our clod of a hero. By all means, my loving alleged sister, please continue to sniff my bed. You’re only protecting me after all (250)!

Uh, you keep using that word (‘pretense’), but I don’t think you know what it really means (250). So let’s fast forward a bit. Shougo now has to invite a special girl to the Mikadono “thank-you” party. Which of the precious haremettes should he pick? One of these two?

I’m afraid cream puff girl is already ruined for marriage (350). Maybe Mei, the cosplay cafe girl? Oh hey, doesn’t she claim to know Shougo’s sister? Why don’t we do the sensible thing and ask her if Yuzurina is lying or not? Mei doesn’t have to reveal the Imouto’s identity, but the least she could do is tell Shougo if he’s getting played or not. Nope, sorry, that would make too much sense (250). Instead, we’ll just fight over who gets to go to the special party with Shougo. Time for each girl to prove their worth. Cream puff girl opts to cook Shougo dinner where she plays the dessert (100). Oh that cheeky girl.

“I won’t move an inch until you eat me” (250). So he tickles her. Let’s just move on.

Shougo gets test results quickly (too quickly) and they claim that Yuzurina really is his sister, but we’re too smart for that shit. Not Shougo though; he completely buys it. Anyone with half a brain would realize that Yuzurina’s cooking up a plan to shame Shougo and prevent him from becoming the next head of the Mikadono group, but who cares because that is all boring plot. Let’s just get to how Miyabi is super jealous of cream puff girl, so she gets hammered at the party and tries to seduce Shougo with a line straight out of a porno: “They’re bigger than you thought, right?” Then the towel falls off to reveal a nipple-less body of a 12 year old girl (350), but this is anime so she’s got an old soul of 16 or some equally creepy shit (250). Yeah man, it’s cool that she could very well be his sister, but nipples are where we fucking draw the line. Get that nipple shit out of here, you pervs!

KKK! — 30245
Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai — 26600
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica — 23360

Oh my God, I can feel my brain turning to mush, but with just Dekinai left to go, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Fly forth, my prawn-riding hero, and save Lisara!… who seems to be running almost nude through a hallway (150).

Uh, good for her, I guess she freed herself from the BDSM slugs from the previous episode. She finally catches up to Mina, but has to face off a bunch of… I don’t even know what the fuck these soldiers are supposed to be:

I guess from a distance, they kind of look like frogs (100). The villain doesn’t need frogmen to do his bidding though. Instead, he summons “Didufingu.” Yep, that’s the name. It’s a demonic sword that emerges from a giant centipede too (100). You can’t make this shit up. And it turns out I was wrong: Mina is the “special specimen” because her secret power is her love for the idiot Ryousuke (100). Cool. Too bad I can’t give any less of a shit about the fact that I’m wrong here. So Lisara loses even harder and is down to just her panties (150). Ryousuke arrives just in time on his blue flying slug.

He and the villain do battle, Ryousuke summons the power of Lisara’s scent, and he wins (of course). But wait, it’s just the ninth episode. We can’t win already! It turns out the villain wants to smash the gate between this weird dimension and the real world for reasons that doesn’t matter one damn bit to me. Still, the merging of the two world does happen. So now what? Surely, there must be some final mission to tackle — a mission that will unravel this world merging predicament!

Nope, the tenth episode is an angst-ridden mess littered with fanservice. It turns out Ryousuke’s actions from the previous episode led to widespread destruction in the human world, and he’s now suicidal as a result. Not that it matters anyway because he’s told that he’ll have only two weeks to live. The girls try to sex things up and keep him cheerful. So we get scenes like making porridge for the harem lead in sexy aprons (250+150), and strip poker (150×4). But in the end, Dekinai has taken a drastic turn to the “Woe is me!” storyline. To top it off, Lisara looks as though she’s covered in strawberry jam. I wonder if this’ll last till the finale.

It’s like tits and ass for two straight months, then somewhere along the line, the people behind these harems suddenly felt like they had to get all heavy and serious. So we go from goofy shit like flying prawn soldiers, an entire episode about Ryousuke’s ability to play with an imaginary dictionary to a hero destroying his own world, suffering from PTSD, etc. Could you just imagine watching an American porno, then halfway through, it becomes a commentary on the Holocaust? And with that, I’m done.

KKK! — 30245
Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai — 28200
Hagure Yuusha no Estetica — 23360

Since we’re almost finished with this season, let’s start looking ahead to fall harems. What looks like prime material to you guys? Oh yeah, should I catch up on Sword Art Online or Kokoro Connect next?

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22 thoughts on “Harem Hill Week 9 & 10: A light at the end of the tunnel

  1. biribiri

    Little Busters, Sakurasou, Girls und Panzer, and Onii-chan (another Onii-chan anime, hahaha) seems to be the harem shows next season. Sakurasou has a mysogynistic kind of premise, so I’m looking forward to you bashing it. Oniichan seems to be your generic imouto anime for the next season. Little Busters is from the creators of Clannad, Kanon and Air, so it might be one of the better shows among them.

    Reply
      1. Ian Caronia

        This made me burst out laughing, especially because it reminded me of when I said something similar after I read an article about some PSP game of that “My Little Sister Can’t be Bla blah” show where the brother can end up marrying his sister.
        -When I first got into anime most of the popular shows were Cowboy Bebop, Fist of the North Star, Outlaw Star and The Big O. How did we go from noir and pumping (sometimes mindless) action being the favored flavors of the day to Harem and kinda/totally incest shows taking the spotlight?

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          There has always been harem anime. It’s just easier in our day and age to gain access to mediocre shows that wouldn’t have gotten any attention back in the day. Certainly not over stuff like Bebop and The Big O. Harem shows thus feel more prolific, but I wouldn’t say that they are unless we could do some sort of data analysis.

        2. seelosopher

          Y’know, this actually piqued my interest enough to run a crude little search through AnimeNfo. Here are the total releases tagged as harem for each year in chronological order, starting from 2000 and ending with 2010, after which their data starts getting spotty: 11, 17, 10, 21, 17, 19, 19, 11, 10, 11, 10.

          So according to my very unscientific survey, harem anime seems to have peaked mid-00s, then tapered off. Also, the most popular time for harem releases seems to be the start of the fall season. Go figure.

        3. E Minor Post author

          Maybe it wouldn’t change the conclusion one bit, but what about harem anime series per total anime series? Rate stat this up!

  2. Arbee

    Dude, please continue with SAO Was waiting for your MMO-filled thoughts about the latest episodes. Especially the Atrocious Episode 10 and 11 the filler.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Well, I’ve been playing a lot of Guild Wars 2 lately so I guess there’s plenty of MMO nonsense for me to pontificate about.

      Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          What server do you play on? I ask because I assess everyone by their server’s success in WvW (no, I don’t).

  3. Ian Caronia

    I’d like to see you finish out SAO, if for no other reason than to read those moments where you point out a supremely missed opportunity, explain how it could’ve been brilliant, and finish off with why what they DID instead was wasteful/stupid. Those parts of your review always inspire me a bit and give me ideas for if I ever write a digital adventure short story.

    Reply

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