I decided to finish a few winter anime I had stopped watching during the hiatus, one of them being Ookami Kakushi. For a brief second, the anime had my complete attention, but (of course) Hiroshi was merely having a nightmare.
Instead of some horror-slash-mystery anime, what we get instead is some odd allegorical tale about isolationism and racial/cultural purity. The villagers call themselves “Godmen” (kamibito) which should raise a red flag right away. Although they claim that they are cursed and neither gods nor human themselves, it’s hard not to send an arrogant vibe when you call yourself a Godman. The Godmen also don’t help themselves by using “fallen” as a term for us humans.
Anyway, it’s against the rule in the village for any Godman to “attack” a human, but this is where the story takes an odd turn: the only threat that the Godmen ever seem to pose is sex. Yeah, there seems to be a fear of sex in anime in general, but especially so in Ookami Kakushi.
You see, the curse of the Jouga is that they’re attracted to humans. They just really, really want to make out with normal people so bad and I’m not joking about this. For even daring to kiss a human, “A God is Felled to cleanse the taint.”
I never knew kissing could be so dangerous!
I kept watching the anime to see if a terrible threat might manifest, but it’s never clear that there’s any real, tangible danger. An out of control Godman is just really attracted to humans, and if a Godman manages to attack a human, the human will then turn into a Godman. So… reproducing is wrong…? Nemuru explains that the law is in place to protect the Godmen, presumably because humans will react negatively to their existence, but if that’s the case, is it necessary to refer to the union of a Godman and a human as a “taint?” Why even assume that humans would wipe them out especially considering that the Godmen seem to be more afraid of humans than vice versa? Considering Japan’s perception of being ethnically homogeneous (which is untrue, by the way) and long history of isolationism (which isn’t completely true either), it’s not hard to see the implications being made here.
Nemuru (Ep. 9): “The Godmen are instinctively attracted to the Fallen. Right after Tsumuhana-san’s brother attacked you, he crossed a line he’s not allowed a cross. That’s why he was Felled… That’s the law. If the law weren’t there… we would all be annihilated by human society.”
Sakaki (Ep. 10): “You monsters could no longer sustain your lives on your own, so you invited people here to Jouga. You sell or rent out land and housing for cheap, and many people come, attracted by an easy life.”
So there you go — you have a situation where a culture needs the help of outsiders to keep their quaint village from dying in the modern world, but at the same time, the culture completely forbids intermixing with outsiders. Hiroshi explains that this is only necessary for peace, but we know from history that this is a dangerous argument.
Every time a restrictive and insular culture wants to maintain the status quo, the calling card has always been the concern for “peace.” It’s not like you get a slap on the wrist if you decide to take that human boy or girl to Lovers’ Lane either; the punishment is death by a gigantic scythe. Hiroshi even decides to blame outsiders like him for all of Jouga’s troubles.
So what happens next? Will the Godmen really be destroyed by humans as they feared? Will Jouga remain an isolated village? The anime cuts off there, cleverly painting the Godmen as victims. They just want peace after all.