Well, you’ve done it now, Inari. It wasn’t even your power to begin with! You can’t just go passing it around like a blunt!
Episode summary: Inari and her three friends go on a vacation to the beach. Things try to get pretty heavy when Maru refuses to be friends with Akemi, and Akemi reveals that she’s jealous of Inari’s close friendship with Keiko. In the end, it looks like our heroine attempts to hand off her divine powers to the troubled Akemi, which is just about the dumbest thing Inari could’ve done.
• The joke faces in this anime are not bad:
Not bad at all.
• I didn’t know gods had dating services.
• Oh man, even Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha has a beach episode. Well, I can at least count on this show to keep the fanservice to the minimum, right? Right?!
• What the hell was Touka talking about here anyway?
• Akemi thinks Inari’s parents are wonderful because they have the free time to take Inari and her friends on wonderful family vacations. Y’see, Akemi’s parents are always busy with work, work, and more work. What a pity! Oh dear, here we go again. What am I exasperated about, you ask? Anime — and Asian live dramas to a certain extent — has this tendency to act as if career-oriented parents are selfish. Just you wait… it’ll turn out that Akemi has some crippling issue born out of her parents’ unintentional neglect. Yes, not having your parents around as much as you’d like must totally suck, but we don’t know the whole story. We don’t know why Akemi’s parents feel the need to be away all the time. All we see is a sad shoujo. So y’know, forgive me if I don’t feel like picking up my pitchfork in righteous indignation just quite yet. And that’s just the thing: we don’t get to see the whole story from either side. We certainly do get to see Inari’s family when they are happy — when everything is going oh so swell — but do you honestly think a family where the main breadwinner is a mangaka never runs into any sort of financial worries or troubles? Now who’s being naive?
• Aw c’mon:
You’re middle schoolers. I’d say hold onto that small bit of innocence for as long as you possibly can. No, I’m not talking about sexual innocence. Rather, I’m talking about a young girl’s innocence from the objectifying gaze. The world does a good enough job policing women’s bodies already. As a child, you’re somewhat safe from that… so don’t start shaming yourself already, y’know? Pretty soon, people are going to start doing it for you, so what are you in a hurry for?
• So Akemi and Keiko… is this lesbianism or is it fetishism? What do I mean by this? Well, what we’ve got here is the easily frightened Akemi who squeals as soon as a guy even touches her shoulder. Then to contrast her behavior, we have the tough, tomboyish Keiko who immediately tells the guy off… but not before grabbing his wrist to show him she means business. So we have the familiar relationship dynamic once again where one person is dominant, i.e. the knight in shining armor, and the other is submissive, i.e. the troubled maiden who needs saving. And y’know, it’s such a tired dynamic too. The thing is though… most heterosexual couples in fiction aren’t even this stereotypical anymore. How often do you see a guy fend off multiple creeps attempting to hit on his girlfriend? Nowadays, that trope will often be turned on its head. Nowadays, if you try to act all alpha male in defense of your girlfriend, she’ll get mad at you: “Uh, I could’ve taken care of myself. You’re my partner, not my father.” So as you can see, we’ve come a long way in terms of viewing and understanding gender roles. You only ever see this trope play itself out normally in trashy stories like what you’d find in a harem anime.
Don’t get me wrong. Obviously, I’m going to offer my support to my girlfriend whenever she needs help; it’s a partnership for a reason. But at the same, I understand that she’s an independent woman who can handle her own problems. She’s not my child; she’s not even a child anymore. She doesn’t need me to be her white knight. But whenever I see mainstream same sex couples in anime, it’s like we’re back to square one! There’s a dominant partner and a submissive partner. It’s almost like we don’t really care how relationships actually work in the 21st century. It’s as if we only want to see two people of the same sex hook up, and putting them into a stereotypical relationship dynamic is the path of least resistance to getting that “money shot,” i.e. that dokidoki moment where they stare into each other’s eyes, mentally preparing themselves for a kiss. And maybe it’s just me… but I think that’s fucked up. Having Akemi and Keiko act out antiquated gender roles, especially when they’re both of the same gender, is patently ridiculous.
• “Her emotions are… sparkling.” Man, remember the last time something sparkled in anime? It wasn’t pretty, I’ll tell you what.
• But honestly, Uka’s ability to feel Inari’s emotions is starting to seem a little weird to me. That sort of thing, i.e. Inari’s emotional state, should ideally remain private unless the girl specifically wishes to share them. And yes, I’m sure she’s close to Uka so she doesn’t mind… for now, but there has to be limits, no? Plus, what about Uka herself? Is it healthy to live your emotional life vicariously through someone else’s experiences? It can’t be. I’m sure goddesses need emotionally fulfilling moments of their own too, but I’m afraid the story’s solution to this will be to pair her up with Touka.
• And there you go:
My eyes are rolling so hard right now.
• To be honest, I wouldn’t want to be friends with Akemi either. She’s so helpless:
It’s pretty pathetic. You can’t even use the excuse that she’s just a middle schooler, ’cause Keiko’s one too and so is Inari. They’ve both had the courage to save her ass when she couldn’t even help herself.
• I really don’t like Akemi’s character right now. What the hell is this nonsense: “When she helped me earlier, I felt like we’d finally become friends… It made me so happy. But I was wrong. I misunderstood…” Quit being so dramatic. She said she had to pee. Get real. Yes, I know it was really Inari trying to get herself out of a tricky situation, but c’mon, who acts like this? Uguu, she suddenly ditched me because she had to pee… I GUESS WE’RE NOT FRIENDS AFTER ALL.
Quit being so helpless too. You’re being your own fucking problem. Maru doesn’t want to be your friend? That’s her loss. Get a goddamn backbone. But instead, the anime pretty much blames her parents for her own crippling inability to make friends:
GAWD, if my parents weren’t always working so hard to provide for me and ensure that I have a good life, I wouldn’t be such a loser. I totally wish my parents were more like Inari’s parents! ‘Cause who needs a career when being a mangaka is more than enough to take care of a family of four with frequent vacations to the beach!
• “…all Sanjo talks about… is you.” Well gosh, I wonder who Keiko’s been friends with longer. Is it possible that people will often talk highly of their best friends? B-but why don’t they talk about me instead who they’ve only become acquainted with an episode ago?!
• I’m actually a pretty emotional guy. I hate watching depressing stuff. You think I can sit through the intro to Up with a straight face?
Hell no. Watch The Color Purple? Don’t even start with me. But this…
…this just doesn’t do anything for me. What should’ve been one of the emotional high points of Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha‘s narrative just feels… petty.