Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Ep. 7: What is love?

inari 0710

Baby, don’t hurt me! Seriously, you have to stop. It’s illegal.

Episode summary: Inari and Kouji are supposed to be lovers in some play, but when Inari finds out she had accidentally used her divine powers to get the coveted part, she decides to quit the play. Momoyama, some girl we haven’t seen before this week’s episode (I think), then asks Inari to deliver her love letter to Kouji, which Inari initially agrees to do, but our heroine then loses the letter to the wind. Must have been her divine powers again. Anyway, she uses her divine powers once more to turn into Momoyama so that she can confess Momoyama’s feelings to Kouji in person, but Kouji rejects them. Shh, he’s really in love with Inari. Meanwhile, Uka is being forced by her mother to go on some arranged dates and neither she nor Touka are happy about it, but they’re both too socially awkward to admit that they like each other. Oh well, Touka would probably punch her if she tried to.

Notes:

• Look at this nonsense right here. It turns out that Uka’s mother wants our goddess to start going on arranged dates unless she has someone in mind that she intends to marry.

inari 0709

Naturally, Uka freaks out about this, so Miya goes, “If you already have a particular god in mind… …someone you enjoy being with, even if there’s no love involved?” First off, why even bother getting married if there’s no love involved? But anyway, Uka replies, “You know we don’t–…” All of a sudden, she starts thinking about the time she’s spent with Touka. Oh my, could it be? Is she in love with Inari’s older brother?!

So here’s my problem with this. That ‘time’ we’re talking about, i.e. the ‘time’ she’s spent with Touka, honestly amounts to what? Seriously, try to answer this question: how much ‘time’ has Uka actually spent with Touka? Even if you want to say, “Hey, maybe they’ve spent more time together than what we actually get to see in the anime” there’s still the matter of how A) he abuses and yells at her every time they see each other and B) all they’ve done together is play video games until Touka pitches a fit ’cause he’s a whiny manchild. But I guess that’s love in anime for you. Be right back… gonna go give my girlfriend of noogie to show her how much I love her!

• Inari: “If there’s something bothering you, you can tell me, okay?” Gee, how should Uka break the news to her friend delicately… “I want to bone your asshole brother just because we’ve played the Wii together a couple times” seems a little crude if you ask me.

• Uh, what kind of play is this gonna be again?

inari 0702

• Inari predictably freaks out about adding kissing scene to the play, but I mean, she’s supposed to be Kouji’s lover so I don’t know what she expected. Plus, she’s in middle school. Don’t tell me she hasn’t thought about kissing a boy before. C’mon, I was in middle school once. I know how kids think at that age.

• W-what’s going on in the upper left-hand corner of this screenshot?

inari 0704

Is that a dog?

• Toshi: “We were bored and came to play. Plenty of pure girls here.” Ugh, creeps everywhere.

• So somehow, Kouji’s friends see Inari arguing with Toshi and come to the brilliant conclusion that the two of them are a couple. Wow, really? No wonder Uka thinks she’s in love with Touka. Anime characters apparently mistake abusive behavior for romance. This actually reminds me of a very real problem in South Korea. Oftentimes, couples will get into a fight — and by couples getting into a fight, it usually means domestic violence — and bystanders will just ignore it because they don’t want to get involved in what they consider to be “personal matters.” Even if you bring your concerns to the police, they’ll most likely say, “Eh, we’ll check up on them, but unless the victim files an official complaint, there’s nothing we can do about it.” Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous.

• Turns out Touka is actually missing Uka’s company. I guess he must’ve noticed his knuckles have been a little too underused lately.

• This exchange:

Uka: “We are telling you, they only love us for our rank!”
Touka: “That might just be your own hangup. Women are so damn self-conscious!”

So she’s basically saying that no one actually loves her for her, and he replies with, “Well, like, that’s just your problem, man!” Why on earth is he the love interest for Uka again? Oh that right, ’cause he’s a bishounen who will play Wii games with her.

inari 0708

• Touka: “Because women treat men’s hearts with contempt!” What is he even talking about? She tells him that no one actually loves her for her, and he comes back with this? It doesn’t even make sense. No shit someone would treat your heart with contempt when you reduce them to nothing more than their rank.

• Touka: “The only womanly things about you are your boobs. Should I squeeze them?” Rest in peace, my friend. Oh wait, my bad… abuse is actually love in anime, i.e. these two are practically married. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

• On the one hand, Touka pulls back when Uka flinches, so gold star for doing the bare minimum of what’s required to be a decent human being. On the other hand, he doesn’t even apologize for his suddenly brazen behavior: “This is ridiculous.” Then he throws in this little jab: “Go on and have your little arranged dates or whatever. Maybe they’ll teach a gamer nerd like you a thing or two about being a woman.” What a shithead. Again, this is supposed to be her love interest.

• Meanwhile, Inari learns that she subconsciously used her powers to luck herself into drawing the coveted role in the play, and this depresses our heroine for some reason. I guess she thinks it’s cheating, but shrug, it seems pretty harmless to me.

• And because Kouji thinks Inari has a boyfriend, he gives her an out: “We don’t have to do [the kissing scene] if you don’t want to, you know.” Oh, the drama~

• And now girls are relying on Inari to deliver their confessions of love to Kouji. Hey, at some point you just gotta learn that one very important lesson in life the hard way: “Shit or get off the pot.” If you’re not going to confess your feelings, don’t be surprised if someone else swoops in and gets the job done. Ain’t like Inari’s name is on Kouji or anything.

inari 0705

• And to make matters worse, Inari’s quitting the play. It’s not like she’s quitting the play early on in its production though. She’s quitting the play after all that work has been done, which is actually quite selfish of her. Yes, she might have “cheated” her way into the coveted role opposite of Kouji, but it’s too late now. You can’t just quit something everyone’s worked so hard on because you feel bad. Ugh, I’m losing my patience with this story. This is what I get for watching an anime about children.

• Oh hey, Momoyama, i.e. the girl who has a crush on Kouji, immediately volunteers to replace Inari. Good. I don’t even feel sorry for Inari. Not one bit. She’s just getting what she deserves.

• Then she goes and loses the poor girl’s letter. Tsk. So lemme guess… to fix this problem, Inari’ll turn herself into Momoyama, and try to confess Momoyama’s feelings to Kouji, but really, she’ll be confessing her actual feelings instead. Kouji will then turn Inari down, thinking that it’s really Momoyama, and this revelation will perk Inari right back up!

• Well, I’m right so far…

inari 0707inari 0706

• Inari: “…maybe being in love is like an obsession!” Eh…

• Momoyama: “I wasn’t putting much effort into making him love me back, for one.” Making someone love you back?

• So it turns out Kouji now likes Inari. Ho-hum.

• Then Touka finds out Uka gave Inari her divine powers and he’s all, “Uguu! You tricked me! How could you!” Bah. Then the poor goddess gets whisked away to Izumo for those arranged dates. Gosh, I wonder if Touka will somehow manage to find his way there in order to play her knight in shining armor. Guess I’ll just have to tune in next week!

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Ep. 7: What is love?”

  1. “Be right back… gonna go give my girlfriend of noogie to show her how much I love her!”
    Don’t forget to punch the sides of her head! It’s so adorable when lovers make each other cry out of pain~
    But yeah, that’s also why everyone thought Inari and CreeperBro were a thing.
    In anime land, Chris Brown and Rihanna would be a widely celebrated coupling.

    Seriously, though, this episode bugged the hell out of me. First we have the nonsensical abrupt “romance” between BishiBro and the goddess, and then we have a half hour of melodrama that would easily be settled if Inari just said “I like you” instead of acting like a selfish prat.
    -I get Inari’s meant to be just a kid, and she and her boo-to-be do act like that mostly, but at some point you just fucking come out and say it already. Middle Schoolers aren’t toddlers, and even toddlers admit to liking someone at some damn point. I’m supposed to relate/root for the girl who’s collapsing so many opportunities around her it’s a game of Godzilla Vs The Tower Blocks?
    …It-it’s a game I’d play with my cousins as a kid. We’d build the blocks and take turns pretending to be Godzilla, horrible screeching and all.
    Yeah, it’s pretty childish, but surprisingly more mature than OUR PROTAGONIST!!

    Best thing to come from this episode is Dog-Boy. That pic had me dying when you pointed it out! Haha! I never even noticed that. The mutated horror just crept into my unconscious without me giving it a second thought. Really, now, what is with that thing? It’s clearly not a mask or make up. Was one of the animators bored and just said “Fuck it, it’s on screen for barely a moment. I’ll just make a dog-freak in the background.”
    Now I half expect to see other oddities spliced in like porn in a film reel…

  2. “So somehow, Kouji’s friends see Inari arguing with Toshi and come to the brilliant conclusion that the two of them are a couple. Wow, really? No wonder Uka thinks she’s in love with Touka. Anime characters apparently mistake abusive behavior for romance.”

    Honestly, I think bystanders jumped to the conclusion that they were a couple because of how nonchalant they were in being that close to/touching each other. And that conclusion, while idiotic, doesn’t surprise me in the slightest; I’ve been in Japan long enough to know that while girls and guys often seem to be comfortable touching one another (in an entirely platonic fashion) in elementary school, all that completely disappears once kids hit junior high. Which isn’t necessarily healthy either, but in any case is another issue all on its own. I don’t think that phyical abuse and/or domestic violence has much, if anything, to do with that particular scene in this episode.

    Touka, on the other hand… wow. Just wow. Way to hit an all-new low there.

    1. I don’t think that phyical abuse and/or domestic violence has much, if anything, to do with that particular scene in this episode.

      I’m not trying to say that there’s a direct causal link, but I do feel as though it adds to a certain pastiche that some form of domestic argument is to be expected from couples. By itself, the scene wouldn’t raise my eyebrow, but when I consider what I’ve seen from the anime as a whole, I think it’s another element in the narrative that — intentional or not — ends up contributing to a rather problematic message.

      1. Perhaps. I’m not suggesting that domestic violence isn’t a problem, either in Japan or elsewhere, but I just think it’s a bit of a stretch in this case. It’s actully very rare to see couples (or anyone other than young children) arguing in public here, because creating a disturbance, bringing your business out in front of other people, or even just standing out from the crowd in any way is typically considered an extremely negative thing, and one that most people take pains to avoid. It seems doubtful that the creators intended anything by it other than using it to create the obvious drama between Inari and Kouji, and I also doubt that most viewers would see it as anything more than this. Of course, that’s just my own speculation – I can’t either prove or disprove your theory.

        1. It’s actully very rare to see couples (or anyone other than young children) arguing in public here

          It’s not so much how common of an occurrence it is, but rather how others react to it when it does occur.

          It seems doubtful that the creators intended

          We’ll just agree to disagree here. What the creators ultimately intended is not all that important to me in the grand scheme of things. As I’ve said elsewhere, art is the process of selection. Considering how problematic the other scenes in the anime are, I think it’s a mistake to leave a scene like this in even if it’s intended to be harmless.

  3. Anytime I see something along the lines of “Oh, you’re a woman; act like one!” I want to rip my hair out. The numerous amount of times that I have seen enforced gender roles in anime/manga is nauseating. I know Japan has that kind of culture and history, but holy shit I am so sick of it. It’s just so degrading and offensive. Anyway, love your writing, especially the analyses on Kill la Kill. It’s just too bad that I can’t write or analyze well enough to form some sort of response that’s worth reading. Have a nice day.

    1. I know Japan has that kind of culture and history, but holy shit I am so sick of it.

      I get your frustration. It has always been stupid to me when apologists default to this defense in order to excuse the horrible things they see in a culture that they want to love. First, loving Japanese culture doesn’t mean you have to defend everything about it. Second, there’s a limit to this defense. It’s one thing to attribute something like, “Don’t stab the bowl of rice with your chopsticks,” to a mere difference in cultural practices. Yes, it’s harmless to outsiders, I’m sure, but rude to East Asians. Alright, fine. But it’s always ludicrous to me that people would use this same defense for heinous things like the mistreatment of minorities. And it’s even dumber when people try to use it on me when I’m East Asian myself. If I can’t criticize my own culture, then who can?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s