First Impressions: Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara

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Oh good, the next piece of fodder for Harem Hill. But we’ll take a quick individual look at the show first… y’know, just to be fair.

• The harem starts off with a bang as a crazy traffic accident occurs right before Nanami’s very eyes. Oh, who’s Nanami? Just one of the show’s many haremettes. We’ll get to her in a second. Still, it’s not very often that a harem starts off in this sort of fashion. Where’s the childhood friend barging into the bland harem lead’s room just to wake him up for school? Where’s the boring ass monologue about how today’s his first day of high school, and how he hopes he’ll have a shining high school life? Where’s the best friend who conveniently shows up just to ask the bland harem lead if he’s excited to meet all the cute girls in his class? Still, don’t get your hopes up on thinking that this show will be breaking any new ground…

• So later that day, the bland harem lead introduces himself to his class as Souta, the mild-mannered transfer student. Nanami immediately takes an interest in him because she (correctly) suspects that he had some strange involvement in the accident from earlier that day. By the way, this is their homeroom teacher:

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Harems just gotta harem. Plus, one of the female students is wearing a fucking bonnet:

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A bonnet.

• It is somewhat different, I guess, that the bland harem lead is assigned a seat in the middle of the class and somewhat towards the front of the room. What? No awesome seat next to a window all the way in the back? C’mon! That’s an anime staple!

• The perverted best friend candidate walks up to Souta and introduces himself. He even says, “Especially about girls, you can count on me for that.” Our hero humorously replies with…

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Shut down.

• In fact, the show is a tiny bit meta, and because of this… it’s somewhat amusing at first. Just don’t expect the show to keep this up. But anyway, how is the anime being slightly meta? Well, the haughty rich girl tries her best to dominate our bland harem lead:

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He quickly shoots her down by copping to being a hardcore sadist. Hey, didn’t you know two sadists would never work?

• Still, Nanami has had enough. She demands to know Souta’s deal. I mean, why is he always staring at people’s heads? At first, the guy tries to give her a lame excuse so she just flat-out headbutts him. Well, we can’t get rid of female-to-male comic violence, now can we? That, too, is an (unfortunate) anime staple.

• Let’s get down to brass tacks: our bland harem lead can see event flags on people’s heads. Some people have friendship flags, others have romance flags, and the unluckiest ones are sacked with death flags. Some salaryman this morning had a death flag on top of his head, so Souta did what he could to get rid of it. Somehow, telling the salaryman that he wouldn’t get some business contract was enough to get the job done. I guess the shocking words stopped him from crossing the street too soon and thus getting hit by the out-of-control truck? Oh well, it doesn’t matter.

• But surely, there were no death flags on any of his classmates from earlier today, right? Yep, no death flags. There were friendship and romance flags though, and Souta still went about cutting them all down. Why? Wouldn’t he want to take advantage of this incredible talent? Apparently not, because anyone who gets close to him will only receive… misery!

• Somehow, the protagonist’s desire to be alone makes Nanami think back to how she once spilled milk as a loli. Seriously, there’s no additional context to the scene whatsoever:

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So even though she doesn’t believe his story one bit, Nanami feels sorry for the guy. She then insists that he call her by her first name and first name only. Plus, he has to do so without any of the honorific crap. Well, not before she pokes him in the eyes with two fingers and looks all smug for having accomplished this feat of physical abuse:

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What’s so special about Nanami anyway? What makes her the leading haremette of the show? Ah, it’s due to the fact that our hero can’t seem to see a flag above her head. She’s the wild card! She represents endless possibilities! She’s the Bella to his Edward! But let’s be real. Even if you tell me that he can’t see any flag above her head, her “flag” is obviously all over her face:

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Shit’s not hard, man. One last thing before we move onto the next scene: our heroine’s full name is Nanami Knight Braidfield. In fact, she’s a fucking princess. Of what? Some tiny, rural European nation, apparently. And for some reason, she’s been sent to Japan of all places to advance her studies.

• Obviously, Nanami will be the last and most difficult nut to crack, so let’s just move right along to our very first nut:

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A nut who likes to wear a garter belt to school, but that’s neither here nor there. So anyway, this is Mahogasawa Akane, and she’s all full of friendship flags. Try as he might, Souta can’t seem to break them all. They just keep coming back like cockroaches. Personally, I think he’s just not being mean enough, but we wouldn’t have much of an anime if the bland harem lead was actually honest about his desire to be alone.

• Like Nanami, Akane is also from a very rich background. Well then, our bland harem lead seems to have found himself a bevy of potential sugar mamas.

• When Akane runs, she has to moan every other step. Really, words alone cannot do this girl justice. You have to listen to her talk to really understand how fucking annoying her character is.

• Souta can’t understand why a rich girl like Akane would take an interest in him. Akane replies, “I’d feel bad if I abandon a dog drenched in the rain or a weeping cat.” Souta and Nanami are aghast that they’re being compared to dogs and cats.

• So all three of them end up paying a visit to Souta’s dormitory because this is what friends do. By the way, his dormitory is ten kilometers away from campus. Yep. The students even say that this all belongs to the school, which is apparently massive. It might even have its own GDP.

• Eventually, we make our way to Souta’s home, and it’s actually a fucking dump:

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• As the three of them hang out, Souta starts to laugh mirthfully, so Akane tells him how wonderful he looks when he’s happy. For some reason, this embarrasses our protagonist, so he proceeds to hide himself in the bathroom for an oddly huge length of time. In the meantime, nosy Nanami digs away at Akane to understand how the cheerful rich girl ticks. Apparently, loli Akane was separated from a good friend simply because the other girl was poor. As a result, the bubbly girl’s made it her mission to befriend every pathetic, downtrodden classmate she comes across.

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Aw, how condescending…

• The best part of the flashback is when the two girls exchange hairpins as a symbol of their friendship. So when the faceless adults go to pull these two girls apart, one of the adults cruelly steps on one of the hairpin just to really rub it in that befriending a poor person is wrong!

• When it’s finally time for Souta’s two haremettes to leave, Akane rushes back upstairs because she had left something behind. All of a sudden, Souta notices a death flag atop her head. Gosh, where did it come from! Apparently, talking about your past is a bad thing: “A ‘Death’ flag caused by the past is much worse than a regular death flag.” But what does a “‘Death’ flag caused by the past” have anything to do with falling to your death in a rundown dormitory?

• Souta rushes to save Akane, but he’s not sure how he can break her death flag. He runs through as many of the possibilities as he can and he tells her all sorts of comforting words, but nothing seems to work.

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Think, bland harem lead, think! What would Harem Jesus do? Wait, what’s that?

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It’s a budding romance flag! Of course! Harem Jesus would totally mack on this hot babe. Plus, she’s rich.

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Aw yeah, Harem Jesus in the house!

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So let me get this straight… Akane was going to die from falling through the floor, presumably because of her injuries, but because our bland harem lead kissed her, she will now no longer die. Fuck the flags! His saliva’s got curative properties!

• But first thing first, we haven’t had female-on-male comic violence in a while…

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Phew. We wouldn’t want to break the paradigm, you know? Guys doing unwanted things to girls, girls then hitting the guys back instead of both parties searching for a reasonable, mature solution to correct the root of the problem… these are just anime staples!

• But… all is not well because…

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• Anyway, tune in next time for…

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…boobs…

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…boobs…

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…and more boobs!

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8 thoughts on “First Impressions: Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara”

  1. Reading your review left me wanting for more cliched tropes than what this show apparently offers. When you mentioned “flags”, I was assuming the metaphorical “this has happened which is an indication of an impending event”, but I realized it was a literal flag on their head. Oh boy.

    Maybe it’s me, but after watching years and years of anime, I’ve become more dismissive of these tropes. In this episode alone, we have a rather unassuming lead harem lead, the rich girl who has her snobbish head up her ass and still swimming in class bias; the Japanese Haruhi-esque girl who’s not to be messed with and can order your ass around and physically assault you; the homeroom teacher with big oppai and so forth. I want to knock over a table every time that fucking transfer student trope is used. Really? Is there no other way to introduce a new character? And like that Deruch de Britannia show, all the main characters who are of consequence in this show are in the classroom or in the same school. “Were you in Shinjiku yesterday?”….er I mean “were you responsible for the ‘incident’ yesterday?” Ah yes the ‘incident’.

    The only thing missing was a blonde girl with hair drills.

    1. You can tell a medium is rather formulaic when you can break conventions by choosing an unusual sitting position for the main character in his classroom. Which was funnily lampshaded by Watamote too (also, in Tonari no Seki-kun, Seki-Kun DOES indeed sit next to the window. Does it mean that he is the protagonist of his own anime? Is all his fooling around a way to relieve tension built from piloting a giant robot when he’s off school?).

      But yeah, I mean, I don’t think I’m entirely AGAINST tropes. While some of them are tired and beaten-to-death horses, they also are somewhat part of what defines anime: one of its quirks, if we want. Most anime is a less “modern” medium than we’re used to in the west: while we value originality and breaking the mold over anything else, anime loves to redo the same stories again and again with minimal changes. Not that this doesn’t happen in western media, it’s just that anime seems to be both more aware and more okay with this fact. But then again, that’s also how Greek tragedies worked. It’s just a cultural thing, not necessarily a bad one.

      Of course, he’re we’re talking about Obligatory Silly Harem #94986, so it’s not exactly quality writing. But from what I read I’d say this sounds remarkably less offensive than the average of the genre – just rather tired and not especially funny or interesting. But then again, you never realize a trope’s tired until you’ve seen it repeated over and over, so maybe for first time viewers this might even look like a decent enough comedy show.

  2. Eurgh I know you mean well or are just making fun, but is it so hard to say “spilt milk as a child” rather than “spilt milk as a loli”? Seeing as how it’s a short-form of lolita and there was nothing actually promiscuous about her behaviour in that flashback, it’s incorrect on top of being sorta disgusting. Self-professed lolis in other shows can be described as such , and if the character’s whole design intent warrants it (The opening sentence of your Brynhildr post is problematic while your Black Bullet post isn’t because, as you know, pandering), but anime girlhood does not automatically equal the “loli” concept. We as fans should not let ourselves even subconsciously pin little girls as sexual by default just because the rest of our anime-informed experience may not challenge it.

    1. We as fans should not let ourselves even subconsciously pin little girls as sexual by default just because the rest of our anime-informed experience may not challenge it.

      Or maybe I’m using the word ‘loli’ here only as a glib shorthand for a young female character. More specifically, I’m responding to how your average anime-viewing audience usually responds to these characters regardless of whether they’re sexual or not. In other words, I’m not calling them ‘lolis’ because I actually think some random young girl in an anime is actually sexual in nature. Rather, the words ‘loli’ and ‘lolita’ have different contextual meanings. So please, spare me the lecture.

    2. I’m with you 100%. I hate how loli has become a weeaboo synonym for little girl. It is in fact a sexual term, there’s no way around it, and it’s not like Japan doesn’t give us plenty of chances to use it appropriately.

      Going on the defensive when challenged about this is pretty sad.

      1. ‘Cause the meaning of words can never change and context isn’t important.

        Getting indignant over how a word is used is pretty sad.

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